"The Vegas Renormalization" is the twenty-first episode of the second season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, April 27, 2009.


After Leslie Winkle dumps Howard, Leonard and Raj take him to Las Vegas for the weekend to help him get over it. Meanwhile, Sheldon locks himself out of his apartment and has to spend the night with Penny.

Extended Plot

The guys are playing twenty questions and it's Leonard’s turn. Howard asks, "Is there a picture of you in my wallet wearing a metal bikini?" Negative. Raj inquires, "Were you in all six Star Wars movies?" Yes. "Are you a droid?" Yes. "Do you kind of look like a shiny Sheldon?" YES! C-3PO is the answer. Sheldon considers it a compliment, but he just doesn't see the connection.

Leslie Winkle calls Howard and ends their "Casual_relationship|friends with benefits" relationship. Sheldon first asks if Leslie provides Howard with health insurance. Leonard explains the phrase to Sheldon who then finds that kind of relationship very practical to reproduce without any emotional attachment. Howard on the other hand has an emotional reaction to the break-up partly because he has seen her naked. Sheldon surprisingly suggests that in Nevada there is a city where people can forget their problems and replace them with new problems, such as alcoholism, gambling addiction, and sexually-transmitted diseases. The guys get excited as Raj asks "Is it me, or is that Sheldon's way of saying 'Las Vegas|VEGAS, BABY!!'??”

Raj and Leonard approach Mikayla.

Sheldon is walking up the stairs with Penny carrying his take out dinner in an exceptionally good mood. His dinner consists of Kadai Paneer. It is Indian food (which Raj loathes), containing copious amounts of peanuts (which would reduce Wolowitz to a 97-pound wheezing blister) and includes paneer, a farmer's cheese (which would cause Leonard to make any room uninhabitable within five minutes). Sheldon asks Penny not to disturb him in his Fortress of Solitude. ("That's Superman's ice-thingy, right?"), He even finds Penny's tenuous grasp of the English language folksy and charming. Then Sheldon shouts “Noooo!” as he doesn't have his key and has locked himself out of his apartment. Penny quips, "What's wrong, Superman? Locked out of your big ice-thingy?"

In Vegas, Leonard and Raj are preparing for their night in their hotel room. Leonard needs some aftershave and can choose from Howard's drug store collection of colognes, musks, pheromones, and condoms. Howard is poring over Leslie's Facebook page while Raj and Leonard head downstairs. Raj says that he needs a plan in case one of them gets lucky. Leonard agrees if he finds a woman, he'll take her to his stately manor in Gotham City, and if Raj hooks up, he'll find a bunk for the night on the moon.

In Penny's apartment, Sheldon laments that he didn't take his key out of the bowl next to the door. Penny goes to get their emergency key which she left in their apartment when she went to borrow some milk. Sheldon had mentioned a few episodes before that some of the milk was missing. (You're the milk thief!) Penny invites Sheldon to have dinner with her until the apartment manager comes to let him into his apartment. Sheldon objects in a southern drawl, “Eat my dinner? In your apartment? Sure, why not! And after we're done, we can all go pilin' in my pickup truck and go skinny-dippin' down in the crick! 'Cause today's the day to stop makin' sense!"

Leonard and Raj in the bar downstairs enjoying video slots, free drinks, and all-you-can-eat shrimp. Howard is twittering about his horrible life. A woman asks Raj if he wants to party which interests him until Leonard tells Raj that it'll cost him money to party with her. Howard's messages are getting more and more depressed so Raj suggest that they hire the prostitute to cheer Howard up. Leonard is against it until Howard mentions that he is about to open a $20 jar of peanuts and end it all.

Sheldon and Penny are having a quiet dinner together while Sheldon attempts some small talk and asks about her day though he really doesn't care about it.

Leonard and Raj approach the woman named Mikayla and ask her to help cheer up Howard without him knowing that she was hired by them. She proposes to give him the "girlfriend experience". Raj then asks her to give him the Jewish Girlfriend Experience.

Sheldon and Penny are now playing 20 Questions and Penny asks if Sheldon is Star Wars, one of Penny's standard answers. Sheldon was the character Spock, another standard answer for him. Sheldon then asks "Are you and Leonard "friends with benefits"?" Penny denies it and asks if Leonard had said that. Sheldon said no and then said that he had noticed Howard was in that type of relationship and ended up crying like a little girl. Penny replied that some people can't handle that kind of relationship. Sheldon then asked Penny if she could and she abruptly ended the conversation as very uncomfortable for her.

Thank you for letting me stay Penny.

Howard is convinced to come downstairs due to the guys raving about the marvelous shrimp bar when Mikayla steps up behind him and says "Boy, would it kill them to put out a nice brisket?" Howard immediately turns around and says, "I'm Howard Wolowitz." Mikayla replies "Hi, I'm Esther Rosenblatt."

Penny is preparing the couch for Sheldon to sleep on; however, he objects and does not want to reenact Snickering's beloved children's book "The Tall Man for Cornwall" since the couch is too short for him to sleep on. Penny then reluctantly gives Sheldon her bed if he "shuts his hole" for the next 8 hours.

Meanwhile, Howard is getting to know 'Esther', whose turn-ons include reading in front of a fire, long walks on the beach, and getting freaky on the Sabbath with a bacon cheeseburger. After her "Oy gevalt, you're hot", Howard goes and asks the guys if she is bought and paid for. They admit the truth and he whispers “Thank you!”

Back in apartment 4B, Sheldon can't sleep. He asks her to sing “Soft Kitty” since he is homesick, which is a kind of like being sick. So she can get back to sleep Penny starts to sing, but messes it up and Sheldon has her start over. Sheldon tells her, "Penny, thank you for letting me sleep over.” Really touched Penny replies, "Awww, you're welcome sweetie." Then he says "I'm sleepy now, you can get out,” which sends Penny off peeved.

Leonard returns home, and Sheldon is very happy to get back into his apartment. Leonard wants to know why he was at Penny's and Sheldon gives him a brief account of the previous evening. Also he now has a much better understanding of "friends with benefits” which, as often the case, confuses Leonard.



  • "[The] guys head to Vegas to be losers which always has its moments. Raj tries to be smooth with a prostitute without much luck. “Maybe I can save her?” he reaches as Leonard points out what she is really looking for. Mikayla (better known to some as Gretchen on Prison Break) plays her role well, she is subtle throughout, even when Jewing it up to please Howard. It was nice to see that Howard was no fool and knew she was a pro; he already looks bad enough without being needlessly gullible... Typically funny and consistent. Typically unambitious and unchanging. Surprisingly immoral." - The TV Critic's Review
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The title refers to Howard getting out of his depression and getting back into dating during a trip to Las Vegas.
  • Music: "Theme from Superman (Main Title)" composed by John Williams. Sheldon hums/sings this tune as he tries to enter his apartment (his "Fortress of Solitude").
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]
  • This episode was watched by 9.31 million people with a rating of 3.4 (adults 18-49).
  • Episode transcript [2]

Costume Notes

Radar by David Bitton

Plaid by Kirra


Sheldon wears the Radar shirt by David Bitton (discontinued), and the black and light blue plaid by Kirra (also discontinued). Leonard wears the Plane shirt (originally by Urban Outfitters but now made available by Wayward Tees) and an unknown blue shirt.


  • Raj cites his full name for the first time and we learn Raj's middle name Ramayan in this episode.
  • Howard can tell if a woman is a prostitute just by dating her.
  • Howard's tryst with the hooker would later be referenced by Raj (in his drunken toast to Howard) during "The Stag Convergence" (S5E22).
  • When Penny is playing twenty questions with Sheldon, she makes her standard game guess of "Star Wars" since she doesn't understand their Sci-Fi universe. 
  • The concept of Leonard, Raj, and Howard out on a trip and Sheldon back at home with Penny is later reused in "The Adhesive Duck Deficiency" (S3E08). Both instances even include the Sheldon-Penny story ending with someone singing "Soft Kitty" to the other person, due to their situation being "a kind of sick". 
  • Due to the prevalence of the theme of prostitution, this episode was not allowed to air during the daytime on British television channel E4; however, it still airs occasionally after watershed hours. This is the only episode of The Big Bang Theory that has been refused to air on E4.
  • Jodi Lyn O'Keefe who plays the prostitute played the prom queen in the 1999 movie "She's All That".


Leonard: What were you doing at Penny's?
Sheldon: Well, we had dinner, played some games, and then I spent the night. Oh, you'll be happy to know that I now have a much better understanding of "friends with benefits."

Raj: We should have a plan, in case one of us gets lucky.
Leonard: Okay. If I get lucky, I'll take her to my stately manor outside Gotham city. And, if you get lucky, I'll sleep on the moon.
Rajesh: Sounds like a plan.

Sheldon: I will be enjoying a blissful evening in my personal Fortress of Solitude.
Penny: That's Superman's big ice thingy, right?
Sheldon: I'm in such a good mood today; I find your tenuous grasp of the English language folksy and charming.

Raj: What do you say, Howard?
Howard: I say, Vegas, baby!
Rajesh: What are you gonna tell your mother?
Howard: Sea World, baby!

Howard: Alright, where are these amazing shrimp?
Leonard: Behold?
Howard: Seriously, you think this is the size of a baby’s arm?
Raj: A little baby.
Howard: I’m going back to the room.
Mikayla: (arriving) Boy, would it maybe kill them to put out a nice brisket?
Howard: Hi there, Howard Wolowitz.
Mikayla: Esther Rosenblatt.

Mikayla: Turn ons. Let me see. Reading a good book in front of the fire. Long walks on the beach. Getting freaky on the Sabbath with a bacon cheeseburger.
Howard: Really, me too.
Mikayla: Oy gevalt, you’re hot.
Howard: Yeah. Excuse me for a moment.
Leonard: Hey, how’s it going.
Howard: Cut the crap, you set this up, didn't you?
Leonard: Yes.
Howard: She’s a hooker, isn't she?
Rajesh: A prostitute, yes.
Howard: You already gave her the money?
Leonard: Yes.
Howard: Thank you!


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