The Focus Attenuation Season 8, Episode 5 -  Aired October 13, 2014

The Focus Attenuation

When the guys want to spend the weekend working on science projects, the girls opt for a weekend trip to Vegas. After Penny receives an email from work bringing forward a deadline, she chooses to spend the night studying instead of partying, while Amy and Bernadette go out on the town. Meanwhile, the guys' efforts to invent a hoverboard never get off the ground when they keep getting distracted.

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Writers: Jim Reynolds (Story), Maria Ferrari (Story), Adam Faberman (Story), Steven Molaro (Teleplay), Eric Kaplan (Teleplay), Steve Holland (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 15.32 million Households Rating: 10/16 Adults 18-49 Rating: 4.5/14

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to the guys' loss of focus as they keep getting distracted from their task of inventing something.
  • Sheldon references the date Penny moved into the apartment building as September 24, 2007, which is the date the Pilot episode aired.

> Sheldon's Knock

When Sheldon goes to Penny's apartment to talk to her about the party the girls are throwing, he does his ritualistic knock but with five rounds. After Penny questions why he knocked more than usual, Sheldon says "Next time I might be in a rush. It's good to have a few in the bank."

Episode Quotes

Amy: But enough about Penny, let's talk about us. We're looking good.
Bernadette: We are.
Amy: Better than good. I mean look at you, your body's bangin'.
Bernadette: Amy!
Amy: Don't Amy me. We're always talking about how hot Penny is. Come on, scientist to scientist, how big are those hadron colliders?

Sheldon: I know the real reason you never made progress with that idea. You thought of it September 22nd, 2007. Two days later, Penny moved in and so much blood rushed to your genitals, your brain became a ghost town.

Bernadette: Guess who won a hundred dollars playing craps?
Penny: That's a dollar.
Bernadette: Guess who wildly over-tipped a cocktail waitress?

Leonard: Penny is not the reason I did not pursue that idea.
Sheldon: Oh really? Since meeting her, what have been your greatest accomplishments?
Raj: Easy. Sleeping with Penny.
Howard: Getting Penny to go back out with him after she dumped him.
Raj: Tricking Penny into getting engaged.
Howard: And a few weeks ago he almost did a pull-up!

Leonard: It wasn't until his twenty-first birthday that 1955 Biff placed his first bet.
Sheldon: Wow wow wow. Is 'placed' right?
Leonard: What do you mean?
Sheldon: Is 'placed' the right tense for something that would have happened in the future of a past that was affected by something from the future?
Leonard: 'Had will have placed'?
Sheldon: That's my boy.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
805 'The Focus Attenuation' Ratings October 14, 2014

Last night's The Big Bang Theory dominated the ratings to rank first in its time period and the night overall. This week's episode, "The Focus Attenuation", had 15.32 million viewers, down from last week's 15.75 audience. The show held steady in the key adults 18-49 demographic delivering a 4.5/14 rating again this week. The Big Bang Theory was first in viewers and all key demos in its time period and the night as a whole.  Full story

805 'The Focus Attenuation' Pictures October 4, 2014

We have added pictures from the October 13 episode of The Big Bang Theory, "The Focus Attenuation", to our gallery. In the episode, the girls' Vegas weekend is interrupted when Penny receives an email from work, while the guys spend their time trying to invent something cool. Head over to our gallery to view the all the episode pictures.  Full story

805 'The Focus Attenuation' Press Release October 3, 2014

CBS has put out the press release for the October 13 episode of The Big Bang Theory, "The Focus Attenuation".  Full story


When the guys hear about a new invention which they had the idea to make years before, they realize they have been distracted from science and vow to spend the weekend creating something cool. After Leonard asks Penny whether it would be okay for the guys to have the weekend, Penny, Amy and Bernadette decide to spend their weekend in Vegas.

The guys are getting ready for their big weekend in the apartment but they are soon distracted when a discussion about the contribution of science fiction to real-life inventions leads them to watch Back to the Future II. Meanwhile, the girls are planning their night out in their Vegas hotel room when Penny receives a message from work. A deadline for her work has been brought forward, so Penny decides to spend the night studying her material while Amy and Bernadette go out on the town.

After the guys finishing watching Back to the Future II, they argue over the correct timeline of the movie. After failing to get much done in the apartment, the guys go to Leonard's lab to try focus their minds. After the guys get sidetracked watching pigeon ping pong on the Internet, Sheldon raises the idea of operant conditioning to train themselves to concentrate.

Back in Vegas, a clearly drunk Amy and Bernadette return to their hotel room to try convince Penny to go with them to a strip club. Meanwhile, the guys have implemented a form of operant conditioning by applying tape to their forearms, which will be pulled off when somebody takes them off topic. When Sheldon explains the often misunderstood difference between negative reinforcement and positive punishment, the guys end up starting the Ghostbusters movie.

After realizing they don't want to waste their time watching a movie on the small laptop screen, the guys return the apartment to watch Ghostbuers. Elsewhere, Penny has joined Amy and Bernadette in visiting a Vegas strip club, though she's decidedly less inebriated than her friends. The next morning, Penny is up bright and early ready to go to the pool. Penny wakes up a hungover Amy and Bernadette, taking some pride in being the sober one for a change.