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"The Gothowitz Deviation" is the third episode of the third season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, October 5, 2009.


While Raj and Howard go to a Goth club looking for girls, Leonard is getting peeved at Sheldon who is trying to train what he considers bad traits out of Penny.

Extended Plot[]

The Gothowitz Deviation 09

Penny offering Sheldon French toast on Oatmeal Day

Sheldon wakes up to find Penny wearing only a shirt dancing to Shania Twain and making French toast. Penny invites Sheldon to dance with her; however, Sheldon assures her that in no other alternate universe was he dancing. It's also oatmeal day and Sheldon wants oatmeal. Leonard enters and apologizes for not giving Penny his schedule. Sheldon wants to know why they aren't having their "conjugal visits" in her apartment conjugal visits as previously stipulated. Unfortunately, they broke the bed in Penny's apartment. That confuses Sheldon that the bed of sturdy construction should be able to handle a homunculus. A perfectly formed miniature human being. Leonard gets peeved when Penny calls him her little homunculus. They pick up their French toast and head back to Leonard's room. Sheldon looks at his plate and says that it does smell good, but since its oatmeal day he dumps it in the trashcan.

As Sheldon, Leonard and Penny sit around the coffee table, Sheldon tries to get into Penny's banter about the coincidences of first names of the employees at work. Penny clears the table and Sheldon offers her a chocolate drop. Leonard wonders why Sheldon is being nice. Howard and Raj enter dressed to go to a Goth club including fake arm sleeve tattoos. Sheldon would love to go with him. (Bazinga!) Penny is more than happy to turn them down on both of their behalf. Raj whispers to Howard. “Yes, she's pushy and he's whipped, but that's not the expression.” They head out to get more eyeliner at Walgreens. Leonard predicts that they will get beat-up at that bar. Penny predicts that they are going to get beaten-up at Walgreens. Penny apologizes for almost sitting in Sheldon's spot so he offers her another chocolate.

Howard and Raj are trying to blend in, drinking vodka and cranberry juice since it looks like blood. Raj has a light beer which is also what the Goth Chicks next to them are drinking, Bethany and Sarah ("Not That Anybody Cares!"), whom they strike up a conversation with.

The Gothowitz Deviation 06

Choosing their artwork.

Back at the apartment, they are watching anime as Penny tells the story of her friend Anna Mae Fletcher. She realizes she is talking too much and gets another chocolate from Sheldon. Then she takes a phone call out in the hallway with Sheldon rewarding her gain. Leonard has had enough. He knows that Sheldon is using chocolate as a positive reinforcement for what he considers correct behavior. Leonard tells him to stop training his girlfriend like a lab rat. Sheldon squirts him and tells him “Bad Leonard.”

Howard and Raj tried to describe everything they talk about in Goth or dark terms. Raj works with dark matter and they like Goth food. Sarah wonders what Goth food is. The girls get them to go to a tattoo parlor to get a tattoo.

While Penny is still on the phone, Sheldon tells Leonard that with the right stimulus he can get rid of Penny's annoying habits and turn her into a better girlfriend including that high-pitched laugh. When Sheldon lowers his voice, Penny naturally lowers hers.

Howard is looking though the tattoo catalog and can't decide between the skull or Kermit the Frog. Bethany tells him that if he gets the skull, she'll put a smile on its face. Howard picks it, but then freaks out at just the alcohol swab. They admit their deceptions and the girls leave.

Sheldon asks that they keep their "amorous activities down to a decent decibel level. She agrees and gets a long-distance chocolate. First Penny asks Leonard to assemble her bed when it's so late and he declines. Then she mentions that they don’t have to keep quiet and they head for her apartment. Sheldon wonders if anybody realizes sex works even better than chocolate in modifying behavior.

Howard and Raj are heading home trying to make their story sound better. Also tomorrow they are going to head to a country bar to find some sexy cowgirls.



  • "This is a really fun episode, the jokes flow nicely from the understandable intentions of all involved...So Leonard and Penny are finally a couple and enjoying some domestic time together. What would be the first issue they would encounter? Of course it would be Sheldon’s response to this change in his own lifestyle. ..With the focus of the story on Leonard and Penny’s relationship the writing gets the absolute maximum out of Sheldon’s character. The audience has a reason to care about the story and Sheldon’s behavior has a clear motivation. It helps that the jokes throughout are strong and well written." - The TV Critic's Review
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: Howard going to the Goth club, mixing the two words "Goth" and "Wolowitz". 
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]
  • This episode was watched by 12.52 million people with a rating of 4.7 (adults 18–49).
  • This episode aired in Canada on October 5, 2009.
  • Episode transcript [2]

Costume Notes[]

The Gothowitz Deviation 20
The Gothowitz Deviation 21
The Gothowitz Deviation 18
The Gothowitz Deviation 19
Sheldon wears his Green Lantern logo shirt, Leonard wears a yellow wizard shirt, and Howard steals the show with his tattoo sleeves, a winged demon belt buckle, and black and metallic silver pants.


  • The dance that Penny does while making French toast is the exact same dance done by the character Ginger in "The Terminator", even to the degree that her hair is up and she is wearing her man's shirt and nothing else. We presume that Penny is happy about having had satisfying sex with her man, which is the same reason that Ginger was dancing. The second part of the reference to Terminator is that someone then enters the room and interrupts her, although it is not a Terminator, it is Sheldon.
  • Sheldon and then Penny call Leonard a little homunculus - a perfectly formed miniature human being. Leonard doesn't like it.
  • Sheldon claims that he doesn't dance, though he actually CAN dance as per "The Agreement Dissection", where it's revealed that Sheldon is very good at ballroom dancing and does dance with Amy.
  • Despite the jokes about Penny's poor cooking skills, Sheldon does think she makes good French toast (likes the smell at least).
  • When being asked whether he has read the wiki-how link on being a Goth, Raj says, "No, I'm behind on my Wiki-reading." This implies Raj has been reading Wikipedia for a certain period of time. This work is confirmed in the next episode "The Pirate Solution", and also listed as one of the reasons that almost leads to his deportation - he says "You know, checking email, updating my Facebook status, messing up Wikipedia entries" when being asked what he have done in the last six months.
  • Leonard, Sheldon, and Penny are watching the anime: Demon Samurai, which is a reference to a 2004 episode of Two and a Half Men ("The Salmon Under My Sweater") in which Charlie and Jake collaborate on the theme song to the same show. Both series are created by Chuck Lorre. The actual audio representing Oshikuru: Demon Samurai was from an anime called Boogiepop Phantom.
  • First time in the third season in which Sheldon brings back his catchphrase "Bazinga".
    The Gothowitz Deviation 17
  • Sheldon falsely uses the term "negative reinforcement", claiming to be able to train Penny more effectively using mild electric shocks. Shocking would be a form of punishment, while negative reinforcement is the act of rewarding by taking away something unpleasant. The subject of negative reinforcement comes back in "The Focus Attenuation" including a reference and a scene with Bill Murray in "Ghostbusters".
  • Sheldon realizes that sex can be used to modify behavior.
  • Howard tells Bethany, "If you like space stuff, I design components for the International Space Station, which is in space, where, as I'm sure you know, no one can hear you scream." This phrase is an obvious reference to the famous promoting tagline of 1979 science-fictional horror film "Alien".
  • Bethany's back tattoo is the logo of BloodRayne 2 (the video game).
  • Bethany, played by Molly Morgan, re-appears in the Season 8 episode "The Intimacy Acceleration", playing the hostess who leads Raj, Emily, Amy and Leonard into the Crystal Maze-themed "escape room". She does not appear to recognize Raj; however, so this is meant to be a different character.


(Raj and Howard leave the group, heading to Walgreen's for more black eyeliner)

Leonard: They're gonna get beaten up at that club.
Penny: They're gonna get beaten up at Walgreens.
(Leonard smirks)

In the apartment kitchen, Penny is cooking breakfast while singing and dancing along to “Man I Feel Like A Woman” by Shenia Twain. Sheldon enters. '

Penny: Morning, Sheldon. Come dance with me.
Sheldon: No.
Penny: Why not?
Sheldon: Penny, while I subscribe to the many worlds theory which posits the existence of an infinite number of Sheldons in an infinite number of universes, I assure you that in none of them am I dancing.
Penny: Are you fun in any of them?
Sheldon: The math would suggest that in a few I’m a clown made of candy. But I don’t dance.
Penny: All right, want some French toast?
Sheldon: It’s Oatmeal Day.
Penny: Tell you what, next French Toast Day, I will make you oatmeal.
Sheldon: Dear Lord, are you still going to be here on French Toast Day?
Leonard: Morning.
Sheldon: Look, Leonard, Penny made French toast.
Leonard: Sorry. I haven’t given her your schedule yet.
Sheldon: It’s an iCal download, she can put it right in her phone. And I thought we agreed that you’d have your conjugal visits in her apartment.
Leonard: We did, but there were extenuating circumstances.
Sheldon: I see. Did her abysmal housekeeping skills finally trump her perkiness?
Leonard: No, her bed kind of… broke.
Sheldon: That doesn’t seem likely. Her bed’s of sturdy construction. Even the addition of a second normal size human being wouldn’t cause a structural failure, much less a homunculus such as yourself.
Penny: A homunculus?
Leonard: Perfectly formed miniature human being.
Penny: Oh, you’re my little homunculus.
Leonard: Don’t do that.
Penny: Sorry. Okay, who wants syrup and who wants cinnamon sugar?
Sheldon: I want oatmeal.
Penny: Yes, well, I want a boyfriend whose roommate isn’t a giant pain in the ass.
Sheldon: I’m sure that will happen soon enough. But in the meantime, I still want oatmeal.
Penny: You know what, I give up. He’s impossible.
Sheldon: I can’t be impossible. I exist. I believe what you meant to say is, “I give up, he’s improbable.”
Leonard: Sheldon, you really need to find a better way of dealing with Penny.
Sheldon: What am I supposed to do, eat French toast on a Monday? Now, that would be impossible.
Leonard: I’m just saying, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Sheldon: You can catch even more flies with manure. What’s your point?
Leonard: It’s a… (gives up)
Sheldon: Boy, that does smell good. Too bad it’s Monday.

Sheldon: Interesting. Sex works even better than chocolate to modify behavior. I wonder if anyone else has stumbled onto that.

Howard: Yes, she's pushy, and he's whipped, but that's not the expression.

Leonard: No, I don’t want any chocolate! Sheldon, you can’t train my girlfriend like a lab rat.
Sheldon: Actually, it turns out I can.
Leonard: Well, you shouldn't.
Sheldon: There’s just no pleasing you, is there, Leonard? You weren't happy with my previous approach to dealing with her, so I decided to employ operant conditioning techniques, building on the work of Thorndike and B.F. Skinner. By this time next week, I believe I can have her jumping out of a pool, balancing a beach ball on her nose.
Leonard: No, this has to stop now.
Sheldon: I’m not suggesting we really make her jump out of a pool. I thought the “bazinga” was implied. I’m just tweaking her personality, sanding off the rough edges if you will.
Leonard: No, you’re not sanding Penny.
Sheldon: Are you saying that I’m forbidden from applying a harmless, scientifically valid protocol that will make our lives better?
Leonard: Yes, you’re forbidden.
Sheldon: (Squirting him with a water spray) Bad Leonard.

Bethany: What are you going to get, Howard?
Howard: Well, I can’t really decide between a screaming devil, this mean little skull or Kermit the Frog.
Bethany: Kermit the Frog?
Howard: You know, (Kermit voice) Hi ho, I’m on Howard’s butt!
Bethany: Get the mean little skull, and I’ll see if I can make him smile.
Howard: Yeah, I’d like the mean little skull, please.
Sarah: What are you going to get, Raj?
Raj: With my luck... hepatitis.