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101 - Pilot

Aired Monday, September 25, 2017

When nine-year-old Sheldon Cooper starts high-school in his football-loving, God-fearing East Texas town, he must adapt to a world where intelligence isn't always rewarded.

Sheldon's family must also come to terms with their extraodinary child's progress as Sheldon's presence at the high school worries his mother and threatens to affect his father, who works at the school, and older brother who's in the same class.

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  • Ratings - Viewers: 17.21m Household Rating: 10.7/17 Adults 18-49 Rating: 3.8/13 Rank: 1

Episode Notes

  • Title Reference: Pilot is the customary name for premiere episodes of U.S. TV shows.
  • Sheldon's suffering at the hands of his childhood bully, Billy Sparks, has been established on The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon had also mentioned a run-in with a neighbor's chicken. [302, 305, 512, 907]
  • Sheldon mentioned his perfect pitch before on The Big Bang Theory. [624]
  • In the first The Big Bang Theory episode featuring Bob Newhart as Professor Proton, he performed the potato clock trick. [622]
  • Sheldon's love of car games has been well established on The Big Bang Theory.
  • In Sheldon and Missy's bedroom, he has posters of Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking on the wall. In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon met and became friends with Professor Stephen Hawking. [521]


Mary: You understand that some people are going to be intimidated by you, because of how smart you are?
Sheldon: Or maybe they'll recognize my intellect and make me their leader.

Pastor: In Matthew nine, verse four, Jesus said, "Why would you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?"
Sheldon: Do you have evil thoughts?
Mary: Ssh.
Sheldon: I just don't think this part applies to me.
Mary: That's fine. Be quiet and listen.
Sheldon: I'm only nine years old. Most evil doesn't start till puberty.

Sheldon: Per the student dress and grooming code, this boy's hair is too long. This boy's wearing sports attire outside a designated area. And this girl's blouse is diaphanous, which means I can see her brassiere.

Sheldon: Mom, when should I be expecting my testicles?
Woman: [turns around] What is wrong with him?
Mary: Nothing is wrong with him. Now turn around before I knock your lights out.
Sheldon: Hello.

Adult Sheldon: That was the first time I held my father's hand. I wouldn't touch my brother's hand until seventeen years later, thanks to the invention of Purell.

View more quotes from this episode

Featured Music

  • Walk of Life
    Dire Straits

    Walk of Life Opening scene: Sheldon playing with his train set as Mary calls him for dinner.

  • Higher Love
    Steve Winwood

    Higher Love As Mary drives Sheldon to school, she explains that people may treat him differently because of his intelligence.

  • Nothin' But a Good Time

    Nothin' But a Good Time Georgie gets into a fight on the field during football practice.

Episode Trivia

  • What is the name of the town where the Cooper family live?
    • Lanford
    • Rockford
    • Milford
    • Medford
  • In what city did the Cooper family previously live?
    • Mission
    • Denton
    • Beaumont
    • Galveston
  • Which cartoon did Missy want to watch instead of Professor Proton?
    • Beetlejuice
    • A Pup Named Scooby-Doo
    • DuckTales
    • The Real Ghostbusters

Episode Recap

Sheldon is playing with a model train in the garage to prove Newton’s first law, demonstrating that an object in motion stays in motion in the same direction and at the same speed unless otherwise acted upon by an unbalanced forced. Sheldon has a ball pop upwards from the train as it approaches a tunnel on the track. When the train emerges from the other side of the tunnel, the ball drops back onto the holder after moving across the tunnel in mid-air. As Sheldon experiments, Mary calls him in for dinner. When Sheldon keeps playing with his train set, Missy yells that she will lick his toothbrush if he doesn’t get in there now.

After Sheldon rushes to the dinner table where everybody is already seated, George Sr. asks him what he was doing out there. Sheldon explains he was exploring dimensional kinematics, prompting George Jr. to say Sheldon must be adopted. When Mary says it’s time to pray, Sheldon asks for a moment to put on his mittens. His father says holding hands with his family won’t hurt him, but Sheldon points to Georgie’s lack of interest in good hygiene practice. When Mary asks her children if they are excited to be starting school on Monday, George Jr. asks how he can be excited when Sheldon is going to be in his class. Missy, however, is thrilled that Sheldon is no longer going to be in her class. When Mary asks who’s going to church with her tomorrow, George Sr. and Jr. both say they’re busy with football. After Sheldon offers to go with his mother, Mary tells Missy she’s going too. When Missy uses bad language again, Mary flicks her on the ear, causing Georgie to laugh. After Missy then starts a food fight with her older brother, George Sr. just keeps eating while Sheldon attempts to cover his food.

The next day at church, Missy is tormenting Sheldon as the congregation sing a hymn. When the pastor starts a sermon about entertaining evil thoughts [Matthew nine, verse four], Sheldon tells Mary this part doesn’t apply to him as most evil thoughts don’t start until puberty. After Missy says she is going to kick Sheldon in the balls when they get home, Sheldon asks his mother when he should be expecting his testicles to drop. A woman in the pew in front turns around again to asks what is wrong with Sheldon, prompting Mary to say nothing is wrong with him and to threaten to knock her lights out if she doesn’t turn around. After seeing his Christian soldier come to his defence, Sheldon snuggles closer to his mother.

On their front porch, Mary tells Sheldon it’s the last day of summer so he should go out and enjoy the day, but Sheldon would rather stay inside and read the student handbook for his new school. When Mary tells Sheldon to look what a beautiful day it is, he sees nothing but danger in the quiet suburban street. Mary tells Sheldon to go play, so Sheldon tentatively walks onto the front lawn, pushes the tire swing, and declares “There. I’ve played.” Before he can return to the safety of his home, Sheldon is accosted by his bully, Billy Sparks, and his chicken, Matilda. After Billy says he heard Sheldon is starting high school, Sheldon says Billy will have to find someone else to torment, a word Billy is unfamiliar with. After Billy holds his chicken up in Sheldon’s face, Sheldon runs back inside to his mother.

In their shared bedroom on Sunday night, Sheldon is reading the high school handbook as he and Missy overhear their parents arguing about the money required for Sheldon’s new school shoes. When Mary comes in to say goodnight and turn the lights off,  Sheldon asks her if they have financial problems. Mary insists they are fine and tells him not to worry about that.

The next morning, Missy goes to the kitchen for breakfast and tells her mom that Sheldon can not find his bow-tie. Mary is surprised as she laid it out for him. George Sr. tells her leave it alone as Sheldon doesn’t need a bow tie. After George Jr. asks to drive in with his dad, Missy taunts Georgie about Sheldon being in his school. Meanwhile, Mary helps Sheldon scour his bedroom for his missing bow-tie. As Sheldon starts getting panicked, Mary goes to the kitchen to demand George Jr. give the bow-tie back. When Georgie says he didn’t take it, Mary goes to search his room. In George Jr.’s bedroom, George Sr. tells Mary he took the bowtie because Sheldon being in high school is weird enough without him wearing a bow-tie. He reminds her that there’s Georgie to think about as well, but Mary demands the bow-tie be returned.

In Mary’s car on the way to school, Sheldon is happy as he adjusts his bowtie, while Mary looks on proudly in the rear-view mirror. After Sheldon asks his mom if she would like to play a driving game, Mary says no as she always loses. After Mary asks if they could just talk, she asks if Sheldon understands that some people might be intimidated by how smart he is. When Sheldon suggests they may recognize his intellect and make him their leader, Mary prays that her son won’t be stuffed inside his a gym bag.

Outside the high school, Mary stands with Sheldon as he looks nervously at the range of different characters at his new school. When Sheldon mentions that a student’s exposed tattoos is in violation of the dress code, Mary takes the opportunity to ask Sheldon if he would consider losing the bowtie as nobody else is wearing one. Despite Sheldon’s notion that he might start a fad, he accepts Mary’s proposal to take him to RadioShack at the weekend if he ditches the bow-tie.

Inside the school, Mary coaches Sheldon, who is no longer wearing a bow-tie, on what to say if anybody bothers him. After a trip to the boys’ room, Mary drops Sheldon off outside his homeroom and wishes him a good day, telling him she will be there to pick him up after school. When Sheldon notices Mary’s eyes are watery, he asks if she’s crying or having an allergy attack. After Mary says it’s allergies, Sheldon says “Let the learning begin” and goes into the classroom.

In Ms. MacElroy’s home room, she introduces herself to her new students. As she talks, Sheldon looks around, observing the class from the front row. Georgie who is sitting on the back row mouths to him to turn around. After his teacher finishes talking, Sheldon puts his hand up to point out a number of dress code violations from his fellow classmates. Georgie puts his face in his hand. When Ms. MacElroy returns to talking to the class, Sheldon again raises his hand to say she is also in violation of the dress code as she has a bit of a mustache.

Later that day, Mary and George Sr. gather in the principal’s office as teachers are complain about Sheldon to the principal. Ms. MacElroy, holding a finger across her upper lip, says it’s a stupid idea to welcome such a young student. Ms. Ingram says Sheldon questioned her credentials, while Mr. Given says Sheldon accused him of being in breach of the hygiene code. Principal Petersen tries to calm the teachers down and asks George Sr. to step in, but he would rather not.

Meanwhile, Sheldon walks by the music room while Ms. Fenley sits alone and plays the cello. Sheldon walks into the room, sits down at the piano and starts playing the same melody. When Ms. Fenley asks if he knows the sonata, Sheldon says no. After she asks him how long he’s been playing, Sheldon says he doesn’t play piano.

Back in his office, Principal Petersen asks for George Sr.’s view, but he just passes the buck to Mary. Mary says there is no choice; they can not afford a private school, she can’t home school him, so Sheldon has to stay there and they will have to deal with it. Principal Petersen asks his coach to help him out, but again George Sr. would rather not intervene.

Over in the music room, Sheldon is accurately identifying the notes Ms. Fenley plays on the piano. After she tells him he has perfect pitch and should pursue music, Sheldon says no as musicians take drugs.

On the football field, George Jr. is practicing with the team. When he’s called up to practice tackling with another player, that student mocks Georgie as the “dumb brother”. Georgie launches at the kid and starts pounding him, before he is pulled off him by his father. Inside the locker room, Georgie is taking his kit off as his dad comes to talk to him. When Georgie says he quits football, George Sr. wants to know why. When he realizes this is about Sheldon being in the same school, George Sr. tells him he doesn’t have a choice. Georgie laments that he stopped having choices the minute Sheldon could talk. His dad tells him he knows it’s hard, but tells him as his coach to quit whining and get back out of there. When Georgie asks what he would say as his dad, George Sr. tells him his dad is having a bad day.

Back home, Sheldon and Missy are watching Professor Proton’s science show on TV. Sheldon is enthralled at the prospect of powering a clock with a potato, but Missy is bored and would rather watch Duck Tales. After George Sr. asks Missy to go somewhere else as he needs to talk to Sheldon, his dad tells him he won’t make it at school if he keeps ratting people out. George Sr. explains that he saw grown-ups doing something wrong at his old school, but after he reported them he was fired and got a bad reputation, which is why they had to move away from Galveston to Medford.

At dinner time, Mary says grace as the family all hold hands. Sheldon breaks away to remove one mitten and actually hold his father’s hand.

That weekend, Mary drives Sheldon to Radio Shack, where he says he finds it comforting that in an uncertain world the store will be around forever.

Episode 102