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410 - Cowboy Aerobics and 473 Grease-Free Bolts

Aired Thursday, March 4, 2021
Cowboy Aerobics and 473 Grease-Free Bolts

Sheldon hectors Dr. Linkletter (Ed Begley, Jr.) into giving him a job in his lab. Meanwhile, Georgie seeks the help of Mr. Lundy (Jason Alexander) to film an exercise video.

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Episode Notes

  • Title Reference: "Cowboy Aerobics" refers to Mr. Lundy's idea for Georgie's exercise video and "473 Grease-Free Bolts" refers to Sheldon's menial work in Dr. Linkletter's lab.
  • Opening Credits Sequence: Sheldon as an astronaut as a cow approaches the family.
  • Sheldon would have trouble doing menial lab work for his future girlfriend Amy in The Big Bang Theory. [516]

Quotes

Adult Sheldon: Behind every great scientist, there were often unsung helpers toiling away in the background. Presenting... "Great Lab Assistants in Scientific History" When Alexander Graham Bell needed an assistant, it was Thomas Augustus Watson who answered the call. [laughs] Get it? "The call". [snickers] Madame Curie's daughter Irène was also her lab assistant. Irène was so dedicated, she died of radiation poisoning. Unlike her sister Ève, who selfishly lived to 102. Lastly, Émile Roux was assistant to Louis Pasteur. When they worked on the rabies vaccine, Roux kept a loaded gun in the lab to shoot Pasteur in the head if he got infected. He never had to, but it's fun to know he would have.
Dr. Linkletter: No, Sheldon. You can't be my lab assistant.
Sheldon: Maybe you weren't paying attention. I'll start over. Behind every great scientist, there was a dedicated as...

Adult Sheldon: While not the lab work I hoped to be doing, it did feel good to be part of an actual experiment. A tedious, menial part that could be performed by a monkey. Or worse, an engineer.

Dr. Linkletter: [answers phone] Hello?
Sheldon: Can I be your lab assistant?
Dr. Linkletter: What time is it?
Sheldon: That's not a no.
Dr. Linkletter: If I say yes, will you please stop hounding me?
Sheldon: Absolutely.
Dr. Linkletter: Fine. You win. Good night.
Sheldon: Just out of scientific curiosity, were you persuaded by the disorienting nature of this late-night phone call or by the cumulative weight of my relentlessness?
Dr. Linkletter: That one. [hangs up]
Adult Sheldon: I learned an important lesson that night. When you want something, relentlessly annoying is your road to victory.

George Jr.: What is this?
Meemaw: That's the exercise guy Meemaw likes.
George Jr.: I can't believe anyone pays money to watch old people sweat.
Missy: 40 bucks?
George Jr.: They sold over a million of those? At 40 bucks a pop? Do you know how much money that must be?
Missy: I'm not a calculator.
[later:]
George Jr.: 40 times... one million. That's 40 million!
Missy: Whoa.

Sheldon: And then he said he wouldn't give me special treatment.
Meemaw: I think what he said is everybody should be treated equally.
Sheldon: I'm sorry, is this Russia? Should we get in line for bread?

View more quotes from this episode

Episode Trivia

  • What TV show were Georgie and Missy watching when they saw the Richard Simmons commercial?
    • Donahue
    • The People's Court
    • The Montel Williams Show
    • Cops
  • What comic book did Dr. Linkletter buy for Sheldon?
    • Richie Rich
    • The Jetsons
    • The Flintstones
    • Casper

Episode Recap

Adult Sheldon explains that behind every great scientist is an assistant, citing Alexander Graham Bell, Marie Curie and Louis Pasteur as examples. In his office, Dr. Linkletter tells Sheldon that he can’t be his lab assistant. Sheldon thinks maybe he didn’t understand, so he starts over. Behind every great scientist…

After Dr. Linkletter says assistants are usually upperclassmen, Sheldon argues he’s been at the university long enough to be considered. Linkletter points out he’s been there two weeks. Linkletter says there’s a waitlist of students who’ve applied for the position and he can’t just give Sheldon special treatment. After Linkletter offers to think about it, Sheldon wonders if he should wait or come back. Linkletter says come back, but Sheldon decides to stay and wait. Linkletter tells Sheldon he thought about it: no.

As Georgie and Missy watch The People’s Court on TV, a commercial for a Richard Simmons exercise video comes on. Georgie can’t believe people - like Meemaw - pay money to watch old people sweat. After Missy is surprised the video costs almost $40, Georgie notices they sold over a million copies. When Georgie asks Missy if she realizes how much money that is, Missy says she isn’t a calculator. Later, Georgie uses a calculator to work out that $40 x 1 million is $40 million.

As Meemaw drives Sheldon home, he explains how Linkletter said he wouldn’t give him special treatment. Meemaw points out he was probably just saying everyone should be treated fairly. Sheldon wonders if this is Russia and they should wait in line for bread. Sheldon has an idea: Linkletter likes Meemaw, so they could go out on a date and she could offer him a kiss only if he’ll take Sheldon as his assistant. After Meemaw tells him to think hard about what he just said, Sheldon points out that he and Linkletter both want something, so it seems like a win-win. After Meemaw says not for her, Sheldon points out she’d get a meal out of it. 

Back home, Missy notices Georgie is in his workout clothes as he carries a video camera and a tripod. After Missy wonders what he’s doing, Georgie explains he’s filming an exercise video. Meanwhile, Sheldon is at his computer working on another plan to win over Linkletter through the art of persuasion. Later, he puts his plan into practice, hounding Dr. Linkletter at every available opportunity with peer pressure, bribery, begging, besmirching the competition, and finally flattery. All without success.

Later, Georgie watches his exercise tape back. On the tape, Georgie says he likes to use free weights - although he points out they’re not free, you have to pay for them. WHen Mary walks in and wonders why he’s watching himself exercise, Georgie explains he made the tape to sell. When Georgie says “curls get girls”, Mary says “Oh, Lord” and walks away. Georgie argues people like when things rhyme.

Dr. Linkletter is woken up by the phone ringing in the middle of the night. When he answers, Sheldon asks if he could be his assistant. Linkletter questions what time it is, which Sheldon points out is not a no. Linkletter wonders if Sheldon will stop hounding him if he says yes. After Sheldon says he will, Linkletter finally relents. Sheldon asks whether Linkletter gave in because of the disorienting nature of a late night phone call or because of the cumulative weight of his relentlessness. After Linkletter replies that one, Adult Sheldon says he learned an important lesson that night: when you want something, relentlessly annoying is your road to victory.

In Linkletter’s lab, Sheldon asks what he wants him to do: look over his notes? Check his math? Instead, Linkletter points to a bucket of bolts, and instructs Sheldon to scrub the grease off them. After Sheldon asks if that’s the best use of his intellect, Linkletter explains they’re building a solar neutrino detector. If he doesn’t want the job, there’s the door. Sheldon insists he wants it, although the door does look tempting.

At the high school, Georgie shows his exercise tape to drama teacher Mr. Lundy and asks for his help adding a little… “Pizzaz”, Mr. Lundy offers. When Mr. Lundy says exercise videos aren’t his thing, Georgie points out he’s seen him on TV in a mattress commercial, and in a play as Annie. Mr. Lundy mentions his modeling work in an advertisement for a Mexican restaurant. Lundy says he has a certain image to uphold - people expect quality, showmanship and they expect him to get paid. After Georgie confirms he’s going to pay him, Mr. Lundy says let’s make an exercise tape.

Back in the lab, Sheldon is working on degreasing the bolts. Adult Sheldon explains that although it wasn’t the type of work he was expecting, it felt good to be part of an experiment. A tedious, menial part a monkey could do. Or worse, an engineer. When Sheldon presents the degreased bolts to Dr. Linkletter, he gives Sheldon a tub of grease and asks for it to be applied to the bolts. Sheldon wonders if this is some trick to make him quit, saying that won’t work. Linkletter concedes this is a menial job, telling Sheldon he will be sorting resistors, stripping wires and sweeping up. Sheldon says “Oh. Then I quit.”

Back in Mr. Lundy’s classroom, Mr. Lundy says he likes the idea of an exercise video but he’s not sure weightlifting is the way to go. It’s low-energy. He thinks aerobics is the way to go. It has music. It has energy. It has… pizzaz. Mr. Lundy has a vision of Georgie working out surrounded by a bunch of girls. Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, no less. Georgie says if that’s pizzaz, he likes it. Mr. Lundy points out they will need money to pull this off, asking what Georgie’s dad does. Georgie explains he’s a football coach at the school. Oof. Georgie says he knows someone with money. Later, Meemaw opens the door to Georgie and Mr. Lundy. When Meemaw asks what they want, Mr. Lundy says they’re there to make her rich. “Oh, God”, Meemaw says.

As George drives Sheldon home from college, he is shocked to hear he quit after begging Linkletter for the job. Sheldon claims it was beneath him, but George says he needs to realize there’s nothing wrong with hard work. Sheldon claims hard work is calculating neutrino properties to one percent accuracy. George points out he made a commitment, and he should be a man of his word and honor it. Adult Sheldon says he wanted to point out he couldn’t be a “man” of his word since he hadn’t hit puberty yet, but his dad seemed pretty grouchy.

As Meemaw sits down with Georgie and Mr. Lundy, Georgie mentions how she loves the Richard Simmons videos. Mr. Lundy says they have the next big home exercise trend: cowboy aerobics. When Meemaw wonders if they’re selling her a tape, Georgie says they want her to give them money to make the tape. After Meemaw asks who will be starring in the tape, Georgie says he will. When Meemaw laughs, saying it’s ridiculous, Georgie wonders if Richard Simmons isn’t ridiculous. Meemaw says they’re not getting any money, so Mr. Lundy tells her if she has a change of heart to let them know. Georgie says screw that, points out how much money he’s watched his grandmother bet on football or throw away at the track. Why can’t she gamble on her own grandson? After Meemaw changes her mind and asks how much they need, Mr. Lundy wonders how much she gambled on football last year. Meemaw says they’re not getting that much.

Later that night, Mr. Lundy answers his phone to a call from Sheldon. Sheldon says he wants to apologize. Dr. Linkleter says that’s not necessary, but Sheldon insists it is. It’s important to him and his father. Sheldon promises not to overstep his bounds, giving Linkletter his word as a Texas. And as a man. A future man. As Sheldon tries to explains he’s not exactly there yet, hormonally, Linkletter says goodnight and hangs up.

At the college the next day, the bolts were greased, the wires were stripped, the floors were swept, and Sheldon did it all with a smile. Albeit a forced smile. Dr. LInkletter says he’s impressed. Sheldon says he gave him his word and is standing by it. Linkletter concedes it’s not glamorous, but insists all scientists pay their dues. Sheldon says he’s happy to do it. He even noticed a flaw in Linkletter’s reaction rates, but he knows his place and will keep it to himself. After Linkletter asks about the flaw, Sheldon says he appreciates he’s testing him but he won’t crack. Linkletter insists he isn’t testing him and would like to know the mistake, but Sheldon says nice try.

When Georgie joins Mr. Lundy in his classroom, he asks when they’re going to shoot the video. Mr. Lundy says first they need a plan. He was thinking about an Oklahoma theme. Lundy shows George a sketch and sings a song. Seeing Georgie’s reaction, Mr. Lundy says to forget about Oklahoma.

Back in the lab, Adult Sheldon explains that Dr. Linkletter was performing his own experiment on him to find out the flaw in his work. Linkletter says he doesn’t care whether Sheldon tells him the mistake. “All right,” Sheldon says. Later, Linkletter brings Sheldon a comic book, Casper, as a gift. After he wonders if Sheldon wants to reciprocate with anything, Sheldon returns the comic book. That night, George Sr. is woken up by a phone call in the middle of the night. Dr. Linkletter asks if he can speak to Sheldon. When George points out it’s the middle of the night and asks who the hell this is, Linkletter mumbles that it’s a wrong number and hangs up in a hurry.

In Mr. Lundy’s classroom, he and Georgie are practicing the choreography when Meemaw arrives to talk about the contract Lundy sent over. Lundy insists it’s boilerplate stuff she shouldn’t bother reading. But it’s too late, Meemaw is outraged he’s taking 80% of the profits, and now Georgie is too. When Mr. Lundy argues he’s doing all the work, Georgie points out it was his idea. Lundy claims Georgie was just going to lift weights in a dingy garage, cowboy aerobics was his idea. Georgie argues it’s his face that will sell the video. Mr. Lundy insists he’s done all the work on the choreography, set design, costumes. Meemaw tells Georgie they’re getting out of there.

The next day, as Sheldon sits quietly and watches Dr. Linkletter perform his experiment in the lab. Adult Sheldon says he’s proud to say he never broke his word, and Linkletter eventually figured out the problem. As flames woosh, Linketter yells fire and grabs an extinguisher. When Linkletter asks whether there was too much oxygen in the reagents,  Sheldon says he didn’t need his help after all.

Adult Sheldon says Mr. Lundy wasn’t deterred and sought out new investors and talent. On a studio lot, Mr. Lundy talks with David Hasselhoff. Lundy tells The Hoff he’s got the looks, the physique, and a star of his caliber would really put them on the map. Hasselhoff says he’s conquered TV, music, so there’s no reason he couldn’t add exercise videos to his empire. Lundy is thrilled. Over a clip from the cowboy exercise video, Adult Sheldon explains it was a big hit, but Mr. Lundy poured his money from the video into a musical about his own life, Live, Laugh, Lundy, and is poor to this day.

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