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"The Fish Guts Displacement" is the tenth episode of the sixth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory.  This episode first aired on Thursday, December 6, 2012.[1]


Howard and his father-in-law find themselves going on a weekend fishing trip since their wives feel like they should get to know each other better. Amy starts to enjoy Sheldon taking care of her when she gets the flu.

Extended plot[]

TMNT - Heroes in a half shell

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Heroes in a half shell, TURTLE POWER!"

While playing theTicket to Ride board game, Sheldon complains about the Spider-Man theme song which is his third favourite cartoon theme song preceded by Inspector Gadget and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Even though the song says that he can do whatever a spider can, he can't crawl into your ear and die, legally leave Guatemala without a passport, or have sex with another spider. Raj wants the subject changed because spiders give him the "jeebie-jeebies". Howard tells Raj that the expression is the "heebie-jeebies", but Raj feels it sounds anti-Semitic. He continues suggesting a evening of movie sequels that killed their franchises. Leonard mentions Jaws 4, Indiana Jones 4 or Daredevil 1. Raj mentions Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. Leonard agrees because Penny is working, but Howard is having dinner with his in-laws and Sheldon has to attend a memorial service with Amy. Sheldon suggests that Howard could bring up an interesting topic to pass the time with the Rostenkowski's like problems with the Spider-Man song or that you can't really dig through the center of the Earth to China from the United States.

Sheldon arrives at Amy's dressed to attend a funeral and finds her in a bathrobe with the flu. Amy asks if he is going to take care of her per their Relationship Agreement, but Sheldon leaves saying that the clause is so she can take care of him. He plans to return to the movie sequel marathon. Amy says goodnight and Sheldon head down the hall but returns to her door and knocks. Sheldon explains that he has a commitment to her in writing to care for her and that as his girlfriend he is concerned about her well-being. This surprises Amy who thanks him though Sheldon still comments, "Now let's get this over with".

Howard is sitting with his father-in-law trying to make conversation as dinner is being prepared getting very short answers; his retirement is "fine". Mrs. Rostenkowski's trip to the Grand Canyon was "good". All of Howard's jokes also fall flat and dinner will not be ready for quite a while.

Meanwhile, Sheldon is checking Amy's temperature of 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit and it is the same as half an hour before. He tells Amy that she isn't trying to get better. He asks if she believes in the placebo effect and then gives her a Tic Tac, telling her that it is a strong flu medication. Amy doesn't like his bedside manner and tries to get to sleep. Sheldon said that she can't sleep because he is not done taking care of her. He has to put a cold rag on her head, sing to her (presumably "Soft Kitty") and rub Vicks_VapoRub on her chest which is exactly what his mother did and what Penny did for him when he was sick. Amy perks up and says that he should start with the Vicks. He tells that it might tingle and she replies that she is counting on it.


Sheldon taking care of Amy in lieu of other activities.

At dinner, Howard tells them to dig in; however, Mr. Rostenkowski tells him to hold it until they say grace. The subject of M. Rostenkowski's weekend fishing trip comes up. Bernadette suggests that Howard go with him so that they can get to know each other better. His mother-in-law looks at her husband and he says that Howard can tag along. Howard tries to remind Bernadette that they have "that thing" to do that weekend. She quickly replies that she cancelled "that thing" and the trip is on.


Hooking a worm?!?!?!

Back at the apartment, Howard complains that he doesn't know how to fish and neither do Leonard or Raj. They wonder who knows how to do manly stuff and they end up at Penny's door. First Penny shows Howard how to put a worm on a hook. He can't use words like "ewwww", "icky", and "get it away". Howard first lays the worm across the hook, but Leonard is sure that he has to stab the worm with the hook. Raj and Leonard urge him on. Penny quips that they are cheerleading him and that's not the way to man things up.

Back at Amy's, Sheldon is reading Amy a genetics scientific book like one would read a bedtime story. Amy thanks him and asks for more Vicks' VapoRub. Sheldon disagrees saying that she needs to rest and that the Vicks only gets her all fired up. Bernadette visits Amy to check on her and brings some experimental drugs with some unusual side effects. While Sheldon goes to fix Amy a bath, she admits she has been well for two days and that she has been enjoying Sheldon taking care of her. Bernadette observes that that she doesn't want to be judgmental, but that is the kind of thing that lunatics do. She plans on telling him tomorrow, but Sheldon is now going to help her with her bathing, saying "Mama needs a bath."

Next, Penny shows Howard how to gut a fish (if he were to catch one from a miracle). She tells him to take the knife, slice the fish right up the belly, which causes Howard to gag. She asks him if he wants her to stop, but no he's fine and asks her to keep going. She then tells him that he will not want to cut too deep into the fish's guts or the blood will squirt all over Howard's face, which causes all the guys to get queasy. Penny wonders what's wrong with them, but Leonard tells her that it's not their fault since their dads never did anything like that with their sons: Leonard's dad was an anthropologist whose father-son time was spent only with a 2000-year-old skeleton of an Etruscan boy, a kid who Leonard hated; Raj's dad just took Raj to his gynaecology office and Raj got so bored, he'd put vaginal lubricant at the bottom of his shoes and pretend he was ice-skating; Howard's quality father-son time was spending his adolescence looking out the window waiting for his dad to come back some day. Raj then decides that Howard wins, to which Leonard agrees, who says that maybe they didn't have opportunities like that when they were growing up, but now there's a dad who wants to take Howard on a fishing trip. Howard then successfully pulls out the fish's insides and the guys are pleased until Penny points out that it is a female as all the eggs can be seen which causes all the guys to get queasy again.

Sheldon punishing Amy harder

Punishing Amy. Oh my!

Back at Amy's apartment, she is dancing to "Walking on Sunshine" and drinking a drink soda until Sheldon shows up. Amy tells him that she is taking a turn for the worst and needs another bath. Sheldon tells her that he was concerned about her lengthy recovering and took a cheek swab from her and had a throat culture lab report made. Amy looks worried. Then he asks her if she has symptoms of a growing nose or heat in the lower extremities, meaning "liar, liar, pants on fire". Sheldon is disappointed in her since he thought that their relationship was based on trust and mutual respect skewed in his favor. Amy apologizes, but Sheldon thinks that she needs to be punished. First, he wants to lock her in the stockade in a public square; however, he feels that that would require a permit. Amy suggests that she should not be allowed to see the premiere of the new Star Trek movie. Sheldon says that that would be overly harsh since she hadn't killed anyone. Sheldon decides to go old school like his father who did not spare the rod. She is intrigued that Sheldon wants to spank her. Amy seems fine with Sheldon spanking her and she admits that she's been a very bad girl.


Going fishing with Howard.

Howard shows up for his fishing trip dressed like a cartoon fisherman. Mike also plans to hunt some ducks in the morning. He likes using a big shotgun shell so that they explode. Howard says that he does want Mr. Rostenkowski to like him, but he doesn't think that this trip is the best way. Both guys admit that they are only going because their wives want them to go. Howard is surprised that his mother-in-law is telling this "big scary cop" what to do. He replies that Howard is an astronaut doing what his wife says and she's only four feet tall. Since neither wants to go, Mr. Rostenkowski suggests that they go to an Indian casino near Palm Springs. He'll teach Howard how to shoot craps and his son-in-law can now call him "Mike" instead of "Sir". As they get in the truck Howard says that they're married to a couple of ball busters. Mike points out that Howard is referring to his wife and daughter. Howard shoots back that they are a great couple of gals. Mike replies that he wouldn't go that far.

As Sheldon asks Amy if she is prepared for her punishment and she puts on some romantic music so that "the neighbors wouldn't hear her". When she seems to be enjoying it, she suggests that maybe he should spank her harder and he does, which she seems to enjoy even more.



  • The TV Critic: "The Howard-Mike bonding story was about the most basic middle of the road family sitcom story you are likely to see...Amy faking illness to get attention from Sheldon was equally familiar, but quite fun. From her point of view any little step toward intimacy can be a source of both jokes and touching moments...These were two very simple, competently handled, pleasant stories."[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode a B+.[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title reference: The title refers the fish gutting demonstration that Penny gave to Howard and the guys.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 16.94 million people with a rating of 5.2 (adults 18–49).[4]
  • Total viewers including DVR users 21.03 million.
  • This episode aired in Canada on December 6, 2012, with 3,949 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on 24 January 24, 2013 with 2.643 million total viewers.[6]
  • Episode transcript [1]
  • Costuming: Sheldon wore "Nanotubes"(c) by Thinker Collection.


  • Bernadette shares no scenes with Penny and the other two men (Raj and Leonard) in this episode.
  • Despite his disgust for worms, Howard has a proclivity for insects entomologists, which also usually provoke disgust in individuals. In "The Jiminy Conjecture" (S3E2), Howard said, "I know insects, my friend. I spent many childhood years capturing them with nets, putting them in glass jars, sticking pins through them, mounting them on corrugated cardboard with DYMO labels underneath, identifying the genus and Latin."
  • Howard, Leonard, and Raj get queasy with the notion of baiting a hook or gutting a fish. Howard was previously revealed to be squeamish in "The White Asparagus Triangulation" (S2E9), as was Leonard. Raj commented that that is: "Answering the question once and for all why Wolowitz bailed out of medical school."
  • A mouse pad with The Comic Center of Pasadena logo is visible on Leonard's desk.
  • Sheldon mentions the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song which producer and series co-creator Chuck Lorre co-wrote with Dennis C.Brown 25 years earlier. Lorre even provided the voices of the Turtles in that song.
  • Indiana Jones has previously been referenced in "The Precious Fragmentation" (S3E17), "The 21-Second Excitation" (S4E8), "The Launch Acceleration" (S5E23), and "The Holographic Excitation" (S5E6). "The 21-Second Excitation" (S4E8) particularly focuses on this vis–à–vis Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Raj mentions "Miss Congeniality 2", starring Sandra Bullock, but it also starred Regina King who plays Janine Davis.
  • Sheldon's brother, seemingly forgotten or not forgotten about by the writers, is mentioned for the first time since "The Jiminy Conjecture" (S3E2).
  • Despite having been seen to have a proper bedroom in her apartment previously, Amy spends her sickness sleeping on the couch in her living room. This was done so they could avoid building a set for her bedroom (the previous set was a temporary redress of Penny's and predated Amy's living room set).
  • When Sheldon ponders a fitting punishment for Amy's trickery, Amy says, "I could not be allowed to go to the opening of the next Star Trek movie." She is referring to Star Trek Into Darkness, the sequel to J.J. Abram's 2009 film Star Trek.
  • Second episode where Sheldon says the word "sex" instead of "coitus". The first episode is "The Robotic Manipulation" (S4E1).
  • When Amy receives her punishment, she plays the 1996 hit, Sumthin Sumthin by neo-soul artist, Maxwell.
  • Sheldon gets a more intimate view of Amy when he rubs her chest and then bathes her in the bathtub. In "The Parking Spot Escalation" (S6E9) Amy showed him her trimmed bikini area. 
  • Bernadette's mother is introduced physically after having made a brief cameo appearance in "The Countdown Reflection". With that episode and this one, Raj and Bernadette are the only ones in the gang whose both parents have been introduced. Penny, as well as Stuart and Emily (later on), now remain(s) the only one(s) whose mother(s) has/have not been introduced in the show.
  • Meagen Fay played Kaley Cuoco's mother in the movie Kaley produced "Authors Anonymous" besides playing Bernadette Rostenkowski's mother.
  • Bernadette's father's first name is revealed to be Mike.
  • Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik admitted that they spent a week filming the spanking scene because they kept laughing as they found it really awkward.
  • Penny has only three scenes in this episode and she shares them with the guys sans Sheldon. She shares no scenes with Bernadette and Amy in this episode either.
  • Bernadette only has three scenes in this episode:
    • She has both scenes with Howard and her parents at her and Howard's apartment during this episode.
    • She has one scene with Amy and Sheldon at Amy's apartment in this episode.


Amy: Sheldon, this isn't helping. Why don’t you just let me get some rest.
Sheldon: How can you sleep? I’m not done making you feel better. I still have to put a cold rag on your head, sing to you and apply VapoRub to your chest.
Amy: [sits up, sounding confused and intrigued] You, you want to rub something on my chest?
Sheldon: Yes. All over it.
Amy: Maybe we should start with that.
Sheldon: Now you’re being a responsible patient. Now you may notice some tingling.
Amy: Oh, I’m counting on it.

Howard: Sir, I’m flattered that you invited me, and I really want you to like me, but I don’t think this trip is the way to do it. And I can’t return these things if there’s chunks of duck all over them.
Mr. Rostenkowski: So, why’d you agree to come?
Howard: ‘Cause Bernadette made me.
Mr. Rostenkowski: I tried to back out, too. My wife said I had to go.
Howard: Really? Your wife makes you do stuff? You’re a big, scary cop.
Mr. Rostenkowski: You’re an astronaut, and your wife makes you do things, and she’s only four feet tall.
Howard: So, what do we do now? They expect us to go away for the weekend.
Mr. Rostenkowski: Ah. There’s an Indian casino near Palm Springs. You know how to shoot craps?
Howard: No, but I’m not a stranger to dice games. I was the Temple Beth-El Hebrew School Yahtzee champion.
Mr. Rostenkowski: Mazel tov. I’ll teach you how to play.
Howard: Really? Thank you, sir.
Mr. Rostenkowski: Call me Mike.
Howard: Okay. Oh, boy, we’re just married to a couple of ball busters, huh, Mike?
Mr. Rostenkowski: That’s my wife and daughter you’re talking about.
Howard: Great couple of gals.
Mr. Rostenkowski: I wouldn't go that far.

Raj: And we change the subject? Spiders give me the jeebie-jeebies.
Howard: its heebie-jeebies.
Raj: I know, but that sounds anti-Semitic. Anyway, I was thinking we could have a little film festival tonight. The theme, movies that killed their franchises.
Leonard: Oh. Like Jaws 4, Indiana Jones 4, Daredevil 1.
Raj: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. I mean, you know a movie’s bad when my home girl Sandy B can’t save it.

Howard: So, how have you been?
Mr. Rostenkowski: Fine.
Howard: Good. Fine is good. How you liking retirement?
Mr. Rostenkowski: It’s fine.
Howard: I’m sensing a theme. You ever really think about the Spider-Man theme song? How’s that dinner coming?
Bernadette: I just put it in. It’s gonna be a while.
Howard: I like rare chicken. Let’s do this.
Bernadette: You could die.
Howard: Death by chicken. That’s a pretty fowl way to go.
Mrs. Rostenkowski: Here’s another beer, honey.
Mr. Rostenkowski: Thank you.
Howard: So, Mrs. Rostenkowski, you took that trip to the Grand Canyon. How was it?
Mrs. Rostenkowski: It was good.
Howard: Had no idea you were the chatty one.

Howard: Really? Your wife makes you do stuff? You’re a big, scary cop.
Mr. Rostenkowski: You’re an astronaut, and your wife makes you do things, and she’s only four feet tall.

Howard: Okay, dig in.
Mr. Rostenkowski: Hold up. Bless us, O Lord for these Thy gifts which we are about to receive from Thy bounty through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Howard: Took the words right out of my mouth.
Bernadette: So, Dad, have you done any fishing lately?
Mr. Rostenkowski: I’m going next weekend.
Howard: Oh, you like to fish?
Mr. Rostenkowski: Yes.
Howard: Sure. I can hear it in your voice.
Mrs. Rostenkowski: Oh, if he didn’t like it, he wouldn’t go.
Howard: You know, I hadn’t thought of that. (To Bernadette, whispering) Help me.
Bernadette: Hey, Dad, maybe you could take Howard fishing sometime. Give you guys a chance to get to know each other better.
Howard: No, no. We know each other well enough. He’s been talking my ear off all night.
Bernadette: Howie, I think you’d have fun.
Mr. Rostenkowski: Fine, you can tag along.
Bernadette: (out of vision) Terrific. (scene of Bernadette) My two favorite fellas gone fishin’.
Howard: Well, hang on a second, Bernie. Next weekend, we have that thing.
Bernadette: What thing?
Howard: You know, the thing.
Bernadette: Oh, that thing. No, I cancelled that thing.
Mr. Rostenkowski: All right, it’s settled. You and I are going fishing
Howard: Great. (To Bernadette) Thanks for the help.

Sheldon (reading): And the control group displayed significantly fewer genetic abnormalities. But, because of flaws in the experimental design relating to environment and diet, they lived inconclusively ever after. The end.
Amy: That was great. Rub my chest again. (Knock at door)
Sheldon: No. I need to get you down for a nap. And for some reason, that VapoRub gets you all fired up. (Opens door)
Bernadette: How’s the poor thing?
Sheldon: Oh, I’m hanging in there. Thanks for asking.
Bernadette: Okay, Amy, I brought you some drugs we were working on in the lab. This is proving really good for congestion, but there’s a slight chance it can make your tears burn like acid, so if you take it, happy thoughts.
Sheldon: Uh, I’m going to draw you a soothing bath. Where’s your bath thermometer?
Amy: I don’t have a bath thermometer.
Sheldon: Fine. Then I’m going to draw you a nerve-wracking bath of indeterminate temperature.
Bernadette: This is a really good expectorant. Although some test subjects reported lactating uncontrollably when they heard music.
Amy: Okay, okay, here’s the deal. I don’t need your medicine. I’m not sick.
Bernadette: (she is so shockingly cross) I don’t understand.
Amy: I got better two days ago. (Bernadette opens her mouth crossly) It’s just been so nice having Sheldon take care of me.
Bernadette: (she's asking Amy crossly) So you’ve just been lying to him?
Amy: See the stuff in my nose? Rubber cement.
Bernadette: (she's slightly disgusted) I don’t mean to be judgy, but this is the kind of thing lunatics do.
Amy: All right. I’ll tell him.
Sheldon (off): Amy, would you be strong enough to bathe yourself, or do you need my help?
(Amy turns at the stern Bernadette who is still looking very cross)
Amy: I’ll tell him tomorrow. (she runs off the couch in a hurry) Mama needs a bath.
(Amy now exits for the bathroom whilst Bernadette starts to get more crosser than ever)

Sheldon: Are you prepared to recieve your punishment?
Amy: One second. I want to put on some music. (picks up a remote)
Sheldon: Why?
Amy: I don't want to disturb the people next door while you discipline me. (turns on a radio and sets the remote down)
Sheldon: Very well, then. Get over my knee. Let's begin. (Amy stands up and lays down on Sheldon's legs; Sheldon puts his hand directly over Amy's butt and smacks it)
Amy: (laughing) Oh, my! (she smiles like she wants Sheldon to hit her bottom)
Sheldon: Excuse me! You're not supposed to be enjoying this.
Amy: (stops smiling) Then, maybe you should spank me harder.
Sheldon: Maybe I will. (he slaps Amy's butt with more force as she smiles again)
Amy: Whoo-hoo!


See also[]