215 - The Maternal Capacitance
Aired February 9, 2009

The Maternal Capacitance

A visit from Leonard's mother, Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, brings misery for the gang, except for Sheldon who is enamored with Leonard's overly analytical mother. Leonard and Penny feel closer together with their shared discomfort around Leonard's mother, Howard and Raj are uneasy at Dr. Hofstadter's view of their friendship, while Sheldon and Beverly bond.

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Guest Stars: Christine Baranski as Beverly Hofstadter

Writers: Chuck Lorre (Story), Bill Prady (Story), Richard Rosenstock (Teleplay), Steven Molaro (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 12.7 million Households Rating: 7.8/11 Adults 18-49 Rating: 4.5/10

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Episode Notes

  • Due to a Presidental Address this episode originally aired at 21:30 following Two and a Half Men.
  • The title references the built-up frustration evoked in Leonard by his mother's visit.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Christine Baranski as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter.

Quotes (16)

Mrs. Hofstadter: It might explain why the two of you have created an ersatz homosexual marriage to satisfy your need for intimacy.
Howard: Say what?

Leonard: She's only been here a day and a half, and I'm seriously considering alcoholism as a new career path.
Penny: Hey, I talked to her for five minutes yesterday, and I've been half bombed ever since.

Penny: You can't let her get into your head.
Leonard: It's too late for me, my head is her summer house.

Penny: I'm curious. What was Leonard like when he was little?
Beverly Hofstadter: I think you mean young. He's always been little.

Beverly Hofstadter: If you want to have intercourse with that girl, find out what kind of cologne her father wore.


When Leonard's mother arrives at the apartment building for a visit, she meets Penny in the lobby. Dr. Hofstadter and Penny engage in small talk while climbing the stairs to Leonard's apartment, but by the time they get there Penny is in tears after a psychological grilling from Beverly. Leonard is unsurprised by the effect his mother had on Penny. Although Leonard is annoyed by his mother's nature, Sheldon is fascinated by her analytical mind.

When Leonard takes his mother to work, she manages to offend Howard and Raj by suggesting they're in an ersatz homosexual relationship. After trying and failing to get his mother interested in his work, Leonard goes to Penny's apartment to drown his sorrows with her. Meanwhile, Sheldon and Leonard's mother bond over their shared mental brilliance as they return from the hospital with a scan of Sheldon's brain.

While Leonard and Penny start kissing, Sheldon and Dr. Hofstadter have fun of their own with a karaoke game. After Leonard and Penny had progressed to the bedroom, Leonard says the wrong thing and causes Penny to throw him out.

The next day, as Beverly gets ready to leave, Leonard tries to apologize to Penny, who understands and tells him never to speak of it again. As she leaves the apartment, Dr. Hofstadter once again delves into Penny's mind and suggests she travel to New Jersey to have a brain scan.

Comments (26)

Quentin United States, 19:52 Oct 21 2012.
The karaoke scene at the end, with Beverly, is just about the funniest thing ever
Shelly United States, 12:40 Aug 11 2012.
I dislike Leonard's mom as much as Leonard does o_o
smith United States, 01:27 Feb 14 2012.
barbara, I think you mean The Staircase Implementation, season 3 episode 22.
bobby boooshuy Canada, 21:38 Jan 19 2012.
its me waterboy...I lied wasup! i love big bang theory
barbara Canada, 18:00 Jan 14 2012.
does anyone know which episode leonard tells penny how he came to live with sheldon
bothe United States, 00:16 Jul 20 2010.
where did Sheldon get his T-Shirt?
Anonymous United States, 22:44 Aug 11 2009.
If you listen closely, at the end of the show when Penny and Mrs. Hofstadter descend the final flight of stairs, Penny states her fathers name ... "I mean,my mom could have just said, "Bob, get over it, she's a girl. Move on." But she didn't, not one word." Just one more piece of Penny Trivia.
Anonymous United States, 01:31 Aug 10 2009.
In the opening segment, the boys were playing "Under The Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Anonymous Germany, 19:04 May 28 2009.
hi! what song sings Koothrappali at the beginning? thx
4eyes2wheels United Kingdom, 13:03 May 9 2009.
Simply the best episode so far. Absolute genius

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