Leonard conceives an idea for a clever, physics related smartphone app in week 12’s The Bus Pants Utilization and even the mighty Sheldon Cooper is impressed. “You know Leonard,” he says in the episode’s opening segment, “that’s actually a valid idea—very good!”
“Can you say that,” Leonard earnestly inquires, “and not make it sound like I’m a cat that learned how to use the toilet?”
Sheldon’s response is as condescendingly blunt as ever (too bad there’s not an app for that): “No; the two achievements are equally surprising and equally admirable. Though if pressed, I’d have to give a slight edge to the cat.”
Sheldon is so impressed, in fact, that he agrees—without being asked—or wanted, mind you—to be part of Leonard’s “project.”
“Oh, yay for me,” a clearly under-enthused Leonard responds.
Howard agrees to join Leonard’s team hoping a few extra bucks might help him raise the cash to move out of his mother’s house. Apparently, he’s always dreamed of building his own apartment over the garage.
Raj signs on so he might be able to take some time off work and give pretty girls submarine rides, which, surprisingly enough, isn’t a metaphor; he’s long dreamed of taking pretty girls underwater in a private submarine and showing them fish. Go figure.
As might be expected, Sheldon doesn’t play nice with the team and immediately tries to wrest control from Leonard. The situation quickly deteriorates and Leonard, unable to take anymore, ultimately “goes alpha nerd,” firing Sheldon from the team.
Sheldon soon after tries to woo Howard and Raj away from Leonard onto his own app-development endeavor. When that fails, he tries to sabotage Leonard’s team by playing the blues on a theremin (I had no idea what it was either) during their one of their development meetings. Leonard promptly kicks him out. His banishment sends him into the arms of the ever naïve, ever sympathetic Penny.
Penny has an idea for an app, too. Hers involves identifying and buying women’s shoes. Although Sheldon—after typical Sheldon fashion—initially denigrates Penny’s idea, she invites him in for hot chocolate, and ends up—unsuccessfully—playing peacemaker and arbitrator between Sheldon and Leonard.
After being kicked off Leonard’s team once again—thanks in part to Penny’s epic fail as a psychologist—Sheldon ends the episode helping Penny develop ‘Project Shoe’. Of course, before Sheldon can write an ‘alga-thingy’ for the app (Penny speak for ‘algorithm’), they first must compile a visual database of as many types of women’s shoes as possible. That’s a veritable hell-hole for a socially inept physics geek like Sheldon, a man with the fashion sense of a peccadillo—not that working with Sheldon is operation paradise for Penny.
The Bus Pants Utilization is hardly season 4’s finest half-hour, but it nonetheless managed its share of laughs. If nothing else, watching Parsons and Cuoco mix it up together onscreen is fun for all. The only cast combination that might be more entertaining than those two, in fact, might be Parsons and Mayim Bialik, whose obnoxious Amy Farrah Fowler returns in week 13’s The Love Car Displacement.