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"The Focus Attenuation" is the fifth episode of the eighth season of the American The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Monday, October 13, 2014.


Amy and Bernadette go off partying together after Penny has to study for work during their Las Vegas weekend. Meanwhile, the guys try to come up with something innovative, but only come up with ways to procrastinate. Overall, focus is the theme of the episode.

Extended Plot[]


The girls are finally getting to Vegas!

At the Caltech cafeteria, Raj describes a new invention that converts one's walking footsteps to electromagnetic energy so that a cell phone could be charged while walking. Leonard remembers that they had that idea years ago, but didn't pursue it. Sheldon says that they came up with that idea two days before Penny moved in, and that she has been a distraction ever since. In fact, every one of the guys has been distracted by their girls for years. Listing Leonard's greatest accomplishment since then involves his relationship with Penny or the pull-up he tried last week. Sheldon even admits that Amy is a distraction. She sent him a "how are you?" text message two days ago that Sheldon thinks is "sexting". The guys decide to have a weekend of brainstorming new ideas. Sheldon doesn't want to go to a cabin in the woods, a hotel, a lake house or a beach house due to scary movies he has seen.

Leonard asks Penny if it's all right for him to blow off their Sunday brunch so the guys can spend a science retreat weekend. Without answering Leonard, Penny asks the girls if they want to spend the weekend in Vegas. Bernie and Amy get excited and start checking hotels, airplane flights and her panties because she thinks she may have wet herself (Amy). Leonard looks surprised, returns to his place and tells Sheldon that he thinks that they are fine with their plans.


The guys working on science.

As the guys are setting up snacks and things, Raj joins them. They tease him that since he has a steady girlfriend, shouldn't he be at home lowering food to her in the pit she resides in. Now with the girls gone and there are no distractions, they have 48 hours to come up with ways to change the world. Raj since they are innovating, he feels like he is in that Facebook movie with Justin Timberlake. Sheldon has it so they decide to make popcorn and watch it. Leonard wants them to get back on track and focus. They start going through and old list of invention ideas that mainly involve robot girlfriends and other sex toys which are pages of them. They decide to come up with a new idea. Many inventions have come out of science fiction books and movies according to Sheldon. Arthur C. Clark described geosynchronous satellites, the Motorola flip-phone was just like the Star Trek communicator and Sheldon feels that the idea of an African-American president came from the movie "Deep Impact". The movie "Back To The Future part 2" took place in 2015, the next year, so they decide to work on one of the futuristic inventions from that film like hover-boards. After starting to discuss how to invent one, they end up watching the movie.

In Vegas, the girls are all dressed up ready to go out. Amy wants to go see the lounge band that plays Barry Manilow music. No. Penny wants to down a bucket of margaritas, throw up all over the roulette wheel and watch it fly everywhere. Penny then gets a text from her boss that they moved her field ride up to Monday and that she now only has two days to prepare for it. She tells Bernadette and Amy to go on out and that she'll catch up with them later while she tries to get a start on her background material. They leave with Bernadette not wanting to see the band "Fairly Manilow".

Back in Apartment 4A, the guys are watching BTTFP2 together. Howard pauses the movie because he doesn't understand the changes that in the film's time line. If Biff Tannen delivers the sports almanac to his younger self, how can he return to the future where Marty McFly and Emmett "Doc" Brown already are? He should return to the alternate future that was affected by the changes that his younger self made. Sheldon keeps arguing about the tenses of events that take place on alternate time lines. Raj wants to know what kind of a name is "Biff". It sounds like someone opening a Pillsbury dough box. Howard likes that dough wrapped around German sausage wieners. Sheldon gets them talking about the history of the word wiener. Leonard reminds them that they sent the girls away so they could focus. Sheldon adds that it didn't seem to work.

Amy and Bernie are drinking two very large margaritas. Bernadette is proud that Penny is taking her job so seriously. No matter how good looking Penny is, Amy thinks that both of them are rocking especially Bernadette. Amy wants to know how large her Hadron Colliders are. Amy is embarrassing Bernadette. She claims that it's all right and that she'll show Bernadette the divot in her spine that she was born with. If they put a AA battery in it, her right leg kicks.


Amy and Bernadette out partying together without party girl Penny.

The guys have moved onto Leonard's lab to work with fewer distractions. Leonard and Howard discuss how they could use maglev technology to make the hover-board work. They also consider using super-cooling materials and quantum coupling techniques and go online to check it out. Instead they find a map of Austria decide that it does look like a wiener. Leonard tells them again to get back to work. Sheldon suggest that they use some operant conditioning techniques to punish them and keep them focused. Similar work was used to get pigeons to learn to play ping-pong. Next they are seen watching pigeons play pong-pong. Leonard then stops them and suggests they need a punishment technique. Howard suggests snapping a rubber band on their wrist when they stray. Sheldon mentions torture devices and then goes on to find one.

Penny is back in their hotel room busy on her lap top, when Amy and Bernadette come stumbling through the door after pretending to be from housekeeping. There had been a complaint that somebody was pooping on a party. Penny is glad they are having fun. Bernadette over tipped her waitress when she realizes she is missing her $100 gambling chip. Amy wants them to go to a club with Australian male strippers. Bernadette wants to know if they twirl their junk in the opposite direction since they are from down-under. Amy calls the over-studying Penny a nerd and wants her to come with them. Bernadette just wants to climb into one of their G-strings like a baby kangaroo. Amy offers to help Penny by quizzing her and then steals her laptop telling her that it'll be at the strip club. Bernadette wonders why she is not chasing Amy. Amy ran into the walk-in closet.


Girls hungover; Penny heading to the pool.

The guys decide to torture each other by putting duct tape on their arms and tearing off arm hair when anyone gets off-topic. They believe that their discussing about the duct tape is off topic and they start torturing each other. Leonard then concludes that negative reinforcement is not going to help them. Sheldon corrects him that it's positive punishment. Bill Murray made the same mistake at the beginning of the "Ghostbusters" movie. They pull up the clip and Sheldon is right. Howard wants to watch the scene with the Stay-puft Marshmallow Man. Leonard again tries to get them to again to be thinking about work. Why should they stand around his lab watching "Ghostbusters" on some crappy laptop? Sheldon agrees that they shouldn't, so they go back to the apartment to watch the whole movie. Who ya going to call? GHOSTBUSTERS!!

Among the loud music at the strip joint, Bernadette is slipping a bill into a dancer's G-string while Penny is still studying. Bernadette asks if Amy has ever seen a body like that. Amy has seen a lot of good ones in her anatomy class, but none of them move like these guys. Penny keeps on studying.

Finally, the next morning Penny is relaxed and heading to the pool, while Bernie and Amy are hung-over. She reminds them that only nerds and losers stay in the room. She opens the drapes to show them how bright it is and then decides not to close them. Bernadette groans and asks Amy to close the drapes. She agrees, rolls off the bed and ends up passing out on the floor.



  • Title Reference: Everyone ends up focused acutely on something, physics, work or partying.
  • Taping date: September 23, 2014.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card. [2]
  • This episode was watched by 15.63 million people with a rating of 4.6 (adults 18–49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 20.21 million.
  • The Big Bang Theory was ranked #4 for the week ending 21 October 2014.
  • This episode aired in Canada on October 13, 2014, with 3.449 million viewers with a weekly ranking of #1.
  • In Australia, it aired on November 10, 2014, with 1.274 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.
  • Episode transcript [1]


  • Jesse Schedeen for IGN - We've seen plenty of Big Bang Theory episode that revolve around the guys and girls splitting up to pursue their own separate adventures...the execution this week was memorable enough...But it's hard to complain about the episode's shift toward celebrating classic '80s films like Back to the Future, Part II and Ghostbusters. The extended debate over BttF continuity was great, building and building until it reached a crescendo with Sheldon's monologue/rant about proper time travel tenses...The subplot featuring the girls was a little simple, but definitely amusing...It was a nice flip of the usual formula to see Bernie and Amy playing the party girl roles while Penny was stuck being the boring, nerdy one...The scene where the two girls struggled to play a drunken prank on Penny was definitely a highlight of the episode.[2]
  • Dhruv Rao of The DR Club gave the episode a B
  • IMDb user reviews [3]


  • Music: "Back to the Future Overture," composed by Alan Silvestri and performed by the Outatime Orchestra.
  • Third episode where characters go to Las Vegas:
  • The girls previously planned a trip to Las Vegas in "The Love Spell Potential" (S6E23); however, they never made it on the plane when Amy accidentally broke a TSA agent's nose.
    • Furthermore, Penny mentions checking flights for the Vegas trip, which possibly suggests that Amy has been taken off the "No-Fly" list after the events of that episode.
  • First time Bernadette has been seen drunk since "The Agreement Dissection" (S4E21) and the second time she has been drunk since "The Holographic Excitation" (S6E5).
  • The robot girlfriend built by Howard is mentioned again by Leonard in this episode.
  • Amy wears the yellow heels she bought in "The Wildebeest Implementation" (S4E22). 
  • Penny is the one that stays sober for once and is playing the part of the nerd. She is called a nerd by Amy.
  • Penny demonstrates great responsibility in her career when she needs to study some background material for her job. In her last job she was a "terrible waitress", per her own admission.
  • Leonard is the only one of the guys to share any scenes with the girls (Penny, Amy and Bernadette) in this episode.
  • Second episode where the nerds show interest in a movie about time-travel. First was "The Nerdvana Annihilation" (S1E14).
  • The "Had will have placed?" discussion echoes the Time Traveler's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations in "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe."
  • Second episode where Sheldon gets into operant conditioning. First was "The Gothowitz Deviation" (S3E3). In that episode Sheldon describes negative reinforcement incorrectly as well.
    • Sheldon describes negative reinforcement incorrectly. Negative Reinforcement is the removal of a negative stimulus, not a positive one. He is referring to Negative Punishment
  • Sheldon verified that Penny moved in 9/24/2007, the date of the premiere of the TBBT series.
  • Goof: When Amy runs into the "walk-in closet", it is obviously a hallway through the doorway.
  • From the view from their hotel room the girls are staying at the Paris Las Vegas hotel.
  • The third time that the movie "The Lake House" was mentioned. Penny made Sheldon watch it in "The White Asparagus Triangulation" (S2E9) telling him that Zombies would attack and they discussed it in Penny's apartment in another episode.
  • The girls finally get to Las Vegas after failing to in "The Love Spell Potential" (S6E23).


Sheldon: I know the real reason you never made progress with that idea. You thought of it September 22nd, 2007. Two days later Penny moved in and so much blood rushed to your genitals your brain became a ghost town.

Sheldon: Why die? Why did he die? All told. I was told he was old.

Howard: You admit that Amy is a distraction?
Sheldon: Of very much so. Listen to this. This was from two days ago. “Hi. Hope you’re having a good day.” Who has time for this constant sexting?

Howard: My cousin has a cabin out in the woods.
Sheldon: I’m not going to a cabin in the woods. Did you see the movie Cabin in the Woods?
Leonard: Then we’ll go to a hotel.
Sheldon: A hotel? Did you see The Shining?
Raj: We could go up to Big Bear and get a house on the lake.
Sheldon: Did you see The Lake House?
Raj: Nothing bad happens in The Lake House.
Sheldon: Yeah well. No. Not to them. To me. Time traveling mailbox. The only time that travelled was an hour and a half of my life down the toilet.
Leonard: Fine. Then we’ll just stay here and do it.
Sheldon: Why didn’t you suggest a beach house?
Leonard: You would go to a beach house?
Sheldon: Well, Good lord, no. Have you seen Jaws?

Raj: Hey.
Howard: Hey. Didn’t think you’d make it.
Raj: Why not?
Howard: Because you have a steady girlfriend now and we assumed I’d thought you’d have to stay home to lower food down to her in the pit.

Leonard: Guys. In thirty seconds we went from “Let’s change the world” to ”Let’s watch TV”.

Leonard: Ah. Here it is. Whoa. I haven’t looked at these in years. “Robot girlfriend.”
Howard: Mm. That would be mine.
Leonard: “Robot prostitute”.
Howard: Also mine.
Sheldon: Wait. I’m confused. Why would you need both a robot girlfriend and a robot prostitute?
Howard: There’s just some things you don’t do with your robot girlfriend.

Sheldon: I have long suspected that the idea of an African-American president was stolen from the movie Deep Impact.

Penny: We’ll, we’re in Vegas. I want to go downstairs, get a bucket of margaritas, dance until I vomit all over a roulette wheel and watch it go everywhere.
Amy: Well, what if we don't want to vomit?
Penny: Oh, you will. That's why they give you the bucket.

Sheldon: Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Is “placed” right?
Leonard: What do you mean?
Sheldon: Is “placed” the right tense for something that would have happened in the future of a past that was affected by something from the future?
Leonard: Had will have placed?
Sheldon: That’s my boy.

Sheldon: Marty and Doc never have had brought the time machine to 2015. That means 2015 Biff could also have had not brought the almanac to 1955 Biff. Therefore, the timeline in which 1955 Biff gets the almanac is also the time line in which 1955 Biff never gets the almanac. And not just “never gets”. “Never has, never hasn’t and never have has hasn’t”.

(The scene at the Vegas hotel bar where Bernadette and Amy are sitting at a table for two drinking two very huge margaritas, they finishing the first sips with their red straws. Amy finishes hers)
Amy: Maybe after this you’ll be in the mood for some Manilow.
(Bernadette finishes her sip and speaks jokingly to Amy)
Bernadette: I think after this I’ll be dead. (Bernadette takes another sip)
Amy: Look at us out while Penny’s in the room studying.
Bernadette: I’m proud of her. This is a great opportunity. It is nice to see her taking it seriously. (Bernadette goes back to her drink and Amy speaks)
Amy: It is. But enough about Penny. Let’s talk about us. We’re lookin' good!
(Scene of Bernadette with her arms in the air while sipping)
Bernadette: We are! (Giggles)
Amy: Better than good. I mean, look at you - your body’s bangin'! (Bernadette has a big grin for two seconds)
Bernadette: (giggles and smiles in embarrassment as her voice goes high-pitched) Amy!
Amy: Don’t “Amy” me. We’re always talking about how hot Penny is. Come on, scientist to scientist - how big are those Hadron Colliders? (Bernadette, realizing it was her breasts Amy was talking about, gazes and smiles for five seconds, she then plays with her red straw)
Bernadette: (still very giggly) You’re embarrassing me!
Amy: Oh, don’t be embarrassed. I’ll show you the divot in my spine.
Bernadette: (gigantically giggly) Really?
Amy: If you put a double A battery in it my leg kicks. (Bernadette just frowns and says nothing)

Sheldon: Wait, a question, who decides if someone’s gone off topic?
Leonard: I think it’ll be pretty clear. If not, we’ll take a vote. Oh, and also…
Sheldon: Ow. We didn’t vote!
Leonard: We didn’t have to, that was clearly a tangent. Now come on. Back to work. If we’re leaning toward quantum coupling… Ee-yow. Why?
Sheldon: You said quantum coupling. That made me think of the show Quantum Leap. That’s a tangent and it’s your fault.

(The scene in the Vegas hotel room with Penny focusing on her laptop studying while there is a knock at the door and Penny turns her head round to see the door)
Bernadette: (drunk and off-camera) Housekeeping!
(Penny puts a quiet angry smile)
Amy: (also drunk and off-camera) We had a complaint about somebody pooping on a party in there. (Bernadette and Amy both drunkenly open the doors and enter the room)
Bernadette: (excited with drunkenness) It was us the whole time.
Amy: (drunkenly) Why’d you tell her? It was working.
Bernadette: (drunkenly puzzled) Was it working?
Penny: (with loud happiness) Yeah!
Bernadette: (ashamed with drunkenness) Oh, I’m so sorry.
Penny: (happy) You guys look like you’re having fun.
Amy: (with a little bit of drunken excitement) We’re having the best time!
Bernadette: (happy with drunkenness) Guess who won a hundred dollars playing craps?
Penny: That’s a dollar.
Bernadette: Then guess who wildly overtipped a cocktail waitress? (Bernadette drunkenly drops the coin on to the table and starts biting the top of her red straw)
Amy: (running up to her with another bit of drunken excitement) Hey, Penny. Hey. Let’s go! We found a place that has Australian male strippers!
Bernadette: (She's still excitedly drunk by this) We want to see if they twirl their junk in the other direction! (Bernadette excitedly moves her hips around and twists with her self for several seconds with her drunkenness).
Penny: (happy but firm) That sounds so great, but I have a little more studying to do.
Amy: (drunk with happiness) Can you believe this nerd?
Bernadette: (drunk with happiness) Come on, do you want to sit here being a loser or do you want to watch me climb into an Australian man’s G-string like a baby kangaroo? (Bernadette drunkenly bites the top of her red straw for a few seconds and Penny makes a reacting face with big eyes and an open mouth for a few seconds)
Penny: (slightly annoyed) All right, guys. Look, I would love to go out, but I have got to get this done, okay? So have fun at the club. And if you get into trouble, find a policeman. And if he is taking off his pants he is not a real policeman.
Amy: (drunkenly tells Bernadette plan) Okay, okay. This is obviously really important to her. Let’s just, we’ll help her study so she can get done quicker.
Bernadette: (drunkenly agrees in a low voice) Sure.
Amy: Here, here. I’m gonna quiz you. I’m gonna quiz you. (she takes Penny's laptop and has a drunken scream of excitement) I got your notes! I got your notes! I got your notes! If you want these they’re going to be at the strip club! (Amy has now drunkenly exited the hotel room shouted with drunken excitement)
Bernadette: (with drunken happiness) Aren’t you gonna chase her?
Penny: (with firm happiness) To the walk-in closet? Sure. (Bernadette shows her final drunken smile)

(The ending scene at the Vegas hotel room in darkness where Bernadette [with her glasses on her forehead] and Amy [with her glasses that about to fall off her nose] are both on the bed looking rather quiet and extremely hungover in their previous evening clothes [as both were too hungover to shower, wash, brush their teeth and change into their pajamas or négligées] when Penny appears, dressed in a bikini).
Penny: Good morning. You want to go to the pool? (Both Bernadette and Amy are groaning because they both have hangovers)
Penny: Come on, you said it yourself, only nerds and losers stay in the room. (Penny opens the curtains and both Bernadette and Amy groan and cringe over the very bright sunlight shining through the window and attacking them with their very huge hangovers)
Penny: (excitedly) Wow, it’s bright out. Isn’t it bright? I should probably close these curtains. Nah. Bye. (Penny has now left for the pool with complete excitement)
Bernadette: (groaning and asking in her quirky hungover voice) Would you please close the drapes?
Amy: (agreeing quietly while groaning in her hungover voice) Okay. (There is a thudding sound of Amy falling off the bed onto the floor, Bernadette now remains on the bed on her own and rubs a sore eye while Amy is now passing out on the floor out of sight).



  • [4] Taping Report by MichyGeary