403 - The Zazzy Substitution
Aired October 7, 2010

The Zazzy Substitution

When Sheldon and Amy argue over the importance of their respective fields, they decide to terminate their relationship. As Sheldon struggles to handle the break-up, he turns to feline companionship. Leonard gets concerned about his friend and calls in help.

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Guest Stars: Laurie Metcalf as Mary Cooper, Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler

Writers: Chuck Lorre (Story), Bill Prady (Story), Jim Reynolds (Story), Lee Aronsohn (Teleplay), Steven Molaro (Teleplay), Maria Ferrari (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 12.58 million Households Rating: 7.6/13 Adults 18-49 Rating: 4.1/13

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Episode Notes

  • The title refers to one of the cats, a zazzy cat nicknamed Zazzles, that Sheldon used as a substitute following the termination of his relationship with Amy.

Quotes (26)

Mary Cooper: Now, when you said on the phone he broke up with a girl, you meant an actual girl? Not something you kids whipped up in a lab?

Sheldon: That's preposterous. I'm not pining for anybody.
Mary Cooper: Oh, lamb chop. We can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

Howard: On the potty, what are you five?
Raj: It's a potty, what do you call it?
Howard: A toilet.
Raj: That's a little vulgar for the dinner table, don't you think?
Howard: And potty is okay?
Raj: Potty is innocent. Potty is adorable.
Howard: What do you do on the potty, wee-wee?
Raj: If I don't have to boom-boom.

Sheldon: I'd like you to meet Oppenheimer, Frisch, Panofsky, Feynman, Weisskopf.
Mary: Yeah, I get it. You got a lot of cats, and you gave 'em cute Jewish names.

Howard: Women, you can't live with them. You can't successfully refute their hypotheses.
Sheldon: Amen to that.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
Episode 4.03 Ratings October 8, 2010

The ratings for the third episode of Season 4 are out and the move to Thursdays continues to pay off for CBS.  Full story

CBS Announces Episode 4.03 September 20, 2010

CBS has announced the details of the third episode of the new Big Bang Theory season.  Full story


Sheldon and Amy are playing a game they invented, "Counterfactuals", where they postulate an alternate world with a key difference and then pose questions to each other. When Leonard joins the game, he is an embarrassment to Sheldon and Amy. Later, Sheldon brings Amy to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, where her awkward presence offends just about everyone else. When Leonard tells Sheldon he finds Amy obnoxious and would prefer her not to be around, Sheldon tells Leonard of all the things he had to endure with Penny.

Another night, Leonard, Howard and Raj are avoiding the "Shamy" in Penny's apartment, but Raj gets drunk and obnoxious. The next day, Leonard, Howard and Raj are having lunch when Sheldon and Amy arrive. Sheldon is offended when Amy belittles theoretical physics and claims neurobiology is a higher science. Aghast, Sheldon suggests they terminate their relationship. Amy agrees and leaves.

Penny goes to check on Sheldon following the "break-up", who insists he's fine because Amy was not his girlfriend. Sheldon tells Penny their relationship was purely academical and he's okay, but as he leaves he mentions he's going to buy a cat. Leonard worries about Sheldon, who turns up at the university cafeteria with a cat. When Leonard returns home, he finds Sheldon surrounded by five cats, many of whom he named after noted scientists.

Needing expert help, Leonard calls Sheldon's mother, Mary, in from Texas. When Mary arrives, she finds Sheldon in his bedroom with twenty-five cats. Mary makes dinner for the gang, but doesn't allow Sheldon to bring his cats. When Sheldon comes to the living room, he finds Amy was invited by his mother to "get to know her". As Mary observes Sheldon and Amy, she points out that they're clearly not suited for each other and she's glad they've broken up, as otherwise she would have to end the relationship. Sheldon is taken aback and declares that by any standard, Amy is more similar to him than anyone he's ever met. Sheldon and Amy agree to get back together, only after Sheldon accepts that 65% of their difficulties were caused by him.

After getting back together, Sheldon and Amy find homes for his twenty-five cats by paying people $20 to take one.

Comments (86)

Rachel United Kingdom, 14:51 Apr 19 2014.
this episode was zazzy!
Mudit Gupta India, 13:18 Sep 26 2013.
according to the roommates aggregates - Pets are banned under the roommate agreement, with the exception of service animals such as cybernetically-enhanced helper monkeys, and seeing-eye dogs (The Plimpton Stimulation) . . given that,it is clear that sheldon doesn't follow the agreement henceforth he should bear the consequences of the violation of agreement..(not to mention the mistake on director's part)
Siddharth India, 07:22 Jul 2 2013.
I better say "yes we can't live and succed without women :/"
Laurielle United States, 19:46 May 18 2013.
Keith from OVer the pond..... Shamy the other way around is Ymash and there are no counter parts to Leanord Wolowitz.. etc..... well , maybe..
Glenn Canada, 18:37 Aug 30 2012.
This was a pretty good episode, I saw it today, but I found it kind of sad that Sheldon had to give up all those cats. I love cats, ok, maybe 25 was a little much, but there is nothing wrong with a few. I'm not crazy about Sheldon's mother. Laurie Metcalf is a good actress, but I find her character to be a little prejudice. I'm not crazy about any pf the characters parents. Penny's dad was ok, but iF I had parents like that, I'd be fighting with them all the time. Raj's parents only want him to date Indian girls, Howard's mother only Jewish girls, but she changed a little bit. Leonard's mother is insensitive and Sheldon's is way too religious. A person should be with who they love no matter where the person is from and there is nothing wrong with premaritial sex. When you marry someone, you should be comfortable with them in all aspects. Oh, I also agree with Amy. I can't stand people you use terms like Shamy. It is stupid and immature. I don't mind a pet name like sweetheart or something like that.
Eric b United States, 16:01 Apr 19 2012.
zazzles is amazing check it out if you like zazzles too and please like the page https://www.facebook.com/ZazzlesTheCat
bear gryls United Kingdom, 16:52 Apr 6 2012.
pie tastes nice
Nitish India, 13:20 Feb 16 2012.
lol...one of my favourite tbbt episodes
M0381U5 Australia, 02:04 Jan 7 2012.
Sheldon refers to the Rebel Alliance building Death Stars... this is wrong... the Empire builds Deaths stars
M0381U5 Australia, 07:34 Jan 6 2012.
Correct me if i'm wrong but does Sheldon refer to the rebel alliance building death stars? And prefers the Empire? This is wrong, The Empire builds death stars. So not geeky

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