The Zazzy Substitution Season 4, Episode 3 -  Aired October 7, 2010

The Zazzy Substitution

When Sheldon and Amy argue over the importance of their respective fields, they decide to terminate their relationship. As Sheldon struggles to handle the break-up, he turns to feline companionship. Leonard gets concerned about his friend and calls in help.

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Guest Stars: Laurie Metcalf as Mary Cooper, Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler

Writers: Chuck Lorre (Story), Bill Prady (Story), Jim Reynolds (Story), Lee Aronsohn (Teleplay), Steven Molaro (Teleplay), Maria Ferrari (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 12.58 million Households Rating: 7.6/13 Adults 18-49 Rating: 4.1/13

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to one of the cats, a zazzy cat nicknamed Zazzles, that Sheldon used as a substitute following the termination of his relationship with Amy.

Episode Quotes

Mary Cooper: Now, when you said on the phone he broke up with a girl, you meant an actual girl? Not something you kids whipped up in a lab?

Howard: On the potty, what are you five?
Raj: It's a potty, what do you call it?
Howard: A toilet.
Raj: That's a little vulgar for the dinner table, don't you think?
Howard: And potty is okay?
Raj: Potty is innocent. Potty is adorable.
Howard: What do you do on the potty, wee-wee?
Raj: If I don't have to boom-boom.

Sheldon: I'd like you to meet Oppenheimer, Frisch, Panofsky, Feynman, Weisskopf.
Mary: Yeah, I get it. You got a lot of cats, and you gave 'em cute Jewish names.

Penny: How's your life?
Amy: Like everybody else's, subject to entropy, decay and eventual death. Thank you for asking.

Howard: Women, you can't live with them. You can't successfully refute their hypotheses.
Sheldon: Amen to that.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
Episode 4.03 Ratings October 8, 2010

The ratings for the third episode of Season 4 are out and the move to Thursdays continues to pay off for CBS.  Full story

CBS Announces Episode 4.03 September 20, 2010

CBS has announced the details of the third episode of the new Big Bang Theory season.  Full story


Sheldon and Amy are playing a game they invented, "Counterfactuals", where they postulate an alternate world with a key difference and then pose questions to each other. When Leonard joins the game, he is an embarrassment to Sheldon and Amy. Later, Sheldon brings Amy to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, where her awkward presence offends just about everyone else. When Leonard tells Sheldon he finds Amy obnoxious and would prefer her not to be around, Sheldon tells Leonard of all the things he had to endure with Penny.

Another night, Leonard, Howard and Raj are avoiding the "Shamy" in Penny's apartment, but Raj gets drunk and obnoxious. The next day, Leonard, Howard and Raj are having lunch when Sheldon and Amy arrive. Sheldon is offended when Amy belittles theoretical physics and claims neurobiology is a higher science. Aghast, Sheldon suggests they terminate their relationship. Amy agrees and leaves.

Penny goes to check on Sheldon following the "break-up", who insists he's fine because Amy was not his girlfriend. Sheldon tells Penny their relationship was purely academical and he's okay, but as he leaves he mentions he's going to buy a cat. Leonard worries about Sheldon, who turns up at the university cafeteria with a cat. When Leonard returns home, he finds Sheldon surrounded by five cats, many of whom he named after noted scientists.

Needing expert help, Leonard calls Sheldon's mother, Mary, in from Texas. When Mary arrives, she finds Sheldon in his bedroom with twenty-five cats. Mary makes dinner for the gang, but doesn't allow Sheldon to bring his cats. When Sheldon comes to the living room, he finds Amy was invited by his mother to "get to know her". As Mary observes Sheldon and Amy, she points out that they're clearly not suited for each other and she's glad they've broken up, as otherwise she would have to end the relationship. Sheldon is taken aback and declares that by any standard, Amy is more similar to him than anyone he's ever met. Sheldon and Amy agree to get back together, only after Sheldon accepts that 65% of their difficulties were caused by him.

After getting back together, Sheldon and Amy find homes for his twenty-five cats by paying people $20 to take one.