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The Big Bang Theory - Episode 5.14 - "The Beta Test Initiation"

Sheldon begins a new video podcast on flags; Leonard and Penny resume dating

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The Big Bang Theory - Episode 5.14 -

DVD boxed set of The Big Bang Theory - Season 5

Original Air Date: Jan. 26, 2012


There are basically three plotlines in this episode, which makes it somewhat busy compared to the norm. The first plotline is really more like a running gag, in that Sheldon is in the process of creating a series of video podcasts called "Fun with Flags." The opening segment where Sheldon is filming his first episode is one of the funniest openings of any episode.

In the "main" plotline of the episode, Leonard and Penny have now begun dating. To avoid the problems with their previous relationship, Leonard's decided to make whole new ones. He suggested that they list the "bugs" that each has with the other person (or with the relationship) so that they can debug the relationship before deploying it as a full release. The bumps seem to be getting worked out when he takes her advice for more adventurous dates and takes her to a shooting range ... until he shoots himself in the foot, that is.

The third plotline focuses around Raj getting a new iPhone, featuring the Siri voice-recognition digital personal assistant. He begins to grow an unhealthy attachment to the device, using it as a surrogate for his lack of a real relationship with a female.

This Episode's Science

Vexillology: While it may be stretching to call this "science," the episode begins with Sheldon creating a new video podcast series, "Fun with Flags." Over the course of his 52 episode run, he intends to share the knowledge about flags that he has. It turns out that this field is known as vexillology. Among the flag tidbits dropped in the episode (which I presume are true, but have not checked) are:

  • Oregon has the only two-sided state flag, featuring a beaver on the back of the flag
  • The edge of the flag that attaches to the flagpole is called the "hoist"
  • The flags of Liechtenstein and Haiti were identical by coincidence, a fact which wasn't discovered until they competed against each other at the 1936 Olympics

Notable Quotes

Leonard: [discussing how to proceed with their dating] How about this? Are you familiar with the typical development for computer software?
Penny: You know, just for fun, let's say I'm not.
Leonard: Before an application is released, they give it a trial run. We could do that. If we hit a rough spot, instead of getting mad, we say, 'Hey, we found a bug,' and report it so it can be fixed.
Penny: You mean like a beta test?
Leonard: Technically, this would be an alpha test. A beta test requires people that weren't involved in the development of the application--
Penny: Seriously, do I not get credit for knowing beta test?
Leonard: No, you should. Absolutely. That was me being pedantic. That's our first bug. You reported it. I can fix that. See, this is good.

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