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"The Speckerman Recurrence" is the eleventh episode of the fifth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode first aired on Thursday, December 8, 2011.[1]


Leonard faces off with his high school bully, Jimmy Speckerman, who has returned to his life. At the same time, regarding the issue of bullies, Penny realizes that she might have been a bully when she was in high school.

Extended Plot[]

Jimmy congratulating Leonard

Jimmy congratulating Leonard.

Penny comes in asking what the guys new Wi-Fi password is. (It's now Pennyalreadyeatsourfoodshecanpayforwifi. no spaces) Sheldon thought that when Leonard asked Penny if she wanted to hear something weird he thought it was a game. A guy named Jimmy Speckerman contacts Leonard through Facebook, telling him he wants to meet for a drink. Leonard tells Penny and Sheldon that he was one of his high school bullies and struggles to decide whether to meet him, but decides to do it, and to "say all the things he wanted to say in high school".

Guys running away

The guys running away from an angered Jimmy.

At the bar, Leonard is with the other guys, waiting for Jimmy to turn up. When he arrives, he greets Leonard like an old friend and gleefully reminisces their high school days, completely oblivious to the discomfort he is causing Leonard. He then reveals that he contacted Leonard because of an idea he had to invent glasses that instantly turn movies into 3D, and Leonard was the smartest person he knew of who could help him with this idea. Although enthusiastic to the idea, Leonard points out the scientific impossibilities this idea would require. Sheldon stands up for Leonard and tells Jimmy he should apologize for all the heinous acts he committed against Leonard as a teenager. They show him a list of all that he did to Leonard. Jimmy says that he thought they were only having some fun, where Leonard counters that it wasn't fun for him, and they leave.

A drunk Jimmy later shows up at Leonard's apartment, along with the list, and starts to apologize for all the things he did to him in the past. Leonard does not want him driving drunk, and takes him in for the night (Sheldon is opposed to the idea and suggests they send a message to bullies everywhere by killing Jimmy in his sleep).

Girls stealing clothes

Penny donates some of her clothes to the poor people.

The next morning, Jimmy wakes up, hungover. When Leonard reminds him of his apology the previous night, Jimmy chides him for having held a grudge, helps himself to his French toast, and calls him "Nancy" (his old childhood insult for him). Taking a stand, Leonard tells Jimmy to get out of the apartment and actually shoves against him, not doing any damage. The guys are then seen running down the stairs to evade an annoyed Jimmy.

Meanwhile, regarding the issue of bullying, Amy and Bernadette talk about their bullies, but Penny says that she did not have bullies and just used to prank other girls. Amy and Bernadette point out that she actually was a bully so, feeling guilty for what she did, she calls all the people she tormented. But no one wants her apology, so Penny decides to do something for charity, to feel good about herself.

She decides to donate some of her clothes to a clothing bin, but when she goes to the bin, she finds so many cute clothes and decides to go back the next night and take some. The girls return to collect some clothes, but then Penny realizes what they are doing is wrong, so they decide to leave it and go; however, Bernadette decides to take some cute boots Penny showed her earlier, saying that it's okay, as she serves soup to the poor.



  • The TV Critic: "They are so close sometimes! This was good. It never became great but it was a fun episode. I particularly liked the use of bullying as a theme. The characterization was very good with everyone able to relate to being bullied except for Penny...I really did enjoy this and thought it was very solidly constructed. The producers can't quite take that extra step and draw our empathy directly to Leonard's plight but they get close."[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The title for this episode is derived from the name of Leonard's high school bully, Jimmy Speckerman, and his "recurrence" or return to Leonard's life.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 14.02 million people, with a rating of 4.6 (adults 18–49).[4]
  • The extended gap between the airing of this episode and the previous episode, "The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition", was due to Thanksgiving, where a rerun of an old episode was shown instead on the usual Thursday time slot for the show. It was the last show before the four week long holiday break, and the last episode of 2011.
  • This episode aired in Canada on December 8, 2011, with 3.552 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on January 5, 2012, with 1.67 million total viewers and a weekly ranking of #6.[6]
  • In Australia, it aired on January 30, 2012, with 1.349 million viewers.[7]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Costume Notes[]

  • Sheldon wears his melting Rubik's cube t-shirt.
    Black Rubik's cube t-shirt


  • Last new episode for the year 2011; afterwards, the show was on its winter break. CBS aired the next episode on January 12, 2012.
  • Penny mentions that she needs a new Yoga top; she is seen doing Yoga on various occasions in future episodes.
  • The minor character Jimmy Speckerman is introduced in this episode. Lance Barber, the actor who portrayed him, would later play the role of Sheldon's father, George Cooper Sr., in the prequel/spin-off series Young Sheldon.
  • Sheldon implied that Leonard attended Princeton - after Leonard placed an excess marshmallow in his hot chocolate. He attributed the reason Leonard adds one for good luck to the kind of math done at Princeton. Leonard later confirms this fact in "The Scavenger Vortex" (S7E03).
  • The Newcomb Medal, of which both Leonard and Raj were recipients, is most likely an astronomy prize named for Simon Newcomb. Or, the Newcomb Cleveland Prize awarded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • Sheldon says Leonard is not the "gearhead". When Leonard was ten years old, he built two radio-controlled arms, as revealed in "The Maternal Capacitance" (S2E15).
  • Sheldon is watching the Nobel Prize acceptance ceremony live from Stockholm, Sweden at 2 am. Stockholm is nine hours ahead of California, which would mean that the ceremony is taking place at 11 am. The ceremony actually started at 4:30 pm.
  • Leonard has a list of all the bullying he received from Jimmy Speckerman while in school, which included calling him "Nancy" (slang for an effeminate or homosexual male), stapling his scrotum, throwing him completely naked into the girl's locker room, and supergluing Hershey's Kisses to his nipples.
  • Jimmy Speckerman isn't the only bully Leonard has had. One guy peed in his Hawaiian Punch, one guy wedgied him so hard, his testicle reascended and he spent all of Christmas break waiting for it to come back down, one guy used his head to open a nut and another one (Jimmy's sister) made him eat his arm hair. His bully from home, a.k.a. his mother, was also the cause of his bedwetting until 14.
  • Bernadette's bully, Tammy Bodneck, once stole her clothes from her locker after gym and left an elf costume in there. The problem was the costume was too big.
  • Among Amy's nicknames after the Rogain incident was "Gorilla-Fingers Fowler" and "Fuzzy-Fingers Fowler".
  • As a kid, Leonard could fit into a backpack. Though he claimed it was only successful with Jimmy's "help". In "The Killer Robot Instability" (S2E12), Leonard said, "Personally, I can squeeze through a hole in a fence half my size". Also, in "The Prestidigitation Approximation" (S4E18), he noted, "Yeah, if I had contacts I would have been the coolest debate club president ever to be stuffed into his own cello case".
  • Leonard's and Sheldon's new wi-fi password is "Penny eats our food, she can pay for her own wifi" (no spaces).
  • Leonard goes into more details about his life in high school since his old nemesis shows up.
  • Sheldon went to high school when he was 11. Actually Sheldon went to High School at 9 and didn't graduate at age 10. He went off to college when he was 11.
  • The second episode since "The Zarnecki Incursion" (S4E19) that deals with bullies.
  • This is the second episode for Penny to ask if Sheldon changed their Wi-Fi password.


Sheldon: One for good luck... Must be the kind of math they do at Princeton.

Sheldon: Congratulations, the Newcomb Medal...Oh, please. That's a scientific equivalent of a smiley face sticker on your homework.
Rajesh: Hey! I won a Newcomb Medal, too.
Sheldon: My point.

Sheldon: Technically, Howard's the gearhead. Leonard's just a dime store laser light show|laser jockey.

Sheldon: I help the weak. It's yet another way I'm exactly like Batman.

Sheldon: I'm not going to say I told you so, but we could have killed him.
Leonard: I might kill him right now.
Sheldon: The Dark Knight has your back. He's scared, but he has your back.

Leonard: It's 2am. What are you doing up?
Sheldon: Nobel Prize acceptance ceremony streaming live from Stockholm.
Leonard: Sure. You want to see what all the scientists are wearing this year.
Sheldon: Look at these men...They've managed to win the top science prize in the world with no more understanding of the quantum underpinnings of the expansion of the early universe than God gave a goose. You should pay attention, Leonard. Someday this could be you up there.
Leonard: Thanks.
Sheldon: So, what's got you up? Did you have a bad clam?
Leonard: I didn't have clams.
Sheldon: I don't watch you 24 hours a day. I don't know what you do.
Leonard: It’s this Jimmy Speckerman thing. I can’t decide if I should agree to see him or not. Of course that might be because the last time I ran into him, he made me floss with my own shoelaces.
Sheldon: Wear loafers. Look at Dr. Saul Perlmutter up there, clutching that Nobel Prize. What's the matter, Saul? You afraid someone's going to steal it, like you stole Einstein's cosmological constant?
Leonard: You know what? I am tired of living in fear of this guy. I’m gonna go see him and finally say all the things I should have said in high school. You know, pick on someone your own size, you did not have sex with my mother, and yes, I do know why I’m hitting myself.
Sheldon: Oh, now Perlmutter's shaking the king's hand. Check for your watch, Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden|Gustaf he might have lifted it.

Leonard: Rekindles your faith in the basic goodness of people.

Sheldon: You know what would be nice?
Raj: What?
Sheldon: As a symbolic gesture to all the bullies who've tormented us for years, we open our home to Jimmy, and once he's asleep, we kill him.
(They all look at him)
Sheldon: I said it would be nice, I didn't say we should do it.

Bernadette: I love this dress! How come I never see you wear it?
Penny: Cause when I wear it it's a shirt.

Bernadette: Oh, they all went with Leonard to confront his high school bully.
Penny: Oh, terrific. High school quarterback against 4 Mathletes.

Amy: When Leonard gets back, I'd love to check his serotonin levels. Do you think he'd let me draw a syringe full of his blood?
Penny: Mm, he's not crazy about needles, but if you get him to go jogging it'll just pour out of his nose.

Bernadette: I don't think I can meet the girl who was always mean to me. Tammy Bodneck. One time, while I was in gym class, she stole all my clothes and left an elf costume in my locker.
Penny: Oh, that's awful!
Bernadette: Worst part was it was too big.

Howard: Hey, we're here to support you, buddy.
Leonard: No, you're not. You're here to see if I'll get my wedgie|underwear pulled over my head.
Howard: You wore underwear? You fool!

Amy: Who would have thought? Fuzzy Fingers Fowler is best friends with a bully.

Amy: Shh... that's how you wind up in the cornfield.

Sheldon: You know the holidays are just around the corner. Maybe he just wants to see if he can lodge the other testicle up there.
Leonard: I told you, that was a different guy.
Penny: Well, that's too bad. Could've spent Times Square Ball|New Year's Eve waiting for the ball to drop.

Penny: (entering) Hi. Did Sheldon change the Wi-Fi password again?
Leonard: Yeah, it’s “Penny already eats our food she can pay for Wi-Fi.” No spaces.

Leonard: Okay, Jimmy, it’s time for you to go.
Jimmy: Yeah, all right, let me just finish this.
Leonard: No, you’re done. I want you out of my apartment right now.
Sheldon: Well said, Boy Wonder.
Jimmy: Or what?
Sheldon: Don’t answer that. It’s a trick question. I speak from experience.
Leonard: I’m not afraid of you any more, Jimmy. Now get out! (pushes him) Uh-oh.

Sheldon: You did it, Leonard, you stood up to your bully.
Leonard: Yeah, I feel pretty good about myself. You think we can outrun him?
Sheldon: I don’t need to outrun him. I just need to outrun you.

Sheldon: In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II was named an honorary Harlem Globetrotter.
Leonard: What are you talking about?
Sheldon: You asked Penny if she wanted to hear something weird.
Leonard: Yeah, because I have something weird to tell her.
Sheldon: Oh. I thought it was a game.
Penny: What’s yours?
Leonard: There’s this guy, Jimmy Speckerman, who used to torment me in high school. He sent me a message through Facebook. He’s in town and wants to have drinks.
Sheldon: Okay, Penny, if it were a game, here are your choices. An e-mail from an old acquaintance, or the head of one of the largest religious institutions in the world slam dunking to Sweet Georgia Brown. Pick.
Leonard: Just do it, ’cause he’s not gonna let it go.
Penny: Basketball Pope.
Sheldon: And that’s how it’s done.
Penny: What are you gonna do about your bully? Are you gonna see him?
Leonard: I don’t know.
Sheldon: Is this the fellow who peed in your Hawaiian Punch?
Leonard: No, that was a different guy.
Sheldon: Was he the one who wedgied you so hard, your testicle reascended, and you spent your whole Christmas break waiting for it to come back down?
Leonard: No, that was a different, different guy.
Sheldon: Was he the one who used your head to open a nut?
Leonard: No.
Sheldon: Oh, oh, oh. Was he the one who made you eat your arm hair?
Leonard: No, but, actually, that was this guy’s sister.
Penny: All right, well, what do you think he wants?
Leonard: I don’t know.
Sheldon: You know, the holidays are just around the corner. Maybe he wants to see if he can lodge the other testicle up there.
Leonard: I told you. That was a different guy.
Penny: Hmm. That’s too bad. We could have spent New Year’s Eve waiting for the ball to drop.