In NFL football, when a team takes a scheduled week off from the season, it’s called a bye week. I know this because my boyfriend, a diehard Denver Broncos fan, was yelling at the TV calmly explaining to me this past Sunday that the rather lackluster performance of his beloved, and heretofore undefeated, team against the Baltimore Ravens was due in large part to the fact the Broncos took five days off during their bye week, derailing their machine-like momentum and causing them to play like, well, I can’t really reprint what he said next on a family website. But you get the idea: Bye weeks = Serious trouble.

I kept thinking about all this during last night’s Big Bang Theory, which was both about a boyfriend’s struggle to understand the cult of the pigskin (ahem), and the show’s first new episode back after its bye week, i.e. last week’s repeat episode. And much like the Broncos last Sunday, the Big Bang team only managed to hit a single last week instead of their usual string of three-point-nothin’-but-net shots from the double-fault wicket posts. Or, um, something. After two episodes of solid jokes about Penny and Leonard’s odd-couple relationship, it was like the writers were back at square one with these two, scratching their noggins over how to make them interesting — something they all but conceded in the cold open, when Sheldon admitted to drifting off during Penny and Leonard’s talk about watching football and kite fighting on each other’s respective Saturday afternoons.

Sheldon: Nothing. That, however, appears to be a football cocktail dress.

Geekiest real-world prop: The Cylon toaster, which Sheldon apparently purchased on eBay, since it was only available at Comic-Con 2009, which we all know Sheldon missed while up in the north pole.

Keenest observation about American football: After two hours of watching football with Leonard, Raj concludes that “American men love drinking beer, pee too often, and have trouble getting erections.”

Leg-cross-inducing factoid about American history: Ben Franklin invented the flexible urinary catheter, which paints a picture of our founding fathers I’d rather not have in my head.

So were you as down on “The Cornhusker Vortex” as I was, Big Bang theorists? Can you make a credible case for why kites are indeed funny? What would you most like to know about Penny (like, for instance, her last name)? And how many football viewing parties have you been to where practically everyone stood up to watch (at least) the first half of the game?

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