The Pancake Batter Anomaly
Season 1 / Episode 11
Penny returns from Nebraska and drops by to see the guys but when Sheldon hears that everyone in her family was sick, he rushes away from her in panic. "Penny, you’ll have to excuse Sheldon, he’s a bit of a germophobe," Leonard explains. This is the first mention of Sheldon's chronic dislike of germs, which becomes a recurring theme on the show.
After demanding that she "Please leave!" and spraying the room with Lysol he attempts to get Leonard to take throat cultures. He flatly refuses and is disgusted to learn that the cup he's been using for pancake batter has always been Sheldon's urine cup. It's for measuring fluid intake and output, "to make sure my kidneys aren’t shutting down." Well, of course! So when Sheldon does indeed get sick, Leonard hightails it out of the apartment leaving him to be nursed by Penny, who hasn't a clue what she's in for.
Sheldon is a self-sufficient being of immense intellect but this episode exposes for the first time how a human biological frailty, as simple as the common cold, renders him beyond useless. His lack of awareness is at its peak and Penny's reluctant compulsion to help, while being mildly disturbed by the increasing intimacy, is what makes this a Shenny favorite.
So, just eleven episodes into the first season we see Sheldon suggest that Penny give him a sponge bath. The first but not the last, of bizarre but innocenty cloaked innuendoes between them. The absurdity is these two barely know each other and Sheldon is a grown man, although he doesn't know how to behave like one. The writers fling open the doors to his psyche, revealing a needy individual whose deepest desire is to be taken care of.
by Informal Protest