The Vacation Solution Season 5, Episode 16 -  Aired February 9, 2012

The Vacation Solution

After Sheldon's boss forces him to use his mandatory vacation time, he decides to work at Amy's lab and puts his relationship to the test when it appears he may be bad at biology. Meanwhile, Howard and Bernadette hit a pre-marital snag when Bernadette's father insists they sign a pre-nuptial agreement.

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Guest Stars: Joshua Malina as President Siebert, Nick Clifford as Phil

Writers: Chuck Lorre (Story), Anthony Del Broccolo (Story), Tara Hernandez (Story), Bill Prady (Teleplay), Steven Molaro (Teleplay), Maria Ferrari (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 16.21 million Households Rating: 9.7/16 Adults 18-49 Rating: 5.6/16

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title references Sheldon's solution to his vacation "problem", his idea to work in Amy's lab.

> Sheldon's Knock

Sheldon uses his knock once when he goes to Amy's lab to work during his forced vacation.

Episode Quotes

Howard: I'm not signing a prenup.
Penny: All right, Howard Wolowitz, listen up! You sign anything she puts in front of you, because you are the luckiest man alive. If you let her go, there is no way you can find anyone else. Speaking on behalf of all women, it is not going to happen, we had a meeting.

Penny: So you're saying if I became a famous movie star, we got married, you wouldn't sign a pre-nup?
Leonard: Absolutely not! If I'm gonna be stuck at home with the kids while you're on location cheating on me with Ryan Gosling, then Leonard gots to get paid.

Penny: Hey, what are you guys doing here?
Howard: We're grown men, we drink at bars.
Penny: No and no. Everything okay with you and Bernadette?
Howard: Oh yeah, sure.
Penny: You and Amy? Good?
Sheldon: Oh, better than good.
Penny: You know those girls text me every detail of their lives as it happens.

Bernadette: Oh, I don't know. I don't want to manipulate him with sex.
Penny: Oh, sweetie, that's what sex is for.

Sheldon: Gentlemen, I think I've come up with a fun way to get young people interested in science. Physics Mad-Libs. Now, give me a number.
Leonard: Five.
Sheldon: Uh-huh. And an irrational constant.
Howard: E.
Sheldon: And a funny Greek letter.
Raj: Gamma.
Sheldon: I said funny.
Raj: Upsilon?
Sheldon: Good one. And an electrical charge.
Leonard: Positive.
Sheldon: Ha. Perfect. Okay. Get this. Professor Jones told the symposium he had a new method for calculating the mass of a muon. Five times the limit of E to the upsilon as in a ... (laughs uncontrollably) ... Okay. No, no. I'll start over. Professor ... (laughs again).

News Stories

Title Date Posted
Episode 5.16 Ratings February 10, 2012

The February 9, 2012 episode of The Big Bang Theory beat American Idol in key demographics and finished a strong second overall in its time slot. The Big Bang Theory matched its Thursday-highs in the adults 18-49 and 18-34 demographics.  Full story

CBS Announces Episode 5.16 February 4, 2012

CBS has announced this coming Thursday's episode of The Big Bang Theory. Joshua Malina (The West Wing) reprises his role as University President Siebert in the episode.  Full story


As the guys eat lunch in the university cafeteria, their boss, President Siebert, comes over to tell Sheldon he has to take a vacation, which Sheldon strongly disagrees with. The next day, Leonard is enjoying the drive to work alone by singing along to the radio - until Sheldon jumps up from the back seat to tell him to stop his caterwauling. Sheldon is trying to sneak into work and wants Leonard to hide him in the back of his car. Leonard tries to turn the car around and drive Sheldon home, but Sheldon notices on his phone's GPS.

As Penny and Amy help Bernadette sort out her wedding invitations, she reveals her father is pressuring her to make Howard sign a pre-nuptial agreement since she makes more money than he does. In the apartment, Sheldon is trying to find a place to go on vacation, but Hawaii and Florida are out of the question. Sheldon recalls that they once forced Richard Feynman to take a vacation but he instead decided to spend his time in a friend's biology lab, so he decides he'll go work with Amy while he is forced to use his vacation days. When Leonard meets Penny in the hallway on her way to do laundry, she reveals to him that Bernadette's dad wants Howard to sign a pre-nup. Leonard says if Penny becomes a famous movie star he would not sign a pre-nup either, and he is interested to hear that Penny actually thinks about them getting married.

In Amy's lab, Sheldon arrives ready to start his vacation. Unexpectedly for Sheldon, Amy wants him to do some grunt work and wash the beakers. Elsewhere, in the university cafeteria, Leonard tells Howard that he's heard Bernadette is thinking about asking for a pre-nup. Although Howard is taken by surprise, he doesn't think it's a big deal and understands that Bernadette makes more money than he does. Back in Amy's lab, Amy is unhappy with Sheldon's washing and tells him to wash the beakers again. Later, Amy asks Sheldon to count bacteria spores on a petri dish. When Amy interrupts Sheldon as he counts to 367, he is forced to start again. Sheldon soon complains about the tasks Amy is giving him, saying she is afraid to give him anything meaningful to do. Amy challenges Sheldon to slice a brain to remove the locus coeruleus. Sheldon's hands tremble as he attempts to do it and he is surprised the brain bleeds so much, until Amy points out it's his thumb. Sheldon takes a look at his cut and faints.

Howard and Sheldon are drowning their sorrows at the Cheesecake Factory. Penny asks them why they're there in the middle of the day, which they do not answer. Penny points out that Amy and Bernadette text her every detail of their lives. Penny then gives Howard some advice, telling him he's incredibly lucky to have Bernadette, he will not find a better woman, and he should sign anything she puts in front of him. Penny scorns Sheldon for fainting at the sight of a little blood. Sheldon tries to prove he has a substantial wound but yet again faints when he sees it.

Sheldon returns to Amy's lab to try resume his vacation. Amy eventually coaxes a proper apology from Sheldon and allows him to continue working in the lab, cleaning beakers. In Howard and Bernadette's car, she asks if he's mad at him. Howard says he's not angry but he wished she raised the issue with him first. When Bernadette admits she's unsure whether she wants a pre-nup, Howard says he will talk to her dad, man-to-man.