At the end of The Big Bang Theory season 1 episode 13, Penny asks Sheldon and Leonard:

Tweety bird says "I tawt I taw a... ???"

In fact I am French, I saw the episode in French and Penny asks

Titi a dit "J'ai cru voir​ un... ???"

and Sheldon answers "un Romulien" which vaguely sounds like "un gros minet" (a puddy-tat). So in French it does make sense!

I was wondering what the pun was in English, and I found out that it is also "a Romulan".

But "Romulan" has absolutely no resemblance with "puddy-tat". So what is the joke, in English?

  • 2
    Just that ? Just a nerdy thing ? In french it is a nerdy thing that happens to sound vaguely correct. In english, just nerdy is enough ? I suppose I'll have to do with that... I'll accept it, but if anyone has something more to say, I understand more answers can be given event after one answer is accepted, isn't it so ?
    – Alfred
    Oct 6 '19 at 22:23
  • ooops.. that was just a comment, not an answer.. So let's wait till someone proposes something else.
    – Alfred
    Oct 6 '19 at 22:26
  • New answers can be given at any time, even if one is accepted.
    – OrangeDog
    Oct 7 '19 at 10:54
  • 1
    This is probably a stretch, but Romulin ships are often refereed to as, "birds-of-prey". They're pretty iconic in Star Trek compared with other alien ships. It doesn't add any real humor though--just another off-hand coincidence. Oct 7 '19 at 14:24
  • 1
    @DarthLocke because they have (or had) literal birds of prey painted on them, because they're Roman Empire expys.
    – OrangeDog
    Jun 10 '20 at 14:40

There is no deeper joke in English. It is "funny" simply because Sheldon said something nerdy yet incorrect in a confident manner.

That it apparently also makes a pun in French is une bonne coïncidence.


Late to the party; was just watching this episode. It’s funny because it shows their obsession with StarTrek; that’s about the limit of their pop culture. It highlights their insular relationship with/from society. Also, it was Leonard who answered the Tweetie bird question; not Sheldon.


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