The Transporter Malfunction Season 5, Episode 20 -  Aired March 29, 2012

The Transporter Malfunction

Penny buys Leonard and Sheldon rare "Star Trek" collectibles as a thank you for the all times they've helped her out. The guys initially decide to keep their toys in the box, but Sheldon's "Inner Spock" convinces him to open his up - with disastrous results. Meanwhile, when Raj asks his parents to set him up on a blind date, he thinks he's found the "future Mrs. Koothrappali".

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Guest Stars: Leonard Nimoy as Spock, Chriselle Almeida as Lakshmi, Brian George as Dr. Koothrappali, Alice Amter as Mrs. Koothrappli

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

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 13.96 million Households Rating: 8.1/13 Adults 18-49 Rating: 4.7/15

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title simply refers to Sheldon breaking his Star Trek "Transporter" toy.

Episode Quotes

Leonard: Once you open the box it loses its value.
Penny: Yeah, yeah. My mom gave me the same lecture about my virginity. I gotta tell you, it was a lot more fun taking it out and playing with it.

Leonard: You went to the comic book store by yourself?
Penny: Yeah, it was fun. I walked in and two different guys got asthma attacks. It felt pretty good.

Sheldon: I thought where you come from they don't have emotions.
Spock Doll: I come from a factory in Taiwan.

Raj: No, I'm not gay. If anything, I'm metrosexual.
Dr. Koothrappali: What's that?
Raj: It means that I like women, as well as their skin-care products.

Penny: What is the truth?
Sheldon: My Mr. Spock doll came to me in a dream and forced me to open it. And when the toy broke I switched it for yours. Later, he encouraged me to do the right thing and I defied him. And then I was attacked by a Gorn.
Leonard: Okay, that I believe.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
Episode 5.20 Ratings March 30, 2012

Last night's episode of The Big Bang Theory, featuring guest star Leonard Nimoy, was the night's top-rated show in key demographics.  Full story

CBS Announces Episode 5.20: Leonard Nimoy guests March 12, 2012

CBS has announced the next episode of The Big Bang Theory, which will air Thursday, March 29, 2012. Legendary Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy voices Mr. Spock in the episode.  Full story


As the gang eat dinner in the apartment, Howard presses Raj about who he's bringing to the wedding. Raj is cagey about whether he'll be bringing a plus one. Later, Raj video chats with his parents asking them to set him up on a date. Back in the apartment, Penny arrives with gifts for Sheldon and Leonard as a thank you for all the help they've given her. The guys' gifts are mint-in-box 1975 Star Trek transporters. The guys are thrilled with their gifts, though Penny is disappointed when they say they won't actually be opening the rare collectibles.

Raj is with Howard and Bernadette at a restaurant awaiting the arrival of his blind date, Lakshmi. Later, as Sheldon works at his desk, he begins to hear the voice of Spock speaking to him. Spock tells him the only logical conclusion is this is a dream and that he should wake up and play with his toy. Sheldon unpacks the toy and begins to play with it but the transporter jams. Sheldon notices Leonard's toy and realizes it's the only logical solution. Elsewhere, in Raj's apartment, Raj and Lakshmi are enjoying desert together. They realize their parents are probably wondering how the date is going. Before they update their parents, they decide they should make sure they're on the same page. Lakshmi reveals that she is feeling a lot of pressure to settle down and have a family, and that she went on the blind date so they don't find out she's gay. Raj is surprised to hear Lakshmi is gay and even more surprised when she figures he is, too. Lakshmi is disappointed as Raj would be the perfect phoney-baloney husband.

Sheldon is turning in bed and then wakes up on an alien planet. The tiny Spock toy is talking to him again, chastising him for breaking the toy and switching it with Leonard's. Sheldon blames Spock for telling him to play with the toy. Sheldon throws the Spock toy away and is then attacked by a gorn. Sheldon wakes up in bed. Later, in Howard's lab, Raj confides in Howard that Laskhmi is gay and he is seriously considering going through with the sham marriage. Raj says marrying Lakshmi would get his parents off his back, give him somebody to come home to every night, and allow him to finally eat carbs again and let himself go. Howard does not think Raj should settle for a fake relationship.

Sheldon tries to switch the Spock boxes back around but realizes he doesn't want a broken toy. When Leonard and Penny arrive home, she convinces him to play with his toy. When Leonard opens it to find it's broken, Penny is angry that Stuart sold her a faulty item. Sheldon starts telling lies about how the Spock toy was broken, but each time he admits it's a lie. Eventually he tells them the truth that he opened the toy, broke it and switched it with Leonard's. Later, Howard and Bernadette stop by Raj's with a puppy for him.