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"The Occupation Recalibration" is the thirteenth episode of the seventh season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode first aired on Thursday, January 9, 2014.


Penny makes a major change in her career, Leonard is struggling with words to support her, Rajesh and Howard help Amy when she gets stuck with a date from a geology department employee, and Sheldon is again forced on a vacation. Meanwhile, Bernadette accidentally destroys one of Howard's comic books.

Extended Plot[]

Walking up the stairs, Sheldon complains to Leonard about how the university is forcing him to again take a vacation. Leonard is worried about his relationship with Penny after he panicked when she marriage proposed while frustrated and tipsy. Sheldon is more upset about being forced to relax for a few days. Leonard heads for Penny's apartment, while Sheldon is going to settle down with a good book until his vacation nightmare is over. Penny comes to the door, apologizes for not texting him back and invites Leonard in. Penny assures Leonard that she doesn't want to break up with him. He does shed a few tears of happiness. She also assures him that his rejection of her marriage proposal was the right thing to do since she was a mess at the time. Leonard is willing to support anything she wants to do. Since acting is Penny's real dream, she wants to focus entirely on it, so she quit her job at the Cheesecake Factory. Leonard then reaffirms to her his support and she hugs him.

The Occupation Recalibration 7

Leonard tells Sheldon to stay since he is on a forced vacation.

The next day Leonard is heading to work and Sheldon is begging to go with him. He doesn't want to miss any scientific breakthroughs, though Leonard gets him to admit that he doesn't think there will be any without him there. Chasing Leonard down the stairs, Leonard shouts at him to "stay" on the stairs one flight down and tells him to not follow him. Leonard leaves and Sheldon sits down the stairs whimpering like a puppy.

The Occupation Recalibration 4

Bernadette trying to buy a comic from Stuart.

Stuart sighs behind the counter in an empty comic book store. Bernadette comes in to replace a comic of Howard's that she accidentally ruined. She tells Stuart that Batman got his ass whipped by a curling iron. Stuart tells her not to let the Riddler know that, though she doesn't get his joke. Stuart wants a couple of days to track it down; however, Bernie wants to have it before Howard gets home from work. Howard has been telling her to be careful with her curling iron and she doesn't want to prove him right. Stuart will try. Bernadette tries to bribe him saying that she can get him all the anti-depressants he needs since she works at a pharmaceutical company. Stuart then dumps a whole box of prescription bottles on the counter and wonders if she has any of these pills.

Amy is in her lab at Caltech looking over a rat's brain under a microscope. Raj and Howard wander in asking her if she'd like to join them for lunch. First she asks if it's because Sheldon isn't here and she doesn't have any other options, then she claims to be kidding and goes to get her purse. Bert, a big guy from the geology department enters, and Amy introduces him. He gives Amy a piece of black quartz that Amy thanks him for. Next he asks the guys what a geologist and Bon Jovi have in common. Howard replies that they are both into rock, which makes Bert disappointed as he agrees. Bert leaves with Amy describing him as nice. She is surprised when Howard explains that he likes Amy. Amy realizes that he must like her since he brings her a new rock every day. In their conversations, the subject of Sheldon being her boyfriend has never come up. She doesn't want to hurt his feelings, though doesn't mind calling on Raj's loneliness when he makes cracks about her boyfriend Sheldon.

The Occupation Recalibration 5

Bert really likes Amy.

Penny leaves her apartment with a box full of photos and resumes and finds Sheldon still sitting on the steps. He complains about being forced on vacation and that Leonard has told him to stay. Penny quips telling him "Good boy." As she is leaving Sheldon whimpers again and she invites him to come along by calling him like a dog.

Back at the comic book store, Stuart finds a copy for Bernadette at Capitol Comics Store, a rival to his store whose owner Jesse is a successful jerk. Stuart offers to take her there so she won't get ripped off. Bernie is worried about him losing business if he closes up and then notices the empty store and apologizes.

Amy is having lunch with Leonard, Howard and Raj. She is surprised that Penny quit her waitress job. Leonard says that he supports her decisions, though is obviously nervous about it. He calls up Penny who says that she is at the Cheesecake Factory. Leonard quickly replies that he is so glad she went and got her job back. Unfortunately the peeved Penny was just turning in her uniform. He finishes that he still supports her decisions.

Sheldon is waiting for Penny in her car listening to a relaxation tape and pretending to be inside the CERN supercollider. Penny returns without the lemonade that Sheldon asked for. Sheldon complains that this act was a fitting swansong to her waitressing career by forgetting his lemonade one last time. Penny wonders if quitting her job was a mistake since it really bothered Leonard. Sheldon thinks that she did the right thing since the best way to achieve a goal is to dedicate oneself to it one hundred percent of the time. After Sheldon decided to be a physicist he didn't take another job as it would distract him though his teacher did want him to be chalk monitor. Penny appreciates his comments and does not know why Leonard can't understand it. Sheldon concludes that the two of them are a lot alike; they are both dreamers. Penny cracks a smile and then remarks that she should have left the window cracked when she left Sheldon in the car, a running gag and reference to Sheldon not "getting out enough". 

Jesse's crowded store

Jesse's crowded store

Bert returns to Amy's lab and asks him to accompany her to a rock and mineral show. Amy mentions that she already has a boyfriend which makes it awkward for Bert. Amy thanks him. Bert thinks that she doesn't have a boyfriend and that she is turning him down because he has an off-putting personality. Amy explains that her boyfriend's personality is much more off-putting. After Bert tells her how no one wants to do things with him since he is big and weird, Amy breaks down and agrees to go with him. Her comment makes him very happy as he says "Sweet; it's a date," and leaves. Amy says that it is not a date. Down the hallway Bert says that it's too late and that it is a date.

The Occupation Recalibration 9

Leonard reluctantly supports Penny's decision to concentrate on her acting.

At Capital Comics, Bernadette is impressed how crowded the store was. The owner greets Stuart and tells him how grey his skin has gotten. He goes to get Bernadette the comic while Stuart confronts Captain Sweatpants for not being in his store. He offers Bernadette a latte and Stuart the directions to the nearest soup kitchen, which isn't necessary as Stuart already knows the location. Bernadette doesn't like how he is treating Stuart so she leaves to get the comic elsewhere. Stuart leaves saying that he may have success and a better complexion, but at least he has friendship. Then going out he says to himself that he would trade the two in a heartbeat.

Howard and Raj are now commiserating with Amy over her date with Bert. According to Howard, going to a rock show would be terrible even without Bert. Amy wonders what to do and Raj tells her to prepare her uterus for a very large offspring. Amy plans on telling him that she would not be interested in him even if she did not have a boyfriend. Howard has heard that many times and lists many women who have told him that. Amy plans on being brutally honest with Bert; however, Raj thinks that that might send him up the Empire State Building and start swatting at passing airplanes. Finally Howard and Raj offer to talk to him and let him down gently. Going out the door they both agree to tell Bert that Amy is a lesbian.

Penny and Sheldon doing Warrior 2

Penny and Sheldon doing "Warrior 2"

In Apartment 4A, Penny and Sheldon are doing yoga. Sheldon has read that some masters are so disciplined that they can suck in nutrition through their genitals. Leonard enters and Penny ignores him. After Leonard asks, it seems that Sheldon is doing yoga because he thought Penny had said Yoda, the Jedi master. Penny is helping Sheldon relax since he does support her. They start to discuss his phone call. Leonard would have discussed it with her before he would quit his job. They start to discuss the kind of relationship they are in as Sheldon then joins them. He feels that he is in the relationship as much as them. He wants to know when they are getting married and where all of them are going to live. Leonard doesn't like the fact that all of the sudden they are discussing about living with Sheldon forever. Finally Leonard tells her that he is on her side and that he would never have courage she exhibits quitting her job to follow her dream.

Bernadette angrily walks back into Capital Comics telling the owner crossly in her "Mrs. Wolowitz" voice that Stuart and his store are just fine, Stuart is a much nicer person and that she still wants to buy that comic. And have a cappuccino and a blueberry scone. he informs her that he only had chocolate chip and Bernadette fumes that it sounded even better.

Finally Raj and Howard end up going to the mineral and rock show with Bert in lieu of Amy. They are in his dilapidated car going down the highway as he keeps shouting "Rock show!" and they look very unhappy.



  • Jesse Schedeen for IGN - It's always nice to see The Big Bang Theory go dramatic once in a while, but ultimately this more humor-oriented episode just worked better. It offered a lot more laughs than last week, yet it didn't ignore Penny's ongoing storyline. There were some fun character pairings in between Sheldon/Penny, Bernie/Stuart, and Raj/Wolowitz/Amy, plus the addition of the amusing (if underutilized) Bert. Things are looking good so far for 2014. [1]
  • Dhruv Rao of The DR CLub gave the episode a C. [2]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: Penny rethinks her career and makes some changes.
  • Taping date: December 17, 2013
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card: #438
  • This episode was watched by 20.35 million people with a rating of 5.7 (adults 18–49), setting a new record for first run viewership.
  • Total viewers including DVR users 25.28 million.
  • The Big Bang Theory was ranked #3 for the week ending January 12, 2014.
  • This episode aired in Canada on January 9, 2014.
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on April 24, 2014, with 2.32 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1. 
  • In Australia, this episode aired on March 18, 2014, with 1.19 million viewers.
  • Guest Stars: Josh Peck as Jesse, Kevin Sussman as Stuart, Brian Posehn as Bert, Ian Scott Rudolph as Captain Sweatpants & Ed Lieberman as Man (Voice Only).
  • Episode transcript [3]


  • Bernadette doesn't share any scenes with the rest of the gang (Howard, Amy, Sheldon, Raj, Leonard and Penny) in this episode.
  • Almost the final appearance of The Cheesecake Factory. It did appear in flashbacks in "The Bitcoin Entanglement", as well as "The Change Constant".
  • Penny finally quits The Cheesecake Factory to concentrate on her acting.
  • Penny turns in her waitress uniform, which in reality, actress Kaley Cuoco has grown very tired of wearing.
  • Amy finds another socially awkward academic that has taken a shine to her.
  • Josh Peck, star of Nickelodeon's Drake and Josh, appeared in this episode as comic store rival Jesse.
  • Second appearance of Bert (played by Brian Posehn) in the Big Bang Theory. The first was in "The Contractual Obligation Implementation" (S6E18).
  • Howard and Raj list several names when they discuss with Amy about how a girl would refuse a male. Among them, Howard previously mentioned Marcy Grossman and her story in "The Killer Robot Instability" (S2E12).
  • Raj's comments on Bert "He’ll probably climb up the Empire State Building and start swatting at planes]]" is an apparent reference to the classical scene in the 1933 film King Kong and King Kong its 2005 remake.
  • Judging by the cover art, the comic book that Bernadette damaged appears to be issue #1 of Frank Miller's classic four-part Batman miniseries The Dark Knight Returns.
  • Although this time is his 10th appearance in the show, it is the first episode that Captain Sweatpants has been credited in. It is also the first episode the character speaks in and his last appearance in the series.
  • Second time that Sheldon has been forced to take a vacation; the first was in "The Vacation Solution" (S5E16). In both situations, Sheldon tries (and fails) to get Leonard to take him.
  • The "Previously on the Big Bang Theory" sequence in this episode summarizes the scene of Penny complaining drunkenly from the previous episode (S7E12) and it is narrated by Kaley Cuoco.
  • Penny tells Sheldon after they discuss about Penny quitting her job, "Yeah, I need to start cracking the window when I leave you in the car“. This comment is strange since she did it near the end of "The Bon Voyage Reaction" (S6E24) when she told Raj, "I left Sheldon in the car with the window cracked open."
  • Second time that Sheldon declares himself to be part of the relationship between Leonard and a girl; previously this comment happened in "The White Asparagus Triangulation" (S2E09) when Leonard went out with Dr. Stephanie Barnett. And in both times, Sheldon's involvement causes a positive result for Leonard's relationship.
  • When Penny returns her work uniform, she doesn't have her bartender shirt with it.


Bert: What does a geologist and Bon Jovi have in common?
Howard: They're both into rock.

Stuart (on phone): All right, thanks a lot. They have one at Capital Comics.
Bernadette: Oh, that’s great.
Stuart: No, it’s not. I hate that place. Guy who owns it is a jerk. He’s always making me feel bad about myself.
Bernadette: Oh, that’s terrible. What’s the address?
Stuart: You know, why don’t I just take you there? That way, I can make sure he doesn’t rip you off.
Bernadette: Oh, thanks, but I don't want you to close up. I mean, won’t you lose business? Sorry. That was mean.

Penny: Hi.
Leonard: Hey.
Penny: I’m sorry I didn't text you back. I just needed some time to think.
Leonard: Okay.
Penny: Come in.
Leonard: Look if you want to break up, just say it.
Penny: Leonard.
Leonard: No, no, no. I take it back. Don’t say it. Just hate me but stay with me. It worked for my parents.
Penny: Listen. I don’t want to break up with you.
Leonard: Oh, okay. Good..good. So is it cool if I cry a little?
Penny: Yeah, I probably wouldn't.
Leonard: Yeah. (wipes off a tear)
Penny: Look you did the right thing last night. I was a mess. I was frustrated because my career was going nowhere.
Leonard: I get it. I want you to know that I support you whatever you want to do.
Penny: Great, because I've been thinking that if I ever want this acting thing to work I need to focus all my energy on it. And to do that I should quit waitressing at The Cheesecake Factory.
Leonard: Wow. That..that’s a big step.
Penny: I know.
Leonard: Well, before making any rash..
Penny: I already quit.
Leonard: And I support you. [Penny hugs Leonard.]

Sheldon: What if there is a big breakthrough in science today and I’m not here to see it?
Leonard: Do you really think there is going to be a breakthrough without you there to do it?
Sheldon: No. I was just tricking you.

(The scene at the deserted comic book store. Stuart takes loud sad sigh at himself at no-one buying his comics and gazes around the shop for a second. He doesn't see Bernadette arrive)
Bernadette(out of vision) Hey. Stuart.
Stuart: Hey.
Bernadette: Sorry. Did I startle you?
Stuart: Yes, but at this point, pretty much any customer does. What can I do for you?
Bernadette: Well, I need a little help. I accidentally destroyed one of Howard’s comic books this morning, and was hoping I could replace it.
Stuart: Wow. What happened?
Bernadette: Batman got his ass kicked by a curling iron.
Stuart: Well don’t let The Riddler know that. It’s a comic book joke. Or maybe it’s not.
Bernadette: Do you have this one?
Stuart: Uh, well, it’s, it’s pretty rare. Can you give me a few days to track it down?
Bernadette: Ooh, I was kind of hoping to get it before Howie comes home from work.
Stuart: Oh. What’s the hurry?
Bernadette: Well, he’s always saying I should be more careful with my curling iron, and it seems like a dangerous precedent to let him think he can be right.
Stuart: Well, I’ll do what I can, but I can’t make any promises.
Bernadette: You know, I do work at a pharmaceutical company. If you can make this happen today, I can hook you up with anxiety medication, antidepressants.
Stuart: Really? (empties an entire drawer full of pill bottles on the counter) Do you have any of these?

Amy: He’s not my boyfriend.
Raj: Are you sure? He’s tall pale, and awkward. That sounds like your type.
Amy: Should someone as lonely as you really be making fun of me?
Raj: Yeah, grow up Howard.
Amy: Well, what do I do? I don't want to hurt his feelings.
Howard: Maybe the problem is he thinks you're available. Does he know you're dating Sheldon?
Amy: I guess it hasn't come up.
Raj: And does Sheldon know you're dating Sheldon?
Amy: I'm sorry, who are you dating?
Raj: Yeah, knock it off Howard!

(The scene at the counter of Capital Comics after Bernadette says "no thanks" to a choice of a coffee that Jesse asks her to which either a espresso or a latte. Jesse now speaks to Stuart)
Jesse: How about you, Stu? Mocha? Scone? Directions to the nearest soup kitchen?
Bernadette: (crossly) Hey.
Jesse: I’m just kidding. He knows where the soup kitchen is.
Stuart: It’s on Merton Avenue. (Jesse smiles)
Bernadette: (she's now very cross with Jesse) I don’t think I like the way you’re treating my friend.
Jesse: Sorry. You want the book or not?
Bernadette: (she is still very cross) Not from you. (slaps Stuart's arm with the ruined comic crossly) Let’s go, Stuart.
(Bernadette now storms out of Capital comic slowly while Stuart speaks sharply with Jesse)
Stuart: You know something, Jesse? You may have a successful business and the kind of pink complexion that comes with good nutrition, but I have something more important.
Jesse: What’s that?
Stuart: Friendship. (He now starts exiting Capital Comics by this point) Which I would trade in a heartbeat for all of this.
(Stuart walks slowly to the entrance door to Capital Comics)

Leonard: You taking Hollywood by storm?
Penny: Actually I’m at the Cheesecake Factory.
Leonard: You got your job back. That is great news. I didn't want to say anything but you are making the right choice. To plunge yourself into debt right now would be literally insane.
Penny: Yeah, I’m just returning my uniform.
Leonard: And I support you.

Penny: Why can’t Leonard understand it?
Sheldon: Because he is not like us, Penny. We’re dreamers.

Bernadette: (so enormously cross) Wow.
Stuart: Yeah. Haven’t seen this many people in my store since that Korean church bus crashed through my front window.
Jesse: Hey, Stuart.
Stuart: Jesse.
Jesse: Haven’t seen you in forever. Look how grey you’ve gotten.
Stuart: My hair’s exactly the same color as always.
Jesse: No, I was talking about your skin.
Stuart: Look, uh, my friend here needs a comic book.
Jesse: (to Stuart) Ooh, and she went into your store by mistake. (to Bernadette) Good thing there was no one there to see you.
(Bernadette is now feels a lot more crosser inside)
Jesse: What do you need?
(Bernadette unhappily gives Jesse the ruined comic)
Jesse: Oh, yeah, yeah. I got this. Right over here.
(Bernadette follows Jesse to the counter crossly)

Raj: He’ll probably climb up the Empire State Building and start swatting at planes.

Raj: So we’ll tell him she’s a lesbian, right?
Howard: Of course we tell him she's a lesbian.

Leonard: How did she get you to do yoga?
Sheldon: Well, to be honest, I thought she said Yoda.
Penny: I’m helping him relax because unlike you he supports me.
Leonard: Oh, how many times do I have to say it I support you.
Penny: Sheldon take a break.
Sheldon: Namaste.
Penny: Okay, if you support me what was with that phone call?
Leonard: Fine. I’m not sure you should have quit. But if you care so much what I think, why didn’t you ask me before you did it.
Penny: Oh, so now I need your permission. Would you have ask me before quit your job?
Leonard: Yes. I thought we were in the kind of relationship where we make decisions together. If I’m wrong, maybe we should talk about the kind of relationship we are in.
Penny: Yeah, well, maybe we do.
Sheldon: I’m willing if you guys are.
Leonard: Can we please have some privacy?
Sheldon: No, I’m as much a part of this relationship as you two. I think that it is high time that we put all our cards on the table. For example, where is this going? Are you two ever getting married? And if so, where will we all live? Have you thought about that?
Leonard: No.
Sheldon: Penny?
Penny: Okay, wait? What are we doing?
Leonard: For some reason, we’re planning a future where we both live with Sheldon forever.
Sheldon: Good. Now we’re getting somewhere.
Penny: Look, I know you think I am being reckless, and you might be right, but I need to take this shot.
Sheldon: Yeah, no kidding. Despite what it says on her resume, she is no longer 22.
Leonard: I swear, I am on your side.
Penny: You keep saying you’re on my side, but you don’t act like it.
Sheldon: He does that to me too. Why do we put up with this?
Leonard: Listen. I could never do what you are doing, okay? I would be terrified.
Penny: Well, it’s scary for me too.
Sheldon: I’m fine with it.
Leonard: My point is, just because I couldn't do it doesn't mean you shouldn't. And I’m proud of you.
Penny: Okay. Thank you.

[The scene of the most tremendously angry Bernadette returning to Jesse's counter at Capital Comics in an extremely huge bad temper].
Jesse: You're back.
Bernadette: [she is completely cross] Yes I am! There’s a few more things I want to say to you. Stuart’s store is just fine and he’s a much nicer person than you, and if you still have that comic, I’d like to buy it right now.
Jesse: No problem. Oh, you want a latte while you wait?
[Bernadette continues with her shouts of anger]
Bernadette: [she is still completely cross] No, I don't want a latte. I want a cappuccino and a blueberry scone.
Jesse: [he informs her nervously] I only have chocolate chip.
[Bernadette now loses her final temper by this]
Bernadette: [she finally shouts with a huge burst of anger] Well, that sounds even better!
[Bernadette's extremely huge bad temper is now finished as Jesse leaves the counter and the scene fades to black].

Bert: Thanks for coming to the mineral and rock show with me.
(a very grumpy Raj is sitting in the back and a worried Howard is sitting next to Bert in the front passenger seat)
Raj: We’re sorry Amy didn’t want to go.
Howard: Really, really sorry.
Bert: Eh. Who needs her when I have you guys? Rock show! Rock show! Rock show! Rock show! Rock show! Rock show! Rock sho-o-o-o-o-ow!

Sheldon: (opens door and gets out of Leonard and Sheldon's apartment) Leonard, wait! (closes door and follows Leonard) Take me with you!
Leonard: No!
Sheldon: Please.
Leonard: No!
Sheldon: Too bad. I'm coming with you.
Leonard: (puts his own hand to halt Sheldon) Sheldon, stay.
Sheldon: (stops) But...
Leonard: I said stay. I'm going to work. Do not follow me. (Walks downstairs to work)
Sheldon: (whimpering like a dog)

Leonard: (Knock-knock-knock)
Sheldon: Penny. (Awkward silence) Sorry.