The Communication Deterioration Season 8, Episode 21 -  Aired April 16, 2015

The Communication Deterioration

When Raj is giving the job of crafting a message for NASA in case a mission ever discovers alien life, the guys offer to help him work on the project. When Howard and Sheldon try to take over, Raj chooses to work on the project with Leonard instead. Meanwhile, Penny must decide whether to audition for a movie or instead focus on her well paid pharmaceutical sales job.

Rate this episode

Guest Stars: Sara Erikson as Gwen, Kelli Goss as Chelsea, Phoebe Neidhardt as Casting Assistant, Mark Maitre as Alien, Jeff Jingle as Alien 2

Writers: Dave Goetsch (Story), Steve Holland (Story), Jeremy Howe (Story), Steven Molaro (Teleplay), Eric Kaplan (Teleplay), Jim Reynolds (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to the extraterrestrial communication Raj works on for NASA, and the resultant break down in communication between alphas Sheldon & Howard and omegas Leonard & Raj.

> Sheldon's Knock

When Penny goes over to Sheldon's apartment to ask for his advice, she uses his knock. After Sheldon says "I bet that started off as a joke, but by the third one you realized there was something strangely enjoyable about it.", Penny says she kind of wants to do it again.

Episode Quotes

Sheldon: *singing in the tune of "Eye of the Tiger"* It's the eye of the tiger, it's the ear of the bat. It's the whiskers of a catfish and the walrus--
Howard: Hang on. Not that your song isn't terrible-- it is... but how do you mention bats and leave out sonar?
Sheldon: You didn't let me finish. *singing* And also regarding the bat. It has sonar.

Howard: First take a picture with me.
Bernadette: Why?
Howard: Well, Raj and I always talked about learning how to make cocktails like this together, so I taught myself and I'm putting this on Instagram so he can see it and feel like a turd. Say cheese!

Raj: Okay, so, what it sounds like is, what we want is a device that can deliver a message through not only sight, but other senses, as well.
Leonard: The most basic sense that any space-faring civilization would have to possess is touch.
Raj: Ooh. Ooh, ooh! We could make a video-playing device that simultaneously translates the information into a tactile medium.
Leonard: All we have to do is rig up a 3-D communication system!
Raj: We-we can totally do that!
Leonard: I know!
Raj: This is great!
Leonard: Yeah, you know what else it is?
Raj: What?
Leonard: Exactly what Sheldon and Howard said.
Raj: Well, thank you for peeing in my slippers.

Sheldon: *singing in the tune of "Bingo Was His Name-o"* There was a scientist who had a theory, and James Clerk Maxwell was his name-o. J-A-M-E-S, C-L-E-R-K, space, M-A-X-W-E-L-L, and James Clerk Maxwell was his name-o. There was a scientist who had a theory, and James Clerk Maxwell was his name-o. *claps* A-M-E-S--
Leonard: Okay, okay, we get it.

Sheldon: You can't breathe our air without an inhaler. He's allergic to Earth nuts, but I'm the alien.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
821 'The Communication Deterioration' Ratings April 17, 2015

Last night's The Big Bang Theory again delivered week-to-week ratings gains, moving up sharply in the key adults 18-49 demographic.  Full story

821 'The Communication Deterioration' Pictures April 15, 2015

Pictures from tomorrow's new The Big Bang Theory episode, "The Communication Deterioration", have been added to our gallery. In the episode, Raj gets the opportunity to craft a message for NASA in case their mission discovers alien life, while Penny is unsure whether to audition for a movie or stay with her pharmaceutical job.  Full story

821 'The Communication Deterioration' Press Release April 7, 2015

CBS has issued the press release for next week's episode of The Big Bang Theory, "The Communication Deterioration".  Full story


As Sheldon, Howard and Leonard sit down to eat lunch in the university cafeteria, Sheldon tells them he has rewritten popular children's songs with a scientific bent. Sheldon demonstrates with a James Clark Maxwell-inspired Bingo Was His Name-O, before launching into a more taxonomically correct version of The Itsy Bitsy Spider. When Raj joins them, he tells the guys he has been picked to record a message for NASA in case they discover alien life. Sheldon and Howard jump in with ideas, angering Raj who feels sidelined and instead chooses to work on the project with Leonard.

Leonard arrives at Raj's apartment to work on the NASA project. Although they're both happy not to be under the thumb of alpha males Sheldon and Howard, neither of the omegas has an idea of where to start. Meanwhile, Penny visits Sheldon to ask for career advice. Penny has the opportunity to audition for a job, but she's not sure whether she should risk her pharma job on the off chance of landing an acting gig. Having been told off for forcing his ideas on Raj, Sheldon is reluctant to tell Penny what to do. Elsewhere, Howard is preparing molecular cocktails - something he and Raj had planned to do. In a passive-aggressive swipe at Raj, Howard take a photo of him and Bernadette enjoying the drinks.

Back at the apartment, Penny interrupts Sheldon's train talk to ask for his advice about her different career options. Sheldon tells her she should audition for the movie but hold off on making career decisions until she actually gets the part. Over in Raj's apartment, he and Leonard finally get somewhere with an idea for a multi-sensory display for their alien message, only to realize it was exactly what Howard and Sheldon suggested.

In the university cafeteria, Sheldon performs another one of his songs for Howard, this time based on Eye of the Tiger. When Leonard and Raj show up, Raj apologizes to Sheldon and Howard and invites them to join the team. Elsewhere, Penny arrives for her audition and begins to realize why she left acting behind. In Sheldon and Leonard's apartment, Raj has an idea for how they can suggest ideas without belittling the others - by "building on" the previous person's suggestions. A hungry Sheldon builds on Raj's idea by suggesting they order dinner.

At the movie audition, Penny chats to two other actresses who share her disillusionment with the industry. Back at the apartment, having agreed the delivery mechanism for the message, the guys wonder what the message should be. Feeling sidelined again, Raj tells Sheldon and Howard their strong personalities take over, pushing him and Leonard out. Raj tells Howard how he was upset when Howard took Sheldon to Texas without asking him or Leonard along. In a similar vein, Howard's angry that Sheldon and Leonard went to Skywalker Ranch without him and Raj. When Leonard points out Sheldon spent a day with James Earl Jones without inviting the others, Sheldon realizes good things happen when he's in charge, so he takes command.

In her apartment, Penny tells Amy and Bernadette how she walked out of the audition. Penny says the audition reminded her of all the negative feelings she used to feel as an actress, feelings she no longer wants to experience. After Penny thanks Bernadette for helping her get the great pharmaceuticals job, Bernadette suggests she take her out for a thank you dinner - right there and then.