The Wheaton Recurrence Season 3, Episode 19 -  Aired April 12, 2010

The Wheaton Recurrence

When Leonard says "I Love You" to Penny and she doesn't respond in kind, the couple struggle to find a way to keep their relationship alive. Meanwhile, Sheldon has a second encounter with his mortal enemy Wil Wheaton, this time at a bowling alley.

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Guest Stars: Kevin Sussman as Stuart, Wil Wheaton as Himself

Writers: Chuck Lorre (Story), Steven Molaro (Story), Nikki Lorre (Story), Jessica Ambrosetti (Story), Bill Prady (Teleplay), Dave Goetsch (Teleplay), Jim Reynolds (Teleplay), Maria Ferrari (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 13.39 million Households Rating: 7.9/12 Adults 18-49 Rating: 5.1/13

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 refers simply to the recurrence of Wil Wheaton.

> Sheldon's Knock

Sheldon knocks on Penny's door when he goes to give her ice cream, which he read in Cathy is an appropriate gift for stressed women.

Episode Quotes

Sheldon: You did this, didn't you?
Wil Wheaton: Come on, Sheldon, do you really think I'd break up a couple just to win a bowling game?
Sheldon: No, I suppose not.
Wil Wheaton: Good. Keep thinking that.
Sheldon: Wheeeeatoooon!

Sheldon: Well, well, well, if it isn't Wil Wheaton. The Green Goblin to my Spider-Man, the Pope Paul V to my Galileo, the Internet Explorer to my Firefox!

Sheldon: I am the ball, my thoughts are its thoughts, its holes are my holes.

*After getting a spare in the bowling match*
Sheldon: Thank you, Jesus! As my mother would say.

Sheldon: Tweet that, tweetie bird.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
Episode 3.19 Ratings April 13, 2010

The Big Bang Theory came a strong second on April 12, up against tough competition from ABC's Dancing with the Stars.  Full story

CBS Announces Episode 3.19 March 15, 2010

Wil Wheaton returns as Sheldon's nemesis on an April episode of The Big Bang Theory.  Full story


After a romantic encounter, Leonard is impressed when Penny quotes Yoda. Leonard tells Penny he loves her, but she does not say it back. Later, when Leonard can't be bothered to join their discussion on "giant ants", the guys wonder what's wrong with Leonard. At the comic book store, Howard and Raj keep prying to find out what's bothering Leonard. Meanwhile, Stuart reminds Sheldon about the bowling match that night.

At the bowling alley, Stuart introduces his team: Lonely Larry, Captain Sweatpants and Wil Wheaton. Sheldon is not impressed by his nemesis's recurrence, although Wheaton is particularly pleased at how much he bothers Sheldon. In an effort to relieve the tension between them, Penny explains to Leonard why she didn't feel comfortable saying "I love you" back. When Leonard points out that she could say it now, Penny feels pressured and leaves.

Sheldon, in a bid to get his star bowling teammate back, goes to Penny's apartment with ice cream to comfort her in her "emotional crisis". He asks Penny to join him for a rematch against Stuart's team that night, and suggests she go speak to Leonard now. Penny goes to the laundry room to find Leonard and explains that she's afraid to use the "L word" too soon. Leonard pretends that everything is fine between them.

At the bowling alley, Sheldon has prepared t-shirts for his team, "The Wesley Crushers". Sheldon and Stuart agree that the losing time will be publicly humiliated. Wil Wheaton overhears a conversation between Leonard & Penny about their relationship problems. Wheaton goes to talk to Penny and "gets in her head" by talking about a bad relationship he had where the girl didn't say "I love you" for two years. When Leonard asks Penny what she wants him to do, she runs off and tells him that she isn't being far to him. Sheldon asks Wil Wheaton if he did this on purpose, but Wheaton suggest it's absurd to think he'd do that just to win a bowling match. Sheldon's team loses the match.

Following their defeat, the guys turn up at the comic book store dressed as female comic book heroines.