712 - The Hesitation Ramification Aired January 2, 2014
After Penny's big acting break on NCIS gets cut, Leonard's attempts to help her lead Penny to make a bold relationship move. Meanwhile, Raj tries to improve his "game" before re-entering the dating world, and Sheldon learns how to be funny.
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Director: Mark Cendrowski
Viewers: 19.2 million Adults 18-49 Rating: 5.4/16
- The title refers to Leonard's hesitation when Penny asks him an important relationship question.
Amy tells Bernadette it's exhausting that Sheldon is trying to use science to determine the basis of humor. Amy asks her if she has any idea how hard it is to laugh at a knock-knock joke that starts with "Knock-knock-knock, Amy. Knock-knock-knock, Amy. Knock-knock-knock, Amy?"
After Sheldon and Leonard talk in the hallway, Leonard goes and knocks three times on Penny's door. Sheldon, who is opening his own apartment door, feels compelled to say "Penny."
Bernadette: (Shouting from the bathroom) How many times do I have to tell you to replace the toilet paper when it's empty?
Howard: I'm in the middle of something.
Bernadette: So am I!
Amy: Do you have any idea how hard it is to laugh at a knock knock joke that starts "Knock Knock Knock, Amy. Knock Knock Knock, Amy. Knock Knock Knock, Amy"?
Penny: I just got a part on a TV show.
Leonard: That's great. Guys ...
The guys: Yeah ...
Amy: What's the show?
Penny: NC - I I? or, you know, NC - S T D. I don't know. It's the one with all the letters.
Sheldon: Leonard, do you think I'm funny?
Leonard: No. Do you?
Sheldon: I think I'm hysterical.
Leonard: I take it back. That was funny!
Amy: This is nice that we all get to eat together.
The guys: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Amy: Can we maybe put the phones down and have an actual human conversation?
Sheldon: We can, but thanks to Steve Jobs we don't have to.
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Penny arrives at the apartment to tell the gang her great news: she got a part on NCIS, appearing as a customer in a diner who flirts with Mark Harmon. Some time later, at the Cheesecake Factory, Sheldon is thrown when Howard makes a joke that he doesn't understand. Penny reminds the guys her episode of NCIS is airing the next day.
As Sheldon and Leonard return home, Sheldon asks Leonard if he thinks he is funny. When Leonard tells him no, Sheldon decides to spend some time developing a unified theory of comedy that will allow him to elicit laughter from anyone at any time. Elsewhere, Bernadette and Howard drive Raj and his plus one to the apartment to watch Penny's big break. Bernadette is surprised the person Raj brought with him is Stuart. Raj explains how he almost met someone the night before, but panicked as she was so cute. Howard tells him if he's intimidated by talking to attractive girls, he should try talking to regular people first, perhaps at the mall.
As the gang watch NCIS, waiting for Penny's part, Leonard tells her how proud he is of her. Sheldon is uncomfortable watching episode 246 of the show first, having not seen the first 245 episodes. Penny is upset to find they cut her scene from the show. The guys tell her they're sure she was great on the show, but Penny leaves the apartment. Over in her apartment, Leonard comes to check on Penny. When Penny explains how this was supposed to be her big break, Leonard dismisses the idea it would have led somewhere, angering Penny. Leonard tells her he thinks she has what it takes to be an actress, but when Penny asks Leonard whether he believes in her and thinks that she will be on TV and in movies, he says he honestly doesn't. Leonard explains that Los Angeles is full of talented, beautiful actresses and they can't all make it.
Back at the apartment, Sheldon practices his new found knowledge of comedy on Amy. As Amy tries to hell him how it's unlikely he can create a unified theory of comedy after reading a few books, Sheldon does eventually make her laugh by dropping his trousers. Meanwhile, Raj and Stuart are at the mall looking for regular people to talk to. Leonard goes over to see Penny. He tells her he does really believe in her, and he got her an audition for the new Star Wars movie. Penny isn't so impressed when she finds out it's just an online entry form, and even Howard has auditioned.
Amy joins Howard and Bernadette at the Cheesecake Factory, explaining Sheldon is busy at home using science to determine the basis of humor. When Amy tells them how exhausting it is trying to laugh at Sheldon's jokes, Bernadette suggests she should just fake a laugh. Howard wonders whether Bernadette ever fakes laughter with him, but she assures him not. When Howard claims he would be able to tell if she was faking laughter, Bernadette laughs wildly as he explains how he's made plenty of girls laugh.
Back at the apartment, Penny comes over to make up with Leonard. As Penny tells him how she feels her life is a mess, Leonard assures her this is just a minor setback. When Penny says she's been out in Los Angeles for ten years and has nothing to show for it, Leonard tells her she has him. After Penny realizes he's right and asks him to marry her, Leonard just says "Um...". When Penny questions his hesitation, Leonard tries to explain he doesn't think it's right to say yes as she's drunk, sad and feeling lost. Sheldon interrupts them to try his new jokes. Penny takes the proposal off the table and leaves.
Still at the mall, the security guard tells Raj and Stuart it is closing time. Before leaving, Raj takes the opportunity to ask the guard about his job, satisfying his desire to talk to people. Back at the apartment, when Leonard is unable to sleep, he explains his relationship problem to Sheldon. As Sheldon comforts Leonard about his relationship with Penny, he also attempts to put a Kick Me sign on Leonard's back.