The Big Bang Theory Wiki

"The Boyfriend Complexity" is the ninth episode of the fourth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, November 18, 2010.[1]


Penny asks Leonard to lie to her father about them getting back together, while Howard, Raj, and Bernadette spend the entire night monitoring a telescope in the astrophysics lab.

Extended Plot[]


A surprising kiss from Penny.

While waiting for dinner, the guys are debating who is the bravest person in the Marvel Comics universe. (The candidates are: whoever has to give She-Hulk a bikini wax, Captain America's undocumented Mexican gardener, whoever uses the bathroom after The Thing, whoever gives Wolverine his prostate exam, or one who gets one from Wolverine.) Since their pizza finally arrives, Leonard goes over to get Penny. An older man answers the door who ends up to be her visiting father. She then tells him good-bye giving him an intense kiss. Back in the apartment, Raj and Howard are discussing using the telescope lab for twelve hours, but they need several more hours of comic book reading material. They can also play Indian Monopoly and Intergalactic Battleship. Sheldon only prefers the classic styles of Monopoly: regular and Klingon. Leonard returns with this story about Penny kissing him. The guys figure her lips missed the mark or she is being held hostage. Penny comes over and explains that she told her father they got back together because he was so upset when they broke up in the first place. Leonard was the first guy Penny dated with a college degree...or a real job...or without a neck tattoo...or with no outstanding warrants...or without a baby...or never tipped a cow over on himself. Leonard is a bit offended, but is willing to kiss her to make it look like they were together. Her father shows up and he over does the kissing which embarrasses Penny. Leonard ends up with a dinner invitation, despite Penny's reluctance.

At the university, Bernadette joins Howard and Raj much to Raj's discomfort. He drinks some wine so he can at least talk to her. Howard wants his best friend and girlfriend to bond like he did with his mother.

Coming back from dinner Wyatt, Penny's father, keeps telling old boyfriend stories which upsets

Thebigbangtheorys04e09720pmkv 000443568

Raj and Howard play Battleship in a telescope control room.

Penny. Back at her apartment, Penny does get Leonard to go home, but not without Leonard getting her to say “I love you”, like she couldn't do the previous season. Their kiss is witnessed by Sheldon who is not thrilled that all that nonsense seemed to be restarting.

As Raj consumes more wine, he really bonds with Bernadette at Howard's expense making jokes about him and his mother. Bernadette imitates Howard's mother which later is found to be part of her normal personality.

Penny storms over to Leonard's apartment mad at him because her father can't stop praising her boyfriend. Leonard offered to correct the situation, but Penny didn't want to do that. Sheldon enters and details the changes he is going to have to make in the roommate agreement due to Penny's annoying habits since they were back together. Leonard cautioned her not to let Sheldon in on their deception.

Raj is very drunk and is pulling pranks on the telescope team he is working with. Then he complains to Bernadette that no one wants to kiss him. She tells Raj he's a very cute guy and plenty of girls would want to kiss him. He tries to kiss Bernadette, and Howard tries to intercept him inadvertently receiving his kiss.

Leonard and Wyatt are enjoying some Wii fishing when Penny calls him to tell him the truth (Apparently, Leonard pushed Penny too far). Wyatt is angry that his daughter doesn't respect him enough to tell him the truth. She apologizes and goes to change to take him to the airport. When it looks like Wyatt is going to turn his full wrath on Leonard, he ends up begging Leonard to take Penny back. He is tired of her former suitors and wants to have grandkids that grow up in a house without wheels. Then for Penny's benefit, he tells Leonard that he doesn't want to see his lying ass again. Sheldon tells him he was up all night altering the Penny-specific sections of the roommate agreement


Penny's father Wyatt with Leonard, playing Wii fishing.

and Leonard tells him they broke up again.

The next morning, Raj and Howard were very vague about their previous night's experience and Raj got huffy when asked if Howard got to play with his big telescope.



  • The TV Critic: "The stories were generally pleasant and innocuous though. The banter about super heroes was fun and the guys' disbelief that Penny could actually be interested in Leonard again was used to good effect. I also very much appreciated Leonard and Penny being smart enough not to include Sheldon in their lies...Another wasted opportunity but it was passable entertainment nonetheless."[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode a B-.[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The title refers to Leonard pretending to be Penny's boyfriend to please her father.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 13.02 million people with a rating of 4.3 (adults 18–49).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on November 18, 2010, with 3.427 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on December 30, 2010, with 1.066 million total viewers.[6]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Costume Notes[]

  • Leonard wears a periodic table shirt.


  • First appearance of Penny's father Wyatt.
  • Wyatt only meets Leonard in this episode and he does not come into Apartment 4A at the beginning of the episode to meet Sheldon, Howard and Raj. He also never meets Sheldon at any point when returning from dinner with Leonard and Penny or when playing Wii fishing with Leonard in the latter's apartment (And sitting in Sheldon's Spot, although Wyatt is lucky Sheldon wasn't there because he would've made a fuss of Wyatt sitting in his spot) and he doesn't meet Bernadette either due to her not being at the apartment or Amy since she is absent.
  • Amy does not get featured in this episode (whether speaking role or background cameo) because Mayim Bialik was not credited to appear as a main cast member with a perticular on-screen appearance in any scenes of this episode. There is no mention of Amy in this episode either.
  • Penny's father's name is changed from Season 2's "The Maternal Capacitance" (S2E15) when Penny referred to him as "Bob", however in this episode his name is Wyatt.
  • Leonard is the only boyfriend that Penny's father liked.
  • Though pushed by Leonard, Penny does tell him that she "loves" him in this episode.
  • Penny's father Wyatt calls Leonard a "keeper" as a boyfriend.
  • The majority of events take place on a Thursday Night as Thursday is "pizza night". At the end of the night, when Leonard is forcing a kiss out of Penny, Sheldon] comes walking up the stairs with a laundry basket. Sheldon does his laundry on Saturday nights.
  • Sheldon demonstrates his ignorance of the law in this episode, in the sequence involving the "updated Roommate agreement". He refers to amounts to be paid by Leonard to compensate Sheldon for "Penny's transgressions" as "fines", whereas such amounts are properly understood at law as liquidated damages (which may be considered penal damages).
  • Sheldon remarks to Raj, "That’s even factoring in your difficulty in parsing American comic book idioms like 'BAMF' and 'SNIKT'." These exemplary comic book idioms are onomatopoeia attributed to mutant powers of the X-Men characters Nightcrawler and Wolverine, respectively. Specifically, "BAMF" is the resulting sound Nightcrawler makes when he teleports, and "SNIKT" is the sound of Wolverine's claws being extended — a metallic noise.
  • Wyatt mentions that he wants grandchildren yet in "The Hofstadter Isotope" (S2E20), Penny is buying comic books for her thirteen year old nephew. Though he did say that he wanted a grandchild who didn't grow up in a house with wheels, suggesting that the nephew does so. Also, in "The Status Quo Combustion" (S7E24), Penny's mother mentions to her that all her family members got married due to an unexpected pregnancy. Penny isn't marrying Leonard because she is expecting though she does have that worry in "The Recombination Hypothesis". She was not pregnant either time she married Leonard.
  • Raj asks Howard if he thinks "they gave Wolverine an adamantium prostate". Howard says that's a stupid question and Raj says that it isn't. Actually, it is. Anyone who follows the comics - especially the way the guys do - should know that only Wolverine's bones were covered in adamantium. The prostate is not made of bone.
  • Howard and Raj kiss each other.
  • First episode where Bernadette does a spot on impression of Mrs. Wolowitz.


Howard: You wanna talk brave? How about Captain America's undocumented Mexican gardener...
Leonard: He's not braver than the guy that uses the bathroom after The Thing.
Sheldon: As usual, you're all wrong. The bravest person in the Marvel Universe is the doctor who gives Wolverine his prostate exam.

Raj: (imitating Mrs. Wolowitz) Howard, come rub my feet! My corns are killing me!
Bernadette: (also imitating Mrs. Wolowitz) Howard, help me out of the tub! I'm stuck again!

Leonard: You'll never guessed what happened to me!
Sheldon: You went out in the hallway, stumbled into an inter-dimensional portal, which brought you five thousand years into the future where you took advantage of the advanced technology to build a time machine, and now you're back to bring us all with you to the year 7010, where we are transported to work at the Thinkatorium, by telepathically controlled flying dolphins?
Leonard: No.
Sheldon: Aw.

Leonard: Hold on, do you actually want me to deceive your father with some sham, play-acting and kissing, 'cause I'm good with that.

Wyatt: It's nice to have dinner with a boyfriend of Penny's who knows how to use a napkin.

Leonard: So, Howard, you get to play with Raj's big telescope last night?
(Howard and Raj misunderstand the statement and overreact.)
Raj: He never touched my telescope!
Howard: Way to go shutting up!
Raj: I did shut up, now you shut up!
Howard: Fine!
(Leonard and Sheldon look at each other with concern and confusion.)
Raj: ... I can't believe you didn't call me this morning...

Wyatt: Now get your sorry lying ass out of my face, and make sure I never see it again!

[Penny has just confessed to her father that she and Leonard were only pretending to be back so he would stop bugging her about him and he is none too pleased about being lied to for so long. She and Leonard are sitting on her couch while Wyatt paces back and forth, lecturing her]
Wyatt: I can’t believe you would lie to me like that.
Leonard: Just for the record, I did not want to be a part of this.
Wyatt: I’ll get to you in a minute.
Leonard: No hurry.
Wyatt: That my own daughter thinks I don’t love her enough to support her no matter what choices she makes, well, that hurts me deeply.
Penny: I’m sorry, daddy...
Wyatt: [cuts her off] Let me finish.
Penny: Oh.
Wyatt: I thought we were past the days when you would try to pull the wool over my eyes. Telling me the baggie in your underwear drawer is potpourri? And the pee stick in your bathroom is to check for diabetes?
Penny: You know, I’m sorry.
Wyatt: You’re a grown woman, and I respect your right to make your own decisions, but all I ask is you respect me enough to be honest about them.
Penny: You’re right. Look, from now on, I will tell you the truth.
Wyatt: Thank you. Now, why don’t you go and put some clothes on and we’ll grab a bite to eat before I head for the airport. [points to Leonard] Now you...
Penny: Daddy, he had nothing to do...
Wyatt: Keep walking.
Penny: Okay.
Wyatt: [watches Penny leave the room before running over to Leonard and grabbing him by his collar, Leonard looks at Wyatt while he's running towards him, jumping back and gasping in surprise upon being grabbed] Please, please, please don’t give up on her!
Leonard: [very confused] What?
Wyatt: I can’t go back to the skateboard idiots, the white rappers and all those [turns his own hat backwards] sweaty dumb-asses with their backwards hats.
Leonard: Gee, I don’t know if it’s in the cards, sir.
Wyatt: Then, stack the deck. Cheat. Lie. I don’t care. I want grandkids before I die, and I want them to grow up in a house without wheels.
Leonard: I’ll give it a shot.
Wyatt: Thank you. Now I’m going to do something here to help you along. [stands up and walks back to where he was before]
Leonard: Excuse me?
Wyatt: Just don’t panic. [looks at Penny's door and starts shouting at Leonard in pretend anger] Now, get your sorry, lying ass out of my face and make sure I never see it again!
Leonard: Oh, the reverse psychology thing. I see. That’s very clever.
Wyatt: Don’t yap. Just get out. [shoves Leonard out the door]
Leonard: I’ll friend you on Facebook.
Leonard: [enters 4A right as Sheldon exits his room holding an enormous stack of paper]
Sheldon: Oh, there you are. Just so you know, I was up all night but I have finally completed the Penny-specific section of the new Roommate Agreement.|
Leonard: [grimaces] Yeah? Well, not necessary, we broke up again.
Sheldon: [stares at Leonard as he realizes he stayed up all night for nothing before throwing the pile up into the air, sheets of paper raining down all over the living room with one landing perfectly on his shoulder as he continues staring at him, even shaking his head] Do you even think about other people, Leonard?! [eye twitch] DO YOU?!