In the pilot episode (S01E01) of The Big Bang Theory, Leonard and Sheldon lose their pants while visiting their new neighbor's ex-boyfriend, as can be seen in below for example.

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I realize they pissed him off big time, but it wasn't shown.

Is this explained anywhere what exactly they did to the ex-boyfriend and how he managed to take their pants?

My assumption he just grabbed them off by force, but it can be anything else, hence I'm asking here. (e.g. maybe it's explained in later episodes I didn't watch yet)

  • 1
    Why should it be shown? It's a sitcom, not a documentary. They only have 20 minutes to cram in a bunch of jokes plus a couple of storylines, why would they waste minutes on showing this when the joke is far stronger when you simply show the result.
    – BCdotWEB
    Apr 11 '18 at 9:20
  • @BCdotWEB showing a bully taking the pants away from two nerds can be funny too. :-) Apr 11 '18 at 9:21

Penny's ex-boyfriend was not a one to be messed up with

As you mentioned, Leonard and Sheldon made him angry. Not only once, but twice Leonard knocks on his door. At first he (being somewhat roughly polite), acknowledged about his debt on penny and he will pay her back, but not telling when or how he was going to do so. Leonard being somewhat naive and needed to be a hero to penny (The man who brings back what's rightfully hers), knocked on his door again, and asked him to when will he plan to pay her back.

How he managed to take their pants part is somewhat obvious, Leonard and Sheldon both have experienced bullied when they were kids. So all Penny's ex had them to do is tell them remove their pants, being physically superior, I think Leonard and Sheldon will do what he asks.

While being not shown on screen, It could be the trigger point which leads to Leonard and Sheldon losing their pants and penny's ex made them publicly humiliate just because they pissed him off.

  • "tell them remove their pants" - without source we can't really know, e.g. to me it was more like "taking the pants away from them brutally", but can't really know, hence I asked. :) Apr 11 '18 at 8:27
  • He was a bully. You can see Leonard and Sheldon's fear of him since the first time they saw him. He has that advantage. I don't know that's how it happened, but since both Leonard and Sheldon came out no harm other than losing their pants, I think Penny's ex doesn't needed much force to make two geniuses humiliate
    – Vishwa
    Apr 11 '18 at 8:32
  • Well that might be better guess than my own, but I hope someone can find some official source or proof about what really happened there. :-) (also, thanks for the edits, e.g. I wasn't sure if such picture is appropriate here since it can be considered semi NSFW) Apr 11 '18 at 8:33
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    I'm not sure about that, since that scene has been cut off for let viewer's imagination do the magic, if that part is shown, seeing two geniuses in their underpants won't be much funny. About the picture, I guess it's okay, since show itself has been not rated as adult show.
    – Vishwa
    Apr 11 '18 at 8:35
  • But it doesn't really, I want some official source or proof. :-) (I did +1 it though :)) Apr 11 '18 at 9:35

Removing people's pants completely (or just pulling them down to the ankles) is something bullies in US high schools are reputed to do (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debagging). Sheldon and Leonard both talk about this sort of thing being done to them in the past, along with having your head dunked in the toilet, lunch money stolen and so on.

The joke here is that the pants are not just pulled down, but removed, from both of them - in reality one would have got away -- and that the bully has kept the pants as well, forcing them to walk home in their underwear, embarrassed and exposed.

  • Thanks, I understand the joke, my question is about the actual act, which sounds like a funny scene that might have been cut away but still available somewhere. Apr 12 '18 at 18:09
  • Nice addition on bullies and guys' past
    – Vishwa
    Apr 18 '18 at 6:44

I'm not sure it is ever explained. To me it's a play on the wedgie tv trope where a bully pulls our heroes' underpants.

I can also imagine Penny's ex-boyfriend grabbing them by the belt as they try to run away from him and just holding hard enough for the pants to rip off.

Though very cartoony, It could fit the general tone of the series I think.

  • Well, without any source there's not much in this. Thanks anyway! Apr 11 '18 at 8:26
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    I think Vishwa is right in saying that it's left to the viewer's imagination. We probably won't get an official statement about how it happened unfortunately. Apr 11 '18 at 9:28

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