"The Werewolf Transformation" is the eighteenth episode of the fifth season of  the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, February 23, 2012.[1]


When Sheldon's regular barber goes into the hospital, causing Sheldon's regimented life to go awry, he starts acting erratic even for him.

Extended Plot

Sheldon goes to get a haircut and finds that his regular barber is hospitalized in a coma. He tries to let the barber's nephew cut his hair, but Sheldon bolts as soon as the barber starts to tell a story.

As usual, Sheldon is driving the gang crazy since his world is out of order. Penny offers to trim his hair, but Sheldon declines her “skills of the hill folks.” Howard gets a letter requesting him to report for astronaut training in Houston, which he is excited about but Sheldon's hair problem seems to be the topic of the day.

While at Amy's apartment desperately looking for a new barber, Amy suggests that he would look sexy with really long hair and riding a horse, shirtless. Then she leaves to have a long session "brushing her teeth" (with her vibrating electric toothbrush).

The werewolf transformation bernadette

Talking to Howard in Houston during his astronaut training.

Howard video chats with Bernadette about his first day of training and describes his experiences with zero gravity and his vomiting reaction.

Sheldon goes to visit his barber who is in a coma and brings him a teddy bear, tries to get him to wake up, but is chased out by the nurse, who thought he had escaped from the psychiatric floor.

At apartment 4A, Leonard teaches Penny how to play chess and she beats him the very first time. Sheldon comes in, first letting Penny sit in his seat, then lamenting how the order of his life is falling apart not being able to get a haircut. Sheldon then says he should "embrace the chaos" and that it might be fun. Then, he decides to wear his Tuesday night pajamas on the wrong night.

Back in astronaut training, Howard describes his outdoor survival test that included sleeping in a hole with an armadillo and eating a butterfly. Bernadette takes pity on him and flies to Houston to take care of him, but quickly learns that Howard's mother is already there.

The Werewolf Transformation Sheldon leaving with his bongos

Wherever the music takes me, kitten.

Back at apartment 4A, Sheldon wakes everyone up at 3 AM playing the bongos as did the noted physicist Richard Feynman. Penny runs over, very annoyed. Sheldon keeps repeating what everyone says using the rhythm of his bongo playing. Since Sheldon's world is now in chaos, he doesn't even care when Leonard tries to invoke The Roommate Agreement. Sheldon leaves, playing the bongos, and ends up falling down the stairs.

The next morning, Penny and Leonard find Sheldon asleep on Amy's couch. Leonard wakes up Sheldon by abruptly banging on his bongos. Penny again offers to cut Sheldon's hair, reminding him of all the other times she's taken care of him. Sheldon asks Amy's opinion and she says that there isn't a hair on her body that she wouldn't let Penny cut. Also, Leonard is confused about the time that Sheldon saw Penny naked.

In her apartment, Penny finishes Sheldon's haircut and though he thinks it looks a bit Hollywood, he is happy with it. As she tries to trim his neck, Sheldon giggles and apologizes, explaining that clippers sometimes tickle him. When she tries again, he unexpectedly throws his head back into the clipper's path in a sudden fit of giggling, which causes it to shave off some of his hair in the back. Penny quickly covers up her horrified reaction and tells Sheldon that she's done (making sure to take away the hand mirror he's holding). After Sheldon innocently leaves, Penny tells herself that she is going to have to move after that little discretion.



  • The TV Critic: "Each season I hope The Big Bang Theory is going to turn a corner in terms of quality but it still hasn't happened. After a run of good episodes these last four have been poor. More than that they have been forgettable and complacent. It seems like the writers don't really discern between what works well and what feels tired and generic."[2]
  • The A.V. club gave this episode a B+[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The title is derived from Sheldon missing out his haircut schedule, due to his regular barber being hospitalized and he refuses to get his haircut somewhere else, which leads to his hair growing out a little bit, thus equating this situation to a werewolf-like transformation.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 16.2 million people with a rating of 5.3 (adults 18-49).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on March 5, 2012 with 3.513 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #2.[5]
  • In Australia, it aired on March 12, 2012 with 1.312 million viewers.[6]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Costume Notes

  • Sheldon sports his ManBot t-shirt, arguably his favorite as it is the one he has worn in more episodes than any other - and in more colors (green, blue, and purple), his distressed Flash logo t-shirt, his TV Test Pattern t-shirt, and his red patterned "Geometry" shirt, discontinued from American Apparel. 
  • While playing chess, Penny wears a long sleeved purple and aqua striped shirt by James Perse sold by Nordstrom. While cutting Sheldon's hair, she sports a Nico Blossom top by Lucky Brand, at one time available at but appears discontinued.


  • Sheldon claims he has haircut records, but in fact his mother invented them to stop him from worrying when he moved to Pasadena.
  • Sheldon complains that his hair grows at 4.6 yoctometers/femtosecond. That converts to 1.2 cm in 30 days which is consistent with normal hair growth rates; however, the units cited by Sheldon are extremely small; at the femtosecond timescale and yoctometer size scale (assuming such observation were possible, which it is not, mostly for fundamental reasons rather than technical limitations), a stop-motion image of a hair growing would show no change for thousands of frames, then more thousands of frames of a new cell being added to the hair, displacing it by much more than 5 yoctometers, then nothing again, etc. For comparison, a proton is approximately 100,000 yoctometers across. A typical cell making up a hair is composed of billions of molecules, each many times larger than a proton. A typical chemical reaction takes about 200 femtoseconds; the growth of a new cell consists of billions of such reactions, some parallel, some sequential. An average mammalian cell takes about 24 hours to divide twice, suggesting most of hair growth is due to many cells dividing more or less simultaneously (but still with large time gaps if the time unit is femtoseconds).
  • Sheldon says he tried Supercuts once, noting they do men's and women's hair in the same room at the same time. In "The Friendship Contraction" (S5E15), he mentioned Supercuts as a task to be undertaken.
  • Sheldon is not scared of the hospital in this episode, unlike in "The Engagement Reaction" (S4E23); however, he doesn't show any concern in the "Pilot" (S1E1) and "The Adhesive Duck Deficiency" (S3E8) either.
  • Penny beats Leonard at chess the first time she ever plays. It might be because Leonard is really bad at playing chess, as Sheldon has claimed many times. Then again, Penny may be more mentally talented than she usually appears; Leonard is highly intelligent, and while that does not necessarily mean he would excel at chess, if he's played before (which he apparently has), then it's likely he would have learned enough to be able to beat most people, as high intelligence is quite useful in chess, especially if experience is lacking. Also, even a "bad" player by some standards (e.g. competition standards; it's possible Sheldon's standards are high, as they are in other things, and Sheldon is in fact very good at chess) can be nearly unbeatable for ordinary casual players, much less for first-timers without any apparent interest in intellectual pursuits.
  • Analogous to Richard Feynman, Sheldon plays the bongo drums. In fact, playing the bongos was a defining characteristic of the former. In "The Vacation Solution" (S5E16), Sheldon emulated the famed physicist when he went to work in Amy's biology lab after a forced vacation was imposed.
  • Leonard, while trying to get Sheldon to stop playing the bongos, mentions that according to The Roommate Agreement, there are no hootenannies, sing-alongs, or barbershop quartets after 10 pm. In "The Roommate Transmogrification" (S4E24), Sheldon quotes a similar article (possibly a different statement of the same article): "Please note, it is now past 10:00 p.m. Per our roommate agreement, kindly refrain from raucous laughter, clinking of glasses, and celebratory gunfire."
  • With reference to Build-A-Bear Workshop, Sheldon said bears are terrifying in "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" (S2E11), but he seems to have over-comed this fact by giving his barber a teddy bear though that maybe all he found in the hospital gift shop.
  • After this episode, there was a one-week hiatus, with a repeat. After episode 19, the show was on a two-week hiatus, being replaced by a CBS Sports Spectacular|CBS sports special.
  • First episode ever where Sheldon does not care that others are sitting in his spot with an intended reason, as he explains, because he is heartbroken over his barber.
  • The song Amy sings is Wanted Dead or Alive (Bon Jovi song)|Bon Jovi's "Wanted (Dead or Alive)".
  • Amy obliquely makes a reference to Gerard, her masturbatory aid electric toothbrush, after picturing Sheldon with long hair and bare chest, on horseback.
  • Nurse Althea, a minor character, makes an appearance after an absence of a few seasons. In this episode, she is a ward nurse instead of sitting behind a desk. She also appears when Bernadette is in the delivery room.
  • Penny says she took Sheldon to Disneyland ("The Spaghetti Catalyst"-S3E20), kicked a bully in the nuts for him ("The Zarnecki Incursion"-S4E19), sings "Soft Kitty" when he's sick ("The Pancake Batter Anomaly"-S1E11, "The Vegas Renormalization"-S2E21, "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification"-S4E2), and he has even seen her naked once ("The Adhesive Duck Deficiency"); which confuses Leonard.
  • The back of Jim Parsons' hair was shaved bald or thin for the final punch line, but the show was then on hiatus so that the hair could grow back.
  • Astronaut Wolowitz would have had much more extensive training before enduring the dangers of spaceflight.
  • Speaking of the previous point, historically payload specialists never underwent survival training. Their training was limited to spacecraft systems familiarization,mission profile simulations,and training on how to operate their specific payload.
  • Leonard's statement about stepping on a bug and changing the course of human events refers to Ray Bradbury's short story "A Sound of Thunder," in which a man who goes back in time to hunt a dinosaur and changes history when he accidentally steps on a butterfly. It is an example of the butterfly effect in chaos theory, which basically states that a small change in one place can have enormous consequences in another, and is a common science fiction trope with regards to time travel.
  • Second episode where Sheldon falls down the apartment stairs offscreen while holding something. First was in "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification" carrying an Apple computer.


Sheldon: To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a nephew.

Sheldon: Get well beary soon!

Penny: If I were you, I'd be worried that a girl who never played chess in her life just kicked your ass.

Sheldon: Hello!

Penny: (sitting on Sheldon's spot, starts to move when she sees him) Hey, sorry Sheldon, I'll move.
Sheldon: (does not seem bothered by Penny) Why? My spot, your spot, what difference does it make?
(Penny and Leonard frown at him)
Penny: Okay, what just happened?
Leonard: I don't know... Between you playing chess like Bobby Fischer, and Sheldon being okay with you sitting in his spot, I'm guessing someone went back in time, stepped on a bug, and changed the course of human events.

Sheldon: It's been six days since I was supposed to get a haircut.

Leonard: Would you stop that!
Sheldon: (flips his hair) I can't help it, I feel like a teen-heartthrob.

Sheldon: I have spent my entire life, trying to bring order into the universe.

Sheldon: Let's embrace the chaos!
Leonard: What are you gonna do first?

Leonard: Don't be Sheldon with bongos!

Sheldon: (Playing his bongo and in a sing-along voice) Hel-lo Leonard, do you like, my bong-os? Bet you di-dn't know, that I had, bong-os!
Leonard: Sheldon, its three o'clock in the morning.
Sheldon: (continuing to drum and sing) Three, in-the-morning, is a good time, for bong-os!
Leonard: I was sleeping!
Sheldon: Leo-nard sleeps, while, I play, bong-os!
Leonard: No, he doesn't!
Sheldon: Leo-nard NO sleep, while, I play, bong-os! Bongo solo! (Hits on his bongos wildly)
Leonard: Stop it!

Penny: Where are you going?
Sheldon: Wherever the music takes me, kitten.

Sheldon: Never play the bongos walking down the stairs.

Howard: Tonight, when she's asleep, I'll spoon you like an armadillo.

Raj: (Reading Howard's travel orders out loud) Payload specialist Howard Wolowitz is requested to report to the NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas for astronaut training, Monday 8:00 am.
Howard: Yeah, but it's from NASA so it's 0800.
Raj: But it says 8 am.
Howard: Y'know, it does have an 'o' in front of it... Oh my god, I'm an astronaut and you're dying of jealousy!

Leonard: Sheldon, be nice!
Sheldon: I'm sorry. It's the bad boy attitude that comes with this hair.

Amy: Well, this isn't a crisis, why don't you just let your hair grow out a li'l.
Sheldon: Why don't I let my hair grow out?! Um, why don't a start wearing Birkenstocks, and seeking validation of my opinions by asking "Can you dig it?"
Amy: I don't know. I think you might look sexy with long hair. With the kind that...flows down to your shoulders, and blows back while riding on a horse. Bare back and bare-chested... I'm gonna go brush my teeth, it might take a while.

Penny: All right, Sheldon, this craziness has gone on long enough. Please come home so I can cut your hair.
Sheldon Cooper: Penny, you're not trained, you're not licensed, and most importantly, you don't have access to my haircut records.
Penny: All right, honey, look. We've known each other for a long time now, right? I've taken you to Disneyland, I kicked a bully in the testicles|nuts for you, I sing you Soft Kitty when you're sick. You've even seen me naked once.
Leonard: I'm sorry, what?
Penny: It's a long story. Anyway, Sheldon, I promise I know what I'm doing. Please let me cut your hair.
Sheldon Cooper: Amy, what do you think?
Amy: There's not a hair on my body I wouldn't let this woman trim. (Penny smiles and then looks at Amy shocked.)

Amy: I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride. I’m wanted… I’m wanted... wanted, dead or alive. Sheldon, you’re ruining girlfriend-boyfriend sing-along night.

Leonard: (Playing bongos to wake Sheldon up) Sheldon like to sleep, while Leonard play the bongo!


The Big Bang Theory ~ Sheldon Plays The Bongos ~ The Werewolf Transformation

The Big Bang Theory ~ Sheldon Plays The Bongos ~ The Werewolf Transformation

TBBT 5X18 The Werewolf Transformation Promo (CTV) - Canadian Version

TBBT 5X18 The Werewolf Transformation Promo (CTV) - Canadian Version



  1. The Big Bang Theory - The Werewolf Transformation (TV Episode 2012) - IMDb
  2. The TV Critic's Review
  3. The Big Bang Theory: “The Werewolf Transformation” - TV Club - The A.V. Club
  4. Thursday Final Ratings: 'Big Bang Theory,' 'American Idol,' 'The Mentalist' Adjusted Up; 'Rob,' 'Private Practice,' 'Up All Night' Adjusted Down". Retrieved February 24, 2012. - Zap2it
  5. Top Programs – Total Canada (English) February 20 – February 26, 2012 - BBM Canada
  6. Monday 12 March 2012 - TV Tonight
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