The season premiere of The Big Bang Theory featured two major scientist cameos this week: Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
The episode seemed to hint at Tyson's appearance from the very beginning, teasing his involvement in the story from early on. The episode found Raj (Kunal Nayyar) excitedly preparing for an appearance on the local news, where he had been asked to talk about an upcoming meteor shower. His friends were excited for him as well, and Howard (Simon Heldberg) pointed out that this could afford him some serious opportunities, as it had for a certain other pop scientist.
"That's how Neil deGrasse Tyson got his start," Howard said. "He went from the Hayden Planetarium to guesting on the news, to ruining everyone's favorite movies on the Internet."
When Raj's appearance finally aired, it seemed he couldn't get the Cosmos host out of his head. He opened with a joke about Tyson not being "unavailable." The newscaster laughed just a little too hard at this for his taste, and Raj devolved into a rant about Tyson's persona. His friends watched in horror as he used up his whole segment talking smack about Tyson.
Later on, Tyson tweeted about Raj, much to his delight.
"I've been informed that some random, attention seeking nobody took a shot at me on the local news," the fictional post reads. Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) advised him to apologize, but Raj eagerly flared up a contrived Twitter feud with the physicist.
That feud came to a head in the episode's final scene, where Tyson called Raj directly on the phone to settle their beef.
"How about this: I've got a book signing at Vroman's in Pasadena next week, why don't you come by and say some of those things to my face?" Tyson said.
"Oh, no but thanks for the invite," Raj replied uncomfortably.
"Smart move. And the next time you pick up your phone, remember, I'm the guy that kicked Pluto out of the solar system," Tyson said dangerously.
After putting Raj in his place, this fictional version of Tyson was hungry for more confrontation.
"Let's see who else needs a deGrasse kickin'," he said, scrolling through his phone. As he put it to his ear, the scene cut to none other than Bill Nye on the other end.
"Bill Nye the Science Guy," he said.
"Hey Bill, it's Neil. We've got to talk," Tyson said. Nye hurriedly slammed the phone down before he could face the same fate as Raj.
The Big Bang Theory is just getting started with its twelfth and final season. Another new episode airs on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS, and the show will continue to air in that time slot for the rest of the season.