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316 - Pasadena

Aired Thursday, February 20, 2020

When Sheldon learns that Stephen Hawking is giving a lecture at Caltech, he tries to convince his father to take him to Pasadena. Meanwhile, Meemaw tries to cheer up Missy, who feels Sheldon gets everything he wants, while Mary is mad at Georgie for lying to her.

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Episode Notes

  • Title Reference: "Pasadena" simply refers to the location of Caltech, which George and Sheldon visit for a lecture by Stephen Hawking.
  • Opening Credits Sequence: Sheldon is dressed like Spock as a cow approaches the family.
  • Caltech is of course the university where Sheldon would later work on The Big Bang Theory. The cafeteria which Sheldon and George visited was the scene of many discussions between Sheldon and his friends on TBBT.
  • Sheldon would later meet and become friends with Stephen Hawking on The Big Bang Theory. [521, 606, 720, 814, 917, 1009, 1101]


Sheldon: Dad, the university offered to pay for us to go to California! They're even putting us up in a hotel.
George Sr.: You're kidding.
Missy: We're going to California?
Sheldon: No, just me and Dad.
Missy: That's fair. I'm so happy for you.
Adult Sheldon: Sometimes sarcasm was laid on so thick even I could detect it.
Sheldon: Thanks!
Adult Sheldon: This was not one of those times.

George Sr.: I have a job. I can't just leave in the middle of the week.
Sheldon: Well, then what about Mom?
Mary: Sorry, Shelly, we're not in a position to do this.
Sheldon: But Stephen Hawking's my hero. Imagine if you got a chance to see Jesus or Dad got to meet the man who invented beer.

Sheldon: Dad, good news. Airline tickets to California are more affordable than you think.
George Sr.: Sheldon, we're not going.
Mary: What's all this about?
Sheldon: Stephen Hawking is giving a lecture at Caltech. If we leave on Wednesday and are willing to make four layovers, in Boise, Denver, Albuquerque and Fargo, we can get there for only $95 each.

Sheldon: Mom and Dad won't take me to California to see Stephen Hawking.
Missy: You thought they would take you to California?
Sheldon: Yes.
Missy: They wouldn't even buy me this book at the book fair. I had to get it at the library. There's a booger on one of the pages.

Mary: I don't feel I'm being out of line wanting to know how old this girl is or what church she goes to or her last name.
Meemaw: Owens. What? Now you know.
Mary: Unbelievable!
Meemaw: Oh, geez, you worry about Sheldon not being normal, now you're worried about Georgie being normal how did I raise such a turd?
Mary: I am not... that word.
Meemaw: If you can't say the word, you might be the word.

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Episode Trivia

  • Which of these cities did not feature in the four layovers Sheldon suggested?
    • Omaha
    • Denver
    • Boise
    • Fargo
  • Which alcoholic beverage did Mary say led to her getting pregnant unexpectedly?
    • Rum
    • Tequila
    • Vodka
    • Gin

Episode Recap

Adult Sheldon explains that the Internet in the early ‘90s didn’t let you stream movies or summon food to your house, but it was a great place to find out about upcoming physics lectures. Sheldon rushes from his computer to the bathroom to speak to his dad. After Sheldon says it’s an emergency, George tells him to come in. In the bathroom, Sheldon proceeds to knock on the shower door. When Sheldon asks what they’re doing this weekend, George doesn’t think it sounds like an emergency. Sheldon explains Stephen Hawking is giving a lecture and he really needs to go. George would prefer to talk about it after his shower.

When George emerges from the bathroom, Sheldon asks whether they can go. George wants to know where the lecture is because if the answer’s Dallas then they’re not going. Sheldon is pleased to confirm it’s not Dallas; it’s Pasadena. George points out that’s a lot further than Dallas, so there’s no way they can afford to go there. Sheldon notes that Stephen Hawking’s health is fragile, so this may be his only chance to see him in person. After George apologizes, Sheldon says he would like to discuss this further but it’s his time to shower.

In the school locker room, George shows his team a video showing the moment they lost the game. George tells his team that one bad play doesn’t mean you give up. They had time to turn it around, but they decided it was all over. He doesn’t want to see that again. If something seems out of reach, you do not quit, you just dig deeper. Sheldon appears, seemingly out of nowhere, to ask if that means he could go to California if he found an affordable flight.

When Sheldon goes to a travel agent to ask about a cheap flight to California, the travel agent warns him that traveling last minute can be pretty pricey. After Sheldon asks if there’s any discounts available, Fran explains that ways to keep the cost down are flying midweek, taking multiple layovers, or if there’s been a death in the family. Sheldon calls Meemaw to check whether she’s still alive.

Back home, Mary stops Georgie on his way out to ask where he’s going. When Georgie says he’s going to see Jana, Mary thinks he’s been spending a lot of time with her lately and questions whether she’s his girlfriend? Georgie asks his dad to make Mary stop, but George says he could but he won’t. But also he can’t. Mary just wants to know what’s going on in his life. The father and son both groan when Mary says if this girl is important to Georgie then she’s important to her. After Georgie leaves, Mary asks George why their son doesn’t tell her anything. After George wonders if she told her parents things when she was a teenager, Mary admits she didn’t. When Mary claims that she’s a cool, fun mom, George snickers.

When Sheldon comes to tell his dad that airline tickets to California are cheaper than he thinks, George says they’re not going. Sheldon explains he could get tickets for $95 each if they go midweek and have four layovers. George points out he has a job and can’t just leave in the middle of the week. Sheldon asks his mother, but Mary says they’re not in a position to do this. Sheldon points out Hawking is his hero. Imagine if she got a chance to meet Jesus or Dad got a chance to meet the guy who invented beer.

When a downbeat Sheldon returns to his room, Missy claims his underoos are in a knot and there’s a stick up his butt. Sheldon explains their mom and dad won’t take him to California to see Stephen Hawking. Missy can’t believe he actually expected them to do that. They wouldn’t even buy her the book she’s reading, so she had to get it at the library. After Sheldon expresses concern he’ll never get a chance to see Stephen Hawking in person, Missy tells him to suck it up as he always gets his way. Case in point, Sheldon got a computer and she’s reading a library book with a booger on it. Missy tells Sheldon to suck it up. Missy tells him to shut up and move on, that’s what she does. Sheldon thinks that’s why she doesn’t have a computer. 

When Mary joins Meemaw as she waters her plants, Mary says she has a right to know who her son is spending time with. When Meemaw asks if she’s talking about Jana, who she has seen hanging out at Dale’s store, Mary can’t believe her mother knows more about her son’s girlfriend than she does. Mary doesn’t think she’s being out of line wanting to know how old the girl is, or which church she goes to, or her last name. Mary is even more angry when Meemaw lets slip that she knows Jana’s surname is Evans. Meemaw argues that Mary complains about Sheldon not being normal and now she’s complaining about Georgie being normal.

Adult Sheldon explains that over the next few days he tried to take his sister’s advice and “suck it up”, but everything reminded him of Stephen Hawking. When he turns on the TV, he sees The A-Team’s Howling Mad Murdock playing around in a wheelchair, he turns over to see Star Trek’s Christopher Pike using a space-age wheelchair, before finally seeing a commercial for a Speak & Spell.

Georgie is in his bedroom with the second phone on an extension cord as he talks to Jana. When Mary picks up the phone in the kitchen, she is surprised to find Georgie on the line, but she keeps listening. Jana says her parents are going to be out of town this weekend and asks if George wants to come over. Georgie says his parents wouldn’t let him go if her folks aren’t there, which gives Mary a short-lived sense of relief. Georgie then says he guesses he doesn’t have to tell his parents.

 At the end of Dr. Sturgis’s class, Adult Sheldon explains that nothing was able to shake him from his doldrums, not even Dr. Sturgis’s jaunty new sweater-vest. John goes over to talk to Sheldon, noticing that he seems distracted. Sheldon explains that his parents can’t afford a trip to see Dr. Stephen Hawking give a lecture in California. John says that’s a shame as Dr. H. puts on quite a show. After talking about his reversible sweater-vest, John mentions that he might be able to help Sheldon get to the lecture.

One night, as Mary knits, she sees Georgie grab his car keys on his way out. When Mary asks where he’s going, Georgie just says out. After Mary prompts him, Georgie says he’s going to see Jana. When Georgie tells Mary that Jana’s parents will be there, she decides to call them to check. As she looks up “Owens” in the phone book, Georgie wonders why his mother is being weird. After Georgie asks why she can’t just trust him, Mary loses it and admits she knows he’s lying. Mary explains she heard him on the phone with Jana. Georgie can’t believe she spied on him. Mary insists she didn’t mean to, but says she’s glad she did because he just lied to her face. When Mary tells Georgie he’s not going anywhere, he tells her to try and stop him. After Mary warns Georgie that if he walks out that door his father gets involved, Georgie storms off to his room.

As George arrives home, Missy fills him in on everything he missed. Missy says Georgie’s now grounded and everyone’s mad. Before George even enters the house, Sheldon comes out to say the university offered to pay for their trip to California. Missy is excited to hear they’re going to California, but Sheldon says it’s just him and his dad. When Missy says that’s fair and she’s happy for him, Sheldon misses the sarcasm.

Later, George gets off the phone with John, who confirmed the offer. John’s boss really wants to keep Sheldon going to school there. When Mary says she guesses she could take Sheldon, George wonders why as Sheldon asked him first. Mary says she’s mad at Georgie and it would be good for them to have some space. George questions why her fighting with Georgie means he can’t go to California. Mary gives in and tells George he can go, wishing him good luck managing Sheldon’s bathroom schedule in three time zones.

After George throws the suitcases in the back of the truck, Mary wants to get a picture of her boys before their big trip. Sheldon thinks it’s wise to document this as when she nexts sees him, he’ll have been in the presence of Stephen Hawking. Later, Georgie is watching TV in silence when Mary tells him to wash up for dinner. When Georgie says he’s not eating, Mary tells him he’s not watching TV either as he’s grounded. As Georgie turns the TV off and walks away, he mutters that he can’t wait to move out. When Mary asks him to repeat what he said, Georgie says next time he’ll say it on the phone so she can hear it.

As Meemaw drives a glum Missy to baseball practice, she asks what’s on her mind. Missy says Sheldon always gets everything he wants. Meemaw accepts he does and notes that it’s not fair. On the other hand, Meemaw points out Sheldon is just going to a science lecture. When Missy says he still gets to go on a plane to California, Meemaw promises they will do something fun together after practice today.

As George and Sheldon make their way to their seats on the plane, George asks Sheldon if he wants the aisle or the window seat. Sheldon asks which one is assigned to him, but George tells him it doesn’t matter so just pick one. As Sheldon starts talking through the benefits and drawbacks of each seat, a line forms behind George as he urges Sheldon to pick one. When a stewardess comes to check that they’re okay, George picks up Sheldon and plops him down in the aisle seat. Back home, as Mary cuts coupons in the kitchen, she asks Georgie if he wants to help her. After Georgie flatly refuses to join her, Mary points out he was the one who lied to her. Before walking off to his room, Georgie says he’s done talking to her so that won’t happen again.

When Mary goes to see Georgie, she says life is hard enough if you make good decisions, but if you make bad decisions it gets even harder. Georgie insists nothing was going to happen with Jana, and is annoyed that she always assumes the worst in him. Georgie says he’s sorry he’s a screw-up and she was a perfect kid. Mary says she was not a perfect kid, admitting she used to skip class so she could drink beer in the back of her boyfriend’s truck. And that boyfriend wasn’t George. Georgie wonders why if she made bad decisions and turned out fine she is so hard on him. Mary says some decisions you can not walk away from and they will affect the rest of your life. When Georgie says Jana isn’t going to get pregnant, Mary says that’s why she thought and the next thing she knew, she was at the courthouse getting married. Georgie is surprised to hear his mother got married because she got pregnant. When Georgie questions whether he was a mistake, Mary insists he is a blessing.

On the airplane, Sheldon is initially excited as the stewardesses start their presentation about the safety procedures. Sheldon grows alarmed at the talk of sudden pressure loss and water landings. As his heart starts to race, Sheldon says he can’t do this and gets out of his seat. After Sheldon goes and locks himself in the bathroom, George goes to get him. As George begs him to come out of the bathroom, Sheldon says he has to get off the plane.

George goes into the cabin bathroom and tells Sheldon that if he wants to see Stephen Hawking then they have to sit down right now. When Sheldon says it’s too scary, George tells him it’s okay to be scared, that’s when you dig deep. After the stewardess warns they’re going to call security, George asks for one more second. George points out that Sheldon’s beloved Mr. Spock flies around all the time in that spaceship. George says he’s seen Sheldon pretend to be Mr. Spock, asking him if he can do that now and he’ll be Kirk. After Sheldon says maybe, George tells him his first order is to return to his seat. A nervous Sheldon says “Aye, Captain.”

Back in their seats, George puts his seatbelt on and asks “Mr. Spock” if he’s okay. When George reaches for Sheldon’s hand, he says Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock don’t hold hands.  As the plane starts to take off, Sheldon decides maybe hand holding would be appropriate just this once, so George puts his hand out again.

After Sheldon and George walk down the corridors at Caltech, they stop off at the cafeteria.  As Sheldon imagines all the stimulating conversations that must take place there, he says he can see himself going there one day. George thinks Sheldon would fit right in.

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