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"The Wiggly Finger Catalyst" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, October 6, 2011.[1]


Penny sets Raj up with one of her friends, and Raj finds he is comfortable talking to her because she is deaf. Meanwhile, Sheldon uses a set of Dungeons and Dragons dice to provide answers to trivial choices he encounters on a daily basis to free his brain to solve more important problems.

Extended Plot[]


Howard goes to Bollywood.

The guys are playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons, when Raj begins eating a whole pie. He says it's because of his loneliness and everyone else has got someone. He goes on to say that he blames the USA for it because their movies and TV shows promise "streets paved with beautiful blonde women with big bazongas (breasts)".

Meanwhile, at Penny's place, the girls are having a wax (which Amy thinks will include neating up each other's bikini regions). Bernadette mentions that Raj came along with her and Howard to a cake tasting and he cried and ate half the samples. Penny points out his loneliness and decides to set him up with someone. 

Sheldon with mustache

Sheldon grows a mustache thanks to his D&D dice roll.

At the Cheesecake Factory, the guys are having dinner and Sheldon says that he will now make all his trivial decisions with the Dungeons and Dragons dice, so he can free up his mind for work. Later Penny comes to ask Howard if he can come with her and they both come back with a girl named Emily, a friend Penny knows from spin class. She introduces her to Raj and reveals that she is actually deaf, which allows Raj to overcome his mutism and speak to her without alcohol. Howard translates what Raj says to her, and they get along instantly.

The next day, Raj and Howard are at the café waiting to meet Emily for a date. They end up staying there all day with Raj saying some pretty controversial or out of the box things which Howard toned down. When they finally leave, Emily kisses him and tells him to text her. Raj brags that he was so smooth, but Howard knows that it was him.

During pizza night, Sheldon shows his new mustache as a result of the dice. Soon the guys start talking about Raj and Emily, who have been going out for about a month. They soon find out that Raj is showering Emily with gifts and start to get concerned that Emily is a gold-digger. As it turns out, Sheldon reveals it wouldn't matter much because, as it turns out, the Koothrappalis are richer than they thought. Howard expresses his disbelief, feeling cheated as Raj recently used him to buy him a churro at the zoo. Leonard decides to go talk to Priya because of this news and Howard tells Penny that Raj also paid off Emily's credit cards. This revelation causes Penny to vent her frustration, thinking aloud that she should've dated Raj for a few months when she had the chance. But once she sees Howard staring at her awkwardly, she quickly switches to the subject of them needing to talk to Emily, since Raj is too hopeless in love to listen.

Howard and Penny go to the gym where Emily works out and they talk to her about their concerns. 

Raj cries on Penny's shoulder

Penny consoles Raj.

While Howard is signing for Emily, he gets distracted by some hot women and accidentally cuts to the chase (Are you a gold digger?). Emily gets offended by Howard's question and signs a furious message at him and Penny which Howard translates as "Something, something. Who the something do you think you are? Mind your own something business and go something yourself." He realizes shortly after that she was saying the F-word.

Raj soon finds out about what happened and gets mad at Penny. She explains she only did it to look out for him as she is concerned about Emily taking advantage of him; however, Raj feels that Penny is jealous and dismisses it. Back at his place, Raj has a surprise for Emily. He gives her a ruby necklace and at that moment, Raj's parents call, saying that they have found out about Emily and are threatening to cut him off if he doesn't break up with her. He decides to choose love over money and tells Emily his revelation, explaining that he'll have to return all her gifts but it won't matter given how strongly they feel about each other. Although Raj is happy without his money, it becomes obvious that Emily isn't as she suddenly loses all interest in him. The screen then shifts to Penny's place where a freshly-dumped Raj is crying and being comforted by Penny over a glass of wine.

Back at The Cheesecake Factory, Raj is having a cheesecake to compensate for his lack of a woman and Sheldon's dice tell him to not use the bathroom, even though he has had three buttermilks. Penny then comes with the bill and all the guys leave it for Raj to pay, as he is the one with lots of money. Penny also says that he better leave a very good tip.



  • The TV Critic's Review: "I really enjoyed this. I laughed several times and felt the writers hit on several successful ideas which blended well together. Of course I am fully aware that the framework the writers have set themselves is very limited. If these particular jokes seemed old and dull and obvious to you then I couldn't disagree." [2]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode a D+[3]
  • IMDB user reviews


  • Title Reference: The sign language that Howard and Raj used to communicate with Emily appears to be "wiggly fingers".
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 13.98 million people with a rating of 4.5 (adults 18–49).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on October 6, 2011, with 3.282 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on November 17, 2011, with 1.341 million total viewers and a weekly ranking of #9.[6]
  • In Australia, it aired on October 17, 2011, with 1.551 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #3.[7]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Costume Notes[]

Reddit Alien shirt

Reddit Alien t-shirt


  • Unburdened by trivial decisions in this episode, over the course of a few weeks, Sheldon co-authored two papers in notable peer-reviewed journals and came close to figuring out why the Large Hadron Collider has yet to isolate the Higgs boson particle.
  • First woman named Emily that Raj dates in the show; he starts dating another woman called Emily in "The Indecision Amalgamation" (S7E19).
  • At some point during this episode, Raj learns to sign.
  • Second episode after "The Desperation Emanation" (S4E5) where a main character is upset at not having a woman in his life.
  • Bernadette and Amy only appear in one scene in this episode.
  • Howard's previous personality of being a wannabe womanizing sleazebag can arise from time to time.
    • This could be the last time it is shown, as it has only been mentioned or referenced in recent episodes.
  • Bernadette doesn't mind where Howard gets his motor running as long as he "parks it in the right garage."
  • Sheldon achieved one of his lesser dreams and became a Notary Public. This abatement could be a callback to a line in "The Financial Permeability" (S2E14), in which it was suggested, after Kurt wrote an I.O.U, on Leonard's forehead, that if they could find a notary public, they could make it legally binding.
  • Sheldon describes Raj's family's wealth as being "About halfway between Bruce Wayne and Scrooge McDuck." The 2011 Forbes Fictional 15 puts Bruce Wayne at $7 billion and Scrooge McDuck at $44 billion, which puts Raj's NET value at approximately $25.5 billion. However, as he was described as being "Richie Rich" rich, putting his NET value at $9.7 billion. Obviously this amount is a gross exaggeration used for effect and emphasis. Raj's father is a gynecologist and their family clearly isn't that rich, as in "The Griffin Equivalency" (S2E4) he mentions his grandfather grew up in a house that wasn't as big as a limo and had less food. 
  • Howard knows how to use Sign Language, among his many spoken languages.
  • Howard compares his mother with a hideous, foul-smelling, moss-covered Ogre.
  • When Raj was 6, he tried to form a boy band called "Frankie goes to Bollywood" but no one wanted to join so his parents got some of the servants to be his backup dancers.
  • Raj worries about eating cake or pie, because he says it goes straight to his hips.
  • In reality Katie Leclerc who plays Emily suffers from hearing loss.
  • Amy's wish to be a bridesmaid at Bernadette's wedding is fulfilled in "The Isolation Permutation" (S5E8), in which she is asked to be maid of honor.
  • The fact of Raj dating a deaf woman is ironic because in the previous season he had commented that he had a deaf girlfriend (although he later admitted that it was a lie).
  • One of the few episodes that takes place over a long time period (One month).


Sheldon: I've decided to make all trivial decisions with a throw of the dice, thus freeing up my mind to do what it does best: enlighten and amaze.

Raj: Look at that. I have a date. I love America again.

Raj: If you were me, would you kiss her?
Howard: Yeah, but I'm a make out king!

Howard: It might have been on your lips, but it was my kiss!

Leonard: You think she's taking advantage of him?
Penny: Of course not, she wouldn't do something like that. She's deaf.

(The scene of the girl posse having a beauty session in Penny's apartment)
Amy: Now, I assume we use this same wax later on to neaten up each other’s bikini regions.
Penny: Yeah, my bikini region is fine.
Amy: Who’s shocked? I’m not. (Bernadette giggles for a second) So, Bernadette, how’s the wedding planning going? And I’m not asking as a prospective bridesmaid. (she imates a ventriloquist) Pick me! Pick me!
Bernadette: We went cake-tasting yesterday. Raj came along. He cried and ate half the samples.
Penny: Oh, the poor guy’s so lonely. We should set him up with someone.
Bernadette: You know, I met a really cute girl at work. She’s married to a guy in one of our drug trials.
(Amy thinks for a second and Penny turns to Bernadette with a odd grin)
Penny: (she's very sarcastic) Well, hello? She’s married (she scoffs).
Bernadette: (she's smiling the serious way) Yeah, but her husband is in serious congestive heart failure, and a little birdie told me he’s in the placebo group.
(Amy has another think coming)
Penny: Okay, so future grief-stricken widow is the one to beat.
(Amy nods her head grumpily for one second)

Penny: Handicap people are nice, Leonard. Everyone knows that!

Penny: What kind of relationship is it, where you buy her gifts and she gives you sex?
Raj: The best I've ever had!

Penny: He is cuter now that I know he's rich.

Raj: What?! You're going to make me choose between the woman I love, and the money which I have very strong feelings for?

Raj: Sometimes I put the TV on mute just to pretend she's still with me... But I can't watch the closed captioning without crying!

Penny Oh, I am so sorry. I wish I could make you feel better.
Raj: Seriously? I'm heartbroken, and you're hitting on me?!
Penny: What?! No!
Raj: Well, look, Penny... You're great, but I had a long talk with my parents, and they said if I date an Indian girl, I get a Maserati.

Raj: You know who I blame for my loneliness? The United States of America. Your movies and your TV shows promised streets paved with beautiful blonde women with big bazongas.



The Big Bang Theory 5x04 'The Wiggly Finger Catalyst' Promo HD

Promo for "S5EP04"