The Benefactor Factor Season 4, Episode 15 - Aired February 10, 2011
The guys attend a university fundraiser where a wealthy donor takes an intimate interest in Leonard, forcing him to consider how far he is willing to go for science.
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Director: Mark Cendrowski
Viewers: 12.78 million Households Rating: 7.6/12 Adults 18-49 Rating: 3.9/11
- The title refers to the factor that influences the university benefactor, Mrs. Latham's decision to donate money to Leonard's cause.
When Sheldon answers a phone call from the wealthy Mrs. Latham after they attended a university fundraiser, Sheldon refers to her as a "woman well past her prime seeking to augment her social status by doling out her late husband's ill-gotten gains", before going on to ask her how much money she will be giving him.
When her answer evidently didn't please Sheldon, he told her "I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested", before finding out she was actually calling for Leonard.
Penny: Good morning, slut!
Penny: Oh, please! I recognise the walk of shame when I see it. All you're missing is a little smeared mascara and a purse with panties wadded up in it!
Sheldon: Given how much time you spend engaging in pointless self-abuse, you might consider, just this once, using your genitalia to actually accomplish something.
Sheldon: An entire dinner to talk about your research? Where you going? The drive thru at Jack In The Box?
Sheldon: There are a lot more rich old ladies out there and Daddy needs a new linear accelerator.
Amy: Well then, prepare to be terrified. If your friends are unconvincing, this year's donations might go to, say, the Geology department.
Sheldon: Oh no. Not the dirt people!
Amy: Or, worse still, it could go to the liberal arts.
Amy: Millions of dollars being showered on poets, literary theorists and students of gender studies.
Sheldon: Oh, the humanities!
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While the guys are eating at the cafeteria, the president of the university, President Siebert, comes over and asks them to attend a university fund-raiser. Sheldon is reluctant to attend, but Siebert is particularly aggressive at demanding Sheldon's presence. On the night of the event, Sheldon is still unwilling to attend so the guys leave without him.
At the fund-raiser, President Siebert introduces the trio to Mrs. Latham, a wealthy benefactor. Mrs. Latham's superior attitude intimidates the guys, though she still takes a particular interest in Leonard. Meanwhile, when Sheldon is chatting with Amy via webcam, she suggests he should attend the fund-raiser or else other departments (including geology and liberal arts) may get the money instead. Later, Mrs. Latham confesses to Leonard that she only attends these fund-raisers to make smart people feel ill at ease. Sheldon turns up but is unwilling to shake anybody's "germy" hands.
The next morning, Sheldon receives a phone call from President Siebert telling him not to attend the fund-raisers in future. Next, Leonard receives a call from Mrs. Latham inviting him out for dinner. After the dinner, as Leonard is telling her how she reminds him of his mother, Mrs. Latham kisses Leonard. When Leonard arrives home, he tells the guys what happened. Sheldon implores Leonard to have relations with Mrs. Latham as the science department really needs a centrifugal pump.
The following evening, Sheldon is still pushing Leonard towards sleeping with Mrs. Latham and provides him a package of goods to help with the evening, including condoms and baby oil. When Leonard goes on the date, Mrs. Latham apologizes for making him uncomfortable and assures him there's no "quid pro quo", and that the science department will be receiving money either way. Without the fear he's prostituting himself for science, Leonard kisses Mrs. Latham.
The next morning, Penny catches Leonard in the "walk of shame" as he heads back to his apartment. Sheldon and Penny joke about Leonard's dalliance. When he goes back to the university, President Siebert leads a round of applause for Leonard.