The Tangerine Factor Season 1, Episode 17 -  Aired May 19, 2008

The Tangerine Factor

When Penny breaks up with her boyfriend after he posts intimate details about their relationship on his blog, Leonard tries to comfort her but inadvertently convinces her to get back with her ex-boyfriend. When it turns out her boyfriend has already moved on, Penny is angry at Leonard for his bad advice. Later, Leonard asks Penny out on a date and she says yes. Leonard and Penny each turn to Sheldon for romantic advice.

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Guest Stars: James Hong as Chen

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

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 7.34 million Households Rating: 4.6/8 Adults 18-49 Rating: 3.2/9

Available on iTunes

Episode Lists

  • Leonard & Penny: Key Episodes Leonard & Penny: Key Episodes

    The key moments in Leonard and Penny's relationship including the first time they saw each other across the hall, their first kiss, their first date, breaking up and getting back together, the first time Penny says "I love you", a couple of proposals, their engagement, two wedding ceremonies, and finally Penny getting pregnant.

Episode Notes

  • The title references the tangerine chicken Sheldon believes is actually orange chicken.

> Sheldon's Spot

When Penny wanted to talk to Sheldon about her upcoming date with Leonard, she invited him into her apartment and asked him if he wanted to sit down. Sheldon said it wasn't that easy as he hadn't spent much time there and wasn't "familiar enough with the cushion densities, air flow patterns and dispersion of sunlight to make an informed choice" about where to sit. After examining the options, Sheldon eventually settled on the chair by Penny's couch.

Episode Quotes

Howard: You know, I'm really glad you decided to learn Mandarin.
Sheldon: Why?
Howard: Once you're fluent, you'll have a billion more people to annoy instead of me.

Howard: So you're saying, if in the depths of despair she throws herself at you and demands you take her right there, right now, you'll just walk away?
Leonard: I said I'm her friend, not her gay friend.

Leonard: Before you say anything, have you heard of Schrodinger's cat?
Penny: Actually, I've heard far too much about Schrodinger's cat.
Leonard: Good.
*Leonard and Penny kiss*
Penny: All right, the cat's alive. Let's go to dinner.

Raj: Incredible. You managed to screw up the screw up.

Sheldon: (In Mandarin) Show me your mucus. Your mucus!
Chen: (Mandarin) Blow your own nose and go away!
Sheldon: (Mandarin) This is not a tangerine bicycle. Show me your mucus!
Chen: Crazy man. Call the police.
Sheldon: (Mandarin) No, don't call the library. Show me your mucus.


After Sheldon suspects the Chinese restaurant is passing off Orange Chicken as Tangerine Chicken, Howard teaches him Mandarin so he can confront Szechuan Palace. Penny storms into the apartment and throws her boyfriend Mike's iPod out the window. Penny explains that Mike posted intimate details of their relationship on his blog - which Howard immediately searches for when Penny leaves. Raj finds the iPod and declares he'll sell it on eBay.

Concerned about her feelings, Leonard goes over to Penny's apartment to see how she's doing. When Leonard tries to comfort Penny, she gets the wrong idea and decides to go make up with Mike. Later that day, Leonard is depressed about inadvertently "fixing" their relationship. Penny storms in for a second time, thanking Leonard for his "stupid advice". Leonard goes to see what's wrong with Penny, who explains she found Mike with another woman. As Leonard tries to comfort her, he asks her out on a date, which she accepts.

Later, Penny asks Sheldon if she can talk to him about her upcoming date with Leonard. Sheldon goes to Penny's apartment but struggles to find a place to sit. As Penny presses him for advice about her date with Leonard, Sheldon tells her about Schrödinger's cat. Penny thinks this means she should go on the date. At the cafeteria, Leonard is having similar concerns about their date and asks for Sheldon's guidance. Sheldon once again raises the topic of Schrödinger's cat.

Having heard enough about Schrödinger's cat, Penny and Leonard go on their date. When they arrive at Szechuan Palace to find a bothered Sheldon yelling in Mandarin at the restaurant owner, they leave for another restaurant.