The Love Car Displacement

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"The Love Car Displacement"
The Big Bang Theory episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 13
Directed by Anthony Rich
Story by Chuck Lorre,
Bill Prady &
Dave Goetsch
Teleplay by Bill Prady,
Steven Molaro &
Eric Kaplan
Original air date January 20, 2011 (2011-01-20)
Guest appearance(s)

Rick Fox as Glenn

Episode chronology
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List of The Big Bang Theory episodes

"The Love Car Displacement" is an episode of the television series The Big Bang Theory that first aired on CBS on January 20, 2011.[1] It is the thirteenth episode of the fourth season of the series and the seventy-sixth episode overall. The episode features a guest appearance by former professional basketball player Rick Fox.


Amy asks Penny to join her and the other guys on a trip to a science conference in Big Sur, California, as she believes them to be best friends. At first, Penny rejects the offer, claiming that she already has other plans for the weekend, however when she hears it includes a spa treatment, she changes her mind. Before they can get on the road, Sheldon, who was elected "travel supervisor" by the other guys because of threatening to use the filibuster procedure, sets up an extensive program, during which he explains where and when they are going to take breaks and also decides the seat layout. It is revealed that Amy convinced Sheldon to let Penny ride in the lead car with Sheldon, Leonard and her as Penny's "Nebraska backwoods skills and brawny hands" could help them if their car breaks down. Consequently, Howard, Raj, Bernadette (and later Penny after an attempt to stand up to Sheldon) ride in the other car, which Howard deems "the love car". During the ride, Howard & Bernadette discuss their sexual plans.

At the hotel check-in Bernadette spots Glenn (Rick Fox), her former college professor and ex-boyfriend. Howard feels intimidated by Glenn, who is tall and attractive. Howard complains that he is useless and "can't make any kind of sexual impact" in her life. Bernadette tries to coax him into feeling better, but Howard makes a comment how "when he dated a girl like [Bernadette], he never thought he would have to compete with someone like Glenn". After getting offended by that comment, she then decides to stay with Amy & Penny in their room.

A few minutes later Penny knocks on Leonard's door asking if she could sleep in his room due to Amy's nightmare post-effects: biting & scratching. Leonard accepts and the two climb into bed together. Leonard makes some witty Star Trek analogies about the Romulan Neutral Zone, and Penny tells him that her "shields are up" from waist down. During this exchange Sheldon awakens, asking them if they are going to have coitus. They both give different answers, prompting Sheldon to leave and seek shelter at Raj's room, where Raj is about to watch Bridget Jones's Diary.

Sheldon eventually kicks Raj out of his room due to him violating his regulations. Raj gets the key to Leonard & Penny's room where those two are, at Penny's suggestion, starting to have sex. Leonard rejects Raj's offer to watch Bridget Jones, so Raj crawls into the other bed to sleep, destroying the atmosphere for Leonard & Penny. The next morning Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, Raj, Bernadette and Amy speak at the conference. After a fairly normal start, they all begin to discuss the events of last night, with Leonard being upset about Raj walking in on him & Penny, and Howard & Bernadette still fighting. To make matters worse, Raj's drunkenness starts to get the best of him. After Leonard claims that he & Penny were getting back together, Penny makes it clear that it was just a one-time fling. She then searches for someone who can get her back to Los Angeles and leaves with Glenn, much to Leonard's dismay. (It should be noted that this scene is one of the few times Sheldon was the "normal" one of the group.)

The others drive back to Pasadena in low spirits the next day. The episode ends with a police car in pursuit of Leonard as, bothered by Penny going home with Glenn, he is speeding.


On the night of its first broadcast on January 20, 2011, the episode was watched by 13.63 million households.[2] The episode was the fifth most watched episode of the season.

IGN's Jenna Busch gave the episode a mixed review stating that "the episode was really a bit cheesy" and that she "didn't like the framework". She did, however, praise several character moments including Melissa Rauch's portrayal of Bernadette saying, "Bernadette was wonderful, as always. She's just so adorable, I could see her dating Rick Fox". Busch summed up by writing "There were definitely funny moments here, but that zing was missing tonight".[3] Jeffrey Kirkpatrick from TV Fanatic gave the episode a more positive review saying that "The brilliance of the show, as I've said before, is when Penny and Sheldon interact, but it's even striking a chord each time Penny and Amy are thrown together". Kirkpatrick also praised Kaley Cuoco as Penny, he wrote: "Kaley Cuoco is a very gifted comedienne, and her reactions to the nuttiness of the supposedly genius minds around her are always my favorite parts of every episode".[4]


  1. ^ "Listings - BIG BANG THEORY, THE on CBS". 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  2. ^ "Thursday Final Ratings: '$#*! My Dad Says' Adjusted Up, 'Bones' Adjusted Down - Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". 2011-01-21. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  3. ^ Busch, Jenna (2011-01-21). "The Big Bang Theory: "The Love Car Displacement" Review - TV Review at IGN". Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  4. ^ "The Big Bang Theory Review: "The Love Car Displacement"". TV Fanatic. 2011-01-21. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 

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