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"The Santa Simulation" is the eleventh episode of the sixth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, December 13, 2012.[1]


The guys leave the girls out of a Dungeons and Dragons game, so they have an all-girls night which Raj crashes. While playing D&D, Sheldon tells stories about his past Christmases in his youth, which ends up revealing why he hates the holiday so much.

Extended Plot[]

Leonard is assembling a cardboard fireplace decoration for his apartment. He is amazed that he assembled an entire fireplace with his own bare hands, even though he did get a papercut. Leonard tells Penny that the guys are playing Dungeons and Dragons together because they haven't in a long time. Penny asks him if he'd rather play a fantasy board game on a Saturday night rather than be with his girlfriend who let him have sex with her.

Leonard building a fireplace

Leonard building a fireplace with his own two hands.

Amy tells Sheldon that she always wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons. Sheldon replies that she isn't invited because men at times have to get away from civility and break out into their primal selves.

Bernadette tells Howard that she worked late so that they could be together on Saturday night. Howard tells her that if he doesn't come, then the guys will blame the failure of their night on her. Raj and Stuart had planned to have dinner and see the Christmas lights in Griffith Park, but are even more excited about joining in the game.

Their Dungeons and Dragons quest starts with a Christmas gift given to Sheldon who, as usual, is complaining about Christmas, like the overuse of "t'is" and "t'was". He pulls out a scroll from the Christmas stocking that describes their quest that starts in a village of massacred elves. They must rescue their leader Santa Claus from a pack of ogres. Leonard explains that a holiday-themed quest would be a good idea. Sheldon replies that it was like a sandwich of grape jelly and petroleum jelly. In-game, Howard finds a secret door, tries to set up an invasion strategy; however, Raj rushes in. He hits a tripwire that triggers a cannon, leading to his death and disqualification.

Penny pokes her head into the room and tells the guys that she thought that they should see what they are missing out on. Acting like runway model fashion models, Bernadette shows off a tight short red dress from "Forever 21" and Amy a flowered dress from "Forever 63", actually showing a lot of ankle, and new shoes. Penny is wearing a very short little black dress that got her out of two parking ticket|speeding tickets and jury duty. Raj says he wants to go, but first the girls tell him that he can't come because its girls' night but, after the girls leave, Penny pokes her head back in and invites him.

At the nightclub bar, Bernadette wants to find a girl for Raj but needs to know whether he should find a girl to get laid, casual hook-up with or a quality relationship. Amy announces that they should get him laid. The girls tell him that they could find someone and introduce him. Raj doesn't want the girl to know that he has money, but she has to be a nine or ten. Or eight if she brings another eight to the hot tub. According to Bernadette, he'll have any girl that will have him and Raj agrees.

Back at the game, the boys' characters find a large chest. Howard wants to bury his head (i.e. boobs) in it even though he is married. The door locks behind them, and glowing words appear on the chest as the walls start to close in. The answer of the clues has Sheldon singing "Good King Wenceslas" to stop the walls from closing in. Sheldon knows the song from when his grandparents would sing carols at Christmas time. They tried to resume the game, but Sheldon insists on singing the remaining verses.

Screen shot 2012-12-13 at 2.40

Girls' Night.

At the nightclub, Raj finds a hot girl at the bar, they talked for a while, and he leaves her to return to the girls. He finds that she gave him a phony email address. Raj complains that is really his fault since he falls for girls that are out of his league. He did when he fell for his friends' hot girlfriends, Penny and Bernadette. Amy then concludes at some point he'll fall for her. Raj says a definite "no", but Penny and Bernadette urgently try to get Raj to change his comment about Amy, but he keeps saying "no", and that he wouldn't fall for her.

Back at the apartment, Sheldon finishes the last verse of "Good King Wenceslas". Next, they find a pool of melted snowmen that Sheldon wants every detail about. Afterwards he picks up a cup of eggnog. Leonard says he's glad Sheldon is finally in the holiday spirit, but Sheldon claims that he is not and that he drinks eggnog all year-round. Leonard wishes Sheldon would get in the spirit since he had enough crappy Christmases when he was a kid. Instead of leaving Santa milk and cookies, Leonard's family left research papers for Santa, and then in the morning they were graded. Sheldon, being Sheldon thinks they must have been great Christmases.

At the nightclub, Raj apologizes to Amy if he upset her. Amy says her first kiss was at 22, but only before she returned some guy's medicine to him. Raj claims that during a game of spin the bottle, the girl the bottle landed on said if he came close to her she would break the bottle and cut him. Amy says she fell asleep at a fraternity party in college and woke up with more clothes on. Raj says that he would sit on one hand, make it numb, and then hold hands and feel like it was another person. Amy says she does the same thing, but hers sometimes would cup her breast. Amy tells Raj that she knows what it's like to be alone and Raj agrees as they seem to connect. But Raj reminds her that she has Sheldon now. Then Amy tells him that he'll eventually find somebody too. Raj says that he hopes that she is as half as a lovely person as Amy. Amy then says "Raj wants me; now I'm good". She says that they can leave now, obviously getting back at Raj who then tells Penny on the way out that now he may fall for Amy. Penny looks strange at him.

Screen shot 2012-12-13 at 2.42

The guys playing Jingle Bells.

During the next game stunt, Sheldon puts the answer to a puzzle on the whiteboard and the three other players use the solution that has them playing "Jingle Bells" with bells. This act lowers the drawbridge and they find the bloody and beaten Santa in the dungeon. Sheldon casts a spell of paralysis on Howard and Stuart, goes in and yells at Santa. Sheldon confesses that when, he was five, he asked Santa to bring back his Pop-Pop, Meemaw's husband, who had just died and was his only relative that urged him to follow his dream into science. Instead Santa brought him a set of Lincoln Logs. Sheldon kicks Santa and leaves him to the ogres. The others are completely shocked as they now know that Sheldon doesn't like celebrating Christmas as he was struggling to recover from such a traumatic family tragedy at the time. Leonard just comments that he gave up sex with Penny for this unhappy ending.

That night, Sheldon comes into the living room and finds Santa Claus leaving him presents and he apologizes for not bringing back his Pop-Pop because he says that his magical power is limited. He also has something special for Sheldon, who seems excited, thinking his presents are trains. But because Sheldon left him for dead in the game, Santa fires a cannon at Sheldon for his revenge. Sheldon quickly wakes up from his nightmare, coming to the conclusion that he shouldn't blame Santa for his Pop-Pop not coming back to life.



  • The TV Critic: "This was absolutely classic Big Bang Theory. Two entertaining stories that hit the nerve of two characters before backing swiftly off to avoid actually having to follow through on anything...I don’t see why the world would end if there were conclusions to these stories. The writers did all the hard work and then just abandoned Raj and Sheldon to remain forever who they are now."[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode a B.[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The title refers the mythical person being rescued in the gang's Dungeons and Dragons game.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 16.77 million people with a rating of 5.2 (adults 18–49).[4]
  • Total viewers including DVR users 21.19 million.
  • This episode aired in Canada on December 13, 2012, with 3.93 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on with 2.764 million total viewers.[6]
  • Episode transcript [1]


  • First Christmas episode in over two years; the last Christmas episode was "The Maternal Congruence" (S3E11).
  • Penny's Posse takes Raj to the same nightclub they took Sheldon to in "The Agreement Dissection" (S4E21).
  • Leonard has a Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Screen (4th Edition). Drow (Dungeons & Dragons)|Drow appear on the middle panel of the screen.
  • In "The Love Spell Potential" (S6E23), Sheldon says that they don't drink alcohol during D&D as it impairs their judgment; however, in this episode, Raj had been drinking alcohol as he could talk to Penny. His headlong rush into a booby-trapped armory, resulting in his immediate death in the game, could be considered poor judgement.
  • The guys previously played Dungeons & Dragons in "The Wiggly Finger Catalyst" (S5E4). The game was also referenced in "The Weekend Vortex" (S5E19), "The Plimpton Stimulation" (S3E21), and "The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary" (SE3E1).
  • When Sheldon receives a Christmas stocking containing a scroll for Leonard's holiday-themed Dungeons & Dragons campaign, Sheldon reveals his sentiments regarding the impracticality of a single sock. Howard then inputs that a pirate with a peg leg would require only one sock, reassuring Sheldon. Similarly, in "The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition" (S2E19), Penny mentions a tap dancing pirate with a wooden leg. Further fascination with pirates is shown in "The Pirate Solution" (S3E4), where Sheldon prefers that Raj wander the high seas as a stateless pirate and delights in the prospect. Also, in "The Closet Reconfiguration" (S6E19), when Sheldon is giving Howard his version of the contents of the envelope he opened, he first explains that it was a map leading to the lost treasure of One-eyed Willy. Leonard then tells Sheldon that is the plot for the movie "Goonies". He later changes the name of the pirate to Peg Leg Antoine as to make it "completely different from Goonies."
  • After a string of episodes in season 5 and 6 which questioned where Howard and Bernadette would live after the wedding, including "The Habitation Configuration" (S6E7), this episode confirms that Howard is currently living in Bernadette's apartment, as he is seen video-chatting with her from there while she is at work. His place of residency was implied in "The Parking Spot Escalation" (S6E9) when Amy arrives at Bernadette's apartment just to confront Howard about him having her car towed, but is told he is not there.
  • Sheldon tried to build a high-energy particle accelerator out of LEGO. LEGO was previously mentioned in "The Plimpton Stimulation" (S5E21), "The Zarnecki Incursion" (S4E19), "The Isolation Permutation" (S5E8), "The Weekend Vortex" (S5E19), "The Launch Acceleration" (S5E23), and "The 43 Peculiarity" (S6E8).
  • Raj requests that none of the girls mention he comes from money. He is perhaps remembering what happened with his previous gold-digging girlfriend.
  • Amy states she got her first kiss when she was 22, and only through blackmailing a guy. But it was previously stated that before kissing Sheldon, she had never had a kiss. Although it's possible she wasn't being truthful as she was trying to get back at Raj for not having a crush on her like he did Penny and Bernadette.
  • Likewise, her whole speech seems questionable, as she was shown not to have developed romantic or sexual urges until after she met Sheldon.
  • Quite out of character, Sheldon actually gets the lyrics of "Good King Wenceslas" wrong, after the line, "Yonder peasant who is he? Where or what his dwelling?" he then repeats the previous line, "Brightly shone the moon that night." The correct verse is, "Sire he lives a good league hence, underneath a mountain, right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes fountain."
  • "Svatý Václav" is Czech for Saint Wenceslas, a historical Duke of Bohemia in the 10th century AD, later canonized and elevated to the patron saint of the then Kingdom of Bohemia (later the Lands of the Bohemian Crown), today the Czech Republic. Today, the metropolitan cathedral of the Czech capital city of Prague is consecrated to Wenceslas, and an equestrian statue of him forms the centerpiece of the upper end of Wenceslas Square, one of Prague's principal squares; both are common stops on city tours.
    • The pronunciation of Svatý Václav in Czech is approximately "SVUH-tee VAAHTS-love", somewhat different than that used in the show (where the name is pronounced as "VACK-love", which is probably somewhat more intuitive to an English speaker).
    • Interestingly, unlike in the song, the historical Václav never was a king: the Bohemian Lands in his time were a (sovereign) duchy, and only permanently became a kingdom some 200 years after Václav's time.
  • Bernadette's working uniform is shown again. On the left chest there is a blue "Zangen" sign in an ellipse, which was also recognized in the episode "The Higgs Boson Observation" (S6E3). In this episode, her name after marriage "Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz" clearly is visible on the right chest.
    • As of this episode. Bernadette's office was only seen two times via Skype and at the end the scene of Howard doing something to annoy her more. There is no psychical appearance of Bernadette's office and Bernadette in her uniform in the rest of the opening of this episode since their only appearance in "The Higgs Boson Observation" (S6E3). Also the name of "Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz" which was clearly visible on the right chest was only seen on Skype and had no physical appearance in this episode or "The Higgs Boson Observation" episode (S6E3) which had just the Zangen logo on the left chest of her uniform. Whereas Bernadette's white Zangen coat (with the name on it) is seen behind her back on the chair in her office whilst chatting to Amy on the phone in "The Junior Professor Solution" (S8E2).
    • Also, as of this episode Bernadette's office at Zangen and her uniform were not seen again after these two episodes (S6E3 and this one) in the rest of the entire Big Bang Theory show until "The Junior Professor Solution" (S8E2) . Once again there is no laboratory for Bernadette to work with experiments at in the rest of the entire Big Bang Theory show (as of the only Caltech female scientist Amy having her lab in some of the other Big Bang Theory episodes so far).
    • Once again, as of this episode since "The Higgs Boson Observation" (S6E3) both the blonde female members (Bernadette and Penny) are the only ones in the gang who don't work in any the labs or the offices at Caltech. One of them (Penny) hasn't even been a scientist of various experiments at the time.
  • Second episode where Sheldon plays with something which gives him nightmares. The first was "The Nerdvana Annihilation".
  • Second episode after "The Agreement Dissection" where Penny's Posse hangs out with one of the guys.
  • Footage from the Dungeons & Dragons portion appears in the NCIS Season 12 episode "Parental Guidance Suggested." This is also an example of a paradox trope as the show NCIS had previously been shown to exist in The Big Bang Theory.


Penny: Hey, guys. I don't mean to interrupt your little game, but I thought you'd like to see what you're missing out on. So, Bernadette. (Bernadette enters as if on a runway)
Penny: Bernadette's wearing leopard print pumps and a raptastic red dress from Forever 21. (Bernadette exits and Amy struts in)
Penny: And there's Amy, showing all kinds of ankle. In an outfit I'm assuming is from Forever 63. (Penny removes her coat wearing a short black dress.)
Penny: And I myself am wearing a little number that got me out of two speeding tickets and jury duty.
Sheldon Cooper: I know they're making a rhetorical point, I just don't know what it is.

Leonard: Oh, before I forget, Saturday I’m planning a little Dungeons and Dragons night with the guys.
Penny: Really? That’s how you’re gonna spend your Saturday night?
Leonard: Oh, come on, I hardly ever get a chance to play anymore.
Penny: Oh, you poor thing. Is having a real-life girlfriend who has sex with you getting in the way of your board games?
Leonard: Little bit, yeah.

Raj: Well, uh, there was a time when I had a thing for Penny, and I thought she was into me, too, because she got drunk and naked and climbed into bed with me. But apparently I misread those signals.
Amy: And you liked Bernadette also?
Raj: That was before Penny. I make it a rule to only fall for one of my friends’ girlfriends at a time. I’m very old-fashioned that way.
Amy: So at, uh, some point, you probably had a thing for me, too.
Raj: No, not really.
Penny: Oh, come on, Raj, not even a little bit?
Raj: Not that I can think of.
Bernadette: Think harder.
Raj: Nope. I guess the heart wants what the heart wants. Or in this case, doesn’t, I mean, at all. What?

Sheldon: Oh, a scroll. I like scrolls. They’re my third favorite system of transmitting the written word. After stone tablets and skywriting. You have all been summoned to join a thrilling Dungeons and Dragons adventure. Your quest begins in a secret northern village of elves who have all been massacred. I like where this is heading. Your task is to rescue their leader from a dungeon of ogres. Oh, that’s a saucy twist. That leader’s name, Santa Claus. Oh, no, no, no!
Leonard: It’s actually ho, ho, ho, but you’ll get the hang of it. Thought it’d be fun to make a quest with a holiday theme.
Sheldon: Fun? Mixing Dungeons and Dragons with Christmas is like making a sandwich of grape jelly, the best-tasting jelly, and petroleum jelly, the worst-tasting jelly!

Leonard: Okay, you run into a room full of weapons, hit a trip wire, a cannon blows your face off, you die, you’re out of the game.
Raj: But, a cannon? Am I really out of the game?
Sheldon:(to Raj) Lucky.

Santa Claus: This is for leaving me in the dungeon to be eaten alive by ogres!
Sheldon: Wait, uh, uh, hang on. In my defense…
Santa Claus: Ho, ho, ho, you big dork. (Fires cannon)

Leonard: A cannon blows up your face. You die. You're out of the game.

Stuart: My carpal tunnel’s acting up.
Sheldon: Play through the pain.


See also[]


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