Amy Farrah Fowler invites Penny for a weekend road trip as week 13 opens. She’d like to do a bit of bonding with her ‘best friend’ at a weekend scientific symposium that she and the entire Bang gang will be attending and presenting at. Penny initially declines.
Then Amy explains that the trip is all-expenses-paid at a 4-star spa/resort and Penny can’t rearrange her weekend calendar fast enough. “This is great,” she says after an awkward, non-breast touching “hug” with Amy “I haven’t had a vacation in ages.”
“In order to take a vacation,” Sheldon jibes, “one first has to work.”
Penny, who’s taking their orders at the gang’s weekly 6:00pm Tuesday visit to The Cheesecake Factory, warns Sheldon about the foolhardiness of antagonizing people who handle his food. Then she turns for the kitchen, leaving him to ponder.
Even after Amy advises him that Penny’s warning is sound, Sheldon’s unconcerned. “I trust Penny will adhere to the ‘Official California Restaurant Workers Solemn Oath of Ethics and Cleanliness.’”
“I don’t believe there’s any such thing,” Amy says and Sheldon looks exasperatedly at Leonard. “You lied to me?”
As might be expected, the morning of the departure for the conference in Big Sur (a five-and-a-half-hour drive from Pasadena) starts with typical Sheldon obnoxiousness. He lays out the trip in a protracted orientation that includes car assignments, a Q&A session, a quiz, safety drills, and a “commemorative group photo.”
Car 1 will be driven by Leonard with Sheldon riding shotgun and Amy and Penny in back. Car 2 will be driven by Howard with girlfriend Bernadette riding shotgun and Raj in back.
Once the trip gets underway, though, Penny doesn’t last long in the lead car, as she soon defies Sheldon’s authority as ‘Red Leader’ (his Star Wars-inspired walkie talkie handle to Howard’s ‘red five’). That earns her a spot in the backseat of Howard’s car, listening to Howard and Bernadette’s tortuous rendition of Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe.”
As the weary travelers arrive at the conference, Bernadette runs into an old boyfriend named Glenn (former LA Laker Rick Fox) and Howard’s insanely jealous. Relationship angst follows and Howard’s jealousy leads to Bernadette rooming for the night with Penny and Amy.
Those two have paired up because Amy and Sheldon have decided not to share a room for fear of ruining their friendship. After all, as Sheldon puts it: “Nothing sours a friendship more than over-familiarity with someone’s toilet routine.”
The new room assignment, however, doesn’t last. Amy volunteers to sleep with Penny and give Bernadette the other bed. “A word of warning though,” she tells an incredulous Penny, “I’m prone to night terrors, so if I wake up kicking and screaming, don’t panic. Just pin me down and stroke my hair and I’ll be fine.”
That leads a desperate Penny to room with Leonard and Sheldon. But when Sheldon wakes up to find the pair in bed, the possibility they might engage in “coitus” is unbearable and he rooms with Raj. Of course, rooming with Sheldon is unbearable for Raj and he trades up to Penny and Leonard’s room.
Raj’s entrance into their room interrupts the two just as Penny has decided to allow Leonard to “violate her neutral zone” for one night. Leonard manages one kiss before the interruption. So much for that. That leads to more relationship drama the next day during a conference panel in which Sheldon, Howard, Raj, Leonard and Bernadette are all speakers. Things get so bad in fact, that Penny—thanks to Bernadette’s help and much to Leonard’s chagrin—ends up riding home from the conference with Mr. Former LA Laker himself, Glenn.
“The Love Car Displacement” is yet another season 4 homerun and yet another reminder of why Bang is such a big winner for CBS. This episode is funny and well-written, with the chemistry and timing among the cast particularly strong. Overall, this was a very fun and funny episode.