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"The Monopolar Expedition" is the twenty-third episode and the season finale of the second season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, May 11, 2009.

Plot

Synopsis

The guys are going to the North Pole to assist Sheldon looking for data to prove String Theory making both Penny and Leonard upset about being apart for three months.

Summary

Leonard is working on his whiteboard trying to find an error that Sheldon insists is there, but will not help him with. As suddenly as bazinga, Leonard finds out that he has fallen for one of Sheldon's classic pranks. Sheldon finds out that Caltech President Siebert wants to meet with him at eight o'clock tomorrow morning, which gives Sheldon eighteen hours to think about it.

Early the next morning Sheldon is knocking on Leonard's door to tell him about his uninvited visit to the president's house. His grant from the National Science Foundation to go the magnetic North Pole to look for evidence of slow moving monopoles (in order to validate string theory) has been approved. Leonard perked up that the president offered to send him north. Sheldon replied, "In fact, he was quite enthusiastic. He said "quite frankly, if I could send you tonight, I would." Sheldon's interest in going is incredible since he has to leave the movie theater if he gets a brain freeze from his Icee.

Leonard, Raj, and Howard are excited about being Sheldon-free for three months and all the small victories they will have like sitting in his spot. On the contrary, Sheldon proposes that they accompany him as his support staff for the project. At first they decline to spend three months in a hut with an "anal nut bag," as Howard puts it, but the idea begins to grow on Leonard and Raj since if Sheldon is successful it would mean a massive boost to their careers. Howard is concerned that being put in a situation like that would make him snap and cause him to become "the engineer who builds the crossbow that kills Sheldon". Finally they decide to go along to be part of the team that make such paradigm shifting discoveries. Raj figures that due to his suffering it will result in a karmic payback of becoming a "well-hung billionaire with wings" in the next life. Howard agrees to go due to peer pressure.

Sometime later, Sheldon goes over to ask Penny a favor by knocking on her door. Before he can perform his second set of knocks, Penny echoes him with “Knock..knock..knock...Sheldon”. A competition starts as they start going faster and faster. (Penny..Sheldon..Penny..Sheldon). A very stressed out Sheldon then asks if he can have access to the Cheesecake Factory freezer. Penny reminds him that she had already told him that the freezer is cold enough and safe enough to keep his hamburger fresh. He really wants to borrow it so they may practice acclimating themselves to the cold for their expedition to the North Pole for three months. Penny is surprised and goes to confront Leonard asking why he hadn't told her. Leonard explains that they were spending their time getting physicals, buying thermal underwear and studying snow. Penny declares that it is no big deal and that she'll check on the ice box thingie. Leonard wonders if she is upset and Sheldon correctly guesses that she is.

Sheldon gets his time in the Cheesecake Factory freezer. His crew must practice using tools in the extreme cold which Sheldon had to improvise. Leonard is using an old calculator. Raj paints sideburns and a Van Dyke beard on a six inch high action figure. Howard must operate using a vintage Operation game. None of the guys is accomplishing his task in the cold, when they realize that they could assemble the equipment in the warm cabin before taking it outside. This thought never occurred to Sheldon who remarks, "I guess we're done here."

While enjoying a hot chocolate with a stick of butter or a stick of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" for the lactose-intolerant Leonard, Raj is in an argument with his parents about going on the North Pole. Howard had convinced his mother to let him go so he puts them on the phone together. Then she cries, “Arctic? I thought you were going to Arkansas!” Penny asks to see Leonard who is happy to removed himself from the arguments. Penny then presents him with a blue blanket with sleeves, a Snuggie that she saw on an infomercial to keep him warm while he does his science stuff. Penny hugs him, which Leonard returns. Her hug lasts so long that he hugs her twice. She leaves and Leonard returns to apartment 4A looking confused. Meanwhile, Mrs. Wolowitz is exclaiming that she can't understand why there's not a single Outback Steakhouse in all of India. That night Leonard is wondering whether he should go because of Penny. Sheldon tests him that he shouldn't go which also turns into one of his classic pranks. Bazinga!

Early the next morning Leonard knocks on Penny's door holding his Snuggie. He asks about the “I’ll miss you,” and she replies that he'll be gone and she'll miss him. Then he asks about the blanket and Penny quips that wine, credit card and late-night TV is a bad combination. Finally he wonders about the long hug that lasted at least five Mississippi's. Penny tells him that it was just a hug and she wishes him a safe trip. She closes the door and leaning on it sighs to herself, “It means I wish you weren't going."

At the magnetic North Pole, as usual they are preparing Thai food, though reconstituted. The hut is set up with the same furniture arrangement as Apartment 4A. After considering that they are at the top of the world they decide on a movie marathon of Ice Station Zebra and John Carpenter's The Thing. Howard whispers to Raj to forget the crossbow, and find him an icicle.

External Links


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Media
The Big Bang TheoryYoung SheldonVideo
Characters
Main Characters: Leonard HofstadterSheldon CooperPenny HofstadterHoward WolowitzRajesh KoothrappaliAmy Farrah FowlerBernadette Rostenkowski-WolowitzStuart BloomEmily SweeneyLeslie Winkle

Recurring Characters: Barry KripkeWil WheatonAltheaKurtEric GablehauserMary CooperDebbie WolowitzV.M. KoothrappaliMrs. KoothrappaliMikeStephanie BarnettBeverley HofstadterPresident SiebertZack JohnsonPriya KoothrappaliWyattMike RostenkowskiMrs. RostenkowskiAlex JensenJanine DavisLucyProfessor ProtonDavid GibbsClaireStephen HawkingAlfred HofstadterColonel Richard WilliamsDenise
Minor Characters: ChristyLalita GuptaToby LoobenfeldDennis KimDimitriMissy CooperBlainTomOctaviaMariaLourdesRamona NowitzkiKathy O'BrianDavid UnderhillAliciaMikaylaCaptain SweatpantsLonely LarryDr. CrawleyBethanySarahSkeeterProfessor LaughlinAbbyMarthaOfficer HackettSandyGlenVenkatesh KoothrappaliSebastianLouie/LouiseJoyce KimMrs. GundersonJoyMrs. FowlerAngela PageProfessor GlennMrs. LathamTodd ZarneckiSusanRandallColonel Richard Williams

Episodes
Season 1: PilotThe Big Bran HypothesisThe Fuzzy Boots CorollaryThe Luminous Fish EffectThe Hamburger PostulateThe Middle-Earth ParadigmThe Dumpling ParadoxThe Grasshopper ExperimentThe Cooper-Hofstadter PolarizationThe Loobenfeld DecayThe Pancake Batter AnomalyThe Jerusalem DualityThe Bat Jar ConjectureThe Nerdvana AnnihilationThe Porkchop IndeterminacyThe Peanut ReactionThe Tangerine Factor

Season 2: The Bad Fish ParadigmThe Codpiece TopologyThe Barbarian SublimationThe Griffin EquivalencyThe Euclid AlternativeThe Cooper-Nowitzki TheoremThe Panty Piñata PolarizationThe Lizard-Spock ExpansionThe White Asparagus TriangulationThe Vartabedian ConundrumThe Bath Item Gift HypothesisThe Killer Robot InstabilityThe Friendship AlgorithmThe Financial PermeabilityThe Maternal CapacitanceThe Cushion SaturationThe Terminator DecouplingThe Work Song NanoclusterThe Dead Hooker JuxtapositionThe Hofstadter IsotopeThe Vegas RenormalizationThe Classified Materials TurbulenceThe Monopolar Expedition
Season 3: The Electric Can Opener FluctuationThe Jiminy ConjectureThe Gothowitz DeviationThe Pirate SolutionThe Creepy Candy Coating CorollaryThe Cornhusker VortexThe Guitarist AmplificationThe Adhesive Duck DeficiencyThe Vengeance FormulationThe Gorilla ExperimentThe Maternal CongruenceThe Psychic VortexThe Bozeman ReactionThe Einstein ApproximationThe Large Hadron CollisionThe Excelsior AcquisitionThe Precious FragmentationThe Pants AlternativeThe Wheaton RecurrenceThe Spaghetti CatalystThe Plimpton StimulationThe Staircase ImplementationThe Lunar Excitation
Season 4: The Robotic ManipulationThe Cruciferous Vegetable AmplificationThe Zazzy SubstitutionThe Hot Troll DeviationThe Desperation EmanationThe Irish Pub FormulationThe Apology InsufficiencyThe 21-Second ExcitationThe Boyfriend ComplexityThe Alien Parasite HypothesisThe Justice League RecombinationThe Bus Pants UtilizationThe Love Car DisplacementThe Thespian CatalystThe Benefactor FactorThe Cohabitation FormulationThe Toast DerivationThe Prestidigitation ApproximationThe Zarnecki IncursionThe Herb Garden GerminationThe Agreement DissectionThe Wildebeest ImplementationThe Engagement ReactionThe Roommate Transmogrification
Season 5: The Skank Reflex AnalysisThe Infestation HypothesisThe Pulled Groin ExtrapolationThe Wiggly Finger CatalystThe Russian Rocket ReactionThe Rhinitis RevelationThe Good Guy FluctuationThe Isolation PermutationThe Ornithophobia DiffusionThe Flaming Spittoon AcquisitionThe Speckerman RecurrenceThe Shiny Trinket ManeuverThe Recombination HypothesisThe Beta Test InitiationThe Friendship ContractionThe Vacation SolutionThe Rothman DisintegrationThe Werewolf TransformationThe Weekend VortexThe Transporter MalfunctionThe Hawking ExcitationThe Stag ConvergenceThe Launch AccelerationThe Countdown Reflection
Season 6: The Date Night VariableThe Decoupling FluctuationThe Higgs Boson ObservationThe Re-Entry MinimizationThe Holographic ExcitationThe Extract ObliterationThe Habitation ConfigurationThe 43 PeculiarityThe Parking Lot EscalationThe Fish Guts DisplacementThe Santa SimulationThe Egg Salad EquivalencyThe Bakersfield ExpeditionThe Cooper/Kripke InversionThe Spoiler Alert SegmentationThe Tangible Affection ProofThe Monster IsolationThe Contractual Obligation ImplementationThe Closet ReconfigurationThe Tenure TurbulenceThe Closure AlternativeThe Proton ResurgenceThe Love Spell PotentialThe Bon Voyage Reaction
Season 7: The Hofstadter InsufficiencyThe Deception VerificationThe Scavenger VortexThe Raiders MinimizationThe Workplace ProximityThe Romance ResonanceThe Proton DisplacementThe Itchy Brain SimulationThe Thanksgiving DecouplingThe Discovery DissipationThe Cooper ExtractionThe Hesitation RamificationThe Occupation RecalibrationThe Convention ConundrumThe Locomotive ManipulationThe Table PolarizationThe Friendship TurbulenceThe Mommy ObservationThe Indecision AmalgamationThe Relationship DiremptionThe Anything Can Happen RecurrenceThe Proton TransmogrificationThe Gorilla DissolutionThe Status Quo Combustion
Season 8: The Locomotion InterruptionThe Junior Professor SolutionThe First Pitch InsufficiencyThe Hook-up ReverberationThe Focus AttenuationThe Expedition ApproximationThe Misinterpretation AgitationThe Prom EquivalencyThe Septum DeviationThe Champagne ReflectionThe Clean Room InfiltrationThe Space Probe DisintegrationThe Anxiety OptimizationThe Troll ManifestationThe Comic Book Store RegenerationThe Intimacy AccelerationThe Colonization ApplicationThe Leftover ThermalizationThe Skywalker IncursionThe Fortification ImplementationThe Communication DeteriorationThe Graduation TransmissionThe Maternal CombustionThe Commitment Determination
Season 9: The Matrimony MomentumThe Separation OscillationThe Bachelor Party CorrosionThe 2003 ApproximationThe Perspiration ImplementationThe Helium InsufficiencyThe Spock ResonanceThe Mystery Date ObservationThe Platonic PermutationThe Earworm ReverberationThe Opening Night ExcitationThe Sales Call SublimationThe Empathy OptimizationThe Meemaw MaterializationThe Valentino SubmergenceThe Positive Negative ReactionThe Celebration ExperimentationThe Application DeteriorationThe Solder Excursion DiversionThe Big Bear PrecipitationThe Viewing Party CombustionThe Fermentation BifurcationThe Line Substitution SolutionThe Convergence-Convergence
Season 10: The Conjugal ConjectureThe Military MiniaturizationThe Dependence TranscendenceThe Cohabitation ExperimentationThe Hot Tub ContaminationThe Fetal Kick CatalystThe Veracity ElasticityThe Brain Bowl IncubationThe Geology ElevationThe Property Division CollisionThe Birthday SynchronicityThe Holiday SummationThe Romance RecalibrationThe Emotion Detection AutomationThe Locomotion ReverberationThe Allowance EvaporationThe Comic-Con ConundrumThe Escape Hatch IdentificationThe Collaboration FluctuationThe Recollection DissipationThe Separation AgitationThe Cognition RegenerationThe Gyroscopic CollapseThe Long Distance Dissonance
Season 11: The Proposal ProposalThe Retraction ReactionThe Relaxation IntegrationThe Explosion ImplosionThe Collaboration ContaminationThe Proton RegenerationThe Geology MethodologyThe Tesla RecoilThe Bitcoin EntanglementThe Confidence ErosionThe Celebration ReverberationThe Matrimonial MetricThe Solo OscillationThe Separation TriangulationThe Novelization CorrelationThe Neonatal NomenclatureThe Athenaeum AllocationThe Gates ExcitationThe Tenant DisassociationThe Reclusive PotentialThe Comet PolarizationThe Monetary InsufficiencyThe Sibling RealignmentThe Bow Tie Asymmetry
Season 12: The Conjugal ConfigurationThe Wedding Gift WormholeThe Procreation CalculationThe Tam TurbulenceThe Planetarium CollisionThe Imitation PerturbationThe Grant Allocation DerivationThe Consummation DeviationThe Citation NegationThe VCR IlluminationThe Paintball ScatteringThe Propagation PropositionThe Confirmation PolarizationThe Meteorite ManifestationThe Donation OscillationThe D & D VortexThe Conference ValuationThe Laureate AccumulationThe Inspiration DeprivationThe Decision ReverberationThe Plagiarism SchismThe Maternal ConclusionThe Change ConstantThe Stockholm Syndrome

Locations
The Apartment BuildingApartment 4AApartment 4BThe ElevatorCalifornia Institute of TechnologyWolowitz HouseThe Comic Center of PasadenaPasadenaThe Cheesecake FactoryRaj's ApartmentAmy's ApartmentHoward and Bernadette's ApartmentThe StairsSheldon's Old OfficeRaj's Old OfficeSheldon's New OfficeHoward's LabThe University CafeteriaKripke's Plasma LabInternational Space StationThe Kinetics Lab
Songs
Transportations
See Also
Unaired Pilot
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