"The Work Song Nanocluster" is the eighteenth episode of the second season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, March 16, 2009.


Penny starts her own business and asks Sheldon for help. The other guys become involved and they end up spending all night filling an order for one thousand "Penny Blossoms".

Extended Plot

The guys are playing Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Chess, when Sheldon goes over to Penny's with a delivery. While insisting she signs the delivery, he learns that her delivery consists of rhinestones, and that she is manufacturing flower barrettes which she has dubbed "Penny Blossoms". Sheldon comments

Penny wearing a Penny Blossom

how her process is not optimized enough for her to maximize profit, and starts helping her after she insists he do so.

Sheldon high on coffee.

When the guys hear Penny and Sheldon singing "Blow The Man Down" in her apartment, they discover how the two are working on "Penny Blossoms". After manifesting bafflement, Leonard, Howard and Raj start offering suggesting to improve the final product, and the manufacturing process is transferred over to Sheldon's apartment.

The "Penny Blossom" business by now is in full swing, and Leonard has even established a website from which people can create orders. Although the others criticize him for the fantasiously feminine design making up the site, Leonard points out that they already have orders. The business seems to kick off to stupendous success, especially when The East Rutherford, New Jersey Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance Luau a mass-order of a thousand "Penny Blossoms", but Leonard makes the mistake of adding a "One-Day Rush" button on the website, meaning that the group has to manufacture the thousand "Penny Blossoms" in twenty-four hours. The task is herculean and the guys end up spending the entire evening and most of the night fabricating the flowers. In order to finish in time, Sheldon even succumbs to drinking coffee, something which he has always insisted against in order to avoid opiates or hallucinogenics. Sheldon goes into hyperdrive mode constantly talking, but not helping in making the product. 

Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Lunch.

Just as the group finishes exactly one thousand "Penny Blossoms", Leonard goes to print the shipping address, but reveals to the group that they have received another large order of another one thousand. The guys just give up and leave not helping Penny anymore. Sheldon comes in dressed as The Flash, but leaves soon after to get more coffee when he learns that there's none left.

In the final scene, the guys are playing Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Lunch, with Raj getting a slice of pizza. Leonard ends the episode by stating that game is stupid.




  • Title Reference: The title refers to the songs that Sheldon has them singing to increase productivity.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]
  • This episode was watched by 9.76 million people with a rating of 3.7 (adults 18-49).
  • Episode transcript [2]

Costume Notes

Ames Bros Destroyer

Roboticus Carpalium


Sheldon wears his Ames Brothers "Destroyer" t-shirt, the Roboticus Carpalium shirt, his Flash muscle costume, and the OptiBlocks shirt (previously worn by Leonard in episode 3 of this season).



Unknown robot

Leonard wears his orange "Antlers" shirt (by Heavy Rotation, but discontinued), his blue snapping turtle shirt, and a vintage robot shirt.

Set/Props Notes

Neal Adams Batman

Build a Scene

Batman statue
designed by Neal Adams
Bookshelf by the front door
Build-a-Scene part II:
Superman & Black Canary
Bookshelves behind the couch


  • This is the first episode where just the main cast appear and no guest actors or extras are used.
  • This episode took place in only three locations (Apartment 4A, Apartment 4B, and the hallway), the least of all the episodes in the series. More associated with the Star Trek series, this episode is an example of a "Bottle Show" which is an episode that uses only the main sets (No ships or planets outside the ship.)
  • Penny is seen wearing the Penny Blossom in the next episode. She later wears one to Howard and Bernadette's wedding in "The Countdown Reflection" (S5E24)
  • Howard mentions cyanoacrylate would make a better adhesive. Cyanoacrylate adhesives are commonly known as super glue or crazy glue, as small amounts dry very quickly and create powerful bonds.
  • The guys all play a game they invented called Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Chess.
  • The song the guys were singing during Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Chess was Aram Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance". You might recognize the key musical phrases from things like circus performances (such as fast-paced acrobatics or precarious balancing of objects or people). The closed captioning on the DVD incorrectly identifies the song as the theme from "Mission: Impossible".
  • Sheldon has never heard of Radiohead; however, one their albums 'OK Computer' features references to "The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy," which Sheldon has referred to in later episodes.
  • Penny also showed her love for modern British music in the Pilot.
  • When Penny nudges Sheldon awake in his apartment, he quickly sits up and sings "Cause I owe my soul to the company store". This snippet of lyrics is from the song "Sixteen Tons", a song made popular by Tennessee Ernie Ford.
  • No guest stars?


Sheldon: I'm a physicist. I have a working knowledge of the entire universe and everything it contains.
Penny: Who's Radiohead?
Sheldon[after twitching for a moment] I have a working knowledge of the important things.

Sheldon: When I signed for the package, I was deputized by the United Parcel Service and entrusted with its final delivery. I now need you to acknowledge receipt of the package so that I’m fully indemnified and no longer liable.

Sheldon: Look at Planck’s Constant. People say it’s arbitrary. It could not be less arbitrary. If it varied even slightly, life as we know it would not exist. Bam! Now, now, let’s reconsider the entire argument, but with entropy reversed and effect preceding cause, so you are thinking of a universe that’s not expanding from the center, no, it is retreating from a, from a possibility space. Bam! This is a space where we are all essentially Alice through the looking glass, standing in front the Red Queen, and we’re being offered a cracker to quench our thirst. Bam! Of course, in another universe, let’s call it universe prime, there’s another Sheldon; let’s call him Sheldon prime…
Penny: We should have let him go to bed.
Leonard: Bam.



TBBT - Penny and Sheldon Singing and Working together......... after with the guys!!!


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