The following recap of “The Big Bang Theory” from CBS last Thursday night, April 23, may contain spoilers about the wildly popular television show. “The Big Bang Theory” stars Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting as Penny, Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter, Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler, Melissa Rauch as Bernadette Rostenkowski, Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom and in the past has occasionally featured Sara Gilbert as Leslie Winkle and John Ross Bowie as Barrie Kripke.
This week the new episode was titled, “The Graduation Transmission,” and there were three basic story lines that played out during the half hour show. The first storyline is about Raj, whose allowance has just been cut off by his extremely wealthy father. The second storyline is about Leonard, who has been asked to give a commencement speech during the upcoming graduation ceremony at his former high school. The third storyline involves Howard and Sheldon as they attempt to configure a remote control helicopter drone with a video camera that Raj purchased, but just can’t get to work right. At the start of the episode everyone in the main cast is gathered for a meal at Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment, as they often do. Raj is handing off the toy helicopter to Howard and says, “It’s, like, the best one they make, I just can’t get it to work.” Howard assures his friend, “I’ll figure it out,” and Raj explains that “It streams HD video straight to your phone while it’s flying.” Howard contemplates out loud, “Where were you when I was single?”
Leonard walks into the living room from the hallway and tells Penny, who is traveling with him to his hometown, “Okay, we should leave in about an hour. You all packed?” Penny, still eating, tells her boyfriend, “Uh, yeah, I just need to throw in a few last minute things. You know, makeup, underwear, clothes.” Sheldon snarkily comments, “If your bathroom floor counts as a carry-on, you’re packed.” Leonard has never given a high school commencement speech before, so it’s an exciting moment for him. Raj interjects, “Look, the problem with commencement speeches is that they’re boring. Ooh, do you own a T-shirt cannon?” Raj soon after confesses to owning a T-shirt cannon, but he’s not entirely sure why.
A short time later, when Leonard and Penny are leaving, he asks his girlfriend, “How’d you get ready so fast?” Penny tells him, “Oh, I pack light. Once, I got through an entire spring break with nothing but a long T-shirt and a belt.” Penny informs Leonard, “I’ve never been to New Jersey before,” and he says back to her, “It gets a bad rap from shows like ‘Jersey Shore’ and ‘Real Housewives’.” Penny, curious, asks him, “So it’s not really like that?” Leonard assures her, “No, it’s like that.” Moments later Leonard gets an alert on his phone and their flight has been cancelled due to a big storm all up the East Coast. Leonard is disappointed because he worked hard on his speech, but Penny offers to cheer him up, claiming, “I could pretend I’m a high school cheerleader who can’t control herself around esteemed alumni.” Leonard perks up as they walk back upstairs and says, “Greetings, distinguished cheerleaders.”
Howard and Sheldon spend the rest of the episode working on fixing the helicopter that won’t get beyond the calibration process due to an internal error. At one point they ponder what the red and yellow blinking lights mean, and it turns out it means the calibration failed and the two have to start the calibration over. Inevitably they get frustrated and Howard is convinced that, because he’s an engineer, he can disassemble the toy, find the problem and fix it. Howard is tired of fooling around with the helicopter and declares, “All right, playtime’s over. Let’s open this baby up.” When Sheldon worries that it’s a dramatic move that will void the warranty, Howard reminds Sheldon that he has a master’s degree in engineering. Howard quips, “I wipe my bottom with warranties. Except for AppleCare. That pays for itself in the long run.
Meanwhile, Raj’s father calls him via Skype to check up on how he’s doing and to get to the bottom of a recent expensive purchase. The conversation starts out civil, with his dad asking, “Are you still dating that dermatologist?” Raj jokes, “If you could feel how soft my skin is, you wouldn’t have to ask.” Eventually, his dad asks, “Why did you spend a month’s rent on a toy helicopter?!” Raj looks sad and replies, “Oh, you’re where that bill goes.” Raj’s father cuts him off from his allowance and Raj begs him, “No, Daddy, no! There are lots of other ways to teach me responsibility.” He goes on to explain, “But, Daddy, I miss my family so much, and with you and Mummy getting a divorce, I feel sad and empty. Buying a little toy every now and then helps me fill that void.” Raj fails to convince his dad to keep financing his lifestyle.
Penny takes it upon herself to cheer Leonard up with a gift, which prompts him to chuckle and ask, “Really? Sex last night, pancakes this morning. Am I dying?” The gift is a cap and gown because Penny has found a way for him to still give his commencement speech. She tells him, “I called your old high school and convinced them to let you give your speech over Skype.” There’s a warning though about the cap and robe, which came from a costume shop, and all they had left was sexy graduate. Penny warns him that the outfit might be a little short, but Leonard jokes, “Short and sexy, that’s my wheelhouse.”
Howard and Sheldon are in the kitchen, staring at a pile of parts that used to be the helicopter. Howard ponders the situation, stating, “Boy, oh, boy, that’s a lot of pieces,” which prompts Sheldon to ask him if he knows what they all do. Howard assures him that he does, but Sheldon picks up a random piece and asks, “What about this one?” Howard responds, “Well, how familiar are you with miniaturized integrated logic circuits?” When Sheldon tells him, “Not very,” Howard informs him, “That right there is a miniaturized integrated logic circuit.” Howard goes on to tell Sheldon that he’s an MIT-trained engineer that has built components for the space station, depsite the zero-gravity toilet that didn’t work for Russian cosmonauts and their potato-based diet.
When Raj stops by to get the helicopter he must now return, he freaks out when he sees it laying in parts on the kitchen counter. Howard tells Raj, “Relax, it’ll be fine,” but Raj yells, “No, you have to put this back together right now, so I can return it!” Sheldon remarks, “You can’t return it. Howard wiped his bottom with the warranty. I think metaphorically. But he was in the bathroom for a while.” Raj informs the guys that his father cut him off and he has to get his money back for the toy. Howard tells Raj to calm down and moments later Raj declares, “It’s time for me to step up and take responsibility for my life. Be a man.”
Raj decides it’s time to call his mother, who he calls, “Mummy.” Raj asks her, “How are you doing? Are you happy, Mummy?” His mother declares, “Such a sweet boy for asking. Can’t believe you come from the poison seed of your father.” It’s clear that Raj has decided his best course of interest is working both of his parents to see who will give him the most money for their love and affection. Raj tells his mother, “Anyway, speaking of Daddy, I had a very strange conversation with him. He said he couldn’t afford to send me money anymore because of his active social life.”
Raj’s mother becomes a bit more interested in their conversation and ponders what an active social life means. She asks Rajesh if his father is seeing someone, and he informs her, “All I know, Mummy, is that he’s a single wealthy doctor, and now, for some reason, there’s no money for your little boy.” She tells Raj, “Well, however much money your father was giving you, I’ll give you more.” Raj thanks his mother then shouts to his friends, “Helicopters for everybody!”
Howard, still working on the helicopter, narrows it down to a faulty pin on the onboard communication chip, which Sheldon thinks is very impressive. Sheldon asks, “You know, when you’re done with that, can you look at this? It doesn’t make smoke anymore,” and shows Howard a broken train engine. Howard tells him, “One toy at a time.” Sheldon comments, “Ah, maybe it’s for the best. I hear locomotive smoke is the second leading cause of death among train aficionados.” Howard jokes that the first cause of death is suicide. Bernadette pops in and tells her husband, “I have the tool you wanted.” Raj tells his friends, “You guys don’t have to go to the trouble. I’m back in the money now; I can just buy another helicopter.”
Howard tells everyone, “It’s not about the money. It’s about solving a problem. It’s why I became an engineer. It’s what I like to do, it’s what I’m trained to do. It’s who I am.” Moments later, Bernadette asks, “Why don’t you just call tech support?” The guys are flabbergasted at her suggestion. Howard declares, “There’s two kinds of people in this world: those who call tech support and those who make fun of the people who call tech support.” Bernadette affirms the situation and says, “I call tech support all the time,” and the guys make fun of her confession.
Leonard eventually gives his commencement address and is introduced as one of the most distinguished alumni, being a Caltech physicist. Leonard addresses the graduating class and also points the webcam at Penny, who says, “I didn’t know he was gonna point it at me, so don’t do drugs and stay in school.” Leonard remarks, “They’re graduating,” which prompts her to immediately say, “Okay, bye!” At some point in the commencement address, Leonard realizes that he is even boring himself. Leonard declares, “So, for the remainder of my speech, this is for the invisible kids.” Leonard speaks from the heart and eventually says, “My point is, while you’re spending all this time on your own, building computers or practicing your cello, what you’re really doing is becoming interesting. And when people finally do notice you, they’re gonna find someone a lot cooler than they thought. And for those of you who were popular in high school, it’s over, sorry.”
Howard eventually gets the helicopter put back together. He tells everyone, “I think we’re back in business.” After a quick check of the WiFi and GPS and after they make sure the battery is charged, the declare that all systems are go. They count down from five to one and there’s an electrical crackle and a big puff of smoke. Sheldon remarks, “That’s what my train used to do.” Howard relents and calls tech support. He remarks, “Probably wind up talking to some foreign guy who’s reading from the same manual I have.” When Raj’s phone starts to ring he says, “It’s my father, you jerks.”
Raj’s father demands to know what he said to his mother, but he plays it cool and says, “Nothing.
I was just calling to check in, make sure she’s doing okay.” His father declares, “Well, after talking to you, she seems to think I’m some sort of playboy.” Raj continues to play it cool and tells his father, “Really? I don’t know where she’d get an idea like that. You know Mummy and her crazy imagination. I’m so lucky I take after you.” This touches his father’s heart who echoes his sentiment and says, “You think you take after me?” Raj tells his dad, “Well, I try to.
I certainly wouldn’t be a scientist if you hadn’t been my role model.” Apparently his father agrees to give him his allowance back and Raj shouts to everyone, “Who wants to go to Vegas in a real helicopter?!”
Howard, still on the phone with tech support, is told by a recording, “Your call is important to us.
All our technicians are busy helping other customers. Please stay on the line and someone will be with you shortly.” Flute music plays in the background. Howard wonders, “What happened to me? When did I become an old man baffled by modern technology? Next thing you know, I’ll be hitching my pants up to my armpits and complaining about the awful music the kids are listening to.”
Moments later the helicopter comes to life, turns on and rises up into the air. Howard exclaims, “It’s working! I did it!” It starts to fly a bit out of control and Bernadette says, “Maybe you shouldn’t be flying it inside.” Howard realizes the helicopter isn’t in his control, and it’s actually wildly out of control. Howard tells her, “Well, I’m not flying it! Must be getting a WiFi signal from somewhere else!” Sheldon yells out, “Initiate landing sequence! Initiate landing sequence!”
When the tech support is heard talking indistinctly over phone, Sheldon yells out, “Yes, it’s a robot uprising! Call the police!”