The Gorilla Experiment Season 3, Episode 10 -  Aired December 7, 2009

The Gorilla Experiment

When Penny wants to learn more about Leonard's work, she turns to Sheldon for lessons. Sheldon views the opportunity to teach Penny rudimentary physics as an experiment, but his teaching style quickly brings Penny to tears. Meanwhile, Howard gets jealous after his girlfriend Bernadette also takes an interest in Leonard's research.

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Guest Stars: Carol Ann Susi as Mrs. Wolowitz, Melissa Rauch as Bernadette

Writers: Chuck Lorre (Story), Richard Rosenstock (Story), Steve Holland (Story), Bill Prady (Teleplay), Steven Molaro (Teleplay), Maria Ferrari (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 14.38 million Households Rating: 8.4/13 Adults 18-49 Rating: 5.6/13

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to Sheldon's notion that teaching Penny physics is an experiment much like teaching sign language to Koko the gorilla.
  • This episode was previously titled The Athens Recurrence.

> Bazinga

After telling Howard that his shoes are delightful and asking where he got them, Sheldon says "Bazinga. I don't care."

Episode Quotes

Sheldon: Why are you crying?
Penny: Because I'm stupid.
Sheldon: That's no reason to cry. One cries because one is sad. For example, I cry because others are stupid, and that makes me sad.

Penny: Look, can we just forget about this extra stuff and can you just tell me what Leonard does?
Sheldon: Alright. Leonard is attempting to learn why subatomic particles move the way they do.
Penny: Really? That's it? Well, that doesn't sound so complicated.
Sheldon: It's not. That's why Leonard does it.

Howard: Hey, ma, can I have lamb stew for dinner?
Mrs. Wolowitz: Lamb stew? I'd have to go to the supermarket.
Howard: Please? I got a real hankering.
Mrs. Wolowitz: Oh, I can't say no to my little tushie face. I'll be back soon.

Bernadette: Come here, tushie face.
Leonard: Tushie face! That is going on twitter right now.

Howard: Hope you don't mind, I told my girlfriend, Bernadette, she can join us for dinner.
Leonard: Sure, the more the merrier.
Sheldon: Wait, no. That's a false equivalency. More does not equal merry. If there was 2000 people in this apartment right now, would we be celebrating? No, we'd be suffocating.


Howard and his girlfriend Bernadette join Penny and the guys for dinner. During the dinner, Bernadette shows an interest in Leonard's work, confusing Penny and Howard. Later, Penny comes over to ask Sheldon to teach her "a little physics". Though Sheldon is unwilling at first, Penny convinces him by framing it as some sort of experiment for him. Sheldon compares it to teaching sign language to Koko the Gorilla.

At the university cafeteria, Howard parades his girlfriend Bernadette around. When Bernadette once again shows an interest in Leonard's work, Howard gets very jealous. After Bernadette leaves, Howard gets up in Leonard's face and accuses him of trying to make a move on his girlfriend. Elsewhere, Sheldon is giving Penny her first physics lesson. Sheldon begins his introduction to physics on a warm summer's evening in ancient Greece, circa 600 BC. Penny is overwhelmed by the 2,600-year journey Sheldon plans to take her on.

Howard and Bernadette are making out when she receives a text message from Leonard. Howard gets very jealous and his reaction causes Bernadette to leave. Back at Sheldon's apartment, Penny starts crying when she can't keep up with Sheldon's lesson. Penny explains she's crying because she thinks she's stupid, but Sheldon says that's no reason to cry - he cries because other people are stupid and it makes him sad. Penny tells Sheldon she just wants to know more about Leonard's work. Sheldon says Leonard is researching sub-atomic particles and agrees to explain this to Penny, but this leads him right back to ancient Greece.

Howard turns up at Leonard's lab, angry that he "text-blocked" him with his message to Bernadette. When Bernadette arrives, Howard apologizes for his feelings of jealousy. Back at the apartment, Penny and Bernadette join the guys for dinner. When the conversation turns to physics, Penny shows off her new found knowledge of Leonard's work.