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"The Convention Conundrum" is the fourteenth episode of the seventh season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode first aired on Thursday, January 30, 2014.


After the guys can't get tickets to Comic Con, Sheldon tries to set up his own convention and approaches James Earl Jones to be a panelist. The girls go out to a hotel for some tea.[1]

Extended Plot[]

The Convention Conundrum 6

Online searching for ComicCon tickets.

Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj are in apartment 4A waiting to the San Diego Comic-Con ticket website to open. As they get more excited counting down the seconds, Penny enters wondering what is going on. She finds these actions a lot of weird behavior to take before she has had her morning coffee. As the clock ticks down to zero, Raj needs to pee and Leonard whips out his inhaler. When the site opens, the guys keep hitting their “refresh” keys to get in and Penny decides she needs more coffee to endure their geekiness.

Ten minutes later, the guys are getting tired of hitting their refresh keys when Leonard gets on-line. Leonard is number 50,211 in line and only Tuesday and Sunday tickets are left. Then Tuesday tickets are sold out. Sheldon complains that Sunday is the worst day, no good panels and the only T-shirt sizes left are small and XXXXL. Then Sunday fills up. Sheldon complains that he loves Sunday. Everything is sold out and the guys can't believe they're not going to Comic-Con. Sheldon tells them that they can always attend WonderCon in Anaheim which he says is just as good and then runs off in tears. Penny feels that everything looks so sad, but not the kind of sad when she first arrived. They can't even use their Hulk costumes, each dressed up as a different version of the live Hulk. Penny quips that they are back to the first kind of sad.

At the Caltech cafeteria, Sheldon announces that he is going to start up his own comic book convention. Howard, Raj and Leonard are just going to get tickets from scalpers. Sheldon will have nothing to do with it because not only is it wrong, but you get banned from ComicCon for life. According to Sheldon their scalper contact could be part of a sting operation by the Comic-Con police. Even Comic-Con was started by one lone dreamer like Sheldon whose idea he plans to rip off.

Sheldon is at his computer speaking with Robert Downey, Jr.’s representative on the phone to get him to be on a panel at the Sheldon comic convention. Sheldon tells him that since he sat through Iron Man 2, Robert Downey, Jr. owes him two hours of his time. Sheldon gets hung up on and then crosses out another possible name off his whiteboard. Even Wil Wheaton turned Sheldon down because he had to wash his beard that day. Leonard doesn't think that his project is going to happen. Sheldon needs Leonard to call Stan Lee, Leonard Nimoy and Bill Nye since legally he can't contact them due to his restraining orders. He adds Carrie Fisher to that list because she can be somewhat nuts.

The Convention Conundrum 11

Sheldon having ice cream with James Earl Jones.

Penny's Posse is hanging out at in apartment 4B. Penny can't believe that Leonard's spending hundreds to get into ComicCon. Amy mentions the little black dress that Penny spent hundreds on. The difference is that the tickets will only get Leonard into ComicCon while the dress can get Penny into anywhere. Howard is getting a big advance on his allowance. Amy first claims that Sheldon starting his own convention sounded more sensible until she realizes how silly that sounded. The girls want to do something grown-up. Penny is against going to a museum, while Bernadette suggests a local hotel that serves afternoon tea.

Since Sheldon is not going with them, the remaining nerds need a three-person group costume idea. One idea is The Fantastic Four with Susan Storm, the Invisible Girl staying invisible. Sheldon enters saying that he is planning to ask James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, to appear at his convention. Through his Twitter and some Internet research, he knows that James Earl Jones will be having sushi at his favorite restaurant. Leonard begs Sheldon not to stalk him because he is going to get into trouble. (Darth Vader is going to pour soy sauce on your head.) Sheldon insists that they are going to get into trouble being banned from Comic-Con and charged with petty theft. He is also going to warn Mr. Jones about posting his location on Twitter since there are a lot of weirdos out there. Sheldon then storms out of the apartment singing The Imperial March from Star Wars.

Later at the apartment, Howard tells them that his scalper is on the way over. Raj is worried if he sounded like a criminal, but he's expecting him to use phrases like "You'z Guyz" or "Listen up, Sheyy" from a 1940s movie gangster. Then Raj wonders if this guy wants to steal their money, their kidneys or their very skin, backing up this reasoning by saying that his dark skin doesn't show stains. Leonard says that they should have met him at a neutral place. Howard figures that Leonard's apartment is a neutral place.

At their afternoon tea, the girls are dressed up, Amy in her tiara, and are surrounded by mothers with their young daughters all having tea. They are not feeling very grown up especially since the waiter thought Bernadette was Penny's daughter. Amy relates a story about when she had a tea party with her stuffed animals and her hamsters. They then decide to go to the bar and have a drink instead.

As James Earl Jones looks over his menu, he sees Sheldon smiling down at him. He asks if Sheldon likes the Star Wars movies and Sheldon nods. He has made other movies, but James figures that Sheldon doesn't like them. Finally Mr. Jones admits that he likes Star Wars too and invites Sheldon to join him.

While waiting for the scalper, Raj verifies that what Sheldon said about being charged with petty theft. First Leonard thinks that it might be a bad idea and then decides that they should try and be bad asses.

At dinner, Mr. Jones was telling how when he thought Darth Vader was lying about him being Luke's father when he first read the script. Sheldon agrees with him. Then JEJ wants them to make a night of it since he has a Lion King residual check burning a hole in his pocket and his wife is out of town.

The girls are at the hotel bar lamenting how their afternoon tea was a bust though the little girls were jealous of Amy's tiara. Then they start to question when they first really felt grown up. Even though Bernadette is married, she still feels like she is pretending (she still wear clothes from Gap Kids). Amy doesn't feel that way since she has never had sex. Penny replies that just having sex doesn't make one feel older. Bernie then quips that if that were true, Penny would be the oldest one there. Penny then asks Bernadette if that is the way she talks to her mother.

The Convention Conundrum 10

Carrie Fisher.

Howard notified Leonard and Raj that their contact is on the way up. They wonder what the worst thing that could happen to them, but then mention getting research grants and Raj possibly trying to get American citizenship. They would have to disclose any criminal convictions. Howard then agrees to handle it; he shuts off the lights and tells everybody to be quiet.

Sheldon and James are having ice cream and Sheldon keeps asking him questions beginning with “Is it true…” JEJ keeps acknowledging Sheldon's trivia and Sheldon tells him that he could listen to his sequence of stories all night.

While adding up the check, Penny wants to know what is so great about being grown up. Car insurance, mortgages, leaving notes when you hit a parked car. The ladies found that trying to be mature was boring. Though they think the guys are having more fun, they are all huddled in the kitchen while their scalper bangs on the apartment door.

The Convention Conundrum 2

Hiding from their ticket scalper.

Sheldon and James are on top of a Ferris Wheel at a carnival, Sheldon holding a big stuffed bear. Sheldon calls out that he is with James Earl Jones who is nicer than one would ever think. Mr. Jones adds, “I am!” Next, they are seen doing karaoke to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” which was used in “The Lion King”, one of Mr. Jones’ movies. Then, they are approaching Carrie Fisher's house, Princess Leia from the Star Wars movies. They ring her doorbell and run because she is a little crazy. Carrie Fisher


Carrie and James.

runs out with a baseball bat yelling that it is not funny anymore and that she knows it is James Earl Jones. Finally, they are in a sauna talking about their trip to a strip club. Sheldon wanted to know how much it would cost to get the girl off his lap. When Sheldon discussed about a convention, James Earl Jones offers to take all the guys as his guests to Comic-Con. And every night, James Earl Jones plans on taking Sheldon over the border to Tijuana, which doesn't thrill Sheldon. In the end, he is telling a story involving Beau Bridges, Jeff Bridges, Marlon Brando and Angie Dickinson. Sheldon wakes up wondering who Angie Dickinson was.



  • Jesse Schedeen from IGN - As far as Big Bang Theory episodes go, this was about as light and free-wheeling as they come. There was little in the way of drama this week; just Sheldon and his new friend having fun while everyone else learned a valuable lesson about not being so uptight. The non-Sheldon material was a little underdeveloped, and I would just as soon have had the girls' roles cut in favor of giving more screen time to Leonard and the guys. But it's hard to hate on an episode of any show with James Earl Jones singing karaoke.
  • Dhruv Rao of The DR Club said that the Penny-Bernadette snaps were fun while the guys' plots made the show a little nostalgic. He graded the episode as a "B". [1]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The guys can't get tickets to Comic-Con so Sheldon decides to start his own convention.
  • Taping date: January 21, 2014
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card 441. [2]
  • This episode was watched by 19.05 million people with a rating of 5.2 (adults 18–49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 24.75 million.
  • The Big Bang Theory was ranked #6 for the week ending January 6, 2014.
  • This episode aired in Canada on January 30, 2014, with 4.38 million viewers with a weekly ranking of #3.
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on May 1, 2014, with 2.31 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.
  • In Australia, this episode aired on March 25, 2014, with 0.994 million viewers.
  • Episode transcript [3]

Costume Notes[]

  • Sheldon wears his Flash logo t-shirt and his Justice League Star Powert t-shirt.


  • James Earl Jones and Carrie Fisher are both best known for their roles in the Star Wars movie franchise (voice of Darth Vader and Princess Leia, respectively) though before this show, they had never actually met.
  • James Earl Jones is seen eating at "Kaiju Sushi", a clear reference to the Kaiju movies, popular in Japan. The most famous among them is Godzilla.
  • Bernadette and Amy share no scenes with the four men (Raj, Sheldon, Leonard and Howard) in this episode because this is a Penny's Posse story.
  • James Earl Jones was previously mentioned by Raj in "The Wiggly Finger Catalyst" (S5E04).
  • Unlike many episodes where Sheldon meets a celebrity he admires only for them to quickly tire of him (if not take out a restraining order), James Earl Jones ends up really liking him and takes him for a night on the town. In a complete reversal of what has happened before, this time it is Sheldon who grows annoyed with the other person.
  • James Earl Jones says when he originally read the script for "The Empire Strikes Back" he was shocked to find out Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father. This act isn't possible in reality, as the original script famously does not have this line in it to maintain the surprise. Mark Hamill didn't even find out until the day of shooting the scene and the line was dubbed in later. James Earl Jones did not find out about this line until the recording session where he dubbed it.
  • Sheldon finally finds a beloved celebrity that enjoys his company and wants him around instead of getting a restraining order against him. The irony is that he wears Sheldon out.
  • Bernadette is mistaken for Penny's daughter.
  • While going out, all of the girls wear the trinkets they received from their men:
  • Amy mentions Raggedy Ann, which she loved and dressed as in "The Holographic Excitation" (S6E05).
  • First episode where Kaley is credited as Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, due to her marriage to tennis player Ryan Sweeting.
    • Likewise, this was the first episode of The Big Bang Theory to be filmed sometime after Kaley's marriage.
  • This episode aired only nine days after it was finished taping.
  • The potential celebrities for Sheldon's convention shown on his whiteboard are: Zachary Quinto (Heroes and the reimagined Spock in J. J. Abrams' Star Trek movies), Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Professor Xavier in X-Men), William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek), Harrison Ford (Han Solo in Star Wars and Indiana Jones in the Indiana Jones films), George Lucas (creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, Batman), Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars), Simon Pegg (Star Trek), Jon Favreau (director and producer of various Marvel Comics superhero films), Ian McKellen (although his name is misspelled as "Ian McKellan"; Magneto in X-Men, Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit), Stan Lee (creator of many of Marvel Comics' best-known characters), Andy Serkis (Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, Planet of the Apes), Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit), Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher in Star Trek), Ahmed Best (voice of Jar-Jar Binks in Star Wars), Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man in Iron Man and Avengers), Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek), Bill Nye (TV scientist), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa in Star Wars), Adam West (Batman TV series), "Anyone Who Played Uncle Ben" and "Anyone Who Shot Uncle Ben" (both from the various Spider-Man films). The ones that were crossed out because Sheldon was unsuccessful in recruiting them are Quinto, Stewart, Shatner, Ford, Hamill, Williams, Favreau, McKellen, Serkis, Freeman, Wheaton, Downey Jr., and West.
  • Sheldon states that Comic-Con was started by "one lone dreamer." Coincidentally, that "dreamer" was also named Sheldon—Sheldon Dorf.
  • This episode marks the second time Sheldon is seen shirtless. The first being "The Parking Spot Escalation".
  • It is not clear if the guys end up going to Comic Con with James Earl Jones or not.
  • Carrie Fisher's house number, 138, is possibly a reference to THX-1138, George Lucas's feature film directorial debut (adapted from his student film, Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB).


Sheldon: Hey, Los Angeles! I'm on a Ferris wheel with Darth Vader, and he's nicer than you think!
James Earl Jones: I am!

James Earl Jones: What were you trying to ask me at the strip club?
Sheldon: How much does it cost to get them off my lap?

Sheldon: My friends and I couldn't get into Comic-Con this year, and I was trying to start my own convention, and I was going to ask if you'd be a panelist.
James Earl Jones: Why don't you and your friends come to Comic-Con with me?
Sheldon: Really?
James Earl Jones: Of course. And San Diego is straight across the border from my favorite city on earth, TIJUANA! Where I'm taking you every night!
Sheldon: Ay-ay-ay.
James Earl Jones: Ay-ay-ay bang bang!

Penny: I can’t believe Leonard is spending hundreds of dollars on scalped tickets.
Amy: Last week, you spent that on a little dress.
Penny: Yeah, but those tickets only get him into Comic-Con. That dress gets me into anywhere I want.
Bernadette: Those tickets were pretty expensive. I had to give Howie an advance on his allowance. (grunts crossly) Now he’s never gonna put his toys away.
Amy: Why can’t they do something sensible like Sheldon and start their own comic book convention? Also, who wants to throw me out that window?
Bernadette: Well, while they’re acting like teenagers, we could do something grown-up.
Amy: Oh. You mean like a museum?
Penny: Yes, like a museum, but anything else.
Bernadette: Oh, I know. There’s a nice hotel not far from here where they do afternoon tea.
Amy: Ooh, afternoon tea, how sophisticated of us.
Penny: Oh, all right, if we’re gonna be fancy, I should probably put on clean underwear.
Bernadette: La-dee-da, look who has clean underwear.
Penny: No, we’re gonna stop at Target on the way.

Amy: There sure are a lot of little kids here.
Penny: I can’t believe we thought this would makes us feel grown up.
Bernadette: I can’t believe the waiter thought I was your daughter.
Amy: Well, last time I got dressed up and had tea was when I was five. Just me, my teddy bear, Raggedy Ann and my hamster.
Bernadette: That’s cute.
Amy: It was. Till my hamster ate all her babies. It got less cute really fast.
Bernadette: Should we leave?
Penny: Well, there’s a bar in the lobby.
Bernadette: I could go for a drink.
Amy: Aw. Drinking in the afternoon, just like her mommy. (clicks her tongue)

Penny: So, afternoon tea was a bust.
Amy: On the bright side, every six-year-old there was jealous of my tiara. Not gonna lie, it felt good.
Penny: Let me ask you a question, when did you guys start feeling grown up? ‘Cause I am not sure I do.
Bernadette: Honestly, I thought when I got married I would, but I still kind of feel like I’m pretending. It doesn’t help that most of my clothes come from Gap Kids.
Penny: Okay, so I’m an adult, and the other day I saw an old man slip and fall down, and I laughed. I mean, I laughed hard. Like, like, out loud. If he was conscious, he would’ve heard me.
Amy: Gosh.
Penny: I know. One of the tennis balls came off his walker and bounced right off his head. I mean, I, I almost wet myself. I guess you had to be there.
Amy: I think I have you both beat. Imagine trying to feel like a grown-up when you’ve never even been with a man.
Penny: Okay, sex is not what makes you a grown-up.
Bernadette: Yeah. Or you’d be the oldest one here.
Penny: Really? Is that how you talk to your mother?

Penny: I mean, really, what’s so great about being grown up?
Bernadette: Well, for starters, we’d be splitting this check three ways.
Penny: I’m serious. Who wants to do all that stuff? Have insurance, pay mortgages, leave one of those little notes when you hit a parked car.
Amy: I told you it was Penny.
Penny: Oh, come on, it wasn’t me. Anyone could have knocked your mirror off, or whatever happened.
Amy: Maybe the guys are right. I mean, we spent the whole night trying to be mature, and it was kind of boring. I’m sure they’re having more fun than we are.

James Earl Jones: Let me guess. You like "Star Wars".

(Sheldon nods yes)

James Earl Jones: You know, I've been in other movies.

(Sheldon nods yes)

James Earl Jones: But you don't care about those, do you?

(Sheldon nods no)

James Earl Jones: I have one thing to say to people like you. I like "Star Wars" too. Care to join me?
Sheldon: Thank you. My friend Leonard said if I bothered you while you were eating, you'd think I was a creepy stalker.
James Earl Jones: Well, your friend Leonard sounds like a real weeny.
Sheldon: He is, Mr. Earl Jones. He is!

Carrie Fisher: It's not funny anymore, James!
James Earl Jones: Then why am I laughing? (laughing)

James Earl Jones: So, Beau Bridges is on my shoulders, and Jeff Bridges is on Marlon Brando's shoulders, and remember, we do not have permission to be in the pool... Hey, Sheldon, wake up! And Angie Dickinson is about to sic the dogs on us, and I go under the water and Marlon goes under the water, and the water raises about two feet and sloshes all over her patio and the dogs freak out and run like hell and then we run like hell. Oh, boy, that was a lot of fun!
Sheldon: Um, who's Angie Dickinson?


See also[]