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501 - One Bad Night and Chaos of Selfish Desires

Aired Thursday, October 7, 2021
One Bad Night and Chaos of Selfish Desires

After a night of arguments, George is out at a bar with Brenda Sparks, while Sheldon and Missy have run away from home.

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Episode Notes

  • Title Reference: "One Bad Night" refers to George's description of the night Sheldon ran away from home and "Chaos of Selfish Desires" refers to Sheldon's explanation of what Socrates said.
  • Opening Credits Sequence: Sheldon is dressed in his normal clothes as a black cow with horns approaches the family. This was the first use of the new Season 5 opening credits.


Quote from Sheldon

Sheldon: Missy and I broke a lot of rules the other night, and we've received no punishment.
George Sr.: [sighs] Buddy, it's been a rough week. We're just glad you're both safe.
Sheldon: But in the absence of a divine being, society's rules are what keeps a person's morality in check.
George Sr.: Well, there you go.
Sheldon: No, y-you're not following me. If actions have no repercussions, society breaks down, everything devolves into chaos.
George Sr.: You might be overthinking this.
Sheldon: I thought so, too. Then I thought about it, and I'm not.
George Sr.: Sheldon, you had one bad night. Just let it go.
Sheldon: But... I did something wrong and I got away with it. That's not okay.
George Sr.: Buddy...
Sheldon: Socrates maintained that the man who lies to himself has an enemy living within. He's not even a person. He's just a chaos of selfish desires wrapped in an animal hide.

Quote from Sheldon

Meemaw: Hey. Good news. Your dad's doing okay and should be home in a couple of days.
Missy: Thank God.
Sheldon: Thank modern medicine.

Quote from Sheldon

Sheldon: I'm having a moral quandary, and I could really use your help.
Meemaw: Oh, moral quandaries. I hate those. Shoot.
Sheldon: You're the least moral person I know... How do you live with yourself?
Meemaw: I'm about to shut this door in your face.
Sheldon: See? Other people would be kind to a child in need. That's why I came to you.
Meemaw: Okay, fine. What do you want?
Sheldon: I'm confused as to how to go about my business after misbehaving and not being punished.
Meemaw: And where do I come in?
Sheldon: You tell lies, you gamble, you have quite the potty mouth, and yet you never seem to pay a price for any of it.
Meemaw: Well, when you're cute like me, rules are just a little different.
Sheldon: Hmm. That would also explain the endless parade of romantic partners. [Meemaw slams the door] Are you leaving because you have a man in there?
Meemaw: No!
Sheldon: Hmm. Although she would lie about it, so who knows?

Quote from Dr. John Sturgis

Sheldon: I still don't understand why you'd rather work here than be a physicist.
Dr. John Sturgis: I'm enjoying the change of pace. And they let me take home all the expired food I want.

Quote from Dr. John Sturgis

Dr. John Sturgis: So, what brings you here?
Sheldon: Well, I did something wrong, and yet I've received no punishment. What's my incentive to behave morally if the rules of society aren't being enforced?
Dr. John Sturgis: Reminds me of the Ring of Gyges.
Sheldon: I'm not familiar with the Ring of Gyges.
Dr. John Sturgis: Oh, it's a delightful brainteaser. Plato asked the question: If you could wear a ring that made you invisible, what would prevent you from committing the most horrendous crimes?
Sheldon: Sounds an awful lot like the Ring of Sauron in The Lord of the Rings.
Dr. John Sturgis: Oh. I'm not familiar with The Lord of the Rings.
Sheldon: Oh, it's a delightful series of fantasy books in which there's a ring that makes the wearer invisible but also leads to moral corruption.
Dr. John Sturgis: Ooh. Perhaps you should read Plato, and I should read The Lord of the Rings.
Sheldon: You should really start with The Hobbit.
Dr. John Sturgis: What's a hobbit?
Sheldon: It's a race of short humanoids who live in burrows and have hairy feet.
Dr. John Sturgis: Oh. I've been called that. But I never knew what it was.

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Featured Music

  • What's Your Name
    Lynyrd Skynyrd

    What's Your Name George and Brenda hear the song while at a bar. Later, it plays on the radio as Mary drives George home from the hospital.

  • Learning to Fly
    Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

    Learning to Fly Plays over the montage at the end where Mary prays for her family, Sheldon watches Star Trek, and Missy burns her notebook.

Episode Trivia

  • What band did George and Brenda talk about at the bar?
    • Foghat
    • ZZ Top
    • The Allman Brothers
    • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • What Clint Eastwood film was Meemaw watching on TV?
    • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    • Pink Cadillac
    • Every Which Way But Loose
    • Dirty Harry

Episode Recap

At the bar, George is telling Brenda about Missy’s tantrum earlier over her boyfriend dumping her. Brenda can sympathize, noting her husband just left her. Brenda is just happy it’s lady’s night so she can get drinks for half price. When Brenda suggests George needs a shot with his beer, George points out he’s got work in the morning. Brenda says she didn’t realize they were both there for ladies’ night, prompting George to call for the bartender to bring some shots over.

In the cabin in the woods, Missy is complaining to Sheldon that she can’t compete with Marcus’s new girlfriend because their mom won’t let her shave her legs. Sheldon is struggling to show any interest and wants to know if they can just go home yet. Missy tells him he can but she won’t be leaving. As Sheldon points out, they’ve already established woods are scary, so he won’t be leaving on his own. Missy says the sun will be up soon, but Sheldon thinks that just means he’ll be able to see what kills him. Resigned to staying there with his sister, Sheldon asks Missy to keep complaining about boys so he can at least get some sleep.

Back at the bar, Brenda is telling George how she used to be a cheerleader. He believes her, claiming he can picture her at the top of the pyramid. Brenda admits she was on the bottom and says he knows it. When George hears Lynyrd Skynyrd playing on the jukebox, he says he loves Skynyrd. After Brenda says she saw them play Dallas in ‘76, George reveals he was at that show. When Brenda asks George if he wants to get up and dance, George says no as there’s people around. Brenda suggests they go somewhere else, after all Herschel does have the kids… Brenda sees George’s look and realizes she stepped over the line with that suggestion. George groans and begins to pant as he clutches his chest.

Back home, Mary is awoken by the phone ringing. When she answers it, Brenda Sparks tells her George is in the hospital. Brenda explains the paramedics think it might be his heart, and the doctors are with him now. Mary says she’ll be there as soon as she can. As Mary rushes out of her room, she calls for Georgie to wake up, but when she goes into his room he’s not there. Mary yells for Sheldon and Missy to put their clothes on, but she also finds their room empty and their bedroom window open.

Back at the cabin, as Missy says she has to buy a new notebook because hers has “Missy and Marcus forever” written all over it, Sheldon’s head is slumped down to his knees as his snores. Elsewhere, Meemaw is watching Every Which Way But Loose on TV when she gets a phone call. When Meemaw answers the call, Mary asks if the kids are with her, explaining that George is in the hospital and she needs to go but can’t find the kids. Mary doesn’t know what to do. Meemaw tells her to go to the hospital and she’ll come over to the house and try to find the kids.

Over in the back office of Dale’s sporting goods store, Georgie is making out with Jana. When Jana breaks away from kissing to ask Georgie if he’s sure his boss won’t turn up, Georgie says yeah, but he’s not positive so they should keep things moving. After Georgie’s pager beeps, Jana asks if he’s going to check that. No. Jana points out it could be an emergency, but Georgie insists it’s not. As Georgie picks up the pager to turn it off, he sees the message. Dadgummit.

Later, Georgie uses the office phone to call his grandmother back. When Georgie asks if his father’s going to be okay, Meemaw says he knows as much as she does. After Meemaw asks Georgie for help finding his brother and sister, Georgie says he’s on it and admits he has an idea where they might be. Meemaw is pleased, but wonders where Georgie is. Georgie says simply he’s at work. When Meemaw questions what he’s doing there so late, Georgie says he’s got to go find the kids and hangs up.

When Mary arrives at the hospital waiting room, she asks Brenda if she’s heard anything. Brenda says not yet. After Mary wonders what happened, Brenda explains she ran into George at the bar and… next thing she knew, he started having chest pains. Mary is thankful she was there, but Brenda insists she didn’t do anything. Mary tells her not to say that, saying who knows what would have happened if she hadn’t been there.

Out in the woods, Missy and Sheldon are woken up by Georgie as he barges into the cabin. As Sheldon falls off his stool when he is startled awake, Missy flings the old-fashioned lamp towards the door. When Georgie wonders what the hell she’s doing, Missy says he scared her. Georgie admits out she scared him, too. Sheldon says everyone scared him. Georgie tells them that their Dad’s in the hospital and they’ve got to go. After Missy asks if George is okay, Georgie says he doesn’t know.

At the hospital, Dr. Kwok tells Mary that George is going to be okay. Mary says praise the Lord. Dr. Kwow explains it was mild angina. They’re going to keep George in for observation but he’s awake and she can see him now. After Mary thanks the doctor, Brenda says she’ll get off and let Mary go see her husband. Mary says Brenda might have saved George’s life so he’s going to want to see her. An uneasy Brenda says that’s nice but thinks it’s best if… Mary says she insists.

As Mary finds George in his room, his heart rate monitor is beeping steadily. Mary says hi and says look who I have with me. After Brenda walks in and says hey to George, George’s monitor starts beeping rapidly. A nervous Mary wonders if he’s alright or needs to see a doctor, but George insists he’s fine and he’s just excited to see her. As he shares a glance with an equally ashamed Brenda, George’s heart rate continues to climb so he pulls the monitor clip off.

Back home, Meemaw goes into the kids room to tell them the good news that their dad is going to be alright. As Meemaw is about to leave, Missy asks her grandmother if she thinks her outburst might have caused her dad’s heart attack. Meemaw tells Missy this isn’t her fault, but Missy points out she was really mean to her dad. After Sheldon concedes he was too, Missy asserts that she was worse than Sheldon, which he easily accepts and hopes will be considered when setting the punishment. After Meemaw tells them to go to sleep and leaves, Adult Sheldon says his Meemaw didn’t understand when he was feeling anxious, it was rules and structure that he found soothing. That and humming the Star Trek theme song. As Sheldon hums the Star Trek theme song, Missy tells him to stop. Sheldon says he will when he’s soothed and resumes humming.

As Mary drives George back from the hospital, she wonders if they should talk about what happened the other night. “What happened the other night?”, George nervously asks. Their huge fight. Realizing what she’s talking about, George says forget it. Mary scoffs and wonders how she can, but George says it was a bad night and the best thing to do is put it in the rearview mirror. A relieved Mary says she would love that. As the disc jockey announces a pair of Lynyrd Skynyrd songs, George turns the car radio off, telling Mary he could use a little peace and quiet.

Adult Sheldon explains that with his dad home, Mary had instructed the kids to let him relax, and what’s more relaxing than a spirited discussion of societal rules and morality? Sheldon tells his dad he’s struggling with an ethical problem. He and Missy broke a lot of rules the other night and they’ve not been punished. George says they’ve had a rough week and they’re just happy the two of them are okay. Sheldon argues that if actions don’t have consequences then society could break down. George argues that Sheldon is over thinking this. Sheldon admits he thought so too, then he thought about it and realized he’s not. George tells him he had one bad night and should just let it go. Sheldon argues that “Socrates maintained that the man who lies to himself has an enemy living within. He's not even a person. He's just a chaos of selfish desires wrapped in an animal hide.”

As Sheldon’s words about morality weigh on George, Mary interrupts to say Pastor Jeff is there. When Mary asks George if he’s up for some company, an eager George insists he is and sends Sheldon away. Pastor Jeff says he’s got some well wishes from the kids at the Sunday school. After George asks Jeff if he wants to sit, Jeff says he isn’t staying long, he just wants to pray over him and let him get some rest. Pastor Jeff says “Lord, I thank you for George Cooper and pray that you heal him from the inside out. This is a good man, a family man, a devoted father and a faithful husband. Bless him and everything he does. Amen.” Although an uncomfortable George remains silent at Jeff’s praise for his character, Mary adds an enthusiastic “Heck yes, amen!” from the other room.

When Sheldon goes over to see his Meemaw, he explains he’s having a moral quandary. Sheldon tells his grandmother she’s the least moral person he knows, and he wonders how she lives with herself? After Meemaw says she’s about to shut this door in his face, Sheldon points out most people would be kind to a child in need, but that’s why he came to her. Sheldon says he’s confused about how to go about his business after misbehaving but not being punished. After Meemaw wonders where she comes into this, Sheldon tells her “you tell lies, you gamble, you have quite the potty mouth, and yet you never seem to pay a price for any of it.” Meemaw argues the rules are a little different when you’re cute like her. As Sheldon says that would explain the endless parade of romantic partners, Meemaw shuts the door in his face.

As George lays on his bed reading a magazine, Missy knocks on the door and asks if she can talk to him. Missy says she feels really bad about the other day, but George tells her not to worry about it. A tearful Missy notes that he was just trying to help, she yelled at him and then he had a heart attack. George insists that it had nothing to do with her, but Missy says they don’t know that. George tells her to come sit next to him on the bed and tries to console her. After George asks her about Marcus, Missy explains that he was hanging out with another girl behind her back. George points out they might just be friends, but Missy says her friend Heather M. saw them holding hands at the roller rink. Does that sound like friends? Well… no. Missy asks if all boys are liars. George says uh… no. Missy wonders how Marcus could do this to her, saying she thought she could trust him. Did he think she wouldn’t find out? A flustered George says it’s time to take his heart pills. As George downs his pills with a glass of water, Mary comes to say she’s invited Brenda Sparks for a big thank you dinner. George coughs up his water.

As George works to fix a radio out in the backyard, Georgie wonders if he should be doing that with a weak heart. Georgie says he’s going to go hang out with Jana and wanted to make sure his dad was okay. After George wonders if his son is concerned that he’s going to have another heart attack and interrupt his “private time” with Jana, Georgie readily admits he is. George says at least he’s honest. After Georgie walks off, Brenda appears at the fence and signals for George to come talk to her. After asking how he’s doing, Brenda wonders if it’s weird she’s coming over for dinner. George wonders why, but Brenda insists he knows exactly what she means. George claims he had a lot to drink that night and doesn’t remember much. You don't, Brenda asks? George says no, he does not as he maintains Brenda’s gaze. Brenda catches on and says she guesses she doesn’t either. George says great, see you at dinner.

At Davidson’s grocery store, Sheldon talks to Dr. Sturgis as he stacks shelves. Although Sheldon still can’t understand why John would rather work there than be a physicist, John says he’s enjoying the change of pace and they let him take home all the expired produce he wants. After Sheldon explains his situation,saying he did something wrong and hasn’t been punished, John says it reminds him of the Ring of Gyges. Sheldon’s not familiar with that. John explains it’s a brainteaser from Plato: if you could wear a ring to make yourself invisible, what’s to stop you committing the most horrible crime? After Sheldon says that it reminds him of the Ring of Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, John’s not familiar with that. Sheldon explains it’s a delightful series of fantasy books in which there's a ring that makes the wearer invisible but also leads to moral corruption. John says perhaps Sheldon should read Plato and he should read LOTR. Sheldon says he should start with The Hobbit. What’s that, John wonders? Sheldon explains it’s a race of short humanoids who live in burrows and have hairy feet. John says he’s been called that but didn’t know what it meant.

Back home, George is watching TV as Mary prepares dinner. When the phone rings, Mary answers a call from Brenda. When Mary gets off the phone, George asks what’s going on. Mary explains that Brenda can’t make it to dinner as she’s not feeling well. That’s too bad, says George. After Mary says she’ll make Brenda a plate and take it over later, George offers to do it instead. George says he was a little out of it at the hospital and he wants to say thanks to Brenda. When George arrives home, he’s happy to be back in time for dinner as he’s worked up an appetite.

When Brenda answers the door, George explains Mary wanted to send over some food for her since she’s not feeling well. After Brenda takes the plate, George asks if they can talk a minute. Inside, George apologizes for earlier and says he doesn’t want things to be weird between them. After all, they’re neighbors and she and Mary are friends. Brenda says that’s why it’s weird. George points out nothing happened so there’s no need to feel guilty. Did they drink too much? Sure. Did they talk about going home together? Brenda’s sorry about that, but George says there’s no need to apologize as they didn’t do it. All they did was have a nice time in a public place. Is there anything wrong with that? Brenda says it feels like there is. As George wonders why that is, Brenda says maybe because it was nice to talk to someone and feel special. George agrees it was. As they both look at each other and nod, Brenda tells George maybe he should go. George agrees and makes a quick exit.

Adult Sheldon explains that in the face of a chaotic world, we all seek comfort in different ways. Some turn to a higher power. In the yard, Mary prays for the Lord to protect her family. Others take refuge in fictitious worlds. Insidem Sheldon watches Star Trek on TV. And one person he knows relied on lighter fluid and a match. Back outside, Missy sets fire to her notebook covered in “Missy and Marcus forever”. When Mary asks what she’s doing, Missy says she’s moving on. 

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