|Writers||Chuck Lorre (Story), Bill Prady (Story), Lee Aronsohn (Teleplay), Jennifer Glickman (Teleplay)|
|Starring||Brooke D'Orsay as Christy, James Hong as Chen, Carol Ann Susi as Mrs. Wolowitz, Kimberly D. Brooks as Automated Cell Phone Voice|
|Air Date||5 November 2007|
Season 1, Episode 7 (0107)
When Wolowitz seduces Penny's friend and takes over her apartment, Penny sleeps on Leonard and Sheldon's couch. With Wolowitz preoccupied, the guys discover they are without a fourth member of their group and in desperation, they ask Penny to join their Halo team.
(full summary, edited from Wikipedia):
It's Halo Night, but the boys are interrupted by Penny, who wants to hang out in their apartment for awhile. As it turns out, Penny's slutty 'friend' Christy from Nebraska is in town and Penny needs a break from her incessant chatting about all the men she's slept with back in Omaha. Howard is intrigued and wanders across the hall, & ends up spending the evening with Christy. With Howard gone for the evening, Penny takes his place on their Halo team, causing Sheldon much distress as she is naturally good at it. When the Halo evening is over, Penny goes back to her apartment only to discover to her horror that Howard and Christy are "hooking up" in her bed. She asks to stay and to sleep on Leonard and Sheldon's couch for the night. Leonard says yes immediately, but Sheldon has trouble coping with this disruption of his routine, especially when he gets up in the morning to watch Doctor Who, but realiszs Penny is asleep in his "spot".
To solve the problem of who's sleeping where (and with whom), Christy moves in with Howard (and his mother). This new girlfriend, however, begins taking up all of Howard's time. Sheldon is distraught over the odd number in the group, believing they can no longer function. He's even more distraught when he relents and agrees to ask Penny to join in on their Halo night, but she declines the offer to instead go dancing with her friends. Believing they are falling apart as a group, the guys go to speak to Howard. When they arrive, they hear Christy and Wolowitz's mother arguing loudly, resulting in Christy threatening to leave. Howard, who sneaks out of the house to avoid the arguing women and encounters his friends on the porch, says brightly 'So, Halo night?' and the group is restored.
I. Living room, Friday evening
Titles and opening theme
II. Living room, Friday evening
III. Living room, Saturday morning
- Sheldon cannot cope with the fact that Penny sleeping on the couch prevents him from watching Doctor Who.
- Howard enters in Penny's dressing gown, and Penny confronts Christy that she should find another place to stay. Howard proposes she stays with him. He doesn't care that Christy is obviously just using him.
- Sheldon refuses to have the guys' usual Chinese meal because he finds it impossible to divide the order by three instead of four.
VI. Hallway in front of apartment, Wednesday evening
VII. In front of Howard's house
VIII. Living room
The first scenes take place on a Friday night (since in the morning Sheldon is trying to follow his usual Saturday morning routine of watching Doctor Who at 6.30 am). The Friday following the date of the previous episode (27 October) would be the 2nd of November.
On the next day, Saturday (3 November), Christy moves in with Howard at his mom's house.
The following Wednesday, which would be the 7th of November, the boys invite Penny to join them for Halo night, but she declines, saying she's going dancing with one of her girlfriends. They then go to Howard's house, he accompanies them back to play Halo, and Penny shows up with her attractive friends only to be completely ignored by the boys.
NOTE: We do learn later in this episode that Halo Night is on Wednesday, but the boys are playing Halo on a Friday, which is a bit of an inconsistency. We can explain this, however, by assuming that on that Friday night, which is supposed to be "Vintage Game Night", the boys chose an earlier version of Halo as their "vintage game". This is somewhat verified when Leonard on the following Wednesday tells Sheldon that he's asking Howard to choose between sex and Halo, and Sheldon says he's actually asking Howard to choose between sex and Halo Three, which could suggest that the previous evening of playing Halo involved an earlier version of the game.
There is a small discrepancy in this episode. When Sheldon, Leonard, and Raj are trying to figure out how they will play Halo without Howard; Leonard suggests that they play one on one. Sheldon opposes the idea and Leonard says " The only we can play teams is if we cut Raj in half" in which Raj objects (Penny,at this point is still in the room) "Oh yeah, cut the foreigner in half. There's plenty more where he came from" As an audience we are aware that Raj can not speak in front of or to women. However, Penny is in the room and Raj knows this yet he speaks; a mild inconsistency.
Commentary and Trivia
On the surface, this episode seems to simply have some fun with the characters' quirks. Howard shows that he has no standards when it comes to women, Sheldon can't stand a change to his routine and finds Penny annoying, the boys are so engrossed in playing a video game that they don't even notice when Penny turns up with three beautiful girlfriends and offers sex (a replay of Penny's similar comment in the second episode), and so on.
There is a lot more going on here, though. In the midst of this standard sitcom plot, we see another gentle nudge toward the integration of Penny into the guys' world. Here she plays a video game and really enjoys it (although her somewhat mean response to Leonard when he asks if she'd like to enter a few Halo tournaments shows that she doesn't yet feel at home with her inner "nerd").
A key idea here is that Penny finds herself teamed up with the boys, not just in Halo but also in dealing with an annoying friend. When in trouble, she seeks out Leonard for help. Instead of the puppy dog panting we see from him in the first few episodes, here he acts as a true friend, almost without any come-ons at all, and she finds in him the support and friendship she needs. The characters are evolving before our eyes.
The game Halo 3 was released on September 25, 2007, just a little over a month before this episode aired.
A paradox is a statement which cannot be true, but also cannot be false -- in other words, things which don't fit together at all but somehow still do. While the reference to "dumpling" connects to the scene where Sheldon has a huge problem of ordering food in the restaurant without Wolowitz (trying to divide four dumplings among three people), it can also be seen as a reference to an attractive woman (the plural is a slang term for breasts). In that context, the paradox of the title can also be seen as the mis-fit of Penny into the group as the fourth member of the Halo team, and also the way that the boys' world of video games fails to connect with her world of dancing -- and of the four beautiful women standing in their doorway.