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"The Table Polarization" is the sixteenth episode of the seventh season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Thursday, February 27, 2014.


Leonard buys a dining room table which causes Sheldon to re-evaluate the changes in his life. Meanwhile, Howard is offered a chance to go back to space and Bernadette struggles with whether or not to encourage him. Amy diverts Sheldon's attempt to break up with her.

Extended Plot[]


Penny's on the floor for once.

The gang is having take-out food for dinner and making fun of how Raj say the word "mustache". (moo-stache) Penny enters the apartment after an audition making everyone groan. Penny gets angry that they didn't ask her how it went. Leonard then does ask and she tells him to shut up. Raj offers her his seat so she doesn't have to sit on the floor. Penny declines and sits down. Bernadette asks if they ever thought of getting a dining room table so they can all eat together. Amy notes that they could put it by the window. Sheldon doesn't like the idea. He explains himself describing the change using chaos theory. Leonard translates it saying that the baby doesn't want a table.

Later, Leonard invites Sheldon to join Penny and him table shopping. Sheldon is too busy falling back in love with Windows 98. He has set up his old tower computer in the unused area by the window claiming it as his new spot. He has several thousand updates for his old operating system. Sheldon compares himself to Arthur Dent from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" when he laid down in front of the bulldozers to protect his home. They haven't used the junk by the window for years. Sheldon wants Leonard to show him one thing he could live without and he takes a picture of Sheldon. Then Sheldon tells him that do they want to argue over this comment since they have never argued over anything else. Leonard looks at him like he is crazy and leaves.


Remote control wand

At Howard and Bernadette's place, Howard is showing Raj his new universal remote that is in the shape of a magic wand. Bernadette didn't think that it was cool when he tried to "mute" her. Raj feels that it is his second favourite brown magic wand, which disturbs Howard cause of the sexual implications. NASA calls and wants Howard to return to the International Space Station to repair the telescope he installed. Howard wants to do it. Raj is going to miss Howard and is willing to watch Bernadette while he gone. And if he fails to return, they'll name their first son after him or Dileep after his grandfather.

Penny and Leonard are looking at tables at a furniture store. Penny likes a table made of reclaimed wood which would not appeal to Sheldon since he is worried that the original owners might reclaim it. Penny tells Leonard that he should stand up to Sheldon more often. Leonard says that he is living too much in his head. Sheldon chooses what TV shows they watch, what food they eat, what is Leonard's favorite hobbit. Leonard agrees and chooses a glass topped dining room table which Penny doesn't like. He then changes to another one that Penny does like.

When Bernadette comes home, Howard offers her some wine and tells her that somebody gets to ride on a rocket. Bernie asks if she can take a shower first thinking they are going to have sex. Howard explains the offer, while Bernadette is surprised that based on his experience she didn't think that he would ever want to go back. While Howard seems to be in denial, Bernie remembers a lot of complaining and Howard wanting it to be over.

After the new dining room table is set up where everyone can sit around it and it has a great view out the window. Sheldon's spot has a great view outside a window. Sheldon sits at it for a fraction of a second and still doesn't like it. Also it hasn't been approved by the furnishing committee specified by the roommate agreement which unfortunately only meets every two years. After Penny's prodding, Leonard tells Sheldon that he is going to stand up to him more. Sheldon then exclaims that the problem isn't the table, the problem is how Penny has changed Leonard and that Sheldon can no longer manipulate him. Penny gets mad and says that that is what happens in relationships and that Amy has changed him. Before Sheldon didn't want to touch another human being and now he is holding hands and even making out with her. Sheldon is shocked that Amy told Penny; however, Penny feels that it is the most interesting thing that ever happened to Amy. Sheldon realizes that Amy has changed his personality so he has to break up with her. After Sheldon leaves, Penny calls Amy. After Amy learns that Leonard bought the table, she jumps to the conclusion that Sheldon is on the way over to break up with her.

Amy and Sheldon talk

Going over the breakup paperwork.

Sheldon shows up at Amy's Apartment to break up with her by signing a portion of their relationship agreement. He doesn't want her to cry all over his iPad. Amy agrees with Sheldon and has already moved on. Amy tells him to have a nice life. Knowing Sheldon, she agrees with him and then Amy convinces him their breakup is not about them, it's about Leonard taking Sheldon's attention about that awful table. Leonard is manipulating him like he always does. Leonard also knows that Amy would support Sheldon since she is his girlfriend and Leonard wants them to break up according to Amy. Then Sheldon wonders if Amy was manipulating him however Amy says that he is smart enough to see that. Finally he agrees with her as she has a little smile that Sheldon can't see.

Bernadette and Raj are having tea together. Bernie wants to know why Howard wants to go back up since he hated the entire experience. Raj agrees that he has forgotten all the miserable parts. Bernie asks Raj to talk to him and then wonders if she is a terrible wife. Raj thinks that he is the cool one and she is the buzz kill. When asked, Bernadette finds the wand remote stupid. Raj accidentally turns off all the lights and then Bernie sarcastically tells him how great it is.

Amy and Sheldon return to apartment 4A with Sheldon saying that Leonard's attempt to break them up didn't work. Sheldon repeats everything that Amy says including that their relationship is stronger than ever. Leonard objects to Sheldon's complaints about change. Sheldon's favorite spot is on a couch that Leonard bought. He wants to know how that change is good while the table change is not. Sheldon is speechless until Amy says that he doesn't have to explain himself. Amy then says that he is tired of Leonard's nonsense and ready to move in with Amy. Sheldon then tells Leonard to just keep the table which Amy feels that she got too cocky,

The Table Polarization 04

Talking about going back into space.

going to move in together.

At Howard's he comes home and finds Raj, Bernadette, his father-in-law Mike and astronaut Mike Massimino via web chat there performing an intervention on his decision to return to space. They all love him, though Mike has to be prodded to agree. Mike calls him Froot Loops and tells him that he has the "wrong stuff". The experience was traumatic and he was miserable the entire time. He had asked Mike to shoot him in the foot. Howard is insulted that they don't think he can handle it, until Massimino reminded him that he had to go through survival training again. Next Howard is having his blood pressure checked and it is fine. He pleads with the doctor to get him a reading that will have him rejected. Then, he calls his mother and his blood pressure sky rockets.

Finally, they are all having dinner at the new table except for Amy and Sheldon, who are in their old spots. Howard is lamenting failing his blood pressure tests, but rejects any suggestions where he could get it back down so he could go. Sheldon tells them to eat up there if they want to; however, it makes him sad that things have changed. Bernadette feels sorry for them since they are sitting in two groups. The time to stand up to Sheldon is over as they return to the living room. Raj doesn't want to return since he sits on the floor, but gives in. Sheldon says how nice it was now and that sometimes the baby wins.



  • Jesse Schedeen from IGN - "The Table Polarization" offered an ideal balance between humor and drama. Sheldon and Leonard went to war, but in the end it was Penny and Amy that were pulling the strings. It was a conflict that managed to entertain and even continue the recent momentum in Sheldon and Amy's relationship. And if the NASA subplot was a bit redundant, Raj and Bernie still kept the humor flowing. All in all, this was a definite highlight of the season so far. [1]
  • IMDb user reviews
  • Dhruv Rao of The DR Club gave the episode a B+, saying that the writers used naturalism very well. [2]


  • Title Reference: The pro and con sides that everyone takes when they discuss getting a dining room table for the apartment.
  • Taping date: January 28, 2014
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card. #445 [3]
  • This episode was watched by 17.73 million people with a rating of 5.0 (adults 18–49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 23.39 million.
  • The Big Bang Theory was ranked #3 for the week ending March 1, 2014.
  • This episode aired in Canada on Thursday, February 27, 2014, with 3.825 million viewers with a weekly ranking of #2.
  • Episode transcript [4]

Costume Notes[]

  • Sheldon wears his Flash, orange lightning t-shirt, a t-shirt featuring Batman and bats in front of a full moon, hisblue Super-Vitruvian Man t-shirt, and the DC Flashy t-shirt.
  • Penny wears a cobalt blue leopard sweater by J&J.


  • Rumor that the episode is entitled, "The Conjunction Junction" as was one of the School House Rock episodes.
  • After his joke about Raj's pronunciation of the word "mustache", Sheldon is complimented by Amy on being funny on purpose - his main goal throughout the episode The Hesitation Ramification (S7E12).
  • Sheldon used a computer with Windows 98 to hold the position beside the window, but in all the other episodes, there is an iMac at that position.
  • Sheldon's article about the alternation of furniture in The Roommate Agreement is quite analogous to that about the selection of a new restaurant mentioned in "The Agreement Dissection" (S4E21).
  • Raj picks up his illusion that he would go out with Bernadette when Howard is away that he first developed in "The Thespian Catalyst" (S4E14).
  • Sheldon tries to break up with Amy]because she has changed him; however, Amy knows him too well and stops it.
  • The gang wants to stop eating in the living room around the coffee table and get an adult dining room table.
  • Howard's survival space training took place during "The Werewolf Transformation" (S5E18).
  • In this episode, Sheldon reiterates the story of a frog “that’s put in a pot of water that’s heated so gradually he doesn't realize he’s boiling to death”. In reality, this comment is a myth; frogs do realize the heat and jump out of the pot before they boil to death.
  • Meagen Fay still does not return for an appearance as Bernadette's mother, Mrs. Rostenkowski in this episode since her absent appearances in "The Countdown Reflection" (S5E24) and "The Thanksgiving Decoupling" (S7E9). She is not seen with Mike, Raj and the 'Howardette' couple in the scene of Howard and Bernadette's apartment in this episode and she still hasn't met the rest of the gang (Sheldon, Penny, Raj, Amy and Leonard) since her only (so far) appearance with her husband (Mike) and the "Howardette" couple in "The Fish Guts Displacement" (S6E10).


(The opening scene at Apartment 4A where the gang (minus Penny) are having dinner)
Howard: I’m thinking about growing a goatee.
Raj: Oh, actually that’s a Van Dyke. A goatee is just hair on the chin.
Leonard: Oh. Wait, then what is it if you just have hair up here?
Raj: You mean a moo-stache?
Leonard: Moo-stache!
Howard: He said it!
Raj: Ha-ha, very funny. Make fun of the foreign guy. For your information, there are four times as many Indians as there are Americans, so the way we say it is right.
Howard: Say what?
Raj: Moo-stache.
Leonard: Moo-stache!
Howard: He said it!
Bernadette: (she is not amused) Guys, you’re being childish.
Sheldon: Yeah, she’s right. You’re grown men, the kind who are perfectly capable of growing your own moo-staches.
Amy: Hey, you were funny on purpose, good job.

Sheldon: Chaos theory suggests that even in a deterministic system if the equations describing its behavior are nonlinear a tiny change in the initial conditions can lead to a cataclysmic and unpredictable result.
Penny: Translation?
Leonard: (imitates a baby) Waah, I don't want a table.

Sheldon: *Knock Knock Knock* Amy?*Knock Knock Knock* Amy?*Knock Knock Knock* Amy? I’ll get right to the point. I think we need to end this relationship – so just sign this with your finger and please don’t cry on my iPad because I didn't get Apple Care.
Amy: I’m not surprised you want to end the relationship. I’m just a little surprised you didn’t get Apple Care. Anyway, enjoy your life. Where do I sign?
Sheldon: At the bottom. I must say I’m relieved you’re not making more of a scene out of this.
Amy: Oh, I’ve already moved on. Besides the breakup has nothing to do with me.
Sheldon: What. It doesn't?
Amy: Of course not. This is just Leonard trying to take the focus off that dreadful table by sowing discord in our relationship. He’s manipulating you like he always does.
Sheldon: Wait. Wait. Now hang on. You think he’s manipulating me?
Amy: All the time. And he knew that as your girlfriend, I wasn’t gonna to stand by and let him bring a table into your apartment. I mean a table?! Come on!
Sheldon: It is hideous.
Amy: Well, thankfully, I won’t have to see it ‘cause I won’t be your girlfriend anymore. {Signs.} Amy Farrah Fowler. Why yes, I would like to take a survey.
Sheldon: Wait. You were really gonna stand by me against the dining room table?
Amy: Of course I was.
Sheldon: Yeah, wait. I do I know you’re not manipulating me right now?
Amy: I would think that if I’m manipulating you, you’d be smart enough to see it.
Sheldon: How do I know you’re not saying that as part of the manipulation?
Amy: I think you’re smart enough to see that too.
Sheldon: Okay. I’m sorry i gave you such a hard time. I just had to be sure. {Amy turns away and smiles.}

Raj: It’s pretty exciting that NASA wants to send Howard back up.
Bernadette: Yeah, exciting. Can I ask you something?
Raj: Course.
Bernadette: He hated that entire experience. Does it make me an awful wife if I don’t think he should do it again?
Raj: Not at all. He’s forgotten how miserable he was the entire time he was up there. It’s like me in those moments when I miss India.
Bernadette: So you’ll talk to him?
Raj: Why me?
Bernadette: Well, I’m his wife. I don’t want to ruin it for him.
Raj: That’s the dynamic. I’m the fun one and you’re the buzz kill.
Bernadette: (offended) Since when am I the buzz kill?
Raj: Do you think this is cool?
Bernadette: No, I think it’s stupid.
Raj: Aha. (waves the wand, and ends up turning the lights off)
Bernadette: (smiling sarcastically) You’re right, it’s great.

Leonard: This spot that no one else can sit in only exists because despite your objections I bought this couch. Me. So explain why that change was bad and this change was good.
Sheldon: Um...
Amy: You don’t need to explain yourself to him.
Sheldon: I don’t need to explain myself to you!
Amy: You’re sick of his nonsense and ready to move in with me.
Sheldon: Keep the table. We don’t use that space!
Amy: Damn it, I got cocky.

Sheldon: Think of me as Arthur Dent in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy lying in front of the bulldozers protecting his home.
Leonard: If you recall, the Vogon Fleet blew up the earth anyway.
Sheldon: It’s a made up story Leonard. I don’t even know why you’re talking about it.

Penny: Sheldon’s not here.
Leonard: Well, he is here. (points to his head) So unless you want to dig him out with a bone saw and a melon baller, there’s nothing I can do about it.

Bernadette: Hey.
Howard: Good news. Someone in this room gets to take a ride on a rocket.
Bernadette: (agrees exhaustedly) Fine; can I at least shower first?
Howard: No, not that. Although you already agreed to it, so no take-backs.
Bernadette: What are you talking about?
Howard: Sit down. NASA called. The telescope mount I installed on the space station got damaged, and they want me to go back up and fix it.
Bernadette: Wow. Well, what did you say?
Howard: What do you think I said? I said yes. Why do you look surprised?
Bernadette: Well, it’s just, after last time, I didn’t think you’d ever want to go back.
Howard: Are you kidding? It was the greatest experience of my life.
Bernadette: Really? ‘Cause I kind of remember a lot of complaining and wishing for it to be over.
Howard: I think you have me confused with what’s gonna happen when you get out of that shower.
(Bernadette shakes her head, and starts to sip her wine in a huff).

Penny: Hi. Sorry I’m late. I was at an audition.
All: Ahh.
Sheldon: You’ll get ‘em next time.
Penny: How about instead of assuming I failed, you ask me how it went?
Leonard: Sorry. How did it go?
Penny: (grumpily) Shut up.

Raj: Oh sure, I sit on the floor for years no one cares. The pretty white girl's there ten seconds, and suddenly we’re all running off to IKEA.

Sheldon: OK. I think we found the problem here. It’s not the table at all. It’s you.
Penny: Me?
Leonard: Well, it’s always me. Take one for the team.
Sheldon: I have spent years turning this lump of clay into an acceptable conduit for my will, and then you came along and reshaped him with your newfangled ideas and your fancy genitals.
Penny: Are you gonna let him talk to me like this?
Leonard: “Fancy” sounds like a compliment.
Penny: OK, I have not tried to change Leonard. That’s just what happens in relationships. Look how much Amy has changed you.
Sheldon: That’s not true.
Penny: Oh, please. When I first met you, you were incapable of touching another human being. Now you’re holding holds, going on dates, you even made out with her on a train.
Sheldon: She told you?!
Penny: Of course she told me! It’s the most interesting thing that's ever happened to her in her entire life!
Leonard: You’re too close to it, but Amy has had a huge impact on you.
Sheldon: You’re right. Without realizing, I allowed that woman to alter my personality.
Leonard: Mmm. (sarcastically) You didn't have a personality; you just had some shows you liked.
Sheldon: No. No, I've changed. Like the frog that’s put in a pot of water that’s heated so gradually he doesn't realize he’s boiling to death.
Penny: Or you’re the frog that’s been kiss by the princess and turned into a prince.
Leonard: Or you’re just a tall annoying frog.
Sheldon: Excuse me. I have to break up with my girlfriend.
Penny: Oh, Sheldon. Wait.
Sheldon: No. You've opened my eyes to the truth. Amy has made me a more affectionate open-minded person. And that stops now.
Leonard: Well, we should call her.
Penny: Yeah. (takes out her phone, and calls Amy to warn her) Amy, it’s Penny; hey. Just a little heads up: Leonard bought a dining room table. Yeah, Sheldon’s breaking up with you.

(Scene: The apartment, as everyone except Sheldon and Amy are eating at the new table)
Raj: Howard, I’m so sorry your blood pressure was off the charts.
Howard: Oh, me, too. I mean, the doctor was willing to fudge the results, but it just seemed so darned dishonest.
Leonard: But the mission wouldn’t be for at least a year. Isn’t that enough time to get your blood pressure under…
Howard: Look, my blood pressure’s too high, okay? Drop it!
Penny: You know, my aunt changed her diet, and in a few months, she…
Howard: Went to space? I don’t think so! Now, pass the soy sauce. Hey, not the green one, the red one.
Penny: Sheldon, Amy, will you please come join us?
Bernadette: Yeah, it’s fun up here.
Leonard: So why are you trying to ruin it?
Sheldon: No, thanks. We’re fine. I mean, if you people want to eat at the table, then that’s what you should do. I like eating down here because this is how we’ve always done things. But if those days are gone, they’re gone. It just makes me sad.
Bernadette: (she is now really sad) Now I feel bad.
Leonard: Oh, don’t anthropomorphize him, he’s got big eyes, but his feelings are not like ours.
Bernadette: No, it just seems silly for us to sit in two groups.
Leonard: Well, it’s not silly if you think of that group as being led by a big, evil baby.
Bernadette: Look at Amy down there. Should we go?
Penny: Yeah, let’s go. (stands up with Howard and Bernadette)
Leonard: But Penny, this was your idea. You said that I should stand up to him.
Penny: Forget it, Leonard. It’s over.
Leonard: Fine.
(They all walk back to the living room, while Raj stays at the table)
Amy: Rajesh?
Raj: Screw that! I sat on the floor for seven years! I’m staying right here!
Bernadette: Come on, Raj, it’s not the same without you.
Raj: Fine. (reluctantly joins them in the living room) But no more making fun of how I say things.
Howard: You mean things like moo-stache?
Sheldon: Well, isn’t this nice. (turns to Leonard pridefully) Sometimes the baby wins.

Sheldon: Well, is this really worth it? We've lived together for years, with nary an argument.
Leonard: Huh?
Sheldon: But we start talking about a table and suddenly we’re at each other’s throats.
Leonard: “Nary an argument”? “Nary”?!
Sheldon: Well that means “not on” or “not any”. Maybe instead of a table you should buy a dictionary. Well, I don’t know if I won that, but at least he’s upset.

Howard: Hey, Bernie. I’m home. (notices Raj and Mike R. sitting with Bernadette) Hello.
Bernadette: Hi, honey.
Howard: What’s going on?
Bernadette: Maybe you should have a seat.
Howard: Um, okay. I know my mom’s not dead, there’d be balloons. (sits on the couch)
Raj: Um, okay. First off, know that we all love you and cherish you.
Mike Rostenkowski: Well, I wouldn’t…
Bernadette: (snaps at her dad angringly) Daddy.
Mike R: You’re great.
Mike Massimino: (on skype) Can I say something?
Raj: Oh, of course.
Mike M: Hey, Fruit Loops.
Howard: Massimino? Why are you here?
Mike M: Well, I heard you were thinking about going back up to the space station, and as someone who’s been there with you, well, you know how astronauts need to have the right stuff?
Howard: Sure.
Mike M: The stuff you have is wrong.
Howard: You don’t think I did a good job up there?
Mike M: You did a fine job. It’s just, you were scared and miserable the whole time.
Bernadette: I think what we’re all trying to say is, you don’t seem to be remembering how traumatic the experience was for you.
Raj: Like how women often forget the pain of childbirth.
Mike R: Like a woman. Great analogy.
Howard: Fine, maybe I was a little scared.
Mike M: You peed in your space suit.
Howard: You’re supposed to do that.
Mike M: Not during the fitting.
Mike R: Son, do I need to remind you what you asked me to do before you went up last time?
Howard: Hang on. That was just me joking around.
Mike R: You wanted me to shoot you in the foot.
Howard: Come on, how is that not a joke? You got to get me out of this. Shoot me in the foot.
Bernadette: Don’t forget all the other astronauts picking on you.
Raj: And how you threw up in zero gravity, and it floated back in your mouth. And you threw up again. And so on and so on.
(Mike R starts to smile)
Mike M: (smiling) That was funny.
(Raj and both Mikes laugh)
Howard: Okay, so I wasn’t exactly John Glenn up there, but I’ve changed. I’m a different man now. Yeah, and I’m a little insulted that you guys don’t think I can handle it.
Mike M: You know you’re gonna have to go through survival training again.
Howard: Really?

(cut to the scene of Howard at the doctor's surgery)
Howard: (desperately) You’ve got to get me out of this!
Doctor: What do you want me to do? You’re perfectly healthy.
Howard: Check my blood pressure again. I can get it higher. just give me a second. (Dials phone)
Mrs. Wolowitz (on phone): Hello?
Howard: Hi, Ma. How are you?
Mrs. Wolowitz: How I am is not dead, but you wouldn’t know that, because you don’t love me enough to pick up the phone!
Howard: Go, go, go.
(The doctor checks his blood pressure again, as we hear Mrs. Wolowitz over the phone)
Mrs. Wolowitz: For all you know, I could have slipped in the tub and drowned! That’s what happened to your Aunt Ida!
Doctor: (baffled) Wow!