The Robotic Manipulation Season 4, Episode 1 -  Aired September 23, 2010

The Robotic Manipulation

When Penny finds out that Sheldon has been talking to a girl, Amy Farrah Fowler, for months, she urges him to go out on a date with her. Penny soon finds herself going along for the ride as she accompanies Sheldon on his first ever date.

Meanwhile, Howard lands himself in an uncomfortable situation when he "borrows" a robotic hand from NASA and finds a creepy new use for the device.

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Guest Stars: Carol Ann Susi as Mrs. Wolowitz, Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler, Vernee Watson as Althea

Writers: Chuck Lorre (Story), Lee Aronsohn (Story), Dave Goetsch (Story), Steven Molaro (Teleplay), Eric Kaplan (Teleplay), Steve Holland (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 14.04 million Households Rating: 8.4/14 Adults 18-49 Rating: 4.9/16

Available on iTunes

Episode Lists

  • Sheldon & Amy: Key Episodes Sheldon & Amy: Key Episodes

    The key moments in Sheldon & Amy's relationship including Howard & Raj setting them up, the signing of the relationship agreement, the first time they said "I love you", them breaking up and subsequently getting back together, the proposal, the wedding and winning the Nobel Prize together.

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to the robotic hand Howard "borrowed" and found various uses for.

> Sheldon's Knock

Sheldon knocks on Penny's door when he goes to her apartment to ask for a ride to his date with Amy. When Penny tells him "You do realize I stand on the other side of the door waiting for you to finish knocking three times", Sheldon says he knows as he can see her feet under the door. After Penny says her point is it's a waste of time, Sheldon says an example of a waste of time is the conversation they're having.

Episode Quotes

Leonard: I'd suggest using some lubricant, but I have a feeling you fell on that as well.
Howard: Not funny, Leonard.
Raj: Really? A robot hand’s got a death grip on your junk, dude. That’s funny, ask anyone.

Althea: What is this?
Howard: It's a robot arm.
Althea: Where's the rest of the robot?
Howard: I only built the arm.
Althea: Because that's all you needed, right?

Sheldon: I am aware of the way humans usually reproduce which is messy, unsanitary and based on living next to you for three years, involves loud and unnecessary appeals to a deity.
Penny: Oh, God.
Sheldon: Yes, exactly.

Raj: When Winnie-the-Pooh got his head stuck in the honey tree, his friends all grabbed onto him and pulled and pulled.
Leonard: You do what you want, I'm not touching another man's honey tree.

Wolowitz: Winnie-the-Pooh is out of the honey tree.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
Episode 4.01 Ratings September 24, 2010

The ratings for the season 4 premiere are out. The Big Bang Theory was a huge hit on Thursday night.  Full story

Episode 4.01 Ratings: First Look September 24, 2010

The initial ratings data for the fourth season premiere is out  Full story

CBS Announces Season 4 Premiere August 23, 2010

CBS has announced the details of the fourth season premiere of The Big Bang Theory.  Full story


The guys are eating Chinese food for dinner and are using Wolowitz's robot hand to unpack the food. When Penny joins them for dinner, she is surprised to hear Sheldon has been texting with a girl, Amy Farrah Fowler, all summer long. To everyone's surprise, Sheldon announces their plans to conceive a child through in-vitro fertilization. After Penny suggests Sheldon go on a date with Amy to better know the future mother of his child, she is tasked with driving him to the date. Elsewhere, Howard is using the robot hand to massage himself when he thinks of another use for the device.

Driving Sheldon to pick up Amy, Penny figures out that this is Sheldon's first ever date. Back at the apartment, Raj and Leonard are looking through comic books when they get a call from Howard asking for help with an embarrassing problem. When they arrive at Howard's place, they find him with the robot hand stuck grasping his private parts. Leonard and Raj are too busy laughing to offer much assistance. Back in Penny's car, she tries to get a conversation going between Sheldon and Amy. 

At the restaurant, Penny is sticking around for Sheldon and Amy's dates. Her attempts get the conversation going fail, until Sheldon starts calculating the number of partners Penny's had. Sheldon works out that Penny has had 193 dates, while Amy wonders whether Penny has slept with all of those guys. Penny is deeply uncomfortable with the conversation, but at least she finally got them talking. Elsewhere, Leonard and Raj take Howard to the hospital emergency room. The nurse, Althea, tries turning the computer which controls the robot on and off again, causing it to release its hold on Howard's nether regions.

As Penny and Sheldon return from his date with Amy, Penny stops Sheldon from having a baby with Amy by threatening to call his mother. Back in the apartment, Sheldon announces he won't be procreating with Amy, while Leonard gets another phone call from Howard.