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"The Shiny Trinket Maneuver" is the twelfth episode of the fifth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, January 12, 2012.[1]


Sheldon and Amy encounter their first problem in their boyfriend/girlfriend relationship when Amy is hurt because Sheldon is not impressed by her latest scientific accomplishment, and Penny must help him with it. Meanwhile, Howard tries to deal with the fact that Bernadette isn't fond of children.

Extended Plot[]

Howard doing a magic trick

Howard showing off his magic trick.

The shiny trinket maneuver Shamy date and Penny

Sheldon and Amy's date.

In Leonard and Sheldon's apartment, Howard is showing Leonard and Raj some magic tricks, as he is practicing for doing magic tricks at his cousin's birthday party. Raj is very amazed with what Howard does, but Sheldon is appalled, saying that such trickery is bad for the children's future (saying that it leads to adults who believe in astrology).

Later, at the Cheesecake Factory, Sheldon and Amy are on a date as, according to their Relationship Agreement, Date Night is every second Thursday of the month, and in the case of there being five Thursdays in a month, Date Night will be on the third Thursday instead. Penny comments sarcastically, "That is so hot". Amy starts off on a conversation, asking Sheldon how his day was. He remarks that he made a palindrome with his Alpha-Bits (a cereal). Amy reveals her very good news, that she has a paper that will be on the cover of Neuron, a prestigious science journal. Sheldon counters with his news that he has reached 100 followers on Twitter. Amy states she's been waiting her whole life for her paper to be published like that, and Sheldon agrees (but about his followers). It goes on for a while, until Penny comes back to take their order and Amy excuses herself from the table, furious. Penny accuses (as she was listening to their conversation) Sheldon of ignoring Amy's very good news, and that he should have been excited. Sheldon says he's not excited at all, and Penny counters that he should act as if he is excited; just smile and think about koalas. Sheldon says Amy sees right through his koala smile.

Back at the guys' apartment, Sheldon is playing a video game (Red Dead Redemption), but only walks around aimlessly in the game. Leonard asks him why he does not go on any missions. Sheldon says he wants to "clear his head". Leonard points out that he should have gone outside (in reality) and walked around. Sheldon counters that it is after nine in the evening, and that it wouldn't be safe. He then continues to say he will drown his sorrows in the game's saloon, but Leonard rebuts that "virtual alcohol" is never the answer. Leonard asks whether Amy and he had a fight, and Sheldon remarks that Amy had a fight, while he was being reasonable. Leonard continues to give Sheldon tips on how to handle women.

Howard showing his magic trick

Howard doing his magic show for the kids.

At Howard's place, he and Bernadette prepare magic tricks for a birthday party. She comments that he has a lot of tricks, and he says he started while he was a teenager, hoping that his magic tricks would help him get girls. She continues that she might not be the best person to be his assistant, as she isn't good with kids. Howard comforts her, saying that it's only because she hasn't been around them too much, but she'll be fine when they have their own kids. Bernadette shakily says yes, sounding unsure. At Howard's cousin's birthday party, Howard starts off with his tricks, but fails to impress the children, who seem to know how he does his tricks (being able to Google it on their phones). The only thing they are interested in is cake, and Bernadette snappily says that they can have cake after they are amazed by the show, and that anyone who keeps on commenting badly on the show, will not receive cake. Howard tells Bernadette to cool down a bit, and continues with his magic trick (which is pouring milk down a folded piece of paper at the front of his pants, and he hopes he won't get his pants wet as he only has one pair). His trick fails because Bernadette handed him the wrong pitcher.

Bernadette drives Howard back to his place, and says she told him she doesn't like kids (it seems the feeling is mutual). She goes on to complain that her mom was always busy, and so she had to take care of her siblings who didn't want to listen to her. Howard says that perhaps that will change when they have their own kids. Bernadette points out that that will ruin her body, her career and her life, hinting that she doesn't want kids, which upsets Howard.

The shiny trinket maneuver Sheldon and Penny 2

Sheldon and Penny at the jewelry store.

Sheldon and Penny enter a jewelery store, in search of something for Amy. Sheldon is immediately distracted by the pocket pocket watches, and Penny points out that Amy wouldn't want a pocket watch. Sheldon counters, saying that perhaps she would want a boyfriend with a pocket watch. Penny says he is saying stupid things again. An employee then comes up to ask what they want, or that he wants to get a ring for the lady. They both immediately argue that they are not a couple, and that instead, he is searching for an item for his girlfriend, as he got into a fight with her. The shop helper then shows them some items consisting of diamonds, and goes on to say they are having a sale. Sheldon's attention is then diverted back to the pocket watches, which he ends up buying.

Back at apartment 4A, the guys at playing Jenga. Howard confides in his friends about his worries. He goes on to say that he always wanted to be a dad. Raj agrees with him, saying that he always imagined Howard guiding a young boy into manhood. Leonard says Raj should have Howard's kids—problem solved. Raj asks Howard whether he is sure that Bernadette said that she doesn't want kids, and he says yes, commenting that the feeling seems to be mutual. Howard doesn't know what to do, saying that perhaps it isn't meant to be with him and Bernadette, and that his mother would be heartbroken, knowing that she won't have any grandchildren.

Amy kisses Sheldon

Amy kisses Sheldon, thanking him for the tiara.

In Penny's apartment, Sheldon is waiting on Amy's arrival (using his new pocket watch), as Penny tricked her to come over (under the pretense that the girls would hang out). Amy is still hostile towards Sheldon, and also a little disappointed in Penny, but says that that won't last long. Sheldon says he is sorry and congratulates Amy on her accomplishment, showing his koala smile, which she recognizes as being fake. Penny brings over the package with the jewelry in it, and Amy rants on about how Sheldon is the shallowest person she knows, trying to buy her forgiveness with a gift. She stops mid-rant upon seeing the gift, exclaiming "Oh, it's a tiara!" Overjoyed about owning a tiara, she instantly forgives Sheldon and hops over to Penny repeatedly exclaiming "Put it on me!". Amy then declares herself a princess then kisses and hugs Sheldon where he stands. He awkwardly returns the hug, deciding a tiara was too much of a gift.

In the last scene, Howard is practicing a card trick, when Bernadette comes in (after Mrs. Wolowitz announced her arrival). Bernadette reveals that she came to return the vest (that she used at the magic show). Howard says that she should keep it, for hunting and whatnot. Mrs. Wolowitz shouts whether they are talking about the fact that Bernadette doesn't want children. Howard yells back then slams the door shut. Howard mentions that he was upset and needed someone to talk to, and that is why his mom knows about their conversation. Bernadette recognizes that this whole kid thing is a big thing to him, and says she figured out to keep everyone happy: she will continue working, as she earns much more money than him, and he can stay at home to take care of the kids and be a stay-at-home dad. He hesitantly answers "yes". Bernadette doesn't know whether they just had a fight, but she suggests makeup sex, to which Howard answers with a magic trick, pulling a condom package out from behind her ear.



  • The TV Critic: "These were two solid relationship stories. I kind of like the way Howard and Bernadette failed to reach a conclusion over the issue of having children... Sheldon's decision to buy off Amy's hurt feelings rather than change himself also fit the characters well...Within The Big Bang Theory formula this was very solid stuff."[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The shiny trinket (a tiara) that Sheldon gives Amy as a way of apology after he is not impressed by her latest major career accomplishment in biology.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 16.13 million people with a rating of 5.3 (adults 18–49).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on January 12, 2012, with 3.566 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on March 29, 2012, with 1.299 million total viewers and a weekly ranking of #10.[6]
  • In Australia, it aired on February 13, 2012, with 1.347 million viewers.[7]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Costume Notes[]

  • Bernadette wears a "Kimichi Blue" dress from Urban Outfitters (discontinued).


  • First new episode to air in 2012, since the last new episode aired on the 8th of December 2011.
  • Sheldon is fond of the Australian marsupial, the koala, and seeing them eat eucalyptus makes him melt inside. He even has a koala facial expression for that. He also shows his fondness for a koala in "The Junior Professor Solution" (S8E2).
  • Sheldon thinks biology involves "yucky and squishy things".
  • Raj and Leonard share no scenes with any of the girls (Penny, Amy and Bernadette) in this episode.
  • Howard only has two scenes at Apartment 4A with the three other guys (Raj, Sheldon and Leonard) in this episode.
  • Howard shares no scenes with Amy and Penny in this episode.
  • Bernadette only has four scenes with Howard in this episode and she shares no scenes with Leonard, Sheldon, Amy, Raj and Penny in this episode.
  • Sheldon faking a smile for Amy is similar to something that happened in the earlier episode "The Griffin Equivalency" (S2E4), where Sheldon faked a smile (a very creepy smile, to be specific, much like how Sheldon now has a koala smile) for Raj to show him he is happy about his accomplishment. Amy knows his koala face when he tries to look happy for her after she publishes an important paper.
  • Quite contrary to his usual mysophobic behavior and the care given to his comic books, Sheldon brings a Batman comic with him to read as he spends time in the bathroom and folds it. In "The Plimpton Stimulation" (S3E21), he even recommends disposable reading gloves to browse his comic book collection, while in "The Hofstadter Isotope" (S2E20), he complains about a dent in a comic book caused by "Howard Ham-Fisted Wolowitz".
  • In "The Einstein Approximation" (S3E14), Bernadette reveals that she knows how to deal with stubborn children, as her mother used to run an illegal day care center in their basement. This episode further depicts her treatment of such children; however, Howard erroneously says she hasn't spent much time with children. It is possible that he meant that she hasn't spent much time around children since they were together. It is not only the illegal day care center that has made Bernadette dislike children; her mother worked full-time and she had to take care of her younger brothers and sisters, who were always annoying.
  • Amy is allergic to Penicillin and wears a silver bracelet that states this fact. At the same time, the bracelet is also her favorite piece of jewelry.
  • The jewelry store is named "Frank & Sons" an obvious nod to the southern California collectible and comic show of the same name.
  • According to "The Relationship Agreement", Sheldon and Amy's Date Night is every second Thursday of the month or the third Thursday in months with five Thursdays.
  • Bernadette has a brother named Joey Rostenkowski.
  • The Donkey Kong Jenga that Howard, Leonard, and Raj play is real and is sold at Amazon for $19.99.[8]
  • When Howard is talking to Leonard and Raj about Bernadette's aversion to having kids with Howard expressing his disappointment, he uses Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. as an example stating that the former would teach the latter how to “kidnap princesses and throw barrels at Italian plumbers”. Whilst his statement is understandable, the examples given are incorrect. In the original Donkey Kong arcade game, Pauline (whom Mario/Jumpman is trying to save) isn't a Princess. Furthermore, Jumpman is a carpenter and was never confirmed to be Italian.
  • Sheldon has had a Mexican peso (a Mexican coin) in the back of his nose since he was five, when a neighborhood bully, Billy Sparks, put it there. To this day, it takes Sheldon 45 minutes to get through airport security.
  • Sheldon believes Nathan Fillion was a better choice to play Green Lantern in the movie, rather than Ryan Reynolds.
  • Howard has a younger cousin.
  • First time that the phrase "Shamy" has been used since season 4's "The Zazzy Substitution" (S4E3). In this instance, however, Amy does not express any objection to the term.
  • Sheldon thinks his new pocket watch makes him look like a train conductor.
  • Howard's mother wants grandchildren.
  • The journal article that Amy wrote: "Cooperative long term potentiation can map memory sequences on dendritic branches", to have been published in the journal Neuron is the title of an actual paper published in Trends in Neuroscience in February 2004.[9] Mayank Mehta is the author of that paper - he published it when he was at Brown, but currently (at the time of the episode) faculty at UCLA, where Mayim Bialik (actress who plays Amy) went to college and got her PhD.
  • Amy's tiara would appear again in "The Countdown Reflection" (S5E24), where she wore it along with her bridesmaid's dress. She wears it again in "The Convention Conundrum" (S7E14), on her wedding day ("The Bow Tie Asymmetry") and at the Nobel Prize ceremony ("The Stockholm Syndrome").
  • When Amy gets the tiara, she says "put it on me" seven times in a row, (which, in her blog, Mayim Bialik explains "was scripted to be said five times, but the audience was laughing so hard I just kept it going to cover the time until the next line so Kaley Cuoco (who plays Penny) would not be left hanging and waiting").
  • This episode is one of the few times Mrs. Debbie Wolowitz is heard not shouting and speaking in a normal voice.
  • Second episode where a gift makes a character ecstatic. First being "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" (S2E11).
  • Howard will respect Bernadette wishes not to have children. Besides Howard doesn't want children near his mother, because she can mess up their lives like she messed up his.


Sheldon: (he's regarding Howard's trick of a coin in an ear) Coin|Coins lodged in body parts is not a source of amusement. When I was five, Billy Sparks put a Mexican peso up my nose.
(the rest of the guys laugh)
Howard: How is that not amusing?
Sheldon: It's still there. Takes me 45 minutes to get through airport security.
(Sheldon leaves the kitchen)
Howard: Look, I made Sheldon disappear--tada!
Leonard: Next time, you should open with that.

Bernadette: Oh, you have a lot of magic stuff.
Howard: Yeah. I started when I was a teenager. I thought I could show a girl a few tricks and invite her up to my bedroom to see the rest of the act.
Bernadette: Did it work?
Howard: Ah, let’s just say the only wand that ever saw any action was this one. (The wands now falls apart_ Oh, look what my mom made us for the act.
Bernadette: Ooh. I like the fabric. Where’d she get it?
Howard: Well, she cut up one of her old bathing suits.
(He rummages through more magic stuff in the boxes)
Howard: She made these two vests and half a dozen napkins.
(Bernadette starts to look down for a second)
Mrs. Wolowitz (off) Has she tried on the vest yet?
Howard: (he yells to his mom) I just gave it to her!
Mrs. Wolowitz (off) I hope it fits, she has a tricky figure! She’s short and stacked, like me!
Howard: She’s not stacked like you, Ma! She never steps on hers!
Bernadette: (she informs him crossly) Listen, Howie, maybe I’m not the best choice to be a magician’s assistant.
Howard: You’ll do fine. Hand me those rings?
(Bernadette crossly picks up the rings )
Howard: (snatching them off her with happiness) See? You nailed it.
Bernadette: (speaks to him with a tiny piece of sadness) You know, i-it’s just that I’m not that comfortable with little kids.
Howard: Well, that’s because you haven’t been around them much. This is good practice. I mean, you are gonna be a mom someday, right?
Bernadette: (half-happy and half-cross) Mmm, yeah, sure.
Howard: Oh-ho-ho! I haven’t seen this trick in years.
(Bernadette walks up to him)
It’s called the dove pan. You let everyone see the pan is empty, but there’s a secret compartment in the lid. And then you open it and produce a live…
(feathers come flying out of the dove pan making Howard cough. He puts the dove box away. Bernadette looks at what he just did crossly)
Howard: (referring to the wardrobe) Don’t look in there.

(The scene of Howard and Bernadette's magic show at the birthday party)
Howard: And now, all the rings are magically linked together.
(The rings are now connected together and the kids are so not impressed)
Howard: My fiancee’s wearing a magic ring, too. It made all my money disappear.
(Here is the scene of a few unamused kids on the grass and pan back to the scene of Howard and Bernadette)
Bernadette: Oh, ah, right.
(Bernadette bangs drum and cymbal. She puts the drumsticks down and Howard puts the connected rings back into the briefcase)
Bernadette: (she announces to the kids) And now, the great Howdini's next miraculous illusion!
Kid #1: When are we gonna have cake?
Bernadette: (she snaps at Kid #1 with proudness) After you've been thoroughly amazed.
Kid #1: But we want cake now!
(Bernadette snaps at Kid #1 with proudness again)
Bernadette: Well, you're not getting cake right now, capisce?
Howard: (he chuckles for a couple of times) Okay. Okay.
(The scene of the kids getting more depressed)
Howard: Now, my lovely assistant is going to bring me an ordinary pitcher of milk.
Kid #2: I know how you do that trick.
Bernadette: (she's quite cross at what Kid #2 had said) Do you know how to pipe down?
(Kid #2 frowns for a second and pan back to the shot of Howard getting a newspaper out of the briefcase whilst Bernadette walks up to him with the milk pitcher).
Howard: Okay, we’re going to roll up this newspaper.
Kid #2: It's a fake pitcher
Bernadette: (she shouts at Kid #2 crossly) You got wax in your ears? The man said it’s an ordinary pitcher. (she now smiles to Howard) Howdini
Howard: Okay, we’re going to stick this in here (he puts newspaper into the waistband of his pants) and then I’m going to pour in the milk. I hope this works, because I didn’t bring a change of pants.
(the scene of Kid #2 putting up the mobile phone with the milk pitcher on it)
Kid #2: Look, I Googled it. it's a fake pitcher.
(The kids continue with their disinterest just as Bernadette now has a frowny face at what Kid #2 had just done)
Bernadette: (she is now really cross by this) That's it! no cake for you! (she's asking the kids crossly in a voice like Mrs. Wolowitz) Anyone else want to join the no cake club?
(the kids all look fed up and don't respond to Bernadette)
Howard: (he chuckles) She's just kidding boys and girls. Everyone gets cake.
(Bernadette indicates Kid #2 crossly to Howard)
Bernadette: (she whispers to Howard crossly) Not him!
(Kid #2 now looks miserable as ever. Bernadette still glares crossly at the kid)
Howard: Just give me the pitcher. (he takes the pitcher off Bernadette and clears his throat) Behold!
(Howard pours the milk through the folded newspaper hole. the milk pours out of the bottom hole of the folded newspaper on his pants like somebody urinating and the children finally laugh at this. Howard also looks at the milk marks in the middle of his pants).
Howard: Wrong pitcher.
(Bernadette is still not amused by all of this nonsense throughout the whole party)

(The nighttime scene where Bernadette driving Howard back to his mom's house in her car after their badly peformed magic show that they did at the children's birthday party had failed. Bernadette is still not very happy).
Bernadette: (she sighs and then speaks unhappily) I told you I’m not good with kids.
Howard: Yes, you did. (he groans) Oh, I think my crotch is starting to curdle.
Bernadette: (she complains for a little bit) The thing is, my mother worked full-time. I had to take care of my brothers and sisters.
Howard: Yeah, so?
Bernadette: (she is now completley cross) Ugh, it was horrible. With their snotty noses and their poopy diapers and their little shrieky voices, always complaining. I don’t want to get dressed. Joey keeps spitting in my mouth. This isn’t the way Mom makes waffles. Well, okay, (she yells like Mrs. Wolowitz) put your hand in here. Let’s see how you like this waffle!
Howard: All right, settle down. (he panics three times) Red light. Red light, red light! (Bernadette just drives through it angrily and he is relived) Okay, we’re fine.
Bernadette: (she complians for another little bit) I’m sorry. I know it makes me sound like a bad person, but I just don’t like children.
Howard: Yeah, no, we all got that. (he thinks for a bit) But don’t you think it’ll be different when the child is ours?
Bernadette: (she's still completley cross) Right, when it’s our kid that’s ruined my body and kept me up all night and I’ve got no career and no future and nothing to be happy about for the next 20 years, (she yells like Mrs. Wolowitz again) sure, that’ll be completely different.
Howard: (he's sarcastically sad) well, yeah.
(Bernadette continues to drive in even more fury).

(The Cheesecake Factory scene of a concerned Penny)
Penny: Sheldon, what is wrong with you?
Sheldon: Not much. Although, I can't be faulted for being overly fond of koala bears. I don't know what it is, when they start munching on eucalyptus, I just melt inside.
Penny: Okay, Amy just told you some exciting news and you acted like it was no big deal.
Sheldon: Oh, I see why you're confused. No, her news sounded important, but what you're forgetting is, it was an achievement in the field of biology, that's all about yucky squishy things.
Penny: Honey, she's upset! You're her boyfriend; you have to at least try to be excited by the things she's excited by.
Sheldon: What if they simply don't excite me?
Penny: Well, just smile and think about koalas.
Sheldon: She'd see right through that! We go to the zoo all the time, she knows my koala face. If, for future reference it's this: (shows his koala face)

Sheldon: Hard as this may be to believe, it's possible that I'm not boyfriend material.
Leonard: Glad I was sitting down for that.

(The scene at Penny's apartment where Amy with a huge face like thunder enters the room)
Amy: Hey.
Penny: Hi.
Amy: (he's referring to Sheldon) What’s he doing here?
Penny: Okay, he wants to talk to you.
Amy: Well, I don’t want to talk to him. And I’m pretty disappointed in you, too. Although we both know that won’t last.
Penny: Sheldon, you’re up.
Sheldon: Thank you. Amy, I’d like to apologize. Your accomplishment was impressive. And I’m proud of you.
Amy: We both know that’s your koala face.
Sheldon: I told you.
Penny: Okay, look, he bought you this.
Amy: Jewelry? Seriously? Sheldon, you are the most shallow, self-centered person I have ever met. Do you really think that another transparently-manipu...OHH, IT'S A TIARA! A tiara! I have a tiara! Put it on me! Put it on me! Put it on me! Put it on me! Put it on me! Put it on me! Put it on me!
(Penny puts the tiara on her)
Penny: You look beautiful.
(turns around and kisses Sheldon and gives him a big hug Sheldon gently hugs her back, but is not fond of Amy's over-reaction)
Sheldon: (to Penny) You're right; the tiara was too much.

Leonard: That's not necessary when someone is trying to help you.
Sheldon: I'm sorry, it's the alcohol talking.

(The scene at the Cheesecake Factory)
Penny: Okay, Amy just told you some exciting news, and you acted like it was no big deal.
Sheldon: Oh, I see why you’re confused. No, her news sounded important, but what you’re forgetting is, it was an achievement in the field of biology. That’s all about yucky, squishy things.

Penny: Ooh, look who's out on a date. Pasadena's favorite power couple, Shamy.
Sheldon: And that is the answer to the question. What is wrong with eating at the Cheesecake Factory.
Penny: So we celebrating anything special tonight?
Amy: Oh, yes. Our relationship agreement specifies that the second Thursday every month, or the third Thursday in a month with five Thursdays is date night.
Penny: (Sarcastically) That is so hot.

(Sheldon and Penny are currently in her apartment)
Sheldon: What time did you tell Amy to be here?
Penny: Eight o’clock. (Sheldon checks pocket watch) Sheldon, that pocket watch is ridiculous.
Sheldon: Nonsense. I look like a train conductor. Under what pretext did you lure her here?
Penny: I said, hey, want to come over and hang out?
Sheldon: Good, good, if you had said something clever, she might’ve gotten suspicious.

(The ending scene of Howard doing a card trick to himself in his bedroom)
Mrs Wolowitz: (off) Howard! Bernadette’s… Oh, she slipped right by me.
Bernadette: Here’s your vest back.
Howard: You should keep it. You could wear it again sometime.
Bernadette: Where?
Howard: I don’t know, hunting?
Mrs Wolowitz: (off) Don’t forget to talk to her about this mishegas where I don’t get grandkids!
Howard: (he yells at his mom loudly) Don’t worry, Ma. I will, as soon as I can figure out a way to bring up such a sensitive issue! (He now slams his bedroom door)
Bernadette: I guess you talked to your mom, huh?
Howard: I was upset. My mom can be a pretty good shoulder to cry on, if the smell of Bengay doesn’t burn your eyes.
Bernadette: Look, it’s obvious having kids is really important to you, and I think I came up with a solution.
Howard: Really? That’s great. What?
Bernadette: Well, seeing as how I make way more money than you anyway, what if I work and you stay home with the kids?
Howard: Me?
Bernadette: Yeah. You know, you’ll watch Barney and pull Cheerios out of their noses and go on play dates, and I’ll work and have conversations with people my own age and enjoy my life.
Howard: Yeah.
Bernadette: Yay, so we’re good.
Howard: Yeah, we’re good.
Bernadette: You know, I don’t know if this counted as a fight, but how about some make-up sex?
Howard: I would love that. But what is that behind your ear? Oh, look, it’s a condom.