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"The Middle-Earth Paradigm" is the sixth episode of the first season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, October 29, 2007.


The gang is invited to Penny's Halloween party where Leonard confronts Kurt causing a tipsy Penny's emotions to surface.

Extended Plot[]

All wear in Flash

Everyone dressed up as the Flash.


I'm the Doppler Effect.


Penny kisses Leonard for the first time.

After the gang gets their butts kicked (from 13-year-olds) at paintball, they meet Penny who invites them to her Halloween party. As the party is costumed, the gang is extremely excited. Initially, all four of them dress up as The Flash, so they all agree to change (even after the suggestion of standing behind one another to emulate The Flash at full speed). Leonard calls for Frodo, who is everyone's second choice. Leonard asks Sheldon not to embarrass him at the party as he feels this party could be a milestone in his relationship with Penny interacting with her social group.

The gang arrives at Penny's apartment on time while everyone else arrives much later. Leonard is Frodo from The Lord of the Rings, Sheldon is The Doppler Effect (which no one understands), Howard is Robin Hood (though everybody thinks he's Peter Pan) and Raj is the Norse god Thor (not the Marvel Comics character). After the party starts, the guys seem left out just sitting on Penny's couch. Howard spots a girl and manages to creep her out. Leonard wants to talk to Penny's friends, but is afraid to do so, Sheldon becomes his wingman. A girl named Cheryl approaches Raj and talks to him asking him how "wasted" she is, but he still is unable to respond though does react with her.

Suddenly, Penny's ex-boyfriend Kurt arrives at the party. Penny greets him warmly. As they both want Penny, Leonard decides to confront Kurt. After taunting Kurt and Kurt seems to understand Leonard, much to Sheldon's discomfort, Kurt lifts Leonard up intimidatingly. Penny tells Kurt to stop and says that he was just having fun with his little buddy. Leonard is a little shaken up so he and Sheldon leave the party.

Later, Penny feels bad about what happened so she stops by at Leonard's apartment. She gets emotional and claims that she invited Kurt because he was all apologetic, but she can't go back to her party and wonders what is wrong with her. Leonard says that there is nothing wrong and that she is perfect. Penny realizes he feels that way and then kisses him. He stops her advances because she had been drinking. Then Penny tells him that he's really smart and Leonard sarcastically replies that he's a frickin' genius (for stopping Penny). Penny wonders why all guys couldn't be like him. Leonard replies that if all guys were like him, the world wouldn't survive. Despite that, when she leaves she kisses him again. This time, Kurt saw them and Leonard stands his ground saying, "that's right; you saw what you saw," and then quickly shuts and locks the door behind him. Later, Howard asks if Sheldon has seen Raj; Sheldon answers he hasn't, but is sure that he's fine.

Raj is having just finished sex with Cheryl (the girl from the party), despite having not said a word the entire time he's been with her. Cheryl describes Raj as such a good listener.



  • "The scene with Kurt and Leonard reveals something to me. The writers worked out that they wanted Leonard and Penny to kiss and then thought about how to get them there. Despite the failure of that scene, this is a very good sign. It suggests that the producers have a good idea of how their characters story should unfold and won’t be swayed by just trying to make as many jokes as possible. Kudos to them and to their credit there are jokes here to laugh at too."[1] The TV Critic's Review
  • IMDb user reviews.


  • Title Reference: When Penny left the apartment, she kissed Leonard, Kurt witnessed this event and Leonard said "...That's how we roll in the Shire", which suggests the paradigm in Middle Earth.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card[2]
  • This episode was watched by 8.92 million people with a rating of 3.4 (adults 18–49).
  • Episode transcript [1].


  • The costumes of the characters:
  • Leonard's middle name is revealed to be Leakey, because his father once worked with archaeologist Louis Leakey. Interestingly, this show is even before Leonard's family name (Hofstadter) is first revealed, which occurs in the following episode.
  • For once Sheldon is not detail-oriented, specifically regarding whether Raj as Thor is the Marvel Comics Avenger or Thor, the original Norse God.
  • Penny kisses Leonard on the lips for the first time (though they decide in The Imitation Perturbation to make their kiss in The Peanut Reaction their official first kiss).
  • Raj has sex for the first time (in the series).
  • Howard stashed condoms in his costume quiver.
  • Howard tries to hit on a sexy nurse with the mirror technique.
  • The favorite superhero among the guys appears to be The Flash, though in future episodes, Sheldon prefers Batman and Leonard prefers Superman.
    • The idea of all four dressing up as the same character appears to stem from the Father Ted episode Competition Time, where Ted, Dougal and Jack all dress up as leather-era Elvis Presley at the episode's beginning.
  • The second choice among everyone was Frodo, which Leonard called dibs on.
  • Among Penny's costumed guests are Raggedy Ann, a construction worker, a football player, a sexy nurse, a hippie, a witch, a king in over-sized novelty eyeglasses (possibly meant to resemble rapper Flava Flav), a rabbit, a knight, a fairy, a flapper, a cheerleader, a ladybug, an American Indian chief, a cave girl, a monk, and a policewoman. Amy dressed up as a Raggedy Ann in "The Holographic Excitation".
  • The woman that Raj hooks up with is dressed like a ladybug. She finds him a great listener, especially since he can't talk to her. She shows up one other time at The Cheesecake Factory.
  • This episode marks the first major step in the Leonard and Penny relationship.


(The guys arrive at Penny's party.)
Penny: Oh, hey, guys.
Leonard: Hey, sorry we're late.
Penny: Late? It's 7:05.
Sheldon: And you said the party starts at 7:00.
Penny: Well, yeah, I mean, when you start a party at 7:00, no one shows up at, you know, 7:00.
Sheldon: It's 7:05.

Sheldon: Like Jane Goodall observing the apes, I initially saw their interactions as confusing and unstructured, but patterns emerge, they have their own language if you will.
Leonard: Go on.
Sheldon: Well, it seems that the newcomer approaches the existing group with the greeting “How wasted am I?” which is met with an approving chorus of “Dude.”

Penny: Well, I ran into him last week and, he was... just, all apologetic, about how he’s changed, he was just going on and on and I believed him, and I’m an idiot because I always believe guys like that and... I can’t go back to my party because he’s there, and I know you don’t want to hear this and I’m upset and I’m really drunk and I just want to... (Bursts into tears and rests head on Leonard’s shoulder.)
Leonard: There, there.
Penny: God, what is wrong with me?
Leonard: Nothing, you’re perfect.
Penny: Gosh, I’m not perfect.
Leonard: Yes you are.
Penny: You really think so, don’t you? (She kisses him.)
Leonard: Penny?
Penny: Yeah.
Leonard: How much have you had to drink tonight?
Penny: Just... a lot.
Leonard: Are you sure that your being drunk, and your being angry with Kurt doesn’t have something to do with what’s going on here?
Penny: It might. Boy, you’re really smart.
Leonard: (sarcastically) Yeah, I’m a frickin’ genius.
Penny: Leonard, you are so great. Why can’t all guys be like you?
Leonard: Because if all guys were like me, the human race couldn’t survive.

Leonard: I'll get it. (Wears a Flash costume, opens door)
Howard: (Enters at speed, wears a Flash costume) Bjow. (They stare at each other in shock)
Leonard: Oh, no.
Sheldon: (Wears a flash costume) Oh, no.
Raj: Make way for the fastest man alive. (Enters, also in a Flash costume) Oh, no!
Sheldon: See, this is why I wanted to have a costume meeting.
Leonard: We all have other costumes, we can change.
Raj: Or we could walk right behind each other all night and look like one person going really fast.
Howard: No, no, no, it's a boy-girl party, this Flash runs solo.
Leonard: Okay, how about this? Nobody gets to be the Flash, we all change. Agreed?
All: Agreed.
Leonard: I call Frodo!
Sheldon, Howard, and Raj: Damn!

Sheldon: Let me remind you while my moral support is absolute in a physical confrontation, I will be less than useless.
Leonard: There's not going to be a confrontation. In fact, I doubt if he can even spell "Confrontation".
Kurt: (picks Leonard up) C-O-N-frontation.
Penny: (walks to Kurt) Kurt, put him down this instant!
Kurt: He started it.
Penny: I don't care; I'm finishing it! Put him down!
Kurt: Fine. (puts Leonard down) You're one lucky little leprechaun.
Sheldon: He's a hobbit. (to Leonard) I got your back.

Howard: Hey, have you seen Koothrappali?
Sheldon: He's not here. Maybe the Avengers summoned him.
Howard: He's not the Marvel comics Thor; he's the original Norse god.
Sheldon: Thank you for the clarification.
Howard: I'm supposed to get him a ride home.
Sheldon: I'm sure he'll be fine. He has his hammer.