The Thanksgiving Decoupling Season 7, Episode 9 -  Aired November 21, 2013

The Thanksgiving Decoupling

Sheldon objects when he is forced to spend Thanksgiving at Mrs. Wolowitz's house with the group. A mistake from Penny's past adds drama to the gang's festivities, while Sheldon enjoys some unexpected male bonding.

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Guest Stars: Carol Ann Susi as Mrs. Wolowitz, Casey Sander as Mr. Rostenkowski, Brian Thomas Smith as Zack

Writers: Eric Kaplan (Story), Steve Holland (Story), Maria Ferrari (Story), Steven Molaro (Teleplay), Steve Holland (Teleplay), Jeremy Howe (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 18.94 million Households Rating: 11.7/19 Adults 18-49 Rating: 5.3/16

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to Penny's marital problem which they discovered on Thanksgiving.

Episode Quotes

Penny: Howard, cow tipping - real or not?
Howard: I'm going to say not. That's just based on me trying to roll my mom over when she's snoring.

Amy: It says here you can get an annulment if any of the following conditions were met: Were you unable to consummate the marriage?
Sheldon: Penny!? Ha! Next ...

Mike: I know I'm hard on you, but you're not the worst son-in-law in the world.
Howard: Mike, that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me.
Mike: Well, I'm drunk.

Raj: It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without an Indian providing the food.

Leonard: Yeah, well, she's not going to be your wife for long.
Zack: (To Penny) Oh no, are you dying!?

News Stories

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The Big Bang Theory posts its best Live+3 day ratings November 26, 2013

The Big Bang Theory has posted its best Live+3 day ratings ever, according to Nielsen ratings for last Thursday's episode. The Live+3 day ratings add in DVR viewing over three days following the original broadcast to the live ratings.  Full story

7.09 'The Thanksgiving Decoupling' Ratings November 22, 2013

Last night's episode of The Big Bang Theory dominated its time slot to rank as the night's most-watched and highest-rated broadcast. The Big Bang Theory had more viewers and a higher rating in the key demos than the other four networks combined.  Full story

7.09 'The Thanksgiving Decoupling' Pictures November 16, 2013

Pictures from next week's Thanksgiving-themed episode of The Big Bang Theory, 7.09 "The Thanksgiving Decoupling", have been added to our gallery.  Full story

Episode 7.09 'The Thanksgiving Decoupling' Press Release November 7, 2013

The November 21 episode of The Big Bang Theory will be the show's first Thanksgiving-themed episode. Casey Sander (Grace Under Fire) returns as Mike Rostenkowski, Bernadette's father, and Brian Thomas Smith reprises his role as Zack, Penny's former boyfriend.  Full story


As the gang argues in the apartment over whether cow tipping is real or not, Howard mentions how his mother has invited them all to Thanksgiving dinner at her house. Bernadette's dad will be coming and Howard never has anything to say to him. Leonard is excited to spend a Thanksgiving where he doesn't have to cook and hear Sheldon complain about it all day, so they agree to have dinner at Mrs. Wolowitz's.

On Thanksgiving day, as they prepare to leave for Mrs. Wolowitz's house, Sheldon is unhappy about having dinner at Mrs. Wolowitz's. When Penny mentions the Thanksgiving she once spent in Vegas with Zack, her ex-boyfriend, the guys are surprised to hear Penny's recollection of a fake Vegas wedding. They point out Vegas weddings are very much real. Meanwhile, Bernadette's dad, Mike, arrives at Mrs. Wolowitz's house. When Mrs. W. is too sick to cook dinner, Howard has the idea of getting Raj to do all the cooking so he and Bernadette don't have to.

In the car ride over, Leonard and Penny argue about her marriage to Zack. As Penny wonders how to do undo this mistake of a marriage, Amy looks up their options for annulment. Back at Mrs. Wolowitz's, Raj is taking care of the cooking and Bernadette is helping him, leaving Howard to spend some uncomfortable time with Mike. Amy and Sheldon, Leonard and Penny arrive for dinner. As Amy helps Bernadette and Raj cook, she fills them in on Penny and Zack's marriage. In the living room, Howard and Mike fail to bond over football, while Leonard and Penny work through the court papers for her annulment. Mike is surprised when Sheldon knows about football, and the pair quickly bond over the game.

Leonard is angry with Penny for inviting Zack to dinner so they could take of the papers. When Sheldon tells Mike how his dad died when he was fourteen, Mike offers Sheldon and beer. Back in the kitchen, Amy, Bernadette and Raj gossip about Penny and Zack, who then shows up. As Zack reluctantly agrees to sign the papers to end their hitherto unknown marriage, Penny gets angry at Leonard for how big of a deal he's made of this on Thanksgiving. The pair sign the papers anyway.

Back in the living room, Sheldon and Mike are getting drunk, with Sheldon burping Pi. Bernadette yells at Mike and Sheldon for making fun of Howard, forcing them to apologize. After dinner, Penny apologizes to Leonard, while Mike tells Howard he's not the worst son-in-law in the world.