The Love Car Displacement
Amy asks Penny to join her, Bernadette and the other guys on a trip to a science conference in Big Sur, California, as she believes them to be her best friends. At first she rejects the offer, but then accepts after learning about the free spa treatment. Before they leave, Sheldon (“travel supervisor”) explains the timetable and seating arrangements. Amy convinces Sheldon to let Penny ride in the lead car with themselves and Leonard because her “Nebraska backwoods skills” could help them if their car breaks down. During the trip, Penny gets sent to the second car with Howard, Raj and Bernadette after she attempts to stand up to Sheldon. At the hotel, Bernadette spots Glenn, her professor at college and ex-boyfriend, a tall handsome guy who intimidates Howard. When Howard confronts Bernadette over Glenn, she gets mad at him and decides to stay with Amy and Penny. Since there are only two beds and Penny cannot sleep because of Amy’s nightmares (which cause her to bite), Penny moves out of her room and asks Leonard if she can stay with him and Sheldon. Leonard accepts, but after Penny tells him that they aren’t going to have sex, Sheldon wakes up, asking them if they are not going to have “coitus”. As he receives different answers (Penny says “yes”, Leonard says “no”), Sheldon leaves and seeks shelter in Raj’s room, where Raj is about to watch Bridget Jones’s Diary. Sheldon eventually kicks out Raj, who then goes to Leonard and Penny’s room, just when they are about to have sex. He crawls into the bed vacated by Sheldon, stopping Leonard and Penny from having sex. The next morning as Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, Raj, Bernadette and Amy sit on a panel, with Penny in the audience, they all exchange (initially thinly veiled) criticisms at one another stemming from the previous night’s events. An irritated Penny then accepts a ride back to Pasadena with Glenn, much to Leonard’s horror. Later while returning home, Leonard gets pursued by the police for speeding as he is distracted by the thought of Penny being with Glenn.
Title reference: The car in which Howard, Bernadette and Raj were riding and is reminiscent of The Love Boat with their bed swapping plot.