The Beta Test Initiation Season 5, Episode 14 -  Aired January 26, 2012

The Beta Test Initiation

Leonard and Penny develop a way to build a stronger relationship when they get back together. Meanwhile, Raj forms a strange relationship with a woman of sorts - his new phone's virtual assistant.

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Guest Stars: John Ross Bowie as Barry Kripke, Becky O'Donohue as Siri

Writers: Chuck Lorre (Story), Steven Molaro (Story), Eric Kaplan (Story), Bill Prady (Teleplay), Dave Goetsch (Teleplay), Maria Ferrari (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 16.13 million Households Rating: 9.6/15 Adults 18-49 Rating: 5.5/16

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to Leonard and Penny starting a "beta test" period for their newly reformed relationship.

> Fun with Flags

Sheldon launched his vodcast, "Sheldon Cooper Presents: Fun with Flags", in this episode with an introductory episode, "Flags: you gotta know how to hold 'em, you gotta know how to fold 'em." For the second vodcast, which featured the flag of Bavaria, Amy was dressed as a pretzel while Sheldon was wearing lederhosen.

> The Flag of Apartment 4A

The apartment flag, a gold lion rampant on a field of azure, is one of two flags (the other being the U.S. flag) shown in the background of Sheldon's vodcast, "Fun with Flags", which he started in the episode.

Episode Quotes

Howard: [Chuckles] Look at that. There's finally a woman in your life you can talk to.

Sheldon: Now, today's episode of 'Fun with Flags' is not fun, but it is important. Flags: You gotta know how to hold 'em, you gotta know how to fold 'em.

Leonard: I missed you.
Penny: You see me all the time. You sure you don't just miss the sex?
Leonard: Well, yeah, the sex with you is pretty great. Have you ever tried it?
Penny: I have. You're not wrong.

Kripke: Siwi, can you recommend a restaurant?
Siri: I'm sorry, Bawwy. I don't understand "wecommend a westauwant."

Amy: Her heart's full of love, no one cares what's in her mouth.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
Season 5 Episode Tournament: Result July 17, 2012

Our Big Bang Theory: Season 5 episode tournament has now closed and a result has been declared. Thank you to everybody who voted in the tournament.  Full story

Episode 5.14 Ratings: Bigger than American Idol January 27, 2012

Last night's episode of The Big Bang Theory finished ahead of American Idol in the ratings for the same half-hour period. The Big Bang Theory was the night's highest-rated and most-watched scripted show.  Full story

CBS Announces Episode 5.14 January 12, 2012

CBS has announced the January 26, 2012 episode of The Big Bang Theory. John Ross Bowie reprises his role as Barry Kripke in the episode.  Full story

Episode Tournaments

WinnerThis episode won our Season 5 episode tournament in July 2012.


Sheldon and Amy are filming a video in his apartment, the first episode of a new Internet series Sheldon Cooper Presents Fun with Flags. Leonard walks through the living room, interrupting their shoot. Leonard is heading out for his date with Penny. Later that night, Leonard and Penny are returning from their date. Penny tells him they should take things slow in their relationship, so Leonard suggests they think of their relationship like a software application that's being developed. They give their relationship a trial run and when they encounter problems, they file a bug report so they can fix it. Penny asks if he means a beta test, although Leonard quibbles and says it's technically an alpha test as a beta test is done by people who weren't involved in the development. Penny accepts Leonard's suggestion and they both agree to keep a list of any problems they have with their relationship. Leonard arrives home as Sheldon calls cut on take 47 of Fun with Flags.

Sheldon is discussing his ideas for Fun with Flags with Raj in their office when Howard stops by to see Raj's new phone. Raj tries out the voice recognition, Siri, on his new iPhone, with Howard saying he's finally found a woman he can talk to. Raj decides to get to know Siri and goes out for coffee. Later, Sheldon and Amy, and Leonard and Penny are watching Doctor Who in the apartment. Penny files a bug report that when Leonard asks her to spend time with him, he should plan something more exciting than watching TV. Leonard hands Penny a color-coded list of all the bugs he's found in their relationship. Elsewhere, Raj is talking to Siri and asks her to call him sexy.

In Sheldon and Raj's office, Barry Kripke arrives to tell them about a pot luck dinner they're throwing for Professor Rothman's retirement on Friday. When Raj asks Siri to remind him to make his famous popovers on Friday, Kripke says the voice recognition on Siri is terrible. Kripke demonstrates by asking Siwi to weccomend a westauwant, but she doesn't understand Bawwy's request. When Leonard picks Penny up for a date, she makes a point of noting all the changes she's made in response to Leonard's bug reports - such as reading more books and wearing less tall shoes. Penny then hands Leonard a list of her bug reports, including one that his eyebrows are stupid.

Raj is having Howard and Bernadette over for dinner and continues to be creepily attached to Siri. Bernadette isn't sure she wants to stay. Elsewhere, Leonard has taken Penny to a shooting range, having rang her dad to ask what Penny liked to do as a kid. Penny is impressed by Leonard's thoughtfulness and asks if he wants her to show him what to do with the gun. Leonard claims to know all about gats having played Grand Theft Auto, but he ends up shooting himself in the foot. Penny helps Leonard up the stairs to his apartment. Leonard claims to be bad ass for having a gunshot wound, but Penny says he's actually only got a Reebook with a gunshot wound and an ouchie on his pinkie toe. Leonard thanks Penny for hiding his Star Wars socks at the emergency room, and wonders whether it's time to evaluate their beta test. Penny tells him things are looking good. When Leonard arrives home, Sheldon and Amy are filming a Bavarian-inspired Fun with Flags.

Elsewhere, Raj arrives at the offices of Siri to finally talk to the woman of his dreams in person. Unfortunately he can only talk to his phone, not the attractive woman in front of him. A disappointed Raj wakes from his dream.