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"The Bakersfield Expedition" is the thirteenth episode of the sixth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode first aired on Thursday, January 10, 2013.[1]

Summary[]

The guys are heading to a comic book convention in Bakersfield,_California|Bakersfield dressed as Star Trek: Next Generation characters while the girls investigate the world of comic books.

Extended Plot[]

Sheldon steamings his costume

Sheldon steaming his costume

Sheldon and Leonard are preparing for their trip to the Bakersfield Comic-con and plan on wearing their Star Trek: The Next Generation costumes. Penny gives Leonard some make-up sponges and she mentions that he has more and better makeup than she does. When she attempts to borrow some, Leonard tells her that he loves her, but some things just aren't meant to be shared. Sheldon agrees because he once borrowed his sister's makeup and got a terrible case of pink eye, but the up side was that he was dressing as a zombie and the added effect helped him win second place. Penny remarks that they just went to the San Diego Comic-Con, and Leonard replies that the Bakersfield one is smaller and more about the comic books, which was what the San Diego one was like before it "went all Hollywood." He then takes a photo of him kissing Penny on the cheek while she holds the day's newspaper, so that he can show it to others when they don't believe that he has a hot girlfriend.

The girls are enjoying a Saturday brunch since they are all alone. Penny thinks it's great since she can drink booze in the morning without people thinking she has a problem. Amy comments that Sheldon doesn't like brunch since he can't stand sitting at a table where one person is eating an omelet and another is eating a sandwich. Leonard texts Penny that they are heading to Bakersfield at warp speed and she gives him an "LOL," though she thinks it's the mimosa talking. When Bernadette says how excited they all were, Penny wonders how these super-smart guys who work at a major university can get so excited about something made for twelve-year-olds. Bernadette thinks that it brings out Howard's inner child, though she confesses that when he wears his Batman pajamas to bed, she thinks she's touching his inner child. Ugh! Amy thinks that since they were bullied when they were kids in a world where you can't fight back, superheroes provide meaningful wish fulfillment. The girls realize that none of them have ever read a comic book and that maybe they should look into it since it is such an important part of their guys' lives. Bernadette tells them that the comic book store is nearby and Penny exclaims that that is an amazing idea, then wonders how many mimosas she has had.

On their trip, Sheldon keeps insisting that they enable the turn-by-turn voice option on the GPS. When Leonard finally gives in and turns it on, they discover that Sheldon has downloaded his voice and "fun" trip facts into the GPS software. Raj thinks that it's cool, while Howard wants Leonard to drive off the next bridge. Raj then suggests they stop at [[Vasquez Rocks, the filming location of several Star Trek episodes, and take some action photos in costume.

NG3

"Girls" invade the Comic Book Store.

Visiting the comic book store, the girls get stared at by all the male customers. Amy likes the attention and wanders around the store exclaiming "Hello, boys!" Stuart greets them and admonishes his customers that the girls are nothing they haven't seen in either movies or drawings. Penny told him that they were wondering why the guys liked comic books so much and wanted to give them a try. Stuart asks what kind they wanted--superhero, graphic novel, fantasy, manga--then turns on the advancing guys and warns them that he'll turn a hose on them. Bernadette asks what kind of comics the guys like and he says that it's mainly superheroes. When Amy asks who the best superhero is, Stuart tells her to keep quiet or she could start a rumble. Penny asks what he recommends, and he explains that you have your good guy superheroes like Superman and Spider-Man, or your darker anti-heroes like Batman and Wolverine. Amy remarks that she does like a bad boy, to which Penny quips, "As evidenced by your boyfriend and his fear of hamsters." He recommends Fables due to its excellent artwork, sophisticated stories, and the fact that it doesn't objectify women, while Penny thinks that Thor looks hot, to which Stuart agrees.

NG2

Posing in cosplay.

Ng6

Treking through the desert.

The guys are finished with their costumes: Sheldon is Data, Leonard is Jean-Luc Picard, Howard is a Borg drone, and Raj is Worf. First they pose in a fight scene, with Sheldon looking thoughtful because "Data's weapon is his mind." They then draw their phasers on Howard-as-a-Borg and take some Charlie's Angels and glamour shots, all with Sheldon holding his thoughtful pose. Suddenly, Leonard's car is stolen due to the key being left in it, along with their regular clothes and cell phones. They try to wave down a car, but it just passes them. Sheldon remarks that maybe they were better off since they could have gotten into a car with a crazy person, and Leonard explodes that they should look at themselves since they appear to be the crazy people. Leonard tells them that they should head off and find a gas station or something. Sheldon asks if he was taking charge just because he had on the Captain's uniform. When Leonard says yes, Sheldon agrees and joins them.

Back at Penny's apartment, Bernadette and Amy are waiting for Penny to finish her comic book. Amy analyzes her comic saying that, the plot was full of action, moved along at a brisk pace, and overall she found it to be, "Oh, what is the word...?" "Stupid." "So stupid." They wonder how the guys can get caught up for hours discussing something that doesn't even exist. Penny scoffs at Thor's hammer being so heavy that no one else can pick it up; Bernadette says that it's some kind of magic from Thor, while Amy counters that Thor is a god, it's his hammer, therefore only he can use it (like Sheldon and his toothbrush or his "thin, beckoning lips"). Wondering if they missed something, they go back to their comics, though they give Penny a head start.

Walking through the desert, everyone is complaining. Sheldon tells them to stop it because they are Starfleet officers. He reminds them that it's like they are living a Star Trek fantasy as a landing party lost on an alien world, relying only on their wits... a scenario that lasts until a passing car throws an Icee-like drink at Sheldon, who then exclaims, "I hate this planet." After a long walk, they arrive at a diner and ask the waitress for some water and to borrow a telephone to call the police. The waitress asks why they don't just have Scotty beam them up, and as she and the patrons laugh, Sheldon corrects her, telling her that they are Next Generation characters, not Original Series.

Meanwhile, the girls continue arguing about Thor's hammer and who can pick it up. They decide to go over to Leonard and Sheldon's apartment and go through the guys' comics to learn more about the hammer (with Penny still smarting from the girls' earlier implied insult to her intelligence).

Ng2

Cop tries to help.

Back at the diner, a policeman takes a stolen vehicle report about the car, clothes, makeup, and cell phones, then asks if he can call someone, like their mothers. Right on cue, Howard enters and tells them that his mother has gotten them a rental car. While Raj is still hyped about continuing to Bakersfield, the others are tired and just want to go home, even Sheldon, who has lost his earlier Star Trek euphoria and, in a rare moment of self-awareness, confesses that others think they're idiots and that he's starting to feel like one. Raj reluctantly gives in, but insists that they at least rent their car from Enterprise. The guys simply stare at him and refuse to laugh at his joke.

Comic8

Girls arguing about comic books like their guys.

The girls are now sitting in the living room, eating Chinese food and arguing over comic books, just like their guys (Penny and Amy are even sitting in Leonard and Sheldon's traditional spots on the couch). They have morphed into their own significant others. Bernadette proposes that if Thor picked up the hammer and The Hulk picked up Thor, then by the transitive rule of picking things up, Hulk has picked up the hammer. Penny counters that if she picks up a guy in a bar who then picks up a girl and they all leave together, does that mean that she picked up the girl? Amy asks, with a hopeful grin, if that ever happened, but Penny is embarrassed and deflects the question. As the tired Star Trek enthusiasts return, they hear their ladies arguing and Sheldon wonders if they have somehow "tumbled into an alternate universe where the girls appreciate great literature." He figures that if they are in a different reality, a Star Trek landing party should investigate. Thinking that they might be hostile, they pull out their phasers, but before charging through the door, Leonard orders them to set the phasers on stun (because if they vaporize them, he'll never find another girlfriend as pretty as Penny).

In the final scene, the car thieves are seen driving Leonard's car on the interstate highway while listening to Sheldon's modified GPS. Unlike the guys, however, the two find the facts interesting and the quizzes fun.

Credits[]

Critics[]

  • The TV Critic: "I really appreciated the effort made to tell actual stories in this episode. They weren't as strong as they could have been but they were enjoyable and used the theme of Comic Con very nicely...This is an episode where my review structure is slightly misleading. I thought this was a better than average episode but in creating something with a real structure and some emotion it allowed me the chance to see all the myriad ways it could have been improved."[2]
  • IMDb user reviews
  • This episode did not do well with critics. Reviews have been mixed to negative.
    • Oliver Sava of The A.V. Club gave the episode a D.[3]
    • Jesse Scheeden of IGN gave the episode a mediocre rating of 5.8/10.[4]
    • Dhruv Rao of The DR Club gave the episode a D+.[5]
    • Robert Bernstein, of denofgeek.us, however, awarded the episode 8.5 out of 10.[6]

Notes[]

  • Title Reference: The title comes from their trip to the Bakersfield Comic-Con.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was the most watched in the series before series 7, surpassing "The Egg Salad Equivalency".
  • This episode was watched by 23.81 million people with a rating of 8.3 (adults 18–49).[7]
  • Total viewers including DVR users 23.81 million.
  • This episode aired in Canada on January 10, 2013, with 4.119 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[8]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on April 25, 2013, with 2.345 million total viewers.[9]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Trivia[]

  • Although Kevin Sussman is credited as a main cast member. Stuart only appears IN one scene of this episode.
  • The outdoor scenes in this episode were filmed on a sound stage using matte painting backgrounds, rather than on location.
  • The guys portray characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation, specifically in the years 2365-2370, as follows: Leonard is Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Sheldon is Lieutenant Commander Data, Raj is Lieutenant Worf, and Howard is a Borg drone. Note Sheldon's collar has the appropriate pips of a Lieutenant Commander but he has blue rather than yellow irises like Data. The cast wore Anovos C uniforms, the same manufacturers of Leonard's Trek uniforms seen in "The Prestidigitation Approximation". The Worf Baldric Sash was specially created for this episode. The company even recommends steaming the uniforms. (See "The Big Bang Theory Goes Trek Tonight", " Kirk Formal Tunic from THE BIG BANG THEORY", and "BASIC FIELD MANUAL SERVICE UNIFORM FIELD GUIDE".)
  • Howard's Borg drone makeup is, appropriately, based on the way the Borg appeared in episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Their look was updated for the film Star Trek: First Contact and all subsequent TV series appearances (in Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise). However, the prop sidearm he is seen carrying is never used from actual Borg from the Star Trek series, but is actually a Varon-T Disruptor prop from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • Apparently, Brent Spiner's place on Sheldon's mortal enemies list established in "The Russian Rocket Reaction" did not preclude Sheldon from portraying his android counterpart Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In that episode, Leonard revealed Sheldon loves Mr. Data, though, his anger at Brent Spiner prevented him from accepting a signed Data action figure.
  • The android Data's quest for humanity contrasts with Sheldon's wish to become an artificial life-form. Now emulating Data's form as such, Sheldon last appeared as the 'droid' C-3PO, in "The Holographic Excitation".
  • Though the focus is on costumes from Star Trek: The Next Generation in this episode, emphasis is usually on such aspects of Star Trek: The Original Series. In "The Codpiece Topology", Sheldon played as Spock, and he wore a Command gold uniform in "The Bat Jar Conjecture". Revealed in "The Prestidigitation Approximation", "The Ornithophobia Diffusion', and "The 43 Peculiarity", Leonard has two Original Series command uniforms, as well, a duty tunic and a dress uniform, while Raj has a Lieutenant Uhura uniform, which was stated in "The Prestidigitation Approximation" and "The Roommate Transmogrification".
  • Sheldon did not hesitate to refer to Leonard as the Captain of their "landing party" in "The White Asparagus Triangulation". Sheldon referring to themselves as a "landing party" is inconsistent with their costumes. "Landing party" is the term used in Star Trek: The Original Series, while "away team" is the term used in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • A waitress references "Beam me up, Scotty," with Sheldon retorting, "w:memory-alpha:Scotty Scotty was on the Original Series and we're Next Generation, so joke's on you." In "The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary", Raj similarly told Sheldon, "You know you keep quoting Wrath of Khan, but he was in Next Generation. It’s a totally different set of characters." Scotty did appear in a Next Generation episode.
  • Raj jokes they should go with Enterprise as the characters they are dressed as served aboard the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D).
  • Leonard, Howard, and Raj have once gone to Vasquez Rocks Park in "The Adhesive Duck Deficiency" with the initial intention of observing a Leonid Meteor Shower. The name of the park is not directly mentioned in that episode, but Raj reported their location to be 34.48 N, 118.31 W, which exactly placed them in this park.
  • Penny was familiar with the Thor|Norse god Thor in "The Middle-Earth Paradigm", but here is the first time she acknowledges the Marvel Universe|Marvel Comics incarnation of [[Thor. Aside from Sheldon and Howard's reference to the Avenger in said episode, in "The Excelsior Acquisition", Leonard stated, "I can’t decide whether I want Stan Lee to autograph my Journey into Mystery 83, first appearance of Thor, or my Fantastic Four #5, first appearance of Dr. Doom."
  • Thor's hammer Mjolnir carries the inscription: "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the Powers of Thor." This statement indicates the worthiness enchantment. (Refer to the article "Drawing Crazy Patterns – Other Characters Lifting Thor's Hammer" and the book Thor: Official Index to the Marvel Universe.)
  • Stuart recommends Fables #1 for Amy, saying "...it doesn't objectify or stereotype women". This comment is probably a reference to Amy's request for "A comic that depicts a woman whose bosom can't be used as a flotation device" in "The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition".
  • The three girls have appeared together in the comic book store at least once, most recently in "The Holographic Excitation"; curiously, that time, they didn't attract the extraordinary attention displayed in this episode, given they are all in costumes. The comic book store's first appearance on the show in the episode "The Hofstadter Isotope" featured Penny, who was then the only main female character attracting extraordinary attention.
  • Leonard tells Penny directly that he loves her for the first time since "The Wheaton Recurrence" when she broke up with him partly because he told her.
  • The painting on the wall behind Penny in the comic book store is "The Pandorica Opens", the fictional Vincent van Gogh painting that foretells the explosion of the TARDIS in the The Pandorica Opens|Doctor Who episode of the same name.
  • In Apartment 4A, the girls are arguing comic books imitating the guys down to where they are sitting and eating Chinese food.
  • Leonard tells Penny that the Bakersfield Comic-Con is more about the comics, like the San Diego Comic-Con International|San Diego one was before it went Hollywood. It added events like the casts of science fiction shows making appearances like The Big Bang Theory does. Everyone in the cast has been to Comic-Con.
  • Captain Sweatpants, Lonely Larry and others are in the Comic Book Store staring at the girls when they enter.
  • The answer to Sheldon's final Interstate trivia question, which is not given in the episode, is: The four state capitals not served by the U.S. Interstate Highway System are Juneau, Alaska; Dover, Delaware; Jefferson City, Missouri; and Pierre, South Dakota. (Carson City, Nevada, was arguably a fifth such capital until 2012.)
  • Penny, Amy and Bernadette are sitting in the guys' apartment eating Chinese food, imitating the behavior of their guys.
  • Episode with the most Star Trek references/imagery.

Quotes[]

Bernadette: Well, what if the Hulk picked up Thor while Thor is holding the hammer?
Amy: Yeah?
Bernadette: Then by the transitive property of picking things up, Hulk picked up the hammer.
Amy: No. Hulk picked up Thor, Thor picked up the hammer.
Penny: Okay, hang on. If I go to a bar and pick up a guy, and he picks up a girl, and then we all leave together, did I pick up the girl?
Amy: Did that ever happen?
Penny: Hey, are we talking about me or are we talking about Thor?

Leonard: Fine, but set phasers to stun. If we vaporize Penny, I'll never find a girlfriend that pretty again.

Penny: Ah, the best! You have booze with breakfast on a Tuesday you got a problem. You do it on a weekend you got brunch.

Amy Farrah Fowler: Sheldon doesn't believe in brunch. He can't stand being at a table where one person's having an omelet and another person's having a sandwich.

Penny: Hi, here are the makeup sponges you asked for.
Leonard Hofstadter: Oh thanks; I thought I had more.
Penny: Damn, you've got more makeup than I do. You got better makeup than I do. Yeah, I'm borrowing this.
Leonard Hofstadter: Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, this is my Comic-Con makeup. I love you, but there are some things a man doesn't share with his girlfriend.
Sheldon Cooper: That's a wise policy. I once borrowed my sister's makeup for a costume contest, got a terrible case of pinkeye. Yeah, but luckily I was going as a zombie; I won second place.

Gallery[]

See also[]

References[]

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