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The Procreation Calculation" is the third episode of the twelfth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Thursday, October 4, 2018.


The Wolowitzes' life gets complicated when Stuart starts bringing his new girlfriend home. Also, Penny and Leonard talk about starting a family while Koothrappali explores an arranged marriage.[1]

Extended Plot[]

While partaking in a take-out dinner in Apartment 4A, the Wolowitzes mention that a house was for sale in their neighborhood. The Hofstadters could become their neighbors and become part of the home-owner and crying baby set. Amy objects and wants Penny and her hubby to be their neighbors. Sheldon doesn't want to move because he'd have to change all the nametags on his underwear. Leonard thinks that they are happy where they are for now. Penny figures that eventually they'll get a loft downtown, while Leonard wants something with a yard. Howard wonders how the two of them got married. He has been there watching Leonard wear Penny down. Raj plans to get to know Anu better before they get married. Amy questions why he's letting his family pick a wife for him. Raj insists that arranged marriages have existed for thousands of years and that they each filled out questionnaires to see if they are compatible. Raj asks Leonard what Penny's dream vacation is; a Malibu beach house. Penny snaps that that is Barbie's dream vacation and that Raj should send then the questionnaire.


That's Malibu Barbie's dream vacation.

Howard and Bernadette are quietly reading in their living room though Bernie is really shopping on her cell phone which is hidden in her book. Stuart shows up with his girlfriend Denise. They had just returned from watching an improv show. Stuart offers to show her his room which Denise quickly accepts. Bernadette asks Howard how he feels about the couple "doing stuff" in his room. Howard doesn't feel that anything will happened until they both start hearing the song, “Smooth Operator”.

In Apartment 4A, Leonard is doing a great job painting Penny's nails. He had put together a lot of models while he was growing up. They next received the marriage questionnaire from Raj. Going through it, neither of them have a stated religious preference. Penny still thinks that she is pretty spiritual since she does yoga. Penny is close to her family, while Leonard wishes that his were farther. On the subject of kids, Leonard wants them and Penny says maybe "someday". On pets, Leonard quips that he did have Sheldon for fifteen years and he only bit him once.

At dinner, Raj and Anu they both agree that they know each other really well after having read their questionnaires. Anu then proceeds to order the waiter around. Raj then stumbles and Anu says that he's not good at dating. That is why he is having his father set up their marriage. Anu also wants to get married since she is 34 and wants to have kids. She is a hotel concierge and is very ambitious and wants to take over the hotel manager's job. Raj had been looking for a wife that was just like Sandra Bullack. They both just want a partner that is nice. When girls break up with Raj they say that he is a nice guy. Anu thinks that she is nice, but wants a guy committed to their relationship. When she learns that his last name is Koothrappali, she asks if how she feels if she doesn't change her name.


Next stop; Stuart's room.

Penny enters Bernadette's office all ready for lunch, though she is quite busy because Halley and Michael are making her fall behind in her work. Unfortunately they are cute playing together ruining her reason for being late with her work. Penny mentions that maybe she doesn't want kids. Bernie objects saying that they are amazing. Penny notes that she is contradicting herself. Bernadette explains that beforehand you don't think you want them and afterwards you know that you wanted them. Penny knows that she would be a great mother, but doesn't feel like she needs kids to feel fulfilled. Bernadette then quips that why would she need kids since she has Leonard.

In the cafeteria, Howard asks Raj how his date went and then Raj asks him if he'd like to be his best man. Howard wants to know why he would marry someone he only just met. Raj feels that they are both nice so why not. Sheldon feels that Raj is doing the right thing bowing to a 3000-year-old authoritarian tradition. Leonard remarks that Sheldon married for love. Why does he have to throw that back at him? Howard still thinks that Raj knows nothing about Anu. Raj quotes four facts about her and then storms off.


Raj meets Anu.

Howard returns home unhappy that Raj is mad at him. Bernadette feels that Penny is also mad at her. The Wolowitzes wonder why their friends won't listen to them since they have a great marriage, great kids, great jobs and a great house. Next “Smooth Operator” starts playing again. Howard takes Bernie's hand as she starts to cry.

Back in the Hofstadter home, Penny asks Leonard about when she mentioned that they might have kids “someday.” Leonard jumps to the conclusion that she is pregnant. “No,” replies Penny several times. She then asks how he feels about not having kids. Ever? Penny doesn't want to change the great life they have now. Leonard says “Sure,” with no conviction. Then he adds that they couldn't raise kids in the loft that she never told him about. He tries to leave and says that he isn't angry, but can't get the door opened. After Leonard leaves he can be heard telling Amy that he's NOT mad!

While driving Sheldon to work, Sheldon is happy that they are having a quiet ride to work until Leonard mentions that Penny doesn't want to have kids, while Sheldon would rather not talk at all. Leonard mentions that he didn't think that he would be the end of the Hofstadter line. Sheldon then brings up Leonard's siblings, who both have kids, as he names all five of Leonard's’ nephews through his older sister who continue to hold the family name. Realizing this, Leonard sees it doesn't matter if he has kids because his family line will continue and resolves to go back to being quiet.

Howard approaches Raj who is eating alone in the cafeteria. Raj then asks if he is making a huge mistake having chosen a blueberry muffin. He insists that he is happy with his choice even though Howard's cinnamon roll smells delicious. Howard splits it with him. Howard apologizes, but wonders why someone who is so romantic would agree to an arranged marriage; however, if Raj is happy, then Howard will fully support him. He then asks Raj if the wedding would be in India. Maybe. “Oh God,” sighs Howard.

Amy storms into Apartment 4A, shouting “What the hell, Penny!” She wanted their kids to grow up together because she felt that no one else would be their friends. Penny says that they can make other friends and they'll be the fun Aunt Penny and Uncle Leonard who will give them candy, teach them swear words and tell them stories about how weird their mother is. Maybe Amy could live with that. Unfortunately, she had the dream that the two of them would breastfeed each other's children. Penny thinks that she'll never forget that Amy even said that as Amy tries to reach for her to comfort her. Don't touch me.

Howard comes into their bedroom and hops into bed to get romantic with Bernadette. “Smooth Operator” starts playing again. Howard tries to drown it out with their music, but only wakes up Michael. Howard goes off the take care of the kid.

Leonard comes home to Penny working in the kitchen. She fixed his favorite meal, an “In & Out” burger on a plate. The whole "no-kids" issue just took Leonard by surprise, and not in the good way. He always thought that he would have kids, and is now disappointed that it won't happen for him. There are a lot of other things that he imagined that he has never gotten like, a Nobel Prize or a working Batmobile. Though another thing he thought he would never have was a wife like Penny. Penny asks if he is sure that that is enough. Sure. Her phone rings and it's Penny's father calls asking her why he wasn't getting any grandchildren.

Getting drinks from the bar, both Raj's and Anu's parents were happy for them. Raj's parents even spoke to each other. Anu wants to go onto the next step toward a wedding. Themes and flowers? No. Finances and taxes. That was the theme of Raj's parent's divorce. Raj then wonders if they should get married since he is really a hopeless romantic. Anu seems great, but this was not the story he wants to tell his grand-kids. Raj apologizes for wasting her time and walks away. Anu look sad and calls him back. Anu tells him that he would make a great father and that he is tall enough that she can wear heels. She thinks that that is something worth fighting for. Anu then gets down on her knee and asks Raj to marry her. He joyfully accepts as the bar breaks into applause. They kiss though she warns him that she has a tongue piercing. Well, she's not that nice.


Penny gets Leonard a Batmobile.

Walking down the street, Penny brings up the subject of things Leonard thought he would never have. Penny points to a Batmobile parked in front of them. Leonard is excited that she had bought him a copy of the 1960s series Batmobile. “No,” replies Penny several times. The car had been rented for one day without insurance. Leonard jumps in driving off leaving Penny alone. Then he backs up, asks for Robin to join him and off they go together. "Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na......Batman!"


  • Guest starring:


  • Title Reference: The title references Leonard and Penny's decision on whether to start a family, or not.
  • Music: "Batman Theme" by Neal Hefti, from the 1966 Batman television series; "Smooth Operator" by Sade.
  • Taping date: September 5, 2018
  • This episode was watched by 12.29 million people with a rating of 2.2 (adults 18–49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 17.14 million.
  • This episode aired in Canada on October 4, 2018.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card. [1]


  • Caroline Preece at Den of Geek! - The biggest obstacle for Raj was always going to be his undying belief in romance. This might not be as clinical and alien to him as it is to his Western friends, but it's still not his personal dream. Raj is a character who's always wanted to fall in love, and his realization that this might never happen is really fascinating to watch not just because an arranged marriage goes against his instincts, but because it's also a left turn for a show that's always chosen to treat Raj's culture as a punchline. He almost walks out on Anu when it emerges that she is far more practical than he is, but - as a big point in her favor - she realizes that she might have to do some wooing and gets down on one knee so that they have a story to tell their hypothetical grandchildren. It's an adorable moment, and one that indicates that these two might just make it to the altar...Honestly, I felt sorry for Penny in this episode, if only because she has to deal with so many terrible friends and family members. The episode ends up coming down on the side of ‘not procreating is a valid choice and one that is ultimately up to the woman’, but it certainly sends some mixed messages getting there. [2]
  • IMDb user reviews [3]


  • Anu will be the girl that Raj's father will arrange for him to date or marry.
  • Penny seems to consider the idea of not having children. That plan ends when she finds herself pregnant in the series finale, "The Stockholm Syndrome".
  • Wyatt returns in this episode, his last appearance having been "The Conjugal Conjecture".
  • The possible reason why Raj is going along with this marriage arrangement is because all of his dates don't last long due to his personality.
  • Penny decides she doesn't want any kids. Leonard was upset at first, but he will respect her wishes. Penny decided to be fun and cool aunt to Amy's kids. Amy wanted Penny's kids to be her kids' (possibly only) friends.
  • Penny's father Wyatt was upset she won't give them a grandchild.
  • Bernadette was just like Penny, she didn't want children either. That changed when she got pregnant.
  • Leonard and Penny might move into a loft or a new apartment soon, but that doesn't turn out to be the case later on.
  • Sheldon mentions that Leonard has five nephews, children of his sister.
  • Anu wanted to manage a hotel.
  • Leonard must have called Wyatt about Penny wanting to have kids. Wyatt calls his daughter complaining after Leonard agreed to support her decision. Bernadette did the same thing to Howard after she finally agreed to let him go into space she through him under the bus by telling his mother who demanded that he not go.
  • The Batmobile that Penny rented is based on the one from the 1966 Batman television series. That Batmobile was a 1954 Lincoln Futura concept car that was modified by George Barris, who thought it would be a perfect fit due to its futuristic look. The original was sold to a private collector in 2013, meaning that the one seen in this episode is likely a replica.


Penny: What if we don't have kids?

Anu: Will you marry me?

Bernadette: So Penny, we were talking to our neighbors and they're thinking of moving and selling their house.

Penny: Really? Why?

Howard: Something about babies crying and keeping them up all night, nothing important. You guys should totally take a look at it.

Bernadette: Then we could be neighbors.

Amy: Wait a minute, what about us? I mean, we're married now. Maybe we want to buy the house next door.

Sheldon: Amy, we can't move. I'd have to change all the tags in my underwear.

Amy: You can buy new ones.

Sheldon: New house, new underwear. What am I, in the Witness Protection Program?

Penny: Wow, you really are good at this.

Leonard: Well I've spent a lot of time painting D and D miniatures. I know that makes you want to rip my shirt off but wait until your nails are dry.

Leonard: Oh its Raj. He sent us that Indian Marriage Questionnaire.

Penny: Ooh, read one.

Leonard: Okay, how religious are you? That's easy, both of us not at all.

Penny: I wouldn't say not at all. I mean, I am pretty spiritual, I go to Yoga.

Leonard: Okay, great. So your churches are Ladies of the Stretchy Pants. Next question: how close are you to your family?

Penny: Pretty close.

Leonard: I'm going to say not too close, but I'm hoping to get farther. How do you feel about children?

Penny: They're okay I guess. I mean, if I saw one I wouldn't throw a rock at it.

Leonard: W-why would you throw a rock at a child?

Penny: I just said I wouldn't.



Mark Cendrowski Mark Cendrowski Mark Cendrowski