TV Review: The Big Bang Theory 9×06, “The Helium Insufficiency”


Remember that joint experiment that Leonard and Sheldon were working on about a superfluid vortex? Well, a Swedish team of physicists is trying to scoop it and run it before them. It’s terrible news that Sheldon has to deliver to Leonard and not even complimenting his symmetrical face can soften the blow. They decide they need to perform the experiment immediately, but evidently, the superfluid vortex requires helium; Lots of it. Every Party City in the state of California worth of helium. They go to their fencing instructor and frenemy, Kripke, for some help, but unfortunately, there’s a shortage at the university. In a hopeful, but fleeting moment, Kripke reveals he has some helium stocked up, but he needs it for his upcoming party.

Still, there’s hope yet! Howard knows a guy that can get them some helium, but ONLY if they don’t ask too many questions. After getting in touch with him, Leonard is promised a tank big enough for their experiment in exchange for some money. What’s better, is that the guy can meet them that night. Sheldon, however, has some qualms about buying things late in the evening. He once got cereal late at night, and the guy restocking the shelves handed it directly to him and called him “stretch.” The horror! It’s not just strangers in the night that frighten Sheldon. He thinks it’s unethical because they would be violating university code. After a quick anecdote of a scientist, his Russian mistress, and a “quote” by Albert Einstein, Sheldon is convinced to bend the rules this one time. After all, his favorite Swedish meatballs are on the line.

Michael Rapaport stars as helium man, Kenneth Fitzgerald. He is waiting for them in a creepy garage in a white panel van; the kind of van that’s always featured in murder cases. Sheldon kicks into 1970s crime drama mode and introduces himself as Skippy Cavanaugh, a wedding planner that can’t find love himself. They want the helium first, but Kenneth has knowledge of 1970s crime dramas too. He’s not going to concede the helium before he gets the money. They’ve reached a stalemate according to Kenneth, but Sheldon proceeds to school him on the term. The helium guy actually has plenty of moves left, such as beating them up, stealing the money, or even killing them. Leonard is the one that’s going to kill Sheldon if he continues digging them in a hole. Anyways, what follows is an entertaining banter that was honestly the best part of the episode. They cover everything from the definition of an impasse to the meaning of a Mexican standoff.


They finally tell him about their dire situation with the Swedish team of physicists, and Kenneth feels bad. So much so that he even offers to take out the Swedes if they need him to. This guy can really come in handy. However, the boys are just fine taking the helium with them. After their exchange, Leonard and Sheldon are back at the university rolling up their tank disguised as Sheldon’s fictional Uncle Harvey in a scarf and hat getup. They’re ready to experiment, but Sheldon catches a glimpse of a “Property of U…” sticker on the tank. That could mean anything, but what sticks to Sheldon is Property of U.S Government, and they can’t be accessories to a federal crime. Sheldon is a know-it-all while Leonard has glasses; They would never survive prison. Thus, they meet Kenneth once more to return the Helium, but also lose another grand in the process. Back at the lab, it seems like the boys are getting good karma because Kripke offers to give them his helium, but only if they include his name on the paper. They agree the helium guy is the lesser of two evils.

On the other side of town, Amy is dealing with the pressures of online dating. Penny and Bernadette find out that Stuart has been using a dating app, and think it would be great for Amy. If Stuart has had two successful dates, it’ll be sure to work out for Amy. By the sound of it, this app is a lot like Tinder, except there’s a “thumbs up, thumbs down” system. Eventually everyone gets in on the fun, and they start rating a diverse group of men. There’s a guy with a tear-drop tattoo, a white guy with dreadlocks, and cross-eyed Mike. Raj is hopeful to find a nice Latino, which would nicely round out the group. They eventually plug in the phone to the television, so everybody can see, and even start a drinking game: If he’s shirtless, one sip. If he’s posing with a pet, two sips. Pet and shirtless, chug like it’s your job. Here’s an idea next time you and your friends have a game night.


Finally, as they’re chugging away, a text message comes on screen from someone named Dave. Apparently he had a nice time with Amy last night and would love to take her out again. Squeals! Even more surprising, Amy has been dating other guys. Three to be exact. She just didn’t let anyone one in on her dating life because she’s trying to figure this whole thing out on her own, but so far she’s killing it in the dating scene.

The episode ends with Kenneth having a drink at Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment enjoying some more semantic digressions. I could really get used to this guy. He’s almost a match for Sheldon, and their banter is so amusing to see. I thought I’d want Amy and Sheldon to figure their problems out and get back together, but I’m excited at the prospect of Amy dating someone else that isn’t like Sheldon. It’d be boring to see her with Kripke or Stuart, even though Stuart is gold everytime he’s on screen. Still, it would be great to see her interact with her opposite, which just might end up being her perfect match.

Best Bazingas!

“This here is more like a Picasso painting”—Sheldon on Leonard’s face

“Hey, people were still talking about that party on siete de Mayo”—Raj

“He has glasses and I’m a know-it-all; we are not built for prison.”—Sheldon

“How can you trust Wikipedia if they use “between” to refer to three parties?”—Sheldon


Alejandra Torres is a 21 year old from Miami, Florida. She graduated from Florida International University with a degree in English Literature. She loves books, television, and movies. Some of her other favorite things include: leftovers (food—not the show), cookie dough, and her pet poodles, Benji and Bella. She hates Miami traffic but loves XM radio, so basically, it’s complicated. In a battle between contacts or trendy, oversized glasses, the latter wins because lets face it, contacts are a lot more dangerous than some people might think. Her latest binge victim was Parks & Recreation. She “literally” got through six seasons faster than the Millennium Falcon kicks into warp speed. Her favorite shows include: Game of Thrones and Pretty Little Liars—because it doesn’t matter whether a girl is from Dragonstone or Rosewood, fashion is key.