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"The Love Car Displacement" is the thirteenth episode of the fourth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, January 20, 2011.[1]


The gang (except Penny) is invited to participate on a science panel at a Science Conference. Amy invites Penny to come; she quickly agrees hearing there was a spa. At the hotel Howard and Bernadette end up quarrelling, Sheldon kicks Raj out of his room and Raj screws up Leonard's chance to hook up with Penny, leading to an unpleasant conference the next day and an unhappy ride back home.

Extended Plot[]


Penny is now Amy's bestie.

Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, Raj, Amy and Bernadette are invited to participate on a science panel at the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies symposium on "The Impact of Current Scientific Research on Societal Interactions" in San Francisco. Amy reveals that Penny is her best friend and invites her to come along as Amy's plus one. Although Penny initially declines the offer with the excuse of her being "very busy" that particular date, her weekend quickly opens up when she hears they were going to an all-expense paid spa at Big Sur, California. When they get back to the apartment, Sheldon carries out an orientation for their trip. The orientation covers Q&A (Questions and Answers), Quiz, Safety Drills and a pose for a commemorative Group photo. Penny seems to be the only one flabbergasted by the need for an orientation.


Penny says the wrong thing.

The gang, consisting of seven people, is divided into two cars, the lead car, driven by Leonard, will be Leonard, Sheldon, Amy and Penny, and the second car, driven by Bernadette, will be Bernadette, Howard and Raj. Amy is excited that she was able to "upgrade" her "best friend" Penny from the second car to the lead car, by making the argument that if it broke down Penny's "Nebraskan back-wood skills and brawny hands will give [the lead car members] the best chance to survive". Amy and Sheldon will not be sharing a room as they believe knowing each other's "toilet routine" may jeopardize their relationship. Amy reveals she will be sharing a room with Penny, and adds she is the ideal roommate as travel makes her constipated.

In the lead car, it seems that they are playing a guessing game about what element Sheldon is; Penny seems lost in the more intellectual crowd. This game annoys Penny and she questions the decision of giving Sheldon the post as "Road Trip God" (Travel Supervisor). Penny urges the rest of them to stand up against him, which results in her being demoted to the second car. Bernadette tells Penny to not worry, as she is in the better car. Howard adds that this car is the "Love Car". Bernadette and Howard begin to sing "I Got You Babe" as a duet; Penny swiftly apologizes to Sheldon.


Howard still talking about Glenn while in bed with Bernadette.

As they enter the hotel Amy says she missed Penny. Penny misses Amy too after her bad experience in the second car. Bernadette reunites with Glenn (Rick Fox), her professor in college whom she dated for a year. He addresses her as Bernie. Howard is a little troubled by his height (6 foot 7 inches) and wonders about the size of his penis. Howard, still a little troubled, subtly tells Bernadette that his penis could not provide as much pleasure as Glenn's. He also accidentally implies that Bernadette isn't hot enough to date Glenn, but in a desperate attempt to mend the situation, he corrects himself by saying that Bernadette is too hot to date Glenn.


Bernie's tall ex-boyfriend.


Can I sleep here?

Bernadette asks Amy and Penny if she can stay in their room, as "Howard is a complete and total ass", which comes to no surprise to Penny. This results in Penny and Amy sharing a double bed. Amy warns Penny that she is prone to night terrors, and if she is suffering from one she asks Penny to pin her down and stroke her hair. Later, Penny comes to Leonard's room seeking to crash with them because "Howard is a complete and total ass, Bernadette is in my bed and no matter how much you stroke Amy's hair, she bites." As Penny refuses to sleep in Sheldon's bed, she sleeps in Leonard's. After she makes a Star Trek reference ("From the waist down, my shields are up"), Leonard tries to engage in sexual activities with Penny. This noise wakes Sheldon up; as Leonard cannot guarantee they won't have coitus in the middle of the night Sheldon leaves the room.

Raj enjoying his room alone takes some tissue and turns on the television implying he is about to masturbate, but the actually he is watching Bridget Jones's Diary and the tissues are to wipe his tears. Sheldon quickly interrupts him and requests to sleep in Raj's room because "Howard is a complete and total ass, Bernadette is in Penny's bed, Amy bites and Penny may or may not have coitus with Leonard". Raj allows it. Leonard and Penny have an awkward talk about their former romantic relationship, resulting in agreeing to have sex. But before anything happens they are interrupted by Raj, who received the room key from Sheldon after being kicked out of his own room. Leonard is infuriated by Raj's interruption. And momentarily he talks in front of Penny.


The bickering panel.

The following morning, Sheldon opens the Science & Society panel with a poorly-received joke. Bernadette is asked to speak next; on mike she subtly hints that even Howard's penis size can pleasure her by saying "It's not just giant nuclear weapon can destroy the world, as a microbiologist I can tell you that even the tiniest micro-organism can tear you a new one." Howard then replies, "Though she claims her field of interest is micro-organism, she has spent her fair share of time around what we can assume is pretty massive weaponry." Bernadette then says she can get all the giant missiles she wants. Amy then asks whether they are talking about woman wanting penises. Raj clearly intoxicated then adds that he thinks they are talking about penises and that the mimosas are kicking his "little brown ass". Leonard says he would like to kick Raj's "little brown ass" and explains he is still upset about Raj interrupting his chance to get back with Penny. Penny quickly clarifies that it was just a hook-up, and they weren't getting back together. Despite the hysteria, Sheldon tries to bring the topic back to center, but fails. As Howard and Bernadette continue their petty feud, Sheldon opens the audience to Q&A. Penny publicly asks if anybody can drive her back to Los Angeles. Glenn agrees to drive her; as Leonard sees Glenn's height he is quickly threatened and yells out.


Leonard On the way home prior to Sheldon revealing he's getting pulled over by a cop.

Later, in the second car they have an unpleasant drive, with a hung over Raj and a bickering couple, as Sheldon proposes a game of spotting what he sees. Annoyed; Howard throws out the walkie-talkie and Raj pukes. Meanwhile, Leonard is still very upset, evident as he is driving at 120 miles per hour (about 180 kilometer per hour). Sheldon reveals that he spotted an aluminum tire rim on a police car. The police siren is sounded, implying Leonard is being pulled over for speeding.



  • The TV Critic: "I did enjoy the gang changing scenery for an episode and the opportunity for hotel hi-jinks. There were fun moments along the way such as Howard and Bernadette's car karaoke, Raj's desire to watch Bridget Jones or Sheldon listing his credentials...However this was a messy story which tried to cover a lot of ground but ended up achieving nothing. This was a clear reminder of what is wrong with the way the producers approach The Big Bang Theory. There were two plots which needed to be addressed here, one was Howard's jealousy and the other was Penny's feelings for Leonard."[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode a C-.[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: Howard refers to the car they are in during the trip as "the love car", which is referenced in the title. Penny gets bumped out of the lead car and thus "displaced" from it and into "the love car".
  • First episode in which Mayam Bialik and Melissa Rauch's names are listed in the opening credits along with the main cast. However, the final shot of the introductory titles still only shows the core five characters.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 13.63 million people with a rating of 4.2 (adults 18–49).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on January 20, 2011, with 3.189 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on June 30, 2011, with 1.283 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #7.[6]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Costume Notes[]

  • Sheldon wears his distressed Flash logo t-shirt.


  • First episode where all of the gang (now including Amy and Bernadette) are together in the apartment and their only road trip together.
  • Bernadette does not appear as The Cheesecake Factory waitress with Penny at the table that the three folks (Leonard, Sheldon and Amy) are sitting at in the opening Cheesecake Factory scene of this episode. She might have a different shift.
  • Amy doesn't often see Bernadette and Penny work together as waitresses in the Cheesecake Factory anyway, as of these five episodes in Season 4 of The Big Bang Theory with Cheesecake Factory scenes.
    • It previously happened in the Cheesecake Factory scene of "The Zazzy Substitution" (S4E3) where Amy and the men only saw Penny doing her waitress shift whilst Bernadette was not there waitressing with Penny, because she had a different shift that day.
    • It previously happened in the opening Cheesecake Factory scene of "The Hot Troll Deviation" (S4E4) where Amy was not at the Cheesecake Factory with the men at all and both Bernadette and Penny were on waitress duty that day.
    • It also happens in a couple of episodes of that "Big Bang Theory" season (Series 4) where Amy does not come to the Cheesecake Factory with Priya and the men (S4E16 and S4E23).
    • The only time where Amy does see Bernadette and Penny do separate jobs at the Cheesecake Factory (Bernadette as waitress and Penny as barmaid, but not both of them as waitresses) was previously in "The 21-Second Excitation" (S4E8).
  • Amy announced that Penny as her best friend or "bestie" on her blog, which Penny never read. As a consolation, Penny reveals she never read Leonard's blog either even though she used to sleep with him.
  • Penny's hands are bigger than Leonard's.
  • Amy is prone to night terrors, and bites in her sleep.
  • Leonard describes Penny's toilet routine as an "eye-opener".
  • Sheldon prefers Road Trip God as opposed to Travel Supervisor.
  • Sheldon has an abundance of degrees when he said "I'm Doctor Sheldon Cooper, B.S. (Bachelor of Science), M.S. (Master of Science), M.A. (Master of Arts), Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) and Sc.D. (Doctor of Science). OMG (Oh My God), right?"
  • During the orientation, Sheldon uses a SMART Technologies SmartBoard to show where each of the group members will be sitting in the car, representing them with their Wii avatars (Mii) from the Nintendo Wii.
  • Penny and Leonard both make Star Trek references while in bed. Penny tells Leonard her "shields are up", preventing sex, and Leonard likens the space between them is the Neutral Zone.
  • Rick Fox, who played Glenn, has dated Eliza Dushku, who played Angela Page, likewise a Season 4 cameo.
  • Amy is not staying with Sheldon because "Nothing sours a friendship more than over-familiarity with someone’s toilet routine." This appears to be true because while waiting for Amy in bed after they decide to experiment living together ("The Cohabitation Experimentation"), Sheldon looks quite disgusted at the sounds coming from the bathroom while Amy gets ready for bed.


  • Leonard says he dated four women since he and Penny broke up. But this is a mistake; Leonard had dated three women after his breakup with Penny. They are: Elizabeth Plimpton, Joy and Priya Koothrappali.
  • Amy's name tent did not have the title "Dr" in front of her name, while Sheldon's, Leonard's, and Raj's did. Obviously Howard's didn't and Bernadette still hadn't earned the title "Dr." until "The Roommate Transmogrification" (S4E24). This is a contradiction manifested as a prop error because the show later reveals Amy does, in fact, have a doctorate.


Penny: Hey, you guys ready to order?
Sheldon: Since we come in every Tuesday night at 6:00 and order the same exact thing, and it's now…[checks his watch] 6:08, I believe your question not only answers itself, but also stands alongside such other nonsensical queries as "Who Let the Dogs Out?" and, uh…"How are they hanging?"

Amy: Shame. Since you’re my best friend, I thought it would be a good bonding opportunity.
Penny: I’m your best friend?
Amy: Don’t you read my blog?
Penny: Oh, don’t feel bad. I never read Leonard’s and I used to sleep with him.

Leonard: So, how do you wanna do this?
Penny: Well, I’m not getting in bed with him.
Leonard: Yeah, it is a little like getting into Dracula’s coffin.

Sheldon: Howard is a complete and total ass, Bernadette is in Penny’s bed, Amy bites, and Penny may or may not have coitus with Leonard.

Sheldon: Red Leader to Red Five, come in. Red Leader to Red Five, come in. Howard, you promised.
Howard (voice): Fine. Red Five to Red Leader. What do you want now?
Sheldon: It’s eleven fifteen. I’m requesting your quarter-hourly location update.
Howard: Still right behind you.
Sheldon: Copy that, Red Five. Radio contact is sufficient. No need to extend your middle finger.
Penny: So, Amy, I’ve been wondering, are you and Sheldon going to be sharing a room?
Amy: No, we discussed it. We decided we didn’t want to jeopardize our relationship by getting to know each other too well.
Sheldon: Indeed. Nothing sours a friendship more than over-familiarity with someone’s toilet routine.
Leonard: I can vouch for that.
Penny: Hey.
Leonard: Not you, him.
Penny: Oh. Thanks.
Leonard: Although yours was an eye-opener.
Amy: Don’t worry, Penny. You’re my plus-one. You’ll bunk with me. And FYI, travel makes me constipated, so I’m the ideal hotel roommate.
Penny: Terrific. Are we there yet?

Bernadette: I hope we get there in time to see the keynote address.
Howard: Really? You want to see the keynote?
Bernadette: Yeah, it sounds fun. Super bacteria: global apocalypse or exciting research opportunity?
Howard: Actually, I was thinking we could go straight to the room and take a nap.
Bernadette: (she's asking Howard in shock) Really? And miss the keynote?
Howard: We can watch it later on C-SPAN. Besides, I was really looking forward to you and me napping together in the hotel.
Bernadette: Well honey, if you’re that tired, why don’t you just take a nap here in the car?
Howard: No, see, it’s not…
Bernadette: Hang on. It’s Leonard. Hi, Leonard.
Leonard (voice): Yeah, hi. Listen, I just got a text from Raj. He wanted me to tell you that when Howard says nap, he means sex.
Bernadette: (she thanks Raj sarcastically) Oh. Thank you, Raj.

Leonard: Are you an element in the actinoid series?
Sheldon: No. Amy?
Amy: Are you usually radioactive when found in nature?
Sheldon: No.
Amy: Are you in the lanthanoid series?
Sheldon: Amy, it’s Penny’s turn. Penny?
Penny: Uh, I don’t know. Are you food?
Sheldon: That’s not apropos. We’ve already established I’m found in the periodic table.
Penny: Well, it’s a table, right? I mean, why can’t there be food on it?
Sheldon: I knew she wasn’t lead car material.
Penny: Who elected you Road Trip God?
Sheldon: Leonard.
Leonard: It was a late-night vote. We were all exhausted, and he was threatening to filibuster. It’s not technically Road Trip God, it’s Travel Supervisor.
Sheldon: Although Road Trip God does have a certain ring to it.
Penny: I don’t understand why you people just let him bully you like this. Someone should stand up to him. What’s he going to do?

Penny: I can’t believe you let him kick me out of the car.
Howard: What could we do? He’s the Travel Supervisor.
Bernadette: Don’t worry, Penny. This is a better car anyway.
Howard: Yeah. It’s the Love Car.
Penny: Should I ask?
(Raj shakes his head)
Bernadette: (singing) They say we’re young and we don’t know, we won’t find out until we grow.
Howard: (singing) Well, I don’t know if all that’s true, ’cause you got me, and, baby, I got you.
Together [Bernadette & Howard]: (singing) Babe, mm da-da, da-da, da-da, I got you, babe, da-da, da-da, da-da, I got you, babe…
Penny: Red Leader, I’m really sorry.

Amy: I missed you.
Penny: You know what? I missed you, too.

Very tall and powerfully built man: Bernadette?
Bernadette: Oh, my God, Glenn!
Glenn: Great to see you!
Bernadette: Are you here for the conference?
Glenn: Yeah, I’m doing a global warming panel.
Bernadette: Oh, good for you. Uh, Glenn, this is my boyfriend Howard.
Glenn: Oh. Nice to meet you.
Howard: Hi. Ow. Hi.
Glenn: You’re a lucky man. Bernie’s a great gal.
Howard: Yes. Bernie sure is.
Glenn: Well, I got to run. The panel’s tomorrow morning. It’s called, Remembering Snow: A Look Back.
Bernadette: I’ll try to catch it.
Glenn: Oh, great. Bye.
Bernadette: Bye.
Howard: Hey, Bernie?
Bernadette: Yeah?
Howard: Please tell me he’s your gay cousin.
Bernadette: No. He was one of my professors in college.
Howard: Oh! That’s a relief.
Bernadette: Then we went out for a year. Come on, let’s check in, so we can take that nap.
Howard: (after Raj whispers to him) No, it’s not necessarily proportional. Shut up!

Howard: That green bag is Dr. Cooper’s. Here’s an extra five. Make him wait. Oh. Right to the nap, huh? Okay? Uh, so, this Glenn guy. You say you went out with him for, like, a year.
Bernadette: (she's asking Howard crossly) Do we really need to talk about my old boyfriend now?
Howard: No. I guess not. What is he, like, six-four, six-five?
Bernadette: Six-seven.
Howard: Probably has a hard time finding a suit that fits.
Bernadette: (she's slightly too worried) Is something bothering you?
Howard: No. It’s just…
Bernadette: What?
Howard: I’m just thinking. If you had sex with that guy, I mean, there’s nothing I can do here that will make any kind of impact.
Bernadette: (she is quite stroppy) Howard, it’s not a contest. I love you. I want to be with you.
Howard: Yeah, great, love you, too, but, if it were a contest, I wouldn’t have a chance, right?
Bernadette: (she's slightly too annoyed) You can’t think that way.
Howard: Yep. Loser.
Bernadette: (she is now very cross) Howard, stop it.
Howard: Sorry. I just never figured that a guy like me going out with a girl like you would ever have to compete with a guy like that.
Bernadette: (she is still very cross) Wait a minute, a girl like me? What’s that mean?
Howard: I’m… I…
Bernadette: (she's getting even more crosser) Are you saying you don’t think I’m hot enough to go out with a guy like Glenn?
Howard: No! No, I’m saying exactly the opposite.
Bernadette: (she's asking Howard with huge anger) I’m too hot to go out with a guy like Glenn?
Howard: Yeah, let’s go with that.
(Bernadette now shrugs with even more fury)

(The scene of Amy's hotel room where Penny is seen reading a brochure to the sound of toilet flushing. The bathroom door opens and out comes Amy who immediately shuts the door grumpily)
Amy: (she complains to Penny about her bowel movement) Still nothing. Remind me to try again in an hour.
Penny: Will do.
Amy: So, girl talk?
Penny: Um, sure. What do you, what do you got in mind?
Amy: Do you subscribe to the Freudian theory of penis envy?
Penny: Um, I never really thought about it. Why?
Amy: Sometimes I think it might be nice to have one.
Penny: Really?
Amy: Not for sex, for convenience. You can’t deny that, by comparison, our internal plumbing is extremely high maintenance.
Penny: Again, I’ve never given it much thought.
Amy: We have time now. Think about it.
(The two girls now hear a knocking at the bedroom door)
Penny: (she's gets off the bed in a temper) Oh, good.
(Penny strides to the door and opens it to reveal that it's a really, really cross Bernadette)
Penny: (she greets Bernadette) Hey.
Bernadette: (she's asking Penny crossly) Can I stay here tonight?
Penny: Yeah. Why, what happened?
(Bernadette is still very, very cross about Howard's insults of jealousy)
Bernadette: (she is complaining to Penny crossly) Howard’s a complete and total ass.
(Bernadette frowns crossly about Howard for one last second)
Penny: (she reassures her) Oh, yeah, that. Come on in.
(Bernadette stops being cross by entering the room)
Bernadette: (she's quite relieved) Thanks. I’ll sleep on the floor.
Amy: Not necessary. Penny and I are perfectly comfortable sharing a bed.
Penny: We are?
Amy: Of course, we’re best friends.
Penny: Oh, right, right, the blog.
Amy: Word of warning, though. I’m prone to night terrors, so if I wake up kicking and screaming, don’t panic. Just pin me down and stroke my hair, and I’ll be fine.
(Penny now has a miserable expression of 'this is going to be a bad night for me' on her face after what Amy has said)

Sheldon: Good morning and welcome to Science and Society. I’m Dr. Sheldon Cooper, BS, MS, MA, PhD, and ScD. OMG, right? (he does a sarcastic laugh) Perhaps that joke was a little too hippie-dippy for this crowd. All right then, we’ll begin with opening remarks. (He introduces the furious Bernadette to the audience) Miss Rostenkowski, would you like to start us off by discussing your assessment of science's responsibility to society?
Bernadette: (she speaks grumpily to Sheldon) Sure. (she's now very cross once again) I think all branches of science have to move cautiously these days. (she subtly hints that Howard's penis size can pleasure her) It’s not just giant nuclear weapons that can destroy the world. As a microbiologist, I can tell you even the tiniest organisms can still tear you a new one.
(Sheldon faces Bernadette shockingly for one second)
Howard: (he is still jealously mad with Bernadette) Interesting. I think what you might need to know about my colleague is that though she claims her field of interest is tiny organisms, she certainly has spent her fair share of time around what we can assume was pretty massive weaponry.
(Sheldon looks a bit shocked at Howard's speech for one second)
Bernadette: (she is still very cross with Howard) I think Mr. Wolowitz needs to keep in mind that the past is the past. But he should know that I am the kind of girl who could get all the giant missiles she wants.
(Leonard and Raj looked shocked by what Bernadette had said)
Amy: (she speaks sarcastically) Are we talking about women wanting penises? Because I’d like to weigh in.
Sheldon: Dr. Koothrappali, would you care to join the conversation?
Raj: Certainly. I’d like to raise two points. Number one, I think they are talking about penises. (Sheldon looks shocked at Raj's speech for a few seconds) And number two, these mimosas are kicking my little brown ass.
Leonard: I’d like to kick your little brown ass.
Raj: What did I do?
Leonard: (He is so very cross with Raj) Oh, I don’t know. Maybe when you walk into a hotel room and you see a guy getting back together with his girlfriend, you should consider doing something other than crawling into the adjoining bed.
Raj: I did. You said no Bridget Jones.
(We now hear a mad Penny's voice yelling in the background)
Penny: (out of vision) We weren’t getting back together! It was a one-time thing!
Sheldon: Excuse me. We’re not taking comments or questions from the audience just yet.
(We now hear Penny's voice getting fully mad in the background)
Penny: (out of vision) Oh, shut up, Sheldon!
Amy: Hi, bestie.
Penny: (out of vision) Yeah, hi.
Sheldon: All right, why don’t we see if we can bring this back to topic.
Howard: Let me ask you something, Bernie.
(Bernadette gets even more crosser with Howard)
Sheldon: I guess not.
Howard: How would you feel if you met my ex-girlfriend and she was like Angelina Jolie?
(Bernadette looks at Howard and she shouts at him crossly)
Bernadette: (she is so enormously cross) Oh, come on, Howard, be realistic.
(Bernadette now faces the microphone in a double-rage while Howard looked shocked for a few seconds)
Howard: What, I’m not hot enough for Angelina Jolie?
(the silent Bernadette does an 'Oh' expression in huge fury whilst Raj makes his speech)
Raj: I’d like to weigh in here. No.
Sheldon: Okay. Why don't we open up to Q&A from the audience?
Penny: Yeah, I have a question. Is there anyone who can get me the hell out of here and back to Los Angeles tonight?
Glenn: I'm driving back to L.A. tonight.
Bernadette: Penny, that's Glenn. Glenn, that's Penny.
Leonard: (he yells with loud jealousy) No!

(the ending scene in Bernadette’s car to which Howard and Bernadette are still looking very cross with each other as a way of not speaking to each other after their big row they have had at the conference. The hungover Raj is in the back with a "what's coming next" expression. Both Bernadette and Howard look crossly at each other for one second and they face the view just as Sheldon's voice on the walkie-talkie comes up)
Sheldon (voice): Red Leader to Red Five. (Raj holds his ears) Red Leader to Red Five. Anybody up for a little game? I spy with my little eye. (Howard opens the window furiously) a nonferrous metal.
(Howard throws the walkie-talkie out of window grumpily and he now closes the window furiously. Raj suddenly vomits into a carsick bag)

Scene: Leonard's car.

Sheldon: Must be out of range.
Amy: (she's asking Leonard crossly) Leonard, can I ask you a question?
Leonard: (he speaks in a glum voice) Sure.
Amy: Are you bothered by the fact that your former girlfriend left the symposium with what is probably the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen in my life?
Leonard: No. Why do you ask?
Amy: Because we’re going 120 miles per hour.
Sheldon: All right, if no one’s going to guess, I was spying the aluminium rims on the police car we passed a few miles back.
(siren wailing)