The Rothman Disintegration Season 5, Episode 17 -  Aired February 16, 2012

The Rothman Disintegration

When an office at the University becomes available, Sheldon and his archnemesis, Barry Kripke, compete for it. Meanwhile, Amy gets Penny an extravagant gift that makes her feel uncomfortable.

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Guest Stars: John Ross Bowie as Barry Kripke, Joshua Malina as President Siebert, Lynn Phillip Seibel as Professor Rothman

Writers: Chuck Lorre (Story), Bill Prady (Story), Steve Holland (Story), Steven Molaro (Teleplay), Eric Kaplan (Teleplay), Jim Reynolds (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 15.65 million Households Rating: 10.1/16 Adults 18-49 Rating: 5.1/15

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to the declining mental state of Professor Rothman, whose soon-to-be vacant office Sheldon and Kripke fight over.
  • The painting which Amy bought for Penny is later seen again in the Season 10 episode, "The Property Division Collision".

> Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock

As Sheldon and Barry Kripke argue over who should get Professor Rothman's vacated office, Raj suggests they settle it with a game of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock. Barry Kripke has never heard of it so Sheldon explains the rules to him. To torment him, Kripke asks Sheldon to explain the rules again and again.

Episode Quotes

Amy: I'll let you in on a little secret. Originally, we were painted nude. But I had him add clothes cause I thought it was an unnecessary challenge to our heterosexuality.
Penny: Yeah, good call.
Amy: But, if you ever change your mind, all it would take is some warm, soapy water and a couple of sponges.
Penny: You're talking about the painting, right?
Amy: Sure.

Sheldon: I'm trying to raise the temperature in here before my nipples tear through my shirt.

Penny: It's kind of heavy.
Bernadette: Too bad you're not as strong as the dude in the painting.

Kripke: Well, as long as we're here, I might as well take a leak.
Sheldon: Kripke, you're in my spot.

Amy: Before I met you, I was a mousey wallflower. But look at me now. I'm like some kind of downtown-hipster-party girl with a posse, a boyfriend and a new lace bra that hooks in the front, of all things!

News Stories

Title Date Posted
Episode 5.17 Ratings February 17, 2012

The February 16, 2012 episode of The Big Bang Theory beat American Idol in key ratings for the fifth consecutive week and was the night's highest-rated and most-watched scripted program.  Full story

CBS Announces Episode 5.17 February 7, 2012

CBS has announced the February 16th episode of The Big Bang Theory. John Ross Bowie and Joshua Malina reprise their roles as Barry Kripke and University President Siebert, respectively, in the episode.  Full story


As the guys return from a retirement party for Professor Rothman, a physicist who had a breakdown, they pass his old office. Sheldon calls dibs on the office, though they find Barry Kripke is already measuring the curtains. Sheldon and Kripke find their boss, President Siebert, to settle who should get the office. Siebert doesn't care who gets the office so they must sort it out between themselves. Elsewhere, Amy arrives at Penny's apartment with a gift: a huge, unflattering painting of Penny and Amy. Penny confides in Bernadette that she thinks the painting is too big and ugly, but they can't find a nice way to tell Amy. Penny settles on putting the painting up only when Amy is coming around.

Barry Kripke arrives at the apartment to settle the debate with Sheldon over who should get Rothman's office. After ruling out a duel and Star Trek trivia contest, Leonard suggests they challenge each other with something they're both equally bad at, sports. The guys go to a gymnasium for a basketball challenge, but neither Sheldon or Kripke manage to land any baskets. In the end, the guys see who can get the ball to bounce the highest. Sheldon wins and is granted Professor Rothman's office. Elsewhere, Penny, Bernadette and Amy finish watching Grease the movie. When Amy and Bernadette say good night, Penny takes the painting down. Amy returns to borrow the DVD and finds Penny has removed the painting. Hurt that Penny hates the painting and didn't tell her, Amy takes the painting back.

Penny goes over to Amy's apartment to apologize. When Penny struggles to win Amy back, she lies and tells her that the real reason she took the painting down was because Bernadette was jealous. Amy decides they should hang the painting back up anyway. Elsewhere, Sheldon is freezing as the heat in his office is controlled by the professor next door, a menopausal woman currently in the throes of hot flashes. Sheldon is bothered furthered by an unexplained hole in the wall, wind chimes blowing outside his office, a bird singing out of tune with the wind chimes, and Professor Rothman, who has a habit of returning to the office naked.

After Amy and Penny hang the painting back up, she admits to Penny that they were originally painted naked. Back in his new office, Sheldon gets his head stuck in the hole in the wall. Leonard promises to help Sheldon get his head out, but instead just takes a photo to post on the Internet.