The Loobenfeld Decay Season 1, Episode 10 -  Aired March 24, 2008

The Loobenfeld Decay

When Leonard lies to Penny to avoid having to see her perform in a musical, Sheldon becomes concerned with the flimsiness of Leonard's lie. Sheldon constructs a much more elaborate lie which leads to the appearance of a fictional cousin.

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Guest Stars: D.J. Qualls as Toby

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

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 8.62 million Households Rating: 5.3/9 Adults 18-49 Rating: 3.4/10

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to the actor, Toby Loobenfeld, who "played" Sheldon's cousin Leo. The decay may refer to his declining usefulness as an actor when he deviated from Sheldon's script.

> Sheldon's Knock

Sheldon performs a ritualistic knock in this episode, but it's not quite the knock he would become known for. When Sheldon knocks on Leonard's bedroom door in the middle of the night, he knocks four times and says Leonard's name, repeating twice for a total of 12 knocks. Sheldon repeats this when he goes over to Penny's apartment. Sheldon's knock would eventually become 3 knocks & name x 3.

Episode Quotes

Sheldon: I am uncomfortable having been included in your lie to Penny.
Leonard: What was I supposed to say?
Sheldon: You could have told her the truth.
Leonard: I could not have said that, it would have hurt her feelings.
Sheldon: Is that a relevant factor?
Leonard: Yes.
Sheldon: Then I suppose you could have agreed to go.
Leonard: What would I have said afterwards?
Sheldon: I would suggest something along the lines of "singing is neither an appropriate vocation nor avocation for you and if you disagree, I recommend you do a CAT scan to locate the tumor which is pressing on the cognitive processing center of your brain".

Sheldon: Leonard?
Leonard: Yes?
Sheldon: (Sarcastic) When we played chess earlier, you were terrific, and I can't wait to play you again. Goodnight!

(Sheldon repeatedly knocking and saying Leonard's name)
Leonard: Ugh, this would be so much easier if I were a violent sociopath!

Sheldon: (Knocking on Penny's door early in the morning). Penny, Penny, Penny!
(Penny opens the door).
Sheldon: Good morning.
Penny: Do you have any idea what time it is?
Sheldon: Of course I do. My watch is linked to the atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado. It's accurate to one-tenth of a second, but as I'm saying this it occurs to me once again your question may have been rhetorical.

Sheldon: We just leave the house on Friday night, and we return in the wee hours emotionally wrung out from the work of convincing Leo to go back into rehab.
Leonard: So he goes back into rehab?
Sheldon: Yes. But he can relapse if Penny ever invites us to go hear her sing again.
Leonard: You still told her I lied.
Sheldon: For a noble purpose, to spare me the social embarrassment of having a drug-addled first cousin, which I'm assuming is embarrassing, yes?
Leonard: I don't know. How am I supposed to remember all of this?
Sheldon: That's the best part. You don't have to. See, I told Penny that you would be embarrassed if you knew that she found out that you had lied. So she's agreed to operate as if the original lie was still in force.
Leonard: So she's expecting me to lie about going to a symposium in Pasadena, when in actuality we're pretending to go to a drug intervention in Long Beach?
Sheldon: Un-unravelable.


Leonard and Sheldon arrive back at the apartment building with dinner. As they are walking up the stairs they hear somebody singing badly. They are soon greeted by Penny, who tells them she landed a leading role in the musical Rent. When they are invited to see the show, Leonard concocts a lie about attending a physics symposium by Dr. Farman-Farmaian, to avoid telling Penny the truth: that he does not want to hear her sing.

Later that night, Sheldon wakes Leonard to tell him he's worried Leonard's lie is flimsy and that Penny will see through it. The next morning when Leonard wakes up, Sheldon informs him he has created a whole new lie that is un-unravelable: they can't attend Penny's show because they're hosting a drug intervention for Sheldon's cousin Leo down in Long Beach. Additionally, Penny has agreed to operate as if the original lie were true in order to avoid embarrassing Leonard, who only lied to protect Sheldon.

As Penny is about to leave for her performance, she stops by Leonard and Sheldon's apartment and mentions the "symposium" they're attending. When Howard gets angry that he's been left out of their plans, Sheldon must reveal the "truth" about his cousin Leo and the intervention to Howard and Raj. Sheldon and Leonard explain their lie to Howard and Raj, but the guys decide to go to Long Beach anyway and visit the RMS Queen Mary. Later that night, Sheldon interrupts Leonard's sleep again, this time fearing there's a problem with his own supposedly un-unravelable lie.

The next morning, Leonard wakes to discover a strange man eating cereal in his apartment. The man explains he's Sheldon's cousin Leo - or, more accurately, a physics research assistant that Sheldon invited to play Leo. When Penny stops by the apartment, Sheldon introduces her to "Leo", whose intervention failed to cure him. While Sheldon and "Leo" fight over the details of his character, Penny talks Leonard into watching a recording of her performance from the night before.