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317 - An Academic Crime and a More Romantic Taco Bell

Aired Thursday, March 5, 2020
An Academic Crime and a More Romantic Taco Bell

After Sheldon helps Dr. Sturgis with a scientific theory, he's upset when he doesn't receive a credit on John's paper. Meanwhile, Mary tries to find a "girl trophy" for Missy's baseball team ceremony, and George runs into Veronica on his date with Jana.

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Episode Notes

  • Title Reference: "An Academic Crime" refers to Sheldon's description of Dr. Sturgis's actions in his phonecall to Dr. Linkletter, and "a More Romantic Taco Bell" was Georgie's description of Chi-Chi's. 
  • Opening Credits Sequence: Sheldon is dressed is his normal clothes as a cow approaches the family.
  • Sheldon would later research "magnetic monopoles" on The Big Bang Theory. [223, 301, 309]


Adult Sheldon: Of all my many skills, one of the lesser known is my impressive ability to wait for things. I once stood perfectly still for 38 minutes because a bee was on my shoulder.
Sheldon: [blows, groans]
Adult Sheldon: I once waited four and a half hours to be released from a locker.
Sheldon: Hello? Anyone there? That's okay. I'll wait.
Adult Sheldon: And one time, when Dr. Sturgis was late for a lecture, I stayed longer than everyone.
Sheldon: Where are you all going?
Student: Professor's not here.
Sheldon: I can teach the class. I just need a box to stand on.

George Jr.: I bet the guy who invented the spork is a millionaire.
Jana: I guess.
George Jr.: I wonder if his last name is Spork.
Jana: It comes from "spoon" and "fork." Spork.
George Jr.: Oh, my God. Mind is blown.

Sheldon: Okay, here's the plan. End your relationship with Coach Ballard, date Dr. Sturgis again, get him to love you more than ever, then when he least expects it, break his heart and say, "That's for Sheldon."
Meemaw: Great plan.
Sheldon: You think so?
Meemaw: For the sake of this car ride, sure.

Sheldon: I was thinking about the mass problem of your neutrinos, and I realized we might be able to solve it if some of the particles have more spin.
Dr. John Sturgis: Interesting. That would certainly get our neutrino mass to zero. Although it does open up a problem with double beta decay.
Sheldon: Hmm. That is true. Unless what it's actually predicting is a magnetic monopole.
Dr. John Sturgis: Might be difficult to control the infinities. Although, if you consider adding faster-than-light particles like tachyons, then I suppose you could...
Sheldon: Quantize time.
Dr. John Sturgis: Yes! Hang on! If we're gonna be thinking at this level, I should put on pants!

Dr. Linkletter: [answers phone] Grant Linkletter.
Sheldon: Dr. Linkletter, Sheldon Cooper. I need your help reporting an academic crime.
Dr. Linkletter: Sounds serious.
Sheldon: It is. That's why I'm using my serious voice.
Dr. Linkletter: Then I'll use mine as well. [deeper] What's going on?

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Episode Trivia

  • Which TV show was Missy watching when Mary left for the meeting?
    • The Facts of Life
    • Who's the Boss?
    • Full House
    • Charles in Charge

Episode Recap

Adult Sheldon explains how one of his lesser known skills is his ability to wait for things. He once stood perfectly still for 38 minutes because there was a bee on him. He once waited four and half hours to be released from a locker. And once, when Dr. Sturgis was late for class, he waited longer than any other student.

Sheldon goes to Dr. Sturgis’s office to see why he missed his class. John didn’t realize, saying time flies when you’re having fun. John explains he is finishing a physics paper on whether time itself is quantized. Later, as Meemaw drives Sheldon home, Sheldon is struggling to read John’s paper in the dark. He moves up to the front seat to grab a flashlight from the glove compartment. Sheldon says he’s excited to read Dr. Sturgis’s first paper in years, but Meemaw thought reading in the car made Sheldon nauseous. Sheldon says that’s just in the back seat and he’s fine up here. Soon, Sheldon starts retching.

Missy is watching TV as Mary says she’s running over to the Sparks’ house for a team meeting for all the baseball moms. When Mary arrives at the Sparks’ house, she tells Brenda she brought veggies and ranch dressing. When the ladies sit down to divy up tasks, Brenda gives Mary the role of sorting out trophies before swiftling moving onto the bottle of wine.

As Georgie and Jana sit at a table in Chi-Chi’s, Jana comments that it’s nice. Georgie explains he likes to think of Chi-Chi’s like a more romantic Taco Bell. After Georgie spots Veronica waiting on another table, things get awkward as she comes over to take their order. As Georgie mentions he didn’t know Veronica worked there, Jana picks up on the tension between them. Back home, Sheldon tells his dad that it’s a good job Dr. Sturgis had him proof-read the paper as the numbers were way off. Sheldon wants to call John and tell him about his “bonehead” mistake, but George says he should find a nicer way to say that.

When John answers the phone, Sheldon is polite at first, commending John on his typing and sentence structure. As Sheldon struggles for nice things to say, John asks him not to beat around the bush. They’re men of science and he wants Sheldon to give it to him straight. After Sheldon tells John his numbers are way off, he wonders how he missed it. After John says he’s such an idiot, Sheldon tells him he’s not an idiot, just a bonehead.

As Georgie drives Jana back from the restaurant, she asks him if he has feelings for Veronica. Georgie points out he went to the restaurant with her and not Veronica, but Jana says that doesn’t answer the question. Jana questions whether Georgie took her there on purpose. Georgie asks if this is one of those fights where they end up making out in the backseat., but Jana says no.

When Mary goes to “Medford Medals & Trophies”, she asks to see the baseball trophies. Despite a wide selection, there aren’t any trophies with girls on them. The store owner says that’s because girls don’t play baseball, but Mary points out her daughter does and some of the girls on the team might appreciate a trophy that represents them. After he says they will be disappointed, Mary decides to take her business elsewhere.

When the phone rings, a downtrodden John answers a call from Sheldon. After Sheldon says he hopes he’s not interrupting anything, John admits he was just wondering what became of his career. Sheldon explains he has an idea on how to solve John’s science problem. When he realizes Sheldon is onto something, John perks up and decides he should go and put on pants.

As Mary looks at the trophy store catalog in bed, she tells George she can’t believe they are all designed for boys. The only trophies for girls are for cheerleading, golf and soccer. George suggests buying a golf trophy and calling it a skinny bat, but Mary’s in no mood to joke. Mary says Missy’s been watching her brother get trophies since he was three, so she wants Missy’s first trophy to be special. George wonders if that’s because Mary also fears it will be Missy’s last trophy. Mary didn’t say that.

In the school hallway, Georgie goes over to Veronica’s locker to give her some cash. He explains it’s a tip from the other night. He wanted to give it to her then, but he also wanted to get out of the restaurant alive. Veronica says forget about it, but when Georgie hears she’s saving up for college he insists. When Veronica asks how things are between him and Jana, Georgie admits he’s not sure. Veronica wonders whether he should even be talking to her, Georgie figures probably not. Georgie says he’s glad he is talking to her, though. After Georgie spots Jana coming down the stairs, he quickly says goodbye to Veronica and dashes away.

At the university, Dr. Sturgis ends his lecture with a “hilarious” physics joke. After dismissing the class, John goes over to Sheldon to say that their conversation led to a productive couple of days. He completely rewrote his paper. Sheldon says although papers are usually listed alphabetically, he would be fine with his name going second. John tells Sheldon he’s worked on this paper for years, so he’s not listing Sheldon’s name at all. Sheldon points out he helped him. John accepts he did but he didn’t co-write the paper. After Sheldon says it’s an outrage and accuses John of robbing him blind, he claims Sheldon’s being a baby. When Meemaw arrives to ask if he’s ready to go, Sheldon says it’s a good thing as he didn’t have a comeback.

On the car ride home, Sheldon thinks of the perfect retort to Dr. Sturgis and wants Meemaw to turn back so he can deliver the rejoinder. Meemaw points out they’re halfway home. When Sheldon wonders why she isn’t supporting him, Meemaw says John is a lot of things but he’s not a thief. After Sheldon questions whether she’s on his side, Meemaw says for the sake of this car journey she is on Sheldon’s side. Sheldon proposes a plan: Meemaw dumps Dale, gets back with John and then breaks his heart, saying “That’s for Sheldon”. Meemaw thinks it’s a great plan, for the sake of that car ride.

When Mary goes to the trophy store to talk to the owner, he recalls that she was going to take her business elsewhere. Mary says luckily for him she believes in second chances. Mary knows he doesn’t have any girl baseball trophies in stock, but asks if he could have one made special. He says yes, but that it’ll cost $50 and take six weeks. Mary insists she’s not paying that and she doesn’t have six weeks.

Back in her garage, Mary saws head off a boy baseball trophy. Meemaw says she knew all that God talk was covering something really evil. Mary explains she’s trying to make a girl trophy for Missy, so she’s going to put a plastic Barbie head on the decapitated metal trophy. Mary insists her daughter deserves to have a trophy that looks something like her. When Meemaw wonders if this is a feminist crusade, Mary says she prefers to call it a maternal gesture. Mary insists it will look better when it’s painted, but Meemaw’s not sure.

In the living room, Sheldon calls Dr. Linkletter on the phone, saying he wants to report an academic crime. heldon accuses John of stealing his work, explaining that he helped him fix his theory and now John is refusing to give him credit on the paper. Dr. Linkletter points out that it’s not uncommon to ask a colleague for help, so he can see John’s point. Dr. Linkletter says such an allegation could have real consequences, so he suggests Sheldon consider his next moves very carefully. Sheldon tells Dr. Linkletter he’s being no help and asks to speak to his supervisor. Linkletter instead asks to let him speak to John before Sheldon does anything.

As Georgie and Jana eat lunch in the school cafeteria, Georgie bets the guy who invented the spork is a millionaire. Jana explains it comes from spoon and fork. As Georgie says his mind is blown, he and Jana share a smile. Georgie’s eyes then land on Veronica across the cafeteria hall, who catches his gaze. Georgie’s thoughts are interrupted when Jana suggests he cut his hair, arguing it would look better.

As Missy plays a video game [Oregon Trail] on Sheldon’s computer, Mary comes to show her the trophy she made. Missy wonders what the hell it is, so Mary explains they didn’t make girl trophies and she had to improve with a Barbie’s head. Missy is concerned Mary cut the head off her Barbie, but her mom explains she bought a new one. Missy is disappointed to learn that she could have had a new Barbie. Missy tells her mom she can’t give her that trophy in front of all the boys as it’s embarrassing. Missy doesn’t want to feel special, she wants to feel regular. Mary promises to make sure she gets a regular trophy at the party. As Mary begins to leave, Missy tells her mother that she gets what she was trying to do and it’s nice. When Missy asks if she can keep the trophy, Mary is surprised she really wants it. Missy says she does. Later, in the garden, Missy blows the statue up with dynamite.

When Sheldon answers the phone, John has no time for pleasantries. John tells Sheldon how dare he accuse him of plagiarism, to his colleague no less. John says this is his reputation that Sheldon’s risking. Sheldon says if he gave him credit then this would all stop, but John points out they’ve been over this. John argues Sheldon gave him a helpful suggestion, but that was it. John points out he has been Sheldon’s friend and mentor, so the idea he would steal from Sheldon is both personally and professionally insulting. Sheldon starts to say he’s sorry Dr. Sturgis feels that way, but John cuts him off to says he no longer wants to see him in his class.

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