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"The Rhinitis Revelation" is the sixth episode in the fifth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, October 20, 2011.[1]


Sheldon is upset when his mom comes to visit, but refuses to cook for him and attend a physics lecture; instead she does things with his friends.

Extended Plot[]

Church with Sheldon's mom

Mary makes the rest of the gang pray.


Looking over Penny's laundry.

Sheldon's mother, Mary, comes to visit for the weekend while waiting to board a Christian cruise called the "Born Again Boat Ride", but Sheldon is annoyed that she spends time with the rest of the gang instead of catering to his every demand. For example, when he wants her to make fried chicken, Leonard suggests they go out and have sushi instead. When Raj comes over and bursts into tears from being lonely, Mary comforts him instead of making a pecan pie for Sheldon. And when Mary and Sheldon are doing laundry, Penny comes in and soon they start talking about cute shirts, leaving Sheldon to do the laundry himself.

TBBT S05E06 The Rhinitis Revelation

Sheldon and his mom at breakfast.

The last straw is at dinner, when Mary decides to go sightseeing instead of going with Sheldon to see Saul Perlmutter give a lecture about his Nobel Prize-winning work in cosmology. He gets upset and runs off to his room. The next morning, Sheldon hopes his mother will change her mind when he apologizes for his actions, but she does not so he takes Amy instead, despite coming down with something. She notices Sheldon's "bitchiness" and asks if he is jealous. Sheldon denies this fact, but Amy warns him that, regardless of his intelligence, he has emotions like everyone else.

Mary comforts Sheldon

Sheldon's mom singing "Soft Kitty".

Meanwhile, Mary and the rest of the gang are going sightseeing, which includes seeing all of Hollywood's churches. They visit a Roman Catholic church, when Mary decides to get them to pray. However, when Penny and Leonard pray, Howard abstains and tries "not to burst into flames", referencing his Jewish faith. But Raj, despite being a Hindu, prays (via Howard, of course) for help losing "that last five pounds". That evening, Sheldon is at a bus stop when it starts to rain, making him feel worse. When he comes home, he is dripping wet and has a fever. Mary takes him to bed, promising to take care of him only. Sheldon feels upset that he and his mom didn't get to spend enough time together, but refuses to blame himself despite being completely at fault. Mary tells him that they need to have a different relationship now that he is a grown man, but she still sings him "Soft Kitty".



  • The TV Critic: "I didn't think it was very entertaining but Sheldon's refusal to change did feel believable. For someone who already thinks he is better than everyone else I can buy that he doesn't see the need to grow up emotionally. All he knows is that he was happy when someone was taking care of him and making him feel special. Why should that ever end?"[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave the episode a B.[3]
  • IMDB user reviews


  • Title Reference: Sheldon comes down with a runny nose (rhinitis) after learning that he is no different from the common man.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 14.93 million people with a rating of 5.1 (adults 18–49).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on October 20, 2011, with 3.55 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on December 1, 2011, with 1.419 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #8.[6]
  • In Australia, it aired on October 31, 2011, with 1.397 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #6.[7]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Costume Notes[]

  • Sheldon wears his Flash distressed athletic jersey tee shirt, his "73 Prime" t-shirt, his "Rock Em Sock Em" robots shirt, and his TV Test Pattern t-shirt.
  • Penny wears a top by Urban Outfitters, "Truely, Madly, Deeply". As with so many UO items, this too is discontinued, and you'll have to find it used.


  • Bernadette does not feature in this episode (whether mention, speaking parts, physical appearance or background cameo). Second of two episodes that Melissa Rauch is absent from in season 5; the first was "The Infestation Hypothesis" (S5E2). Once again, Bernadette still hasn't met Sheldon's mother as of this episode since "The Zazzy Substitution" (S4E3) to which was a previous season episode that she didn't get featured in.
  • Amy only appears in one scene in this episode and she hasn't met Sheldon's mother again as of this episode since she only met her once in "The Zazzy Substitution".
  • When Sheldon once again states he wants his mother with him to see Saul Perlmutter give a lecture about his Nobel Prize-winning work in cosmology (i.e., the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae), the Einstein Field Equations,, are visible on the kitchen whiteboard in tensor notation, along with the cosmological constant expressed in terms of the vacuum energy density (Λ = 8ρvac), the value for the equation of state parameter corresponding to the vacuum as a cosmological energy source (w = -1), and a crude estimate for the density parameter in baryons (ΩB = 0.05, 5% atoms).
  • In reference to Perlmutter, Sheldon says he is allergic to people who get Nobel Prizes for no good reason and that he made more accurate diagrams of the expansion of the early universe on the nursery wall with the contents of his diaper. Saul Perlmutter is mentioned again in "The Speckerman Recurrence" (S5E11) as Sheldon watches the Nobel Prize acceptance ceremony streaming live from Stockholm. Therein, he asserts Perlmutter stole Albert Einstein's cosmological constant.
  • Sheldon considers Nobel Prize winner-experimental astrophysicist George Smoot "one of the great minds of our time" and cites "his work in black body form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation cemented our understanding of the origin of the universe."
  • In the first episode containing "Soft Kitty" ("The Pancake Batter Anomaly" (S1E11)), Sheldon tells Penny to rub the Vicks Vaporub in counter-clockwise direction, otherwise his chest hair mats; however, in this episode, Sheldon's mother does not rub the Vicks Vaporub on Sheldon's chest in a counter-clockwise direction, but Sheldon does not correct his mother.
    • Similarly, in "The Pancake Batter Anomaly", Sheldon tells Penny to rub the vapor rub in counter-clockwise otherwise his chest hair mats; however, in this episode (over 3 years later) he tells Mary it only filled in last year.
  • Sheldon asks his mother, "Can I have tea with honey and toast with the crust cut off?" He first revealed his preference for tea with honey in "The Vartabedian Conundrum" (S2E10), while his predilection for toast with the crust cut off was originally implied in "The Euclid Alternative" (S2E5).
  • Mary Cooper is very racially insensitive, calling Japanese scripts (Kanji and Kana) "Kung Fu" letters and Native Americans "Indians", and she has some religious bigotry, as she refers to Catholics as "rosary rattlers".
  • Mary confirms that Sheldon was tested for insanity as a child and the doctor said he was fine; however, she does regret not taking him to a follow-up specialist in Houston.
  • Mary and Sheldon imply that due to her cooking (she cooks everything with bacon grease), Sheldon's father died at 50 from complications related to obesity.
  • Amy has an experiment where she is close to getting a starfish hooked on cocaine.
  • When Penny hints to Leonard that her brother was "kind of a chemist" in "The Pirate Solution" (S3E4), he was actually a meth cooker and she asks God for him to stop her brother making it, but with no cops.
  • Sheldon wants to convert the elevator shaft into a missile silo so he can launch a strike on Burbank, California.
  • In several episodes, Sheldon is shown to follow a rule: offering a hot beverage to the friends when they are upset. This episode reveals that his mother taught him to do so.
  • First time Mary Cooper is seen to be visiting Pasadena, California, for a reason other than being called by one of Sheldon's friends to come to Pasadena to help them handle a Sheldon situation/problem. The reason for her visit to California in this episode is that she is visiting for the weekend before boarding a boat cruise "Born Again Boat Ride").
  • Sheldon shows how much he cares for his mother in this episode as he is very sad and upset when she does not give him her full attention.
  • First time that someone other than Penny sings Soft Kitty to Sheldon.
  • Howard is called Wasserman by Mrs. Cooper in this episode.
  • The man sitting next to Sheldon on the bus stop bench bears a strong resemblance to Saul Perlmutter.


(Sheldon sneezes)
Amy: You getting sick?
Sheldon: No, just allergic to people who get Nobel Prizes for no good reason.
Amy: Sheldon, is it possible your foul mood, or, to use the clinical term, because your mother isn't making you a priority?
Sheldon: No, or, to use the clinical term, na-ah.

Sheldon: I've got a treat for us tomorrow, Mom. I’m taking you to see Saul Perlmutter give a lecture about his Nobel Prize-winning work in cosmology. And the best part is, at the Q&A afterward, I've worked up a couple of Qs that will stump his sorry A.
Mrs. Cooper: I don't know, Shelly. I thought we could do a little sightseeing.
Sheldon: What sight is better than your little boy embarrassing a Nobel laureate?

Mrs. Cooper: I am still going out with your friends.
Sheldon: But I apologized. And that was hard for me since I didn't do anything wrong.
Mrs. Cooper: Shelly, I hung out with you in enough dusty lecture halls while you were growing up. I wanna go sightseeing. So why don't you have some pancakes, get dressed, and come with us.

(Sheldon enters, soaking wet while holding a tissue)
Sheldon: I need a tissue, this one got wet.

Mrs. Cooper: So Shelly what's up with you and your friend Amy, if you don't mind a mother prying a bit.
Sheldon: Well, there's actually big news on the Amy front. She's been studying, the neurobiology of addiction in lower animals, she is "this" close to getting a starfish hooked on cocaine.

Mrs. Cooper: (to Leonard) You have any idea what's going on with those two?
Leonard: Mm, it's kind of like the Loch Ness monster, and maybe there's something there, maybe there isn't, we'll probably never know. But, sometimes it's fun creeping yourself out thinking about it.

(the group, minus Sheldon, is visiting a Catholic church with Mrs. Cooper)
Raj: Hey, look. (shows Howard a cross with Jesus on it) None of our Hindu god|gods look like that.
Howard: Yeah, that was the last Jew to ever do sit ups. And look where it got him.

Mrs. Cooper: You’re missing out. It’s gonna be wall-to-wall fun. It’s all themed. There’s "Jonah and the Whale Watching", all-you-can-eat "Last Supper Buffet", and my personal favorite, "Gunning with God".
Leonard: What’s "Gunning with God"? I’m afraid to ask.
Mrs. Cooper: Oh, it is a hoot and a half. You write your sins on a clay pigeon, they fire ‘em up in the air, and you pulverize them with a 12-gauge shotgun full of our Lord’s forgiveness.

Leonard: (opens door and enters Sheldon's room) Mrs. Cooper, will we supposed to take that pie out of the oven?
Sheldon: Get out.
(Leonard exits and closes door)
Mrs. Cooper: Well, that was rude.
Sheldon: I know, but he means well.