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"The Psychic Vortex" is the twelfth episode of the third season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, January 11, 2010.


Raj bribes Sheldon to act as his wing man resulting in both of them having dates. While out at dinner with Howard and Bernadette, Leonard learns that Penny believes in psychics which causes a fight between them.

Extended Plot[]

Both Leonard and Howard are getting ready for their dating|dates. Howard asks Leonard to match his amorous activities should he and Bernadette start making out. Leonard jokes that he and Penny are planning to have sex on the salad bar. Raj is left with only Sheldon, who wants to run a full backup, reinstall, and reinitialize his computer.

Penny is in a good mood once the talk of flesh-eating bacteria ceases. She talks about cutting her hair because her psychic told her that doing that she would get her a national TV commercial. Scientist Leonard tried not to laugh at that thought making Penny mad and calling him a jerk. Dense Leonard then asks her if her psychic told her that he was going to be a jerk.

The Psychic Vortex 12

Raj and Sheldon meet Abby and Martha.

Raj tries to get Sheldon to go out who prefers to not leave the apartment. Sheldon wants to go out using his imagination and visit Flatland”, a two-dimensional world. Raj wants to put on Zoot suits and go swing dancing at the mall. He then suggests going to a university mixer for the science and philosophy departments. ("For those who split atoms or split infinitives." Sheldon agree when Raj bribes him with his “Green Lantern” lantern. Sheldon is to be Raj's wingman. No matter what lie Raj comes up with, Sheldon has to nod and agree. Looking for females, Sheldon finds him one; the 80-year-old wife of one of the professors. The Limited Edition “Green Lantern” lantern does hook them Abby (Danica McKellar), who is impressed that Raj is from India. Abby saw "Slumdog Millionaire" and Raj claims to be a Slumdog astrophysicist. Abby invites over her friend Martha who swoons over the “Green Lantern” lantern.

The Psychic Vortex 21 - Martha talks to Sheldon

Sheldon has a date? And connects with another human.

On their double-date, Leonard won't let the issue of psychics go. Penny is upset that Leonard won't even consider it. Leonard tries to get engineer Howard and scientist Bernadette to back him up, but they won't jump into another couple's argument. Even walking up the stairs, Penny won't budge, and Leonard won't back off. She slams the door in his face opening it only to grab her leftovers from his hands. Leonard yells that he knew she was going to do that even though that didn't make him a psychic. “Attaboy, Leonard. Make it worse,” he tells himself opening his apartment. Inside Sheldon, Raj, Abby, Martha, are playing a rock band game and Leonard asks what was going on. Sheldon replied, “We scored. I'm the wingman.”

The next day in Leonard's lab, Howard tells him about his night and that he got to eighth base (seventh base with his shirt off). Leonard's method for stress release is lasering innocent Cylon figurines with Superman next in line. Howard tells Leonard not to be so stubborn and go with his date's beliefs. Leonard doesn't want to compromise all of his intellectual beliefs. Howard demonstrates using a Venn diagram on the whiteboard the intersection between all the women he'd want to sleep with, the ones who believe what Leonard believes, and the ones willing to sleep with him. Leonard doesn't think he can do that. Howard then marks for Leonard the one person he can have sex with by placing a dot on Leonard's right hand.

The Psychic Vortex

Penny believes in psychics.

Raj wants to date Abby again, but Sheldon has to double-date with Martha. Sheldon would rather reformat his hard drive, disinfect the kitchen and bathroom and learn Finnish. He had fun, but doesn't want to do it again. Raj then bribes Sheldon giving him his Incredible Hulk hands signed by Stan Lee. Sheldon has always admired them and exclaims that “Hulk” agrees to second date with puny humans!

Leonard joins Penny in the laundry to try and apologize. His apology bombs when Penny denies his attempt after being so obnoxious person on a double-date that he disturbed Howard Wolowitz. She does not agree to read a book debunking psychics, but is made happier when Leonard agrees to go see her psychic. She also warns him that she believe in ghosts, astrology, but not healing crystal. They don't work. Although Voodoo does. You don't want to mess with it!

On the double-date with Sheldon and Raj, Martha and Sheldon are getting along together discussing "Flatland" and how it's a treatise on Victorian era social mores. Abby and Raj are making out like rabbits. Sheldon announces that it is time for him to go to bed which sounds good to Martha, thinking she'll be joining him. He tells her wearing his new Hulk hands, “Good night, puny human” leaving with Martha looking quite shocked.

Martha is not swayed. Since Raj and Abby were getting it on in the living room, she asks Sheldon if she could hang out in his room. He agrees and then goes to sleep in Leonard's room and lets her have his room again leaving Martha looking quite shocked and disappointed.



  • "This is a perfect showcase of Sheldon’s comedic side. I have said before that he is at his funniest when interacting with people who haven’t met him before and this proves especially true here...Sheldon is completely oblivious to Martha’s sexual interest in him which is a comedy well that may never run dry...However Leonard and Penny’s story had many a flaw.,..The Big Bang Theory is always one step away from being a good show. This was funny though." - The TV Critic's Review
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The title refers to Penny's belief in psychics.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]
  • This episode was watched by 15.82 million people with a rating of 5.7 (adults 18–49).
  • This episode aired in Canada on January 11, 2010, with 2.099 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #10. 
  • Episode transcript  [2]

Costume Notes[]

The Psychic Vortex 19 - YellowStripe
The Psychic Vortex 20 - Unknown
The Psychic Vortex 22 - Wheel
BDG stripes Unknown Ferrous Wheel


  • Last appearance of Sheldon's Red Dell XPS m1710 laptop, and Leonard's Dell XPS m1710 laptop, before they are stolen in the next episode "The Bozeman Reaction" (S313) and replaced by an Alienware M17 Nebula Red Laptop (Sheldon) and a Dell XPS Adamo Laptop (Leonard).
  • Sheldon, and later Martha, refer to Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions of 1884 by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott, writing pseudonymously as "A Square".
  • Danica McKellar who portrays Abby had a role in Babylon 5, Sheldon's least favorite series and was mentioned in "The Bat Jar Conjecture" as a Physics Bowl replacement teammate.
  • Penny says, "Well, the last big thing I did was this production of The Diary of Anne Frank (play) above a bowling alley." She first mentioned this play in "The Terminator Decoupling" (S2E17). Kaley Cuoco previously played a character on another show who played Anne Frank in the 8 Simple Rules season two episode, "The Story of Anne Frank and Skeevy". It also came up when Penny discussed her career in "The Recombination Hypothesis" (S5E13). (This comment could be a reference to Kaley Cuoco's character Bridget on "8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter", who landed the lead role in her high school production of "The Diary of Anne Frank").
  • Sheldon misquotes the Green Lantern Oath in this episode. Sheldon says "In brightest day, in darkest night," when the real quote is "In brightest day, in blackest night." It is worth noting, however, that over the years the exact Green Lantern oath varies depending on the writer or character using it.
  • First new episode broadcast in 2010.
  • In this episode Penny says that her psychic told her that if she cuts her hair, she's going to get a national commercial. In season 8 where Penny does cut her hair, she already had a national commercial and got a sales job for a big pharmaceutical company: Zangen (which would become Bernadette's employment company after her graduation in Season 4).
  • David Trice has twice played a waiter on The Big Bang Theory.
  • In the scene where Raj and Sheldon are looking for a woman for Raj in the background there is a page stuck up with the name David Salsberg and his work in Antarctica. David Salsberg is one of the experimental particle physicist who works on the scientific details of the show.
  • Penny takes a sip from her glass however in the next moment the glass is back on the table, a couple of moments later she is seen putting her glass down without picking it up.


Leonard: I hope you’re hungry, Bernadette, we’re going to a terrific restaurant.
Bernadette: Oh, yeah, I’m starved. When you spend all day in a bio-lab, watching flesh-eating bacteria skeletonize small rodents it really works up an appetite.
Howard: Flesh-eating bacteria. And yet, I still want to kiss this woman, what does that tell you?
Penny: That you’d be willing to die a horrible death on the off-chance you’d get to second base?
Bernadette: Oh, we’re way past second base. Right, Howard?
Howard: Well, we kind of disagree about what the bases are.
Bernadette: How’s your work going, Penny? Any acting jobs?
Penny: Well, the last big thing I did was this production of Diary of Anne Frank above a bowling alley. But I think things might be turning around pretty soon.
Leonard: Great. How come?
Penny: Well, promise you won’t make fun of me.
Leonard: Of course, I would never make fun of you.
Penny: Okay. Well, I went to this psychic who told me that if I cut my hair, I’m going to get a national commercial.
Leonard (laughing): Seriously? You’re getting career advice from a psychic?
Howard: Good job not making fun of her.
Penny: She’s not one of those phonies, okay. She wrote a book and has her own Web site.
Leonard: Oh, gee, why didn’t you say so? They don’t let just anyone have a Web site.
Penny: Why are you being such a jerk?
Leonard: You’re surprised? Your psychic didn’t tell you I was going to be a jerk?
Penny: Ha-ha, bite me.
Leonard: Come on, Penny.
Howard: Why don’t you kids go ahead and chat? We’re gonna make out back here.
Bernadette: I’m sliding into third.

Raj: Thanks for coming with me.
Sheldon: Thanks for giving me your limited edition Green Lantern lantern.
Raj: Did you really have to bring it in with you?
Sheldon: What if evil strikes and my power ring runs low?
Raj: Come on, let’s get a drink.
Sheldon: I don’t drink.
Raj: Yeah, well I do. And when my wingman is carrying a Green Lantern lantern, I drink a lot. I’ll have a screwdriver, please. Don’t be chintzy with the screw.
Sheldon: I would like a root beer float.
Raj: Sheldon, they don’t have ice cream.
Sheldon: They don’t? Well, apparently, these people and I differ greatly on the definition of party.
Raj: He’ll have a Shirley Temple.
Sheldon: And don’t be chintzy with the Shirley.
Raj: Okay, let’s check out the females.
Sheldon: All right. There’s a female.
Raj: That’s Professor Wilkinson’s wife, she’s like 80 years old.
Sheldon: But she’s female. Isn’t that the game?
Raj: No. I’m looking for a hookup.
Sheldon: Oh, yes. So, the point of this exercise is for you to find someone to copulate with?
Raj: Not so loud, but ideally, yes. Thanks.
Sheldon: Thank you. And what is my function as wing man?
Raj: You help me run my game.
Sheldon: Alright, and what is your game?
Raj: When I lie through my teeth to a woman, you nod and agree.
[Abby walks by and notices Sheldon's lantern]
Abby: Hey that's pretty cool, what is it?
Sheldon: It's a limited edition "Green Lantern" lantern. My friend is looking for someone to copulate with.
Abby[laughs] You're very funny, I'm Abby.
Sheldon: I'm Sheldon.
Raj: How do you do? Rajesh Ramayan Koothrappali. Call me Raj.
Abby: Hey Raj, where are you from?
Raj: The mysterious, sub-continent of India.
Abby: Ooh, India.
Raj: You know India?
Abby: I saw Slum Dog Millionaire.
Raj: Well I'm a slum dog astrophysicist.
Sheldon: I thought your father was a gynecologist? [Raj looks at him] Sorry. [Smiles and nods]
Abby: Hey Martha, come over here. Meet Sheldon and Raj.
Martha: Is that the limited edition "Green Lantern" lantern?
Sheldon: In brightest day, in darkest night, no evil shall escape my sight. [Holds up his ring to the lantern and it lights up.]
Martha: Oh, that is so awesome.
Sheldon: Thank you. [To Raj] Have you chosen one to copulate with?

Bernadette: So, what should we talk about?
Howard: Well, we could always learn more about why people who believe in psychics are idiots. Leonard?
Penny: Oh, we don’t need to talk about that anymore. Leonard covered it pretty well in the car.
Leonard: I’m sorry, but facts are facts.
Penny: Right, and if you can’t understand it, it’s not a fact.
Leonard: No, if it’s not a fact, it’s not a fact.
Penny: Oh, got it. Thank you for educating me.
Leonard: You’re welcome. How’s your fish?
Penny: Amazing. Would you like to try some?
Leonard: Yeah, sure.
Penny: Well, the fact is, you can’t.
Leonard: Come on, Howard, Bernadette, you’re both scientists. Help me out here.
Howard: What do you think? Want to jump right into the middle of another couple’s argument?
Bernadette: No, thank you.
Howard: Sorry.
Leonard: Maybe we should just stop talking about this.
Penny: Maybe some of us should stop talking altogether.
Waiter: How is everything tonight?
Bernadette: Really uncomfortable.

(the hallway scene where the really cross Penny just going off to her apartment whilst ignoring the obsessive Leonard. They both have finished clmbing the stairs)
Leonard: (he's shouting behind her) You know, the best thing about being in a committed, monogamous, mutually supportive relationship is that even if you have different ideas, (Penny unlocks the door in a huff and storms straight into her apartment) you can have a spirited debate, yet still care for, even make love with… (Penny angrily shuts the door in his face) Want your fish? (Penny opens door in a rage as she angrily takes the fish and she closes it again) I knew you were going to do that. Doesn't make me psychic! Attaboy, Leonard, make it worse.

Penny: Wow, that’s all you got after you were the most obnoxious person on a double date that included Howard Wolowitz?
Leonard: No, I’m sorry. I really am. It’s not right to mock what a person believes in.
Penny: Thank you. Would you be willing to go to my psychic and see what it’s all about?
Leonard: Would you be willing to read a book that concisely explains how all psychics are frauds?
Penny: I would not.
Leonard: Okay, let’s go see your psychic.
Penny: Really?
Leonard: Well, yeah, one of us has to keep an open mind.
Penny: You saying I don’t have an open mind?
Leonard: No, not at all. Let me help you with this stuff.
Penny: You know, I believe in ghosts, too.
Leonard: Great.
Penny: And astrology.
Leonard: I know, and pyramid power and healing crystals.
Penny: Oh, no, no, no, crystals don’t work.
Leonard: Really, that’s the line? Psychics are real, but crystals are voodoo?
Penny: Oh, voodoo’s real. You don’t want to mess with voodoo.