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"The Corn-husker Vortex" is the sixth episode of the third season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, November 2, 2009.


Leonard feels left out when Penny has her friends over to watch the university of Nebraska football game. Penny tells him to come the next week and Sheldon teaches him the basics of the game.

Extended Plot[]

The Cornhusker Vortex 12

Kites HO!

The guys are planning on some kite fighting. Leonard, Howard and Raj are showing their enthusiasm by shouting, "Kites Ho!" Sheldon has to point out that "ho" refers to the destination, not the activity. Penny is having some friends over to watch the university of Nebraska play football. She didn't invite Leonard because he didn't like football. Of course, Leonard thinks Penny is embarrassed to introduce him to her friends.

The Cornhusker Vortex 11

Football at Penny's.

Kite fighting doesn't go well because Leonard is thinking about Penny and Howard is distracted by a cute jogger. Raj ends up losing to Sheldon his prize Patang kite fighting machine which his brother sent over from India. In the car, Howard complaints about pulling his ham string while Howard once again abandoned Raj for a woman he didn't even have a shot with. Back at the apartment, Leonard asks Penny if she is embarrassed to have him meet her friends. Her friends aren't the brainiac he is, though he does have some non-genius friends on Facebook. She invites him over for the game next week. Leonard starts to learn football reading “Football for Dummies" book and watching it on television. Raj is not impressed by the commercials. Howard shows up and Raj is still mad at him. Leonard keeps wondering about the statistics of the game, such as a Quarterback sack. Sheldon starts describing all Leonard needs to know since his father made him watch football and was a coach. In Texas football is a second religion. Leonard invokes a Tier 1 friendship request from the roommate agreement to be taught football by Sheldon. He reluctantly agrees.

Leonard readies himself for the game day even wearing an oversize Nebraska Cornhusker football jersey. Sheldon wonders if he is correct in assuming your Sheldon is staying at home making Cylon ("Battlestar Galactica") toast.


Cylon toast.

Howard goes to Raj's apartment to make a peace and has a new kite. (Hello Kitty kite.) Raj is still upset about being ditched all the time. Howard apologizes and offers to take Raj anyplace he wants to go. Raj decides the La Brea Tar Pits. First Howard complains about the traffic and crowds, but quickly changes his mind after Raj gives him a dirty look.

At Penny's, Leonard tries to fit in with Penny's friends talking constantly about the mechanics of what they are watching. He mistakes an old clip for the real game. Penny thinks that he is drunk, but is merely embarrassing. Sheldon enters to check up on Leonard in code and offer him a kite flying alternative. Halftime comes and Leonard is disappointed that it isn't over. Penny tells him to go kite flying and he quickly agrees. Howard and Raj have made up until a woman walks by. She does smile at him and it takes a few moments before he is off again.



  • "This is certainly not the only show that is misunderstanding, fundamentally, what makes a sit com work. But in some ways it is the most frustrating because they are the closest to being a traditional sit com." - The TV Critic's Review *IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The Football Team (Nebraska Cornhuskers) Penny and her friends watch and root for and the fact that Leonard gets caught up in trying to understand the sport of football to fit in with Penny's friends. 
  •  Lorre's vanity card [1]
  • This episode was watched by 12.73 million people with a rating of 4.7 (adults 18–49).
  • This episode aired in Canada on November 2, 2009. *Episode transcript [2]

Costume Notes[]

The Cornhusker Vortex 13 - Chevron


The Cornhusker Vortex 17 RobotEvolution

Robot Evolution

The Cornhusker Vortex 15 Human Machine

Human Machine

The Cornhusker Vortex 14

Corn Huskers

The Cornhusker Vortex 18 - Wisdom


The Cornhusker Vortex 19 - World Buckle

World buckle

The Cornhusker Vortex 16 Huskers2


  • There is the first of three episodes in this Big Bang Theory series (Season 3) before "The Vengeance Formulation" (S3E9) to where there is no guest appearance by Melissa Rauch as Bernadette who had her first guest appearance in the previous episode "The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary" (S3E5).
  • Sheldon says, "Cats; however, refuse to wear sporting apparel. My sister found that out the hard way." In "The Griffin Equivalency" (S2E4), he said of his cat, "Anyway, when I was eight, a Montgomery-Ward delivery van ran over our cat, Lucky." He is also irony impaired.
  • Sheldon makes "Cylon" toast, using a Battlestar Galactica themed toaster.
  • Sheldon instructs Penny, "You shouldn't keep your bread in the refrigerator. Staleness is caused by crystallization of the starch molecules, which occurs faster at cool temperatures." In "The Luminous Fish Effect" (S1E4), he similarly states, "Uh, yes, but anyone who knows anything about the dynamics of bacterial growth knows to pick up their refrigerated foods on the way out of the supermarket."
  • Sheldon also demonstrates his knowledge of football in "The Thanksgiving Decoupling" (S7E9) when he bonds with Howard's father-in-law.
  • Kurt who appeared twice in Season 1 and once in Season 2 is mentioned by Leonard albeit indirectly.
  • When Howard gives Rajesh a new kite Raj mentions that it is "Hello Kitty" without ever looking at the front.
  • Raj mentions multiple times of his dislike towards India and its many faults even though his house has mostly Indian decorations, including pictures from India such as the Taj Mahal.
  • Sheldon clearly knows what he eats everyday according to his schedule, even so he uses all of his bread to make "Cylon" toast.
  • Sheldon incorrectly uses the word "Mimesis", Stating that it is "the action in which the mimic takes on the properties of a specific object or organism". Mimesis is actually how an object attempts to reflect or imitate reality.
  • In the scene where Penny and Leonard are surrounded by her friends all but one female is wearing the teams shirt where only half of the men are wearing team colors.
  • When Raj and Howard are sitting at the park they change locations when the scene first switches as seen by the missing couple and stroller as well as with another sign being added, but they change back to the first location seconds later.


Sheldon: 'Alright, Poindexter, sit down, shut up, and listen!'
Leonard: I'm sorry?
Sheldon: Oh, that's how my father always began our football conversations - and, if you'd like, after the game, I'll take you outside and teach you to shoot close enough to a raccoon that it craps itself. ----
Howard: Sheldon knows football ...?
Leonard: Apparently.
Howard: I mean, Quidditch, sure, but football ...? ----
Sheldon: I grew up in Texas. Football is ubiquitous in Texas. Pro football, college football, high school football, peewee football, in fact, every form of football except the original, European football, which most Texans believe to be a Commie plot. ----
Leonard: Go! Go! Go! Go-Go-Go-Go! Yes! Are you people watching this? Is this amazing or what?
Penny: Sweetie, that’s a highlight from the ’98 championship game.

Leonard: When are you going to stop making Cylon toast?
Sheldon: When I have enough to destroy all the human toast on the battlestar known as Galactica. [sees Leonard in a huge, red football jersey] Is that what you're wearing to watch football at Penny's?
Leonard: What's wrong with a football jersey?
Sheldon: Nothing. That, however, appears to be a football cocktail dress.