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Why The Big Bang Theory Fans Love Sheldon's Ball Pit Scene

Some sitcom episodes stand the test of time and pass into legend, and Episode 14 of Season 3 of "The Big Bang Theory," "The Einstein Approximation," certainly stands among them. When Den of Geek ranked the 25 funniest episodes of "The Big Bang Theory," it came in at #21, outranking outings such as "The Intimacy Acceleration" and "The Celebration Experimentation."  

During "The Einstein Approximation," Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) finds himself unable to solve a scientific equation. He decides to do what one of his heroes would do and engages in mental exercises to unstick the answer from his cerebellum. But while Albert Einstein might have gotten all the answers he needed from doing repetitive tasks, Sheldon's quirky reactions render him annoying to his friends. The episode culminates in Sheldon becoming so desperate to make a physical representation of the equation haunting him that, sleep-deprived, he breaks into a mall and begins building models of carbon atoms in a children's ball pit. That forces Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) to dive into the disaster to free his friend. This results in a cat-and-mouse game with Sheldon blurting out his signature catchphrase for the first time. Yes, this episode is the origin of the word that launched a thousand t-shirts, "bazinga!"

Fans of "The Big Bang Theory" are unsurprisingly still enamored of "The Einstein Approximation," specifically the ball pit scene, years after it made its network debut.

Fans always get a big kick out of Sheldon's ball pit scene

Fans who gather at the "The Big Bang Theory" subreddit still get a kick out of Sheldon Cooper's ball pit antics due to its zingy catchphrase and riotous staging. However, some of them find how he reacted to the situation a little ludicrous and even out of character. 

"Leonard's face and reactions as he struggles around. Gets me every time!" said u/TMommy0040. "Best scene of the series, in my opinion," agreed u/foodie_forever88, who was among a number of fans who declared this one of the series' best. And yes, several replying Redditors couldn't resist simply posting an approving "bazinga."

But every comment on the thread wasn't wholly approving of the scene. U/Emotional_Compote699, calls out Sheldon's actions as being out of character in their post. "If the guy can't even touch a door handle or handle a child being near him ... why is he in a ball pit? HE HAS A GERM PHOBIA," they wonder. But multiple readers note that Sheldon was sleep deprived at the time he threw himself in the ball pit, which means he was unlikely to behave as he usually would in a germ-heavy situation. One commenter spoke for everyone with a simply-stated "classic Sheldon." And classic is precisely what this episode is.