Blogging Big Bang Theory S4 “The Benefactor Factor”

After complaining last week about how little Leonard had to do in the episode, we get treated to an episode that’s pretty much all Leonard. Also like with the previous episode, it seems like the writers of the series have gotten a better idea of how to handle the larger cast of characters they’re working with this season even if that meant Bernadette didn’t appear, Amy only had scenes via laptop and Penny only popped up a few times. I’d rather miss certain characters for an episode than wonder why I’m watching a boring or ridiculous story just to have them in an episode.

The thrust of this episode involves the president of the university–played by Sports Night‘s Joshua Malina–asking Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard to attend a fundraising dinner with potential donors. Sheldon refuses to go at first, telling the others to tell the president he’s busy “tearing the mask off nature to look at the face of god” when, as Penny points out he’s really just doing his laundry. So the trio heads to the party where they meet a Mrs. Latham played by the wonderful Jessica Walters, a rich widow who likes making smart people feel uncomfortable. Back at the apartment, Sheldon has a conversation with Amy via Skype where she raises a question to Sheldon: do you feel comfortable resting the future of your funding on Raj and Leonard? The next thing we know, he’s asking rich people for money but refusing to shake hands with them for fear of contracting their germs.

The day after the party, the president calls Sheldon to tell him not to come to any future fundraisers, but the call is interrupted by Mrs. Latham calling to ask Leonard out for dinner. Everything goes well and then on the way home, she makes a pass at him. Leonard freaks out and returns home where Sheldon’s waiting for the zombies in 28 Days–which is a call back to an earlier joke where Leonard confused the titles of the Sandra Bullock rehab drama 28 Days with the zombie flick 28 Days Later, rookie mistake. Anyway, Leonard explains what happened thinking she only wants to give the university money for their department if he sleeps with her, which he’s uncomfortable with. Howard and surprisingly Sheldon are in favor of him using his masculine wiles for such a purpose because Sheldon just wants that money, noting that this might be Leonard’s one chance to do something good for science. Leonard goes out one more time with Mrs. Latham, before which Sheldon hands him a kit that includes condoms and a picture of a 25-year-old Mrs. Latham. Before dinner, she tells him she’s going to give the school money anyway, that sleeping with her is something people don’t forget–which is why Mr. Latham married her–and then, well, they go at it. Penny catches Leonard returning calling him a walk of shame. Sheldon suggests he use his gigolo skills for even more gain. The next day at work, the president thanks Leonard publicly for his efforts and everyone cheers him on, though he still says it wasn’t for money.

Overall the episode was fun, but also went by pretty quickly. The dialog was quick and even though Penny and Amy didn’t have much screen time, they still had some great lines, which you can read below.

Favorite Quotes/Moments

“Just because the nice man is offering you candy, doesn’t mean you should get in the van.” – Sheldon to the others after the president asks them about the party.

“I respect your macho rebellious attitude toward the man.” – Amy regarding Sheldon’s feelings towards the fundraiser.

“Oh, the humanities.” – Sheldon thinking about potential money for the sciences going towards the liberal arts.

“I’m not crazy, my mother had me tested.” – Sheldon. I expect this to be on a T-shirt in the next few months.

“An entire dinner to talk about YOUR research? Where are you going, the drive through at Jack in the Box?” – Sheldon to Leonard.

“You’re an expert in trading sexual favors for material gain.” – Sheldon to Penny.

“She stiffed you?” – Sheldon after Leonard explains he got the money before sleeping with Mrs. Latham. “I believe that’s what your roommate did to her.” – Penny. Of course, Sheldon doesn’t get the joke.

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