|Writers||Chuck Lorre (Story), Bill Prady (Story), Steven Molaro (Teleplay), Lee Aronsohn (Teleplay)|
|Starring||James Hong as Chen|
|Air Date||19 May 2008|
(Edited from Wikipedia:)
Penny breaks up with her boyfriend, after he posted intimate details about her on his blog. Leonard goes to comfort her, and in doing so, accidentally convinces her to get back with her boyfriend. As Leonard laments the situation to the guys, Penny returns and screams at Leonard, saying he made things worse. He tries talking to her again and she apologizes, saying it wasn't his fault. She explains that when she went over to make up, she found her boyfriend had already moved on.
As Penny laments her choices in men, Leonard awkwardly asks her on a real date. Penny thinks for a moment and agrees saying, "Sure, why not?". A few days pass and both Leonard and Penny are worried that this date will ruin their friendship. They both seek Sheldon's advice. Sheldon advises Penny that “just like Schrödinger's cat being alive or dead at same time” her date with Leonard currently has both “good and bad” possible outcomes. The only way to find out is to “open the box”, or in other words to go on the date and find which outcome it is. Penny understands what he's trying to say after he spends some time explaining the concept. Later, in the cafeteria, Leonard begs Sheldon for advice. All he has to say is "Schrödinger's cat" and Leonard understands immediately what he means.
When Leonard arrives to pick Penny up for their date, she says they need to talk. Leonard stops her and asks if she has ever heard of Schrödinger's cat and when she says she has, he passionately kisses her. Penny says "the cat's alive" and they leave for dinner.
Meanwhile, Sheldon asks Wolowitz to teach him Mandarin as he's convinced the Chinese restaurant is selling 'Orange Chicken' as 'Tangerine Chicken'...a lesser citrus. He doesn't become very good at it, and as a result the owner thinks he's crazy due to his humorous mistranslations (such as "Show me your mucous!", "This is not a tangerine bicycle!", and "Oxen are in my bed! Many, many oxen!"). It appears Leonard and Penny were going to go to this restaurant on their date, but when they see Sheldon fighting with the owner, they leave before entering.
I. Living room
Titles and opening theme
II. Hallway in front of apartments
III. Living room
V. Living room
VIII. Penny's apartment
XI. Szechuan Palace
The events of this episode most likely happen on a Monday and another day a few days later, most likely a Friday.
In the beginning we see the guys having Thai food and playing a board game, again indicating it is a Monday (see Schedule). The talk of Penny and Sheldon occurs on the same day as the date of Penny and Leonard.
On the surface, the title refers to Sheldon's attempt to learn Mandarin to convince the Chinese restaurant that their Tangerine chicken is in fact Orange chicken. In the context of the episode, the "tangerine factor" refers to something which a person wants and thinks they've found, but which turns out to be disappointing and not what they expected. This has been Penny's experience with the guys she has been dating.
Notes and Trivia
- Leonard asks Penny if Mike's blog about them having sex in interesting places is referring to "Subway the transportation system or Subway the sandwich shop". When she responds, there is a bag of Teddy Grahams sitting in front of Penny. Then he asks if that violates the health code, and when she responds, the bag of Teddy Grahams is on the counter behind her.
- Interestingly, Sheldon utters a quite authentic Mandarin sentence "Aiya, xia si wo le!" (literally "Alas, I'm frightened！"） to Penny in this episode, while all other "Mandarin" appeared in the first season are all very poor, including what Howard speaks in 1st episode, what the two "Chinese" speak at the end of 9th episode (it is very clear that they are not native Chinese speakers) and the other "Mandarin" that Sheldon speaks in this episode.