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"The Proton Regeneration" is the sixth episode of the eleventh season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Thursday, November 2, 2017.


Sheldon goes head-to-head with Wil Wheaton for the role of scientist Professor Proton. Meanwhile, Penny looks after Halley when Howard and Bernadette are on bed rest.[1]

Extended Plot[]

At a typical take-out dinner fest in apartment 4A, Howard is scarfing down his meal since he has surgery in the morning. After siring two children, he is getting a vasectomy. Sheldon finds out that Professor Proton's children's science show is going to be remade and it needs a new host. Amy thinks that it would be nice to have woman. Sheldon snaps that they already have "Ghostbusters" and "Doctor Who". Sheldon describes the best candidate as a scientist that he respects, a pleasant voice, symmetrical facial features. Bernadette asks if he is talking about himself. Penny adds that if he is talking, he is talking about himself. Sheldon adds that as a child Professor Proton touched him, so it is his mission to touch as many children as possible. Um?

Howard is nervously sitting in the hospital waiting room. One gentleman coming out in pain doesn't help him. Bernadette reminds Howard, that it was his idea. He declines to have Bernadette come in with him and tells Raj to "sit down" as he volunteers.


Advice from Professor Proton.

In apartment 4B, Amy sets up the video camera for Sheldon's audition tape as the next Professor Proton. He demonstrates his interested, very interested and enraged facial expressions. He introduces himself in a monotone voice and then announces that he'll get into the character of Professor Proton who sounds exactly the same. He then discussed his experiment to determine the mass of an electron that includes common items and some radioactive cobalt wire. Amy stops him and asks why he was doing an experiment that was life-threatening which enrages Sheldon since he considered it a perfect take.

In the Wolowitzes' bedroom, Bernadette is helping a very sore Howard into bed for a couple of days of bed rest. Halley cries over their baby monitor. Bernadette leaves to check on her as Raj is reading that they need to check Howard's surgery for redness and swelling. In pain, Howard just tells Raj to do it.

At Leonard and Penny's place, they are all viewing Sheldon's audition video as Sheldon describes a complex mathematical process on his whiteboard. Amy had told Sheldon that she loved it though she thought it was dangerous and three to four times too long. Penny doesn't know what to say. Leonard told him that at least it looked like he was having fun. Sheldon objects because that was what Leonard would say after one of Penny's terrible plays. Hey! Amy then asked whether they found it borderline psychotic. Leonard adds that the original Professor Proton did not leave you feeling that you hated science and that he needs to stop showing his contempt for children. Sheldon calls it lying while Penny calls it acting. Sheldon realizes that he needs some help from an experience actor. Penny is flattered that he would consider her till Sheldon says that he meant Wil Wheaton. He goes over to his house and says that he needs an acting coach. Wil is happy to help until Sheldon asks for Patrick Stewart's phone number.

Bernadette hears a bell and finds that Howard downloaded a bell app. She takes his phone from him and tells him to come catch her. She is heading out for a doctor's appointment and is taking the baby. He hopes she is not over doing it and then asks for her to throw a couple of steaks on the grill. Bernadette stares at him and he then asks for Kum Pao Chicken.

Leonard, Penny and Amy are coming up the stairs with Amy mentioning that they cast the new Professor Proton. Was Sheldon cast? Amy says "Not exactly." as from her apartment you hear Sheldon shout, "WWHHEEAATTOONN!!!" Everyone heads back down the stairs.

Howard comes out of the bathroom and finds Bernadette in the bed. The doctor thought she was pushing herself too far and recommended bed rest for her too.

Sheldon is dreaming and again meets Professor Proton in his Jedi robes on another planet. Arthur asks whether Sheldon understands what "rest in peace" means. Sheldon explains that they are recasting Professor Proton which doesn't bother Arthur since he tells Sheldon that he is a figment of his imagination. Sheldon wants to protect the Professor's legacy which Arthur reminds him that he finished his series at 5:30 AM on a Sunday morning being beaten in the ratings by "Davy and Goliath". Arthur may not care; however, Sheldon will make Wil Wheaton rue the day they ever met. Arthur figures that that is true of everyone.

Penny checks in on the Wolowitzes. Halley cries so she offers to check on her since Raj had to go to work and was tired of Howard's Indian servant jokes. Penny offers to help out with her though they are reluctant since they don't think she is a baby person. Penny gets annoyed with them that she can watch their daughter since she took care of the baby pigs back in Nebraska right up to the time they were slaughtered.


Penny watching Halley and her parents.

In the Caltech cafeteria, Raj and Leonard are discussing Howard's surgery. Sheldon is upset with all the great comments that Wil Wheaton is getting about being the new Professor Proton. Sheldon asks them to make some disparaging comments on the subject. Leonard feels that the important thing is to get kids interested in science. Sheldon doesn't want to be unfaithful to his friend and mentor Arthur Jefferies. Leonard just can't argue with him because he is crazy.

Back in the bedroom, Howard and Bernadette are appreciating the quiet time in bed before they have two screaming young kids in the house. Too quiet. They inquire to Penny who said that all is fine while joking about giving Halley a couple of drops of Bourbon on her pacifier for her sleep (Penny doesn't share bourbon).

Sheldon approaches Wil Wheaton's house and asks him to give up the Professor Proton role especially since he is not a scientist. Wil replies that he wasn't on a starship, he kept pretending he was and got himself a swimming pool. Also, Wil retorts that Arthur Jeffries would probably be happy to know that his show outlived him. He also promised to make the show great and to inspire future kids to go into science. Sheldon is not persuaded and tells him that he is back on his enemies list and that they are no longer friends. Wil denies that it feels any different.

Penny is mixing up a bottle as Amy arrives. Penny wants to know if she is spying on her for Bernadette. Nope. Everyone else was worried. They don't think that Penny is irresponsible, just "fun-loving".

Up in the bedroom, the parents are getting hungry themselves. Howard reads the book "Numerical Approximation Methods" (by Harold Cohen) and Bernadette rings the bell app and Penny comes in. She complains about Amy stopping by. Howard says that even though she was a terrible waitress, they asked her to get a snack. The baby cries so Penny leaves. Over the monitor Penny can be heard complaining to Halley about her parents. Then Halley says her first word and calls Penny, "Mama."


Trying to criticize Sheldon nicely.

Back in Sheldon's dreams Sheldon tells Arthur that he failed him since Wil Wheaton, a non-scientist, was going to portray Professor Proton. Arthur wonders why they couldn't visit in a deli. Sheldon adds that Wil is permanently on his enemies list. Arthur wants to know if anyone can sign up for that list.




  • Nicholas Graff at Science - Some great moments in the episode, and potential for the future, because the Will Wheaton/Sheldon rivalry is ripe with comedy, much more so than their friendship ever was. And I do find it interesting to see the nurturing side of Penny, I know they have longed talked about whether her character will ever get pregnant, but it might be the only card they have left for her at this point in the series. And everything with Sheldon and Arthur is gold, I wish Arthur could be on the show more often. Ah well, let's see if they can keep it going next week! [2]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • As this is the 237th episode in the series, it makes the series surpass Friends in terms of number of episodes, as that series ended at 236 episodes. But it is yet to surpass other long running sitcoms in terms of number of episodes such as Frasier which ended at 264 episodes and Two and a Half Men which ended at 262 episodes.
    • TBBT ended up surpassing all of these shows by the end of its twelfth season with a total of 279 episodes.
  • Just like previous seasons, this episode aired on a Thursday, which would continue for the rest of the season following the end to Thursday night CBS NFL football.
  • Professor Proton and Wil Wheaton reappear in this episode, their first appearances since "The Opening Night Excitation" (S9E11) and "The Celebration Experimentation", respectively and a span of 43 episodes and a span of 37 episodes, respectively. Neither characters have appeared up to this point since the ninth season.
  • Professor Proton may be dead, his spirit or Sheldon's subconscious is here to give him advice and still shows us that he has it.
  • Howard has a vasectomy.
  • Wil Wheaton is back on Sheldon's enemies list after being on good terms with him since "The Russian Rocket Reaction" (S5E5), as he refused to turn down the role of Professor Proton in the reboot. Wil doesn't think it really changes their relationship.
  • Halley makes her first "appearance" in Season 11. She also says her first word: "Mama" to Penny.
  • Bernadette was likely put on bed rest from this episode up to "The Neonatal Nomenclature" to lighten the workload of actress Melissa Rauch, who by this point was in her final months of pregnancy (she gave birth to her daughter Sadie almost two months after this episode was taped).
  • Sheldon's response to Amy's hope that the new Professor Proton would be a woman ("You've already got Doctor Who and the Ghostbusters. Leave us something.").
  • Penny calling Halley breakfast meat may be revenge for Bernadette calling her pet pig Moondance that in The Bachelor Party Corrosion.


Bernadette: [Howard is scarfing down food] Howie, slow down.
Howard: I can't. I'm not allowed to eat for twelve hours before my surgery, and I only got two more minutes.
Leonard: [seeing Raj eating just as fast] What surgery are you having?
Raj: I'm stress eating. My best friend's getting a vasectomy tomorrow.
Penny: And you're sad you won't be able to bear his child?
Sheldon: [looking at his phone] Oh, my goodness.
Bernadette: If it's "vasectomy gone wrong" videos, he's seen them all. Including the one of the guy who's sitting on what appears to be a cantaloupe but is not.
Howard: [putting his plate of food down] And I'm done.

Sheldon: They're going to start making Professor Proton's science show again.
Bernadette: I thought he passed away.
Howard: He did. He was cremated, and his remains were put in a baking soda volcano.
Amy: Don't make jokes. He meant a lot to Sheldon.
Leonard: Yeah, me, too. I grew up watching his show. He's one of the reasons I became a scientist.
Penny: Aw. Thought you did it just to get girls.
Leonard: Joke's on you. It worked.

Raj: You know who'd make a great Professor Proton? Meryl Streep.
Howard: She's not a scientist.
Raj: Uh, then explain to me why she has chemistry with literally everyone.
Amy: It would be nice if they cast a woman.
Sheldon: Oh, you've already got "Doctor Who" and the Ghostbusters. Leave us something.

Leonard: Who do you think it should be?
Sheldon: Well, it should be a scientist I respect. You know, someone with a pleasing voice and symmetrical facial features.
Bernadette: Is he talking about himself?
Penny: If he's talking, he's talking about himself.
Sheldon: I just know how much Professor Proton touched me as a child, and I feel I owe it to him to try and touch as many children as possible.
Leonard: [awkward silence] You should put that on your audition tape.

Bernadette: [at the urologist's with Howard] You doing okay?
Raj: No, I'm very nervous.

[seeing another patient hobble out moaning, Howard stands up to leave]

Bernadette: Where are you going?
Howard: Gift shop.
Bernadette: There is no gift shop. Sit down.

[he sits down]

Bernadette: This was your idea.
Howard: So was having sex, and look where that got us.
Bernadette: This isn't a big deal. Stop whining.
Howard: When you were in labor and I said that, you kicked me.

Nurse: Howard Wolowitz?
Bernadette: Want me to go with you?
Howard: No. I'll be fine.
Raj: Yeah, we got this.
Howard: Sit down! [standing up] Wish me luck.
Bernadette: [he heads towards the exit] Other way, buster.

Amy: Okay, you ready?
Sheldon: Yeah, almost. I'm working on my facial expressions. See, uh, I've got interested. [demonstrating] Hmm. I've got very interested. [demonstrating again] Hmm. And, uh, enraged.
Amy: [he demonstrates] Why would you be enraged?
Sheldon: Hmm. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Sheldon: Hello. I am theoretical physicist Dr. Sheldon Cooper, auditioning for the role of Professor Proton. Now, excuse me while I get into character. [he turns around, then back to face the camera] Hello. I am Professor Proton. And today, boys and girls, we're going to have fun with science. Did you know you could calculate the mass of an electron using household items? It's true. All you'll need is a pencil, some paper, dry ice, rubbing alcohol, and a spool of 50 micron-thick cobalt-60 wire. And remember, don't put it in your mouth, or instead of becoming a scientist, you'll become wildly radioactive.
Amy: Hang on. I have a question. Do you have any experiments that aren't life-threatening?
Sheldon: Come on! That was a perfect take and you ruined it.

[he does his "enraged" expression]

Sheldon: Oh, look! Hey, I did need "enraged".

Howard: [at home after his surgery] Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.
Raj: Really hurts, huh?
Bernadette: [sarcastic] No. He's just saying "Ow can these prices be so low?". [she helps him into bed] It's gonna be okay. A day or two of rest and you'll be fine.
Howard: You know nothing about Jewish people.

Raj: [reading a pamphlet he got at the urologist's] Okay, uh, this is a bit awkward. It says here that I need to check the area for redness and swelling.
Howard: You know what? It hurts so much, go ahead.

Sheldon: [showing Leonard and Penny his audition tape] So, what do you think?
Amy: Well, I already told him that I loved it, but if you found it dangerous or confusing or, I don't know, three to four times too long, now is the time to share.
Penny: I... I don't know what to say. Leonard, do you know what to say?
Leonard: Sheldon, uh, I thought it, uh... it... it looked like you were having so much fun.
Sheldon: Hey! That's what you used to tell me to say to Penny after one of her terrible plays.
Penny: [hitting him] Hey!
Leonard: Hey!
Amy: Well, what was wrong with it? You know, did you find it... borderline psychotic? I mean, I liked that about it, but... you guys discuss.

Leonard: Do you remember when you were a kid and you'd watch Professor Proton?
Sheldon: Of course.
Leonard: Well, did he ever make you, I don't know, hate science and the people who do it?
Sheldon: What are you saying?
Leonard: I... I just think it would... better if your contempt for children wasn't so much in the foreground.

Sheldon: You want me to lie?
Penny: Well, it's not lying. It's acting. Sheldon Cooper may not like kids, but Professor Proton loves them.
Sheldon: Interesting. You know, I really hadn't thought of it that way. It... it's similar to how, you know, I'm afraid of dogs, but my "D&D" character likes dogs, you know? But he's allergic, so he can't be around them.
Penny: Why don't we have a dog?
Leonard: Hey, you can always re-shoot it.
Sheldon: Mm, I suppose. And, you know, maybe I could even get some tips from someone who's acted professionally.
Penny: Oh. Sheldon, obviously, I'd be happy to help you out.
Sheldon: [more condescending than grateful] I don't know what to say.

Wil Wheaton: Hey, Sheldon. What's up?
Sheldon Cooper: I need an acting coach.
Wil Wheaton: Oh.
Sheldon Cooper: Would you give me Patrick Stewart's number?
Wil Wheaton: [insulted] No.
Sheldon Cooper: Fine. I guess you can do it.

Bernadette: Where did you get a bell?
Howard: App store. [showing her the app on his phone]
Bernadette:: Fun. Let me see. [he hands his phone over, and she puts it in her pocket] When you catch me, you can have it back.

Leonard: Oh, boy.
Penny: What?
Leonard: They cast the new Professor Proton.
Amy: Is it Sheldon?
Leonard: Not exactly.
Sheldon Cooper: [from his and Amy's apartment] WHEATON!
Leonard: [turning around back down the stairs] It's Wil Wheaton.

Howard: How was the doctor?
Bernadette: Good, but I have some news.
Howard: Don't say twins. Don't say twins. Don't say twins. Don't say twins.
Bernadette: It's not twins.
Howard: Oh. I mean, because I would have loved them both.
Bernadette: The doctor said I was overdoing it, so she put me on bed rest just to be safe.
Howard: Oh, no. [he hobbles towards the bed] It may not look like it, but I'm running to you!

Sheldon: Hello, Arthur.
Arthur Jeffries: What... what part of "rest in peace" don't you understand?
Sheldon: I suppose you're here because you heard the news?
Arthur Jeffries: Sheldon, I'm a figment of your imagination. I don't hear news.
Sheldon: You're a grumpy figment.

Sheldon: They're remaking your show, and they cast Wil Wheaton as Professor Proton. And the worst part is he's not even a scientist.
Arthur Jeffries: No, the... the worst part is I'm sitting on a moist log.
Sheldon: We have to stop this and protect your legacy.
Arthur Jeffries: What legacy? My... my last two seasons, I was on Sunday morning at 5:30. We... we were beat by "Davey and Goliath".
Sheldon: I can't believe you don't care.
Arthur Jeffries: Believe it!
Sheldon: Well, I care, a lot, and Wil Wheaton will rue the day he ever met me.
Arthur Jeffries: I think that's true of most people.

Penny: Hi, guys. Wanted to check in and see how you two were doing.
Bernadette: We're okay.
Howard: Yeah, hanging out in bed with my wife, thawing out some frozen peas in my pants; living the dream. [hearing Halley on the baby monitor crying] Oh, I'll get her.
Penny: I thought Raj was helping you out.
Howard: No, he had to work. Plus, he has a quota for the amount of Indian servant jokes he can tolerate, and apparently, I filled it.