Question: Is the mining song Sheldon sings on this episode a real song? If so, what is it called?
Answer: The song is called "Dark as a Dungeon" and was written and first performed by singer-songwriter Merle Travis in 1946. It has been performed by a wide array of artists, including Tennessee Ernie Ford, Harry Belafonte, Dolly Parton, Queens of the Stone Age, Kathy Mattea and Amy Grant. But it was made most famous when it was performed and recorded by Johnny Cash during his concert at Folsom Prison in 1968. According to Wikipedia: "It is a lament about the danger and drudgery of being a coal miner in an Appalachian shaft mine. It has become a rallying song among miners seeking improved working conditions."
Question: How come Raj has no problem speaking to his mother, but, when around other women, such as Penny, he immediately stops talking? Also, why does he have to whisper in someone's ear if he wants to ask Penny something?
Answer: He's chronically shy to the point of being mute around women and for the first few seasons, can only talk to them after he's had a few drinks. Otherwise, he has to tell another man what he wants to say, in such a way that women can't hear him speak, and rely on him. He can talk to his mother and sister because he doesn't regard them as "girls," but rather family.
Question: Though it comes up in other episodes as well, this one is focused on Sheldon needing a ride everywhere he goes because he can't drive, not to mention his not being welcome on the bus. Of course, this story element would be nonexistent if there was a simple answer, but it does beg the question: Does Pasadena not have taxicabs?
Answer: It does. The variable cleanliness of the cab and the habit of taxi drivers to engage customers in small talk would be too much for Sheldon to handle, and not an option for him.
Question: Why does the show go out of the way never to show the names of sodas? IE, 'Cola' instead of 'Coke', 'Lime' instead of 'Sprite,' 'Zip' instead of '7up.' They don't seem to have a problem with showing names of other products, such as the snacks in the vending machine.
Answer: Certain items are part of paid product placement. Those would be obviously named, as would things that can't go unnamed for simplicity reasons. Other things might be unnamed because of opposite product placement, i.e. Coke pays for it so they don't name Pepsi products.
Question: I don't get it. Sheldon and Kripke are bad at sports. At the end, they are both sweating and breathing hard. But in 6-13 The Tenure Turbulence, Leonard can't last on the treadmill but this time Kripke can run on the treadmill for a long time yet one season ago, he can't run without breathing so hard. What's going on?
Answer: The simple answer would be "he must have trained and gotten fitter." If it were the other way around, fit then a season later unfit, it would be more confusing.
Question: Can someone explain to me the friendship between Penny and Amy? I don't quite understand it.
Answer: Penny and Amy became friends simply because their significant others (Leonard and Sheldon, respectively) happened to be friends as well as roommates. While it may have been simply a matter of convenience at first, Penny and Amy genuinely grew to enjoy each other's company as time progressed despite their obvious differences.
Question: Was it ever established how long Howard spent on the International Space Station? I ask because some story arcs that begin with one season's finale pick up immediately where the last season left off (S4-S5), but others take place more or less in real time, such as when the guys went on a scientific expedition to the Arctic Circle. So did Howard actually spend three months on the ISS, or was there a "time jump"?
Answer: Howard went up on Expedition 31 and came back on 32. If the BBT universe holds to the same schedule as the real one, he would have been up there for approximately two months.
Question: Do any of the kitchens (with the exception of the Wolowitz home) have a dishwasher? I know it's a picky question but it just seems strange.
Answer: They may be behind or built into the counters where we can't see via the Fourth Wall. Not all apartment buildings offer a dishwasher as a standard feature, though.
Question: My understanding is Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Howard, and even Amy and Kripke work for a university; but none of them seem to be teachers. And if they are, they never have office hours, or are seen grading homework, and Sheldon seems inept at teaching. Do universities really hire that many people who simply do research with no actual work requirements? Or what's going on? (I understand not filming boring office hours or grading, etc. But they never even allude to it, their work never interferes with random daily events, and I imagine college teachers/professors would stay extremely more busy.
Answer: The boys work for Caltech, a research university mainly dedicated to science and technology. It's never been stated where Amy works, except that she has her own lab. But remember, her lab is fully funded by the Saudi prince that she is pseudo-engaged to. Any business or university would hire her for that reason.
Question: In the beginning, Sheldon and Amy are attending a reading (or lecture) of Brian Greene. It seems Sheldon is truly mocking, although at the end he says he's kidding. Do theoretical physicists consider Greene to be a hack, or is he respected in the field of physics? Are Sheldon and Amy truly laughing at him?
Answer: He's respected. Sheldon just thinks he knows more than anyone else and mocks anyone whose theories don't agree with his completely. Amy is probably just going along because it makes Sheldon happy.
Question: I know the Big Bang Theory has hired scientists and physicists to write the technical science parts of the scripts and the white board equations. Since Mayim Bialik has a doctorate in neuroscience, does she collaborate with the writers to write those parts of the script?
Answer: She has helped them out when she can, but this is not part of her formal contract with the show.
Question: In this episode, Amy deduced that if Indy wasn't in Raiders of the Lost Ark it still would have ended the same way. If I remember correctly, Major Toht was on the plane with him. Doesn't this look like the Nazis didn't know where to find Marion, and were following Indy?
Answer: The agent on the plane watching Indy was not Toht, and was played by ILM staffer Dennis Muren, although they look similar. The Nazis were spying on Indy but this doesn't mean they didn't know where the Ravenwoods' bar was.
Question: Is it out of character for Sheldon to be willing to donate sperm just for money considering that he has no interest in sex?
Answer: Sheldon believes himself to be superior to all other humans and therefore his lack of desire for sex is only superseded by his desire to create a superior sub-species of human. This concept is also seen later in the series when he and Amy consider having a baby together to make a super smart child (by invitro of course).
Question: In this episode, when Amy is waiting outside for Sheldon because she was told he wasn't home when she arrived to see him, Sheldon is coming down the stairs. As he does so, he is singing a peculiar song and skipping steps. Why is he doing this? Is there something I'm missing?
Answer: Sheldon has been shown to a) be a little weird and b) like to pass his commuting time exercising his mind with brain teasers and such. The song in the episode "The Desperation Emanation" names the star systems closest to our solar system, in order, from closest to furthest away. Typically of Sheldon, if he gets it wrong, he has to start again, or it isn't right!
Question: In the majority of the episodes, whenever one of Howard's friends, or he himself, knocks on his front door his mother yells out, "Is that a sex criminal" or something along those lines. Is that referencing anything in particular?
Answer: I can only recall one episode where this happens more than once. Perhaps there are others episodes where this line is spoken but this does not occur enough times to be a specific reference or a regular on-going theme.