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508 - The Grand Chancellor and a Den of Sin

Aired Thursday, December 2, 2021
The Grand Chancellor and a Den of Sin

President Hagemeyer passes the blame to her mysterious boss when Sheldon fights back against a change to the university's science requirements. Meanwhile, Mary discovers that Meemaw is running an illegal gambling room.

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Episode Notes

  • Title Reference: "The Grand Chancellor" to the lie President Hagemeyer tells about her non-existent boss, and "a Den of Sin" refers to Mary's characterization of Meemaw's gambling room.
  • Opening Credits Sequence: Sheldon is dressed in his normal clothes as a black cow with horns approaches the family.
  • Sheldon's derisive attitude towards M.I.T. was well established on The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon would often express this disdain towards his friend Howard Wolowitz, who went to M.I.T.
  • Sheldon would later meet and become friends with Stephen Hawking on The Big Bang Theory. [521, 606, 720, 814, 917, 1009, 1101]

Quotes

Sheldon: It's recently come to my attention that everybody lies and you can't believe a thing that comes out of anyone's mouth.
Mary: I don't think everybody lies. You don't lie.
Sheldon: No, but perhaps to get by in the world it's a skill I should cultivate.
Mary: I hope you don't. I love your honesty.
Sheldon: I want to believe you.
Mary: [scoffs] You should, because I'm your mother and I would never lie to you.
Sheldon: I would never lie to you, either.
Mary: So, I guess not everybody lies.
Sheldon: I heard what you said in your prayer, and I don't think you're failing as a mother.
Mary: Thank you. I think you're a pretty great son yourself.
Sheldon: I know I'm difficult.
Mary: There is not a single thing about you I would change.
Adult Sheldon: My mom promised she would never lie to me. And she never did.
Mary: [softly to the heavens] I'm sorry.

Mary: [prays] Please watch over Missy and Sheldon and especially Georgie. And please don't let my failings as a mother get in the way of Your plans for their lives. Amen. [gasps] Hey, baby. What's wrong?
Sheldon: Is it that obvious?
Mary: Well, you are outside, where birds live.
Sheldon: True. I'll make it quick. I'm experiencing what the Germans call weltschmerz.
Mary: Uh-huh. And what do Americans call it?
Sheldon: The pain of the world.
Mary: Sounds more fun in German.
Sheldon: Most things do.

Sheldon: [cereal crackling] I hear no snap, I hear no pop, only crackle. [eats] A bowl of lies.

Mary: You are unbelievable. It is bad enough for you to do all this stuff, but then to drag Georgie down into your den of sin.
Meemaw: Oh, please, it's not a den of sin. Although that is a great name. Den of Sin. That would get some butts in seats. [Mary exclaims]

Adult Sheldon: Let's talk about the glory of meetings. What's not to love? Agendas, detailed minutes, and if you're lucky, they begin and end with the soothing sound of discipline and rules. [gavel bangs] Ah. You can imagine my frustration when I found out East Texas Tech had faculty meetings that I was not allowed to attend.
Dr. Linkletter: Excuse me. [picks up phone]
Adult Sheldon: Not that I didn't try.
Dr. Linkletter: Goodbye, Sheldon.
Sheldon: Darn it.
[in another meeting, Dr. Linkletter notices shoes poking out from behind a curtain]
Dr. Linkletter: Sheldon, out.
Sheldon: Aw.
[in another meeting, Dr. Linkletter pulls down a newspaper that the person next to him is holding up, revealing a middle-aged woman:]
Dr. Linkletter: Sorry, I thought you were an irritating young man that won't leave me alone.
Sheldon: [hiding behind a plant] That's rude.
Dr. Linkletter: Out.

View more quotes from this episode

Featured Music

  • The Hustle
    Van McCoy

    The Hustle Pastor Jeff mentions he used to do the hustle "en la discoteca" when he'd sneak across the border as a teenager.

Episode Trivia

  • What was the password to the gambling room?
    • Fabric softener
    • Lint trap
    • Liquid detergent
    • Dryer sheet
  • What was the name of the university newspaper?
    • The Weekly Owl
    • The Weekly Owl
    • The Weekly Hawk
    • The Weekly Badger

Episode Recap

Adult Sheldon discusses the glory of meetings. Agendas, detailed minutes, and if you're lucky, they begin and end with the soothing sound of discipline and rules. You can imagine his frustration when he found out East Texas Tech had faculty meetings he wasn’t allowed to attend. In one meeting, Dr. Linkletter picks up the flashing phone and says goodbye to Sheldon. In another meeting, Linkletter notices a pair of shoes poking out from behind a curtain and tells Sheldon to get out. Later, Linkletter pulls down the newspaper the person next to him is holding up, expecting to find “an irritating young man who won’t leave him alone.” Sheldon, who is hiding behind a plant in the room, says that’s rude.

When Dr. Linkletter emerges from the conference room, Sheldon instantly walks over to ask about the meeting. After Linkletter says it was a boring budget meeting, Sheldon is intrigued and wants to hear more. Linkletter explains most of the meeting was about lowering the gen-ed science requirement from eight credits to four. Sheldon can’t understand who would want that as it means less science, but Linkletter says the administration, the students and their parents do. Sheldon wants to know if anyone tried to stop it? No. Did it spark a heated debate? Not really, no. After Sheldon wonders if he was at least annoyed by the decision, Linkletter asks if he sounds annoyed. Sheldon thinks he does.

In Dr. Linkletter’s office, Sheldon is still complaining about the decision as Linkletter tries to work. Linkletter doesn’t think it’s a big deal. Students who aren’t science majors will just take one class instead of two. But that’s 50% less science, Sheldon points out. After Linkletter says this doesn’t affect him, Sheldon argues it affects all of society and he’s good about making things all about him. Linkletter has picked up on that. When Linkletter says there’s nothing he can do, Sheldon agrees, describing him as just a cog in the machine. In fact, Sheldon wonders why he’s talking to him at all.

Back home, as Mary clips coupons in the kitchen during the day, she is surprised when Georgie goes to the refrigerator for a drink. Georgie explains he’s working nights this week. After Mary says she didn’t realize the laundromat was open late, Georgie says it was his idea, claiming he figured that people work during the days so it was an untapped market. Mary says if they wanted to advertise their new hours, they could take out an ad in the church bulletin. After Georgie says that’s not a bad idea, Mary wonders if she may be where Georgie gets his entrepreneurial spirit from.

Back at the university, Sheldon goes to President Hagemeyer’s office to argue against the decision. Sheldon is surprised when President Hagemeyer agrees with him completely. President Hagemeyer says it’s an outrage, admitting she came to the university to make it the Harvard of East Texas. When Sheldon asks if she’s going to overturn the decision, Hagemeyer says it were up to her, she would. Sheldon points out she’s the president, but Hagemeyer explains she has to answer to… the grand chancellor. Sheldon’s never heard of him. Well, he definitely exists, Hagemeyer insists. Sheldon offers to speak to him, but Hagemeyer says this is her fight. After Sheldon asks if he can help, Hagemeyer tasks him with putting together a report to back up their argument. Charts, graphs, the whole shebang.

At the church, as Mary and Peg fill envelopes with the church newsletter, Peg starts coughing. After Mary suggests they take a little break and let the envelope Peg just spluttered over dry out, Peg says she doesn't need asking twice. When Peg looks at the newsletter, she wonders when the church started advertising gambling venues. Mary is confused as Peg points to the ad for her mother’s laundromat. Mary insists it’s a legitimate business, where her mother and son work. “If you say so,” Peg replies. After Mary insists it’s true, Peg says she’d say “Want to bet,” but she lost $40 at Mary’s mother’s “legitimate business” last night.

When Meemaw opens her front door, Mary asks if she’s running a gambling room in the back of the laundromat? Meemaw says no. After Mary explains that Peg said she was there last night, Meemaw relents and says yeah. Later, as Mary and Meemaw continue their argument inside, Mary asks what her mother is doing given she knows gambling is illegal. After Mary argues gambling destroys lives, Meemaw points out that’s what Mary says about drinking, but she thinks they’re an excellent pair. After Mary wonders if Georgie knows about this, Meemaw says “Um…”. Meemaw tries to reassure a shocked Mary that she’s looking aft Georgie. When Mary wonders what would happen if the police showed up, Meemaw tells her not to worry about that as they have an “understanding” with the police. Mary says it’s bad enough her mother is doing all of this, but to drag her son down to this den of sin… Meemaw disagrees with the characterisation, but thinks that “Den of Sin” would make a great name for the place.

In President Hagemeyer’s office, Sheldon can’t believe that the chancellor said no. Hagemeyer says the chancellor was impressed by Sheldon’s report, but it didn’t change his mind. After Sheldon points out all their hard work, Hagemeyer agrees it’s a bummer, but suggests it’s time to move on. Sheldon insists they have to keep fighting. After all, if Antonie van Leeuwenhoek had given up, where would they be? Hagemeyer wonders… In a world without microscopes, Sheldon explains. Sheldon offers to write to some science luminaries, like Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan, to try to get them on their side. Hagemeyer says on the off chance they’re too busy to respond, maybe Sheldon should hit the campus and try to convince students to fight the change. One-on-one? That could take months, Sheldon points Hagemeyer says great.

When Missy wonders why her dad is watching Jeopardy, George says Sheldon’s not the only one who likes to learn stuff. Missy suspects her father can’t find the remote, but George disproves her by holding up the remote, before admitting it’s out of batteries. An upset Mary comes in to tell George that Meemaw is running an illegal gambling room at the laundromat and has Georgie working there. George seems disappointed they didn’t invite him. After Mary says they have to get Georgie out of there, George points out they told him not to quit school and he did, and they told him not to have girls in the garage and he does. The point is, Georgie didn't listen to them then and he won’t listen to them now. They’ve got to let him make his own mistakes, George says. Mary thinks that sounds like another way of saying they’re going to do nothing. After Mary decides to go down there, George says that’s a mistake he’s going to let her make.

Adult Sheldon explains that Hagemeyer was counting on him to change the tide of public opinion. On campus, Sheldon stops a student to ask him to sign a petition about reducing the science requirements. “Less science? Sweet.”, the guy says. As Sheldon explains the objective is actually to keep the higher level of science, the student walks away. Sheldon does get another student to sign the petition; one “Ben Dover”. Later, a bunch of students say no when Sheldon asks them to sign. When he finally gets someone who expresses an interest, she says she’ll only sign his petition if he signs her petition to increase funding for the jazz band. ”Let's pretend we never met”, Sheldon tells her.

Adult Sheldon says he needed a new plan, one to reach the masses. The front page of the campus newspaper was his best course of action. As Sheldon writes on a computer, he deployed every weapon in his literary arsenal: humor, gravitas, fearmongering and, last but not least, heartfelt emotion. Sheldon concedes heartfelt emotion isn’t where he shines, so he decides to end on fear mongering instead. Later, Sheldon goes to the newsroom to hand in his expose, claiming it will rip the lid off the university’s leadership. When Clark introduces himself as the editor, Sheldon hands him the “scoop of a lifetime”.

As Georgie cleans out a lint filter at the laundromat, Mary goes to see him. Mary explains she knows about the gambling room. Does she know whether he knows about it? After Mary says yes, Georgie is relieved as that’s going to save them a lot of time. Mary insists it is not okay and that he’s quitting now. Why would he do that, Georgie wonders. Because she’s his mother, and it’s wrong. Georgie points out he’s working for her mother, and she says it’s okay. Mary says she answers to a higher power and He says it’s wrong. When a customer overhears Mary and asks about the gambling room, Mary recommends she try the church two blocks down instead. Mary tells Georgie this is not a joke, she’s worried about his soul. Georgie insists he’s not gambling and no one’s getting hurt, but Mary argues it does hurt people. Georgie says it’s none of his business how people spend their money, and it’s none of her’s either, so butt out.

The next day, Adult Sheldon says, he got to campus early to get a copy of his article, hot off the presses. Normally he wouldn’t like newspaper ink on his hands but it was worth it, and he had Wet-Naps. After Sheldon looks at the paper, he goes to the newsroom to talk to editor Clark. Sheldon wants to know why they didn’t run his article. Clark explains it’s because Sheldon’s blaming this decision on the “grand chancellor”, someone who doesn’t exist. Sheldon says he’s President Hagemeyer’s boss. Hagemeyer doesn’t have a boss, she’s president, Clark shoots back. Sheldon insists she does and they’ve been fighting him together. When Clark asks about “the grand chancellor” in a skeptical tone, Sheldon says when you say it like that it sounds made-up. After Clark asks how he would say it, Sheldon says “the grand chancellor” outloud and realizes he’s been had.

When Sheldon storms into President Hagemeyer’s office, she tells him not now as she’s on the phone. Sheldon asks if she’s talking with the grand chancellor, who he now knows doesn’t exist. As Hagemeyer goes to hang up and says she’ll call them back, Sheldon warns them not to believe her. After Hagemeyer says he can’t just storm into her office, Sheldon says she can’t just lie to his face. Hagemeyer responds she can and she did. Sheldon says he’s going to start calling her President Hage-liar, because it’s both true and clever. Hagemeyer realizes Sheldon’s upset, but insists he left her no choice. She knew he was going to be a pain in the ass about these cuts. Her job is to make hard decisions. For what it’s worth, she didn’t enjoy lying to him. Yes, she did, Sheldon counters. Sheldon claims he can lie about things too. Did he knock papers off her desk? No, he says while doing so. Did he move her stapler? No, he says as he does. Did he break her pencil? Yes, he says after failing to snap it in half.

When Pastor Jeff goes to Mary’s office at the church, he asks her why he can see through the newsletter. After Mary explains she had to remove an ad, Pastor Jeff wonders if there was anything important on the other side. Just Peg’s recipe for grape salad. When Pastor Jeff notices Mary is looking down, he asks if everything’s okay. Mary says she feels like a failure as a mother, explaining Georgie dropped out of school and is now working in a gambling room. She tried so hard to keep him on the right path and now she feels like she’s pushing him away. Pastor Jeff points out teenagers are known to rebel. When he was a kid in El Paso, he used to cross the border to drink beer and dance the night away. Mary is surprised as his father was a pastor, but Jeff says it didn’t stop him. Jeff says his father probably felt the same way when he “found his little jefe doing the hustle en la discoteca”.

As George drives Sheldon home from the university, he still can’t believe President Hagemeyer lied to him. George tells him something he needs to know about life: people lie. Everybody? Pretty much. George argues it’s not always a bad thing, like when you’re trying to spare people’s feelings. Sheldon insists he would prefer people would just be honest with him. George is doubtful but decides to give it a go, admitting that the last thing he wanted to do today was pick Sheldon up from college. After Sheldon points out his dad said he was happy to do it, George says “See? Lies. Not the worst.” After Sheldon vows to stop blindly trusting everybody, George thinks that might not be a bad idea.

Adult Sheldon says that once he was on the lookout for liars, he was seeing them everywhere. As Sheldon watches Star Trek on TV, he realizes William Shatner is just an actor, which is another word for liar. As Sheldon eats a bowl of cereal, he hears no snap, he hears no pop, only crackle. A bowl of lies. After Sheldon finds Missy watching wrestling on TV, he bets it’s all fake. When Missy asks if it looks fake to him, Sheldon says it’s good to know something is real.

In the garden, Mary prays to God to watch over Missy and Sheldon, and especially Georgie, and asks that her failings as a mother not affect His plans for their lives. Mary gasps as she looks up and sees Sheldon. After Mary asks him what’s wrong, Sheldon explains he has “weltschmerz” - the Germans term for the pain of the world. Sheldon explains it’s recently come to his attention that everybody lies. Mary doesn’t think everybody lies, pointing out that Sheldon doesn’t lie. Sheldon wonders if it’s a skill he should cultivate to get by in the world. Mary hopes he doesn’t, telling Sheldon she loves his honesty. When Sheldon says he wants to believe her, Mary hopes he does as she’s his mother and she would never lie to him. Sheldon figures that not everybody lies then. Sheldon mentions he heard what Mary said in her prayer and doesn’t think she’s failing as a mother. After Mary tells him he’s a pretty great son, Sheldon says he knows he’s difficult. Mary insists there’s not a thing about him she would change. As Adult Sheldon says his mom promised never to lie to him, and she never did, Mary whispers an apology to the heavens.

When George walks into the gambling room, Georgie wonders if his mom sent him. George says no, explaining that Mary doesn’t know he’s there and they should keep it between them. After George asks where Meemaw is, Georgie explains she’s out and leaves him in charge when she’s gone. He even manages the laundromat, too. After George says good for you, Georgie wonders if his dad’s okay with him working there. George says since he was never there and this conversation never happened, sure. When Georgie asks his dad if he wants to give one of the machines a spin, George wonders if they really pay out. All the time, Georgie claims. Although not that one, Georgie says, directing his dad to another machine. Later, George is excited when he wins a whole two dollars.

When President Hagemeyer gets a phone call, a voice from a speaking device introduces himself as Stephen Hawking. President Hagemeyer is taken back and wonders if it really is Stephen Hawking. “Does it not sound like me?”, the voice asks, before apologizing and saying he has a cold. That was a joke. After Hagemeyer politely chuckles, she wonders how she can help him. The voice explains he received a letter from one of her students about the disappointing decision taken to reduce science requirements. Hagemeyer insists she would never want to disappoint him, but it wasn’t her decision. Whose decision was it? The grand chancellor, Hagemeyer claims. That’s a lie. Hagemeyer concedes it is. The voice asks if anyone’s ever called her Hage-liar?

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