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"The Egg Salad Equivalency" is the twelfth episode of the sixth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, January 3, 2013.[1]


Alex asks Leonard out to dinner, causing him to develop a cocky attitude that irritates Sheldon. Sheldon attempts to direct Alex's attention back to her work; however, his condescension and insensitivity cause her to file a sexual harassment claim against him. Meanwhile, the idea of Alex liking Leonard causes Penny to become insecure about her relationship with him.

Extended Plot[]


Giant Jenga.

While Sheldon and Leonard are playing giant Jenga, Alex stops by to pick up last night's tapes of his talking in his sleep|nighttime mumbling because Sheldon explains that he feels that what he says in his sleep might be as important to him as what he says in the daytime. He leaves the room, and Alex asks Leonard if he has any plans for the weekend, going on to say that she will be attending a lecture on subatomic space-time by Caltech theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, which Leonard finds inviting. She invites Leonard to go with her, but he is unable to go due to having plans with Penny. Alex suggests that the two of them could discuss the lecture over dinner, stunning Leonard and causing him to knock over the Jenga blocks. Sheldon hears the crash and returns, exclaiming that he has won the game.


Alex asking Leonard out to dinner.

The next day at the cafeteria, Leonard tells Howard and Raj about Alex asking him out. A peeved Raj accuses Leonard of enjoying the situation, something which Leonard smugly confirms. He makes it clear that he loves Penny and has no plans of taking Alex up on her invitation, though he does enjoy being desired by two attractive young women at the same time.  Sheldon joins the group and quickly becomes jealous that Alex's attention is not focused entirely on her work, and even more so because Leonard is the one distracting her.

Sheldon tries to decide what to do about Alex and seeks the advice of Penny, Bernadette, and Amy, referring to them as 'Sheldon Cooper's Council of Ladies'. He tells them about the situation, using fake names in an attempt to conceal the identities of those involved, though the three women quickly deduce who he is talking about. Sheldon refuses to admit who he is really speaking of, and continues to refer to Leonard as Ricardo Shilly-Shally, Alex as Tondelaya della Ventimiglia and himself as Doctor Einstein von Brainstorm.


Sheldon presents Penny, Amy and Bernadette with 'Sheldon Cooper's Council of Ladies' t-shrts

When an infuriated Penny asks Sheldon if Leonard returned any of Alex's advances, Bernadette and Amy reassure her that Leonard would never cheat on her. Sheldon then mistakenly acknowledges who they are talking about and drops the charade, asking each of them what he should do to correct the situation. Bernadette tells him that if Alex is doing something to make Leonard uncomfortable, he should confront her and tell her to stop. Sheldon, however, unknowingly makes the situation worse by replying that Leonard isn't uncomfortable since he is enjoying Alex's attention, which upsets Penny even more. Penny is now mad at not only Alex, but Leonard too. Oblivious, Sheldon says that their advice has not helped him at all.


Sheldon consulting with the girls.

Later in his office, Sheldon attempts to confront Alex about what he perceived to be an inappropriate sexual advance on Leonard. Alex denies it, saying that she only invited him to dinner. Sheldon continues to tell Alex that he doesn't like what she did, and tries to discourage her from pursuing Leonard by making a misogynistic comment (stating that she's an egg salad sandwich on a warm Texas day: full of eggs and only appealing for a short time). Despite Alex telling him that he is making her uncomfortable, he continues and calls her a slave to her desire to reproduce. To finish, he shows Alex an illustrated book on sexually transmitted diseases in hopes that she will be discouraged from having sex with Leonard. Alex, who does not know that Sheldon has no idea that what he is saying is inappropriate in its context, gets more and more offended, then rushes out of the office.

Back at their apartment building, Leonard and Penny meet in the hallway. Penny asks Leonard about his good mood twice to see if he will tell her about Alex asking him out; he doesn't (he's in a jovial mood due to listening to the radio while Sheldon was asleep in the car, and taking an online quiz that got him Captain James T. Kirk after four tries), but he tells Penny that he will be in an even better mood once he spends some time with his "special girl." She asks if he means her or Alex since she knows that he enjoys Alex's interest in him. Leonard looks stupefied and Penny storms off, slamming her door behind her.

Knowing that he's unaware of something, Leonard asks Sheldon if he told her about Alex. Sheldon replies that he had, and had gotten no good advice (still believing that the situation is about him). Leonard tells him that he shouldn't have told Penny that he was being hit on as it's never a good idea to let a girl know if someone's flirting with her man; Sheldon points out that good advice like that could get Leonard onto his "Council of Ladies". Sheldon then gets a call to report to the Human Resources department, since Alex has filed a complaint that he had acted inappropriately. Leonard asks him what he did; despite all of the things he said and showed to her, Sheldon thinks about it and claims that he did nothing because he thinks he is a "delight."


Alex's reaction to Sheldon's explicit photographs.

Janine Davis, the human resources administrator who enforces political correctness including sexual harassment at Caltech, tells Sheldon that Alex has filed a complaint. Sheldon can't see what is wrong since she has a front row seat as he makes scientific history, adding that he led his assistant away from a life of promiscuity. Mrs. Davis tells Sheldon that he had said things that he shouldn't say in the workplace like calling her a slave and calling her an "egg salad sandwich". Sheldon said that he sees the confusion, adding that he was not trying to single her out; he said that all women are slaves to their desires, including Mrs. Davis, who is African-American. He calls her a slave again, especially during certain points of her menstrual cycle. Mrs. Davis, getting agitated, tells him to shut up. Feeling intimidated, Sheldon rats Howard, Raj, and Leonard out in an attempt to direct her anger away from him: Leonard was bragging about his sexual desirability to anyone who would listen; Howard spent two years using university resources to built a "six-breasted sex robot"; and during last year's office Christmas party, Raj repeatedly referred to Mrs. Davis as "Brown Sugar." Mrs. Davis writes it all down on her notepad and asks for confirmation. Sheldon points out that in Raj's defense, what he said about Mrs. Davis wasn't racist; "He's also brown."


Musical apology.

At the apartment building, Leonard plays a musical apology for Penny on his cello. She accepts the apology, initially trying to deny any hatred for Alex but very quickly admits that she does hate her, adding that she feels less suited for Leonard than Alex is, saying she is "smart enough to not have to look up words in the dictionary after she talks to you." Penny adds that she is feeling very insecure about their relationship, but Leonard reassures her that nothing is ever going to happen between him and Alex. As Leonard comforts Penny, he then gets a call to report to the Human Resources department, as do Howard and Raj; none of them know why.

The guys are sitting outside Mrs. Davis' office waiting to be called in, and Raj is adding alcohol to his coffee in order to speak to her. Howard points out that he was often called in before he met Bernadette, to the point where he and Mrs. Davis are on a first-name basis, as Leonard correctly points out that the only reason why they were called in was because Sheldon threw them all under the bus during his interview. Raj erroneously blames Leonard for starting this in the first place; if he hadn't been "screwing around" with Alex, none of this would've happened, despite the fact that she was the one coming onto him. Sheldon shows up and announces that he is filing a complaint against Mrs. Davis because the explicit language she used during his interview made him uncomfortable. The four are then called into the office.

Penny young


Sometime later, Sheldon sits down and apologizes to Alex because it had been pointed out to him that his language in dealing with her was offensive, adding that he has to take online sexual harassment training. He then asks Alex to take the online course for him as part of her duties because he is so busy. Sheldon leaves the office, leaving behind a very displeased Alex.

Finally, Penny starts looking at science classes at her local community college, since Alex can talk to Leonard about his work and she can't. She decides that they are all boring. Instead of trying to be a scientist, she decides to look like one and buys a pair of black-rimmed eyeglasses Leonard is initially skeptical, but becomes extremely excited when Penny puts on the glasses and says, "Molecules." Then they head for his bedroom to off all her clothes except the eyeglasses and the boots.



  • The TV Critic: "There was plenty to enjoy here as the subject of sex allowed Sheldon to offend everyone in sight while Leonard and Penny grew closer...Sheldon’s meeting with the African-American Mrs. Davis was an edgy scene with him calling her a slave (to her body) but the sight of him nodding sagely as his own offensive remarks were read back to him had me smiling...In general this was a strong episode with lots of easy jokes flying around. But it could have been a lot better and I felt Sheldon’s character was slightly compromised to sneak in some Two and a Half Men style gender gags."[2]
  • Oliver Sava of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A.[3]
  • Jesse Scheeden of IGN gave the episode an 8.4 out of 10.[4]
  • Dhruv Rao of The DR Club gave the episode a B.[5]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The title comes from a sexist comment that Sheldon's father made about women. He compared women to an egg salad sandwich left out in the sun, as he believes that both are full of eggs and only good for a short time.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 19.25 million people with a rating of 6.1 (adults 18–49), a new record high in viewership for the show.[6]
  • Total viewers including DVR users 23.38 million.[7]
  • This episode aired in Canada on January 3, 2013, with 4.688 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[8]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on April 18, 2013, with million total viewers.[9]
  • Episode transcript [1]


  • First time Leonard says his catchphrase "Whaaaaaaat?!"
  • Leonard finally notices that Alex has been attempting to hit on him for, in show, several months.
  • Alex invites Leonard to join her in attending a lecture on subatomic space-time by Caltech theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, one of the world's leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein's general theory of relativity and a longtime friend of Stephen Hawking. Leonard then states that the lecture is Thorne's take on John Wheeler's quantum foam. A world renowned relativist, John Wheeler had mentored Kip Thorne as his doctoral adviser and devised the concept of quantum foam in 1955. Thorne appear in person in Season 12.
  • As the Richard Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus, Kip Thorne is retired; however, he still engages in research; evidenced by the continued publication of technical articles in refereed physics journals after attaining emeritus status in 2009 — as a member of the TAPIR (Theoretical Astrophysics Including Relativity) group. Thus, the prospect of Thorne presenting such a lecture remains feasible.
  • Leonard exhibits his talent of playing cello again (also the talent of the actor Johnny Galecki's) after previously in episode "The Hamburger Postulate" (S1E5). The song that Leonard sings and plays on his cello to apologize to Penny follows the melody and the lyrical pattern of "Mary Had a Little Lamb", a standard cello exercise.
  • Amy only features in one scene in this episode.
  • Bernadette only features in two scenes in this episode (the Sheldon Cooper's Council of Ladies scene in Amy's Apartment and the one second scene of asking her husband "Why?" at Howard and Bernadette's Apartment after Howard got called into Human Resources and he tells his wife he doesn't know).
  • When Sheldon shows a book of genital diseases to Alex, this action may be a reference to Michael Jackson, who allegedly showed a similar book to a teenage Corey Feldman.
  • This episode has a scene where Penny confronts Leonard about him liking Alex's flirts, which is similar to the "I Love You" scene from "The 43 Peculiarity", as both instances involve the two of them meeting in the hallway between their respective apartments, Penny is wearing her Cheesecake Factory uniform, and she is angry with Leonard for a certain reason. However, Leonard's mood in this episode is the opposite of his mood in the former episode.
  • At the end of this episode, Penny admits she has been looking at science classes in her community college. In "The Raiders Minimization" (S7E4), it is revealed that she is taking a psychology class in college.
  • Second appearance of Raj's Yorkshire Terrier, following "The Transporter Malfunction" (S5E20), though the dog is much older. She was also mentioned in "The Date Night Variable" (S6E1) and "The Santa Simulation" (S6E11)
  • In the second scene, Raj lists a handful of cereal mascots and points out that none of them are female characters.
  • Second time that Amy suggests dealing with a rival using monkeys under her control: in this episode she offers Penny cocaine-addicted monkeys to deal with Alex, and in "The Agreement Dissection" (S4E21) she offered to train a monkey to shoot a toxic dart at Priya Koothrappali for Sheldon.
  • Sheldon gets his male friends involved when being questioned by the Caltech HRA, Janine Davis, similar to his actions when being questioned by FBI Agent Angela Page in "The Apology Insufficiency" (S4E7).
  • Second time that Sheldon tries to cover for Leonard with absurd fake descriptions when he realizes his mentioning of Leonard may be detrimental. In this episode he refers to Leonard with the name Ricardo Shilly-Shally and gives the description "red hair, served shortly in Mexican Navy"; and in "The Apology Insufficiency" (S4E7) he described Leonard as "Chinese, red hair, six fingers" after he accidentally mentioned Leonard's affair with North Korean spy Joyce Kim to FBI special Agent Page.
  • Not only do Live+Same Day returns have the CBS comedy setting an even higher bar for total viewers (19.25 million), the episode topped its record haul among adults 18–49. The 6.1 rating bests Thursday's fast affiliate showing by a tenth of a point. (The 6.0 adult's record was set on Feb. 8, 2010, and matched the next month.)
  • Sheldon again shows a habit of demonstrating his parents' views, vocabulary and idiosyncrasies ignorant of changes in attitudes in the outside world.
  • First new episode broadcast in 2013.


Sheldon: I want to thank you all for coming on such short notice. Uh, in the past, I’ve reached out to each of you individually, but I believe my present situation requires the collective wisdom of the group, which as you can see from your commemorative T-shirts I have dubbed um, Sheldon Cooper’s Council of Ladies.
Penny: What is happening?
Sheldon: I need your advice about a delicate workplace situation. Uh, to protect those involved, I’ll be changing their names.
Bernadette: (she is quite confused) Who’s involved?
Sheldon: Well, a short, bespectacled colleague of mine who lives in the shadow of his brilliant roommate. Let’s call this colleague Ricardo Shilly-Shally.
Penny: You’re talking about Leonard.
Sheldon: No, no, Shilly-Shally has red hair and, uh, he briefly served in the Mexican Navy. Anyway, despite the fact that he has a girlfriend, Shilly-Shally has been the recipient of inappropriate workplace flirtations from a young lady.
Amy: It’s your assistant Alex, isn’t it?
Sheldon: No. No. No. This is Tondelaya della Ventimiglia.
Penny: Wait, what the hell’s going on with Leonard and Alex?
Sheldon: No, uh, no, I’m sorry. Who’s talking about Leonard and Alex?
Penny: Fine. So, Ricardo and Tondelaya.
Sheldon: Okay, look, it’s not really about Ricardo and Tondelaya. It is really about her boss, (Penny is getting angrier) who doesn’t quite know how to handle this situation and could use your advice, which is surprising because Dr. Einstein Von Brainstorm, he’s usually pretty smart about these things.
Penny: (she's now angry with revenge) I’m gonna kill her.
Bernadette: (she's reassuring Penny) I’m sure you’ve got nothing to worry about. Leonard would never cheat on you.
Amy: She’s right. But say the word, I got a lab full of cocaine-addicted monkeys with nothing to lose. One of them could end up in the backseat of her car. Or her shower.
Sheldon: Ladies, ladies, please. We’re not here to talk about Penny, okay? We’re here to talk about me. Uh, I mean Einstein Von Brainstorm. Oh, darn it! All right, I guess the cat’s out of the bag. Let me explain what’s going on. Ricardo is really...
Penny: (she yells at Sheldon with tiredness) We know what’s going on, Sheldon!
Sheldon: Well, what should I do?
Bernadette: (she's giving Sheldon a very good advice) Well, Alex is your employee. If she’s doing something that’s making Leonard uncomfortable, you should talk to her.
Sheldon: Oh, no, he’s not uncomfortable at all. No, he’s loving it. (Penny is stunned by this revelation) Yeah, he’s strutting around like he’s five-foot-six.
Penny: (shocked) What? He’s loving it?
Bernadette: (she's suggesting to Sheldon crossly) Sheldon, you need to talk to Alex right away.
Sheldon: Talk to her? That’s all you’ve got? With a cool name like Sheldon Cooper’s Council of Ladies, I really expected more. Give me back the T-shirts.
(Penny is disgusted whilst Sheldon takes her t-shirt off the settee edge. Amy is shocked and both she and Bernadette furiously hand their t-shirts back to Sheldon).

Sheldon: You don’t know? Oh, you poor dear. Your ovaries are squirting so much goofy juice into your brains you don’t even know which way is up. You made an inappropriate sexual advance towards Dr. Hofstadter.
Alex: What? I didn’t make a sexual advance on anybody.
Sheldon: Now, there’s no need to get defensive. I’m not unsympathetic to your plight. My father used to say that a woman is like an egg salad sandwich on a warm Texas day.
Alex: (confused) What?
Sheldon: Full of eggs and only appealing for a short time.

Leonard: (whistling) Hey, pretty lady!
Penny: (suspicious) Hm, you seem extra happy.
Leonard: Yes, I am.
Penny: Any particular reason why?
Leonard: (smiling) I don't know, I'm just having a good day. This morning, Sheldon fell asleep on the way to work, so I got to listen to the radio today. That was pretty crazy.
Penny: (playing along) Mm-hmm. Anything else?
Leonard: I found this quiz online called "Which Star Trek character are you?", and it only took me four tries to get Captain Kirk.
Penny: That's great.
Leonard: (as Captain Kirk) Oh, it was.
Penny: (crossly) Well, I'm glad you're having such a great day.
Leonard: (cheerful) And the one thing that could make it even better is an evening with my special girl.
Penny: Oh, and who's that?
Leonard: What do you mean?
Penny: Oh, I just didn't know if you meant me or Alex.
Leonard: (curious) Why would I mean Alex?
Penny: (angry) Because I know she hit on you, and I know you liked it!
Leonard: (nervously) Whaaaaaat?
Penny: (full of rage) Don't play dumb with me, Ricardo Shilly-Shally! (slams her door)
Leonard: (confused) I'm missing something.

[the scene at Howard and Bernadette's kitchen]
Howard: Huh. I just got called in to Human Resources.
Bernadette: (she is very worried) Why?
Howard: I don’t know.

[The scene at the Human Resources department where the strict HR woman (Mrs. Janine Davies) comes out of her office just as Howard gets up from his seat]
Mrs. Janine Davis (HR): Ah, Mr. Wolowitz, it’s been a while.
Howard: (being friendly) Hey, Janine. (chuckles) How are Tom and the kids?
Mrs. Janine Davis (HR): Fine. (indicating Leonard in his seat) You must be Dr. Hofstadter.
Leonard: Yes, but I think this is all a big misunderstanding.
Raj: Yeah, yeah, me, too. I didn’t do anything.
Mrs. Janine Davis (HR): (asks Raj crossly) Is that alcohol on your breath?
Raj: Howard built a sex robot.
Howard: That is not true. All I did was build a robot.
Mrs. Janine Davis (HR): (asks Howard crossly) Did it have six breasts?
Howard: I’m sorry, I’m a feminist, I don’t notice things like how many breasts a robot has.
Sheldon: Well, hello.
Leonard: What are you doing here?
Sheldon: Actually, I came to speak to Mrs. Davis.
Mrs. Janine Davis (HR): (sounding quite serious) And I’m a little busy right now.
Sheldon: But I came to file a complaint. Somebody has made me feel uncomfortable in the workplace by using language of an inappropriate and sexual nature.
Mrs. Janine Davis (HR): (asking Sheldon crossly) And who was that?
Sheldon: You, you dirty birdie. I-I thought about the things you said to me yesterday, and I realized I’m deeply offended. Now, be a dear and get me one of those complaint forms.
Mrs. Janine Davis (HR): (she is now very cross with all four guys) That’s it. All of you, in my office now!
[The men start going into the office and Sheldon half-way tells Mrs. Davies something embarrassing]
Sheldon: And thanks to you, I know better than to ask if you’re menstruating.
[Sheldon enters the doorway and turns around to face Mrs. Davies for one last second]
Sheldon: And based on your behavior, I don’t have to.
[Sheldon is now in her office as Mrs. Davis can't believe that Sheldon has just said that].

Penny: Molecules.

Leonard: (he's singing on his cello) I’m sorry Alex hit on me, hit on me, hit on me. I’m sorry Alex hit on me, I’d no idea I’m cute.
Penny: (she's so very cross with Leonard) Oh, damn it, you are.
Leonard: Please forgive me. I should have told you about Alex.
Penny: I don’t care about Alex. Fine, I care. Okay, I hate that bitch. But, what really hurt is that you liked it so much. I mean, do I need to be worried?
Leonard: Of course not. No. Why?
Penny: Because, she is pretty and smart, and when you talk about work, she doesn’t have to go home and look up words in the dictionary to understand what you said.
Leonard: You do that?
Penny: (Defensively) No.
Leonard: Hang on. Are you feeling insecure? Because that’s my thing, and if you take it away, I don’t know what I’m bringing to this relationship.
Penny: Yes, Leonard, I am insecure. Happy?
Leonard: No, I’m not happy. (smiles)
Penny: Why are you smiling?
Leonard: I’m sorry. I just never think of you having feelings like that.
Penny: Well, I do.
Leonard: Why? Nothing is going to happen between me and Alex.
Penny: Good.

Mrs. Janine Davis (HR): Well, according to Ms. Jensen, you said that she was a slave to her biological urges and called her an egg salad sandwich. I don’t even know what that means, but I’m gonna go ahead and tell you; you can’t say it.
Sheldon: Oh! I see the confusion here. No, no, Alex thought I was singling her out. No. I meant that all women are slaves to their biological urges, you know? Even you. You’re a slave.
Mrs. Janine Davis (HR): I’m a what?
Sheldon: Well, y-you, I-I’m just saying, you know, at a certain point in a woman’s menstrual cycle…
Mrs. Janine Davis (HR): (she's really angry with Sheldon) Whuh-ah! Woah! You can’t talk about that, either, Dr. Cooper. Your language is entirely inappropriate, and I’m gonna advise that you shut your mouth right now.
Sheldon: I don’t see why I’m the one being persecuted here. (he refers to Leonard) Dr. Hofstadter, he was bragging about his sexual desirability to anyone who would listen. You know, and Howard Wolowitz, he spent two years using university resources building a six-breasted sex robot. Oh, and at the office Christmas party, I heard Rajesh Koothrappali refer to you several times as Brown Sugar.
Mrs. Janine Davis (HR): (writing) Hofstadter… Wolowitz… and the last one was Rajesh Koothrappali?
Sheldon: Yes. No, yeah, but in his defense, that wasn’t racist. He’s also brown.
(Sheldon smiles without feeling guilty about selling out his friends)


See also[]