The Luminous Fish Effect Season 1, Episode 4 -  Aired October 15, 2007

The Luminous Fish Effect

When Sheldon is fired, his life descends into a series of bizarre obsessions, including "fixing" eggs and weaving ponchos. A concerned Leonard decides there's only one person who can bring Sheldon back from the brink: his mother.

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Guest Stars: Laurie Metcalf as Mary Cooper, Mark Harelik as Dr. Eric Gablehauser, Sierra Edwards as Summer

Writers: Chuck Lorre (Story), Bill Prady (Story), David Litt (Teleplay), Lee Aronsohn (Teleplay)

Director: Bob Koherr

Viewers: 7.94 million Households Rating: 5.2/8 Adults 18-49 Rating: 3.1/8

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title references the luminous fish Sheldon was intending to use as nightlights.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Laurie Metcalf as Sheldon's mother, Mary Cooper.

Episode Quotes

Mary: He gets his temper from his daddy.
Leonard: Ah!
Mary: He's got my eyes.
Leonard: I see!
Mary: All that science stuff, that comes from Jesus.

Mary Cooper: You don't hunt, do you?

Mary Cooper: I'm sorry, did I start that sentence with the words, "If it pleases your highness?"

Sheldon: I read an article about Japanese scientists who inserted DNA from luminous jelly fish into other animals; and I thought "Hey! Fish night-lights".
Leonard: Fish night-lights.
Sheldon: It's a billion dollar idea, ssh!

Mary Cooper: Honey, why did you get a loom?
Sheldon: Well, I was working with luminous fish and I thought, hey, loom.


Leonard and Sheldon are attending a party at the university to the new department head, Dr. Gablehauser. Sheldon feels Gablehauser is not worthy of his respect and, unwilling to schmooze his superior, tells his new boss that and is promptly fired.

With Sheldon no longer working, he is spending his time trying to perfect scrambled eggs. When Penny calls to see if the guys need anything from the supermarket, Sheldon tags along to buy more eggs for his experiments. Back at the apartment, Sheldon has moved on to his next grand idea: luminous fish night lights.

Concerned at his friend's behavior, Leonard calls Sheldon's mother. When Mary Cooper arrives, Sheldon has got a loom and has taken to weaving panchos. Annoyed that Leonard called his mother, Sheldon retreats to his room. Meanwhile, Mary cooks dinner for the gang as they get to know her and find out more about Sheldon's childhood.

When Mary's patience with Sheldon has been tested, she tells him she will take him to the university to solve this and she won't have any argument. While Sheldon reluctantly apologizes to his boss, Mary finds herself flirting with Dr. Gablehauser. Later that day, Mary puts Sheldon to bed and tells him how proud she is that he apologized to his boss.