The Big Bang Theory

The 21-Second Excitation

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The 21-Second Excitation
Big Bang Theory episode
Season 4, Episode 8
November 11, 2010
Guest star(s)
Wil Wheaton as himself
Eric Andre as Joey
Jesse Heiman as Friend
Kristen Kimmick as Movie Goer
Ian Scott Rudolph as Captain Sweatpants
Owen Thayer as Lonely Larry
Episode guide

"The Apology Insufficiency"

"The Boyfriend Complexity"
Season guide

Season 3

Season 5

"The 21-Second Excitation" is the eighth episode of the fourth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on November 11, 2010.[1]


Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard excitedly plan to attend a screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark that includes 21 seconds of never-before-seen footage; however, their plans go awry when Sheldon's nemesis, Wil Wheaton, shows up at the theater. Meanwhile, Penny hosts a girl's night party at her apartment with Bernadette and Amy who invited herself to the party and begins to bond with them.

Extended PlotEdit

Wil Wheaton, with Captain Sweatpants and Lonely Larry from the Comic Book Store, annoys Sheldon in line at the Raiders of the Lost Ark screening.
Sheldon impersonates Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: First Contact, when Picard revealed his true hopes of gaining vengeance against the Borg for his assimilation.
Thebigbangtheorys04e08webdl720pdd51h264jhonny2mkv 001025901
Sheldon steals the film cans for Raiders of the Lost Ark from the unattended projection booth.
Thebigbangtheorys04e08webdl720pdd51h264jhonny2mkv 001059767
Sheldon, Raj, Howard and Leonard flee the theater with the film reels.

Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard excitedly plan to attend a screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark that includes 21 seconds of never-before-seen footage; however, they delay reaching the theater, resulting in much complaining from Sheldon, which becomes worse when Wil Wheaton arrives. Because Wheaton is ushered into the theater ahead of everyone, Sheldon exclaims with his impersonation of Patrick Stewart's accent, "As Captain Jean-Luc Picard once said, the line must be drawn here... THIS far, NO farther!" When the four are eventually denied entrance to the theater, Sheldon steals the film cans containing the footage, resulting in an angry mob (led by Wheaton) chasing Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj out of the theater.

Meanwhile, Penny and Bernadette have a "girls' night in," in Penny's apartment. Amy, who was originally planning on attending the movie with the guys, decides to join Penny and Bernadette claiming "I'm a girl." She keeps repeating she's a girl and butts her way into their evening. As Amy has never been to a "sleepover" before, she searches Wikipedia to determine sleepover customs, which Penny and Bernadette reluctantly go along with. During a game of "Truth or Dare," Bernadette and Amy catch Penny off-guard when they ask her personal questions concerning her breakup with Leonard; eventually, Penny storms into her bedroom. In the final scene, Amy discovers that acts of lesbianism are common at sleepovers, and enters Penny's bedroom. The scene ends with Bernadette sitting on the couch listening to Penny's horrified reaction and reading the rest of Amy's list of sleepover activities, saying she would've gone with eating raw cookie dough.


  • The TV Critic: "It makes sense that Amy would be like Sheldon, how else could he tolerate her? However the writers try hard here to write her as a surrogate Sheldon in scenes with Penny. While this largely fails there are moments where it succeeds...Amy is presented as having no social skills or understanding at all. While that can work (as with Truth or Dare?), more often than not the writers just had her say inappropriate things...There is promise in Amy yet but they need to define her. I'm not sure there is promise in Leonard and Penny anymore which is a shame." The TV Critic's Review
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode a B+.[2]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Mayim Bialik became part of the main cast in this episode.
  • Title Reference: Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard are excited to see a print of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which includes 21 seconds of never-before-released footage.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 13.11 million people with a rating of 4.2 (adults 18-49).[3]
  • This episode aired in Canada on November 11, 2010 with 3.304 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[4]
  • In England, this episode aired on December 23, 2010 with 0.749 millions viewers.[5]
  • In Australia, it aired on February 23, 2011 with 0.852 million viewers and a weekly ranking of 44.[6]


  • Because of her broken leg Kaley Cuoco is shown working as The Cheesecake Factory's bartender again, instead her normal job as a waitress. Also, a body double is used when Penny storms off near the end of the episode.
  • Sheldon recalls how he made Leonard wait in line for Star Trek Nemesis to get good seats, though that film was released in 2002 and Leonard and Sheldon didn't meet until 2003, according to "The Staircase Implementation"(S3E22). Given the tepid response to the film by the public at large it's unlikely there was a revival showing of it, unless it too had unseen footage, that would have made the movie better.
  • The so-called "submarine controversy" from Raiders of the Lost Ark refers to the scene where Indiana Jones grabs hold to the outside of a Nazi submarine and rides it all the way to their hidden island base. The "controversy" is how Indy knew the sub wouldn't submerge and likely cause him to drown. In novelizations and comic adaptations of the film, The submarine does submerge, but Indy lashes himself to the periscope, which remains above water.
  • The addition of 21 seconds to a Raiders of the Lost Ark special edition echoes George Lucas's adjustments to the Star Wars films, and also calls to mind the South Park episode "Free Hat," in which the boys of South Park try to stop George Lucas and Steven Spielberg from creating a special edition of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Wil Wheaton has referenced Star Wars twice. While Sheldon was waiting in line for the special screening of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in this episode, he calls Wil Wheaton the Jar Jar Binks of the Star Trek universe, causing Wil Wheaton to impersonate Jar Jar Binks - "Meesa think that very funny." In "The Wheaton Recurrence", Wil Wheaton told Sheldon to embrace the dark side during the bowling match, with Sheldon pointing out "that's not even from your franchise."
  • The night that the episode premiered the "Common Activities" section of the Wikipedia entry for Sleepovers, which Amy refers to for help during the episode, was edited to include the quote "harmless experimentation with lesbianism" as well as to list eating cookie dough and prank calls as common sleepover activities. These were, however, quickly removed, likely because while they are indeed activities that some sleepovers include they could not be considered common.
  • Bernadette notes that Howard has one really long chest hair (there are, however, several episodes in which Howard is shown shirtless with thick chest hair).
  • When Raj whistles for Sheldon as he is stealing the film reels from the unattended projection booth, Sheldon responds to the call with no sign of being disgruntled. Previously, in "The Friendship Algorithm", Leonard revealed that Sheldon does not tolerate whistling and actually posted a flyer at Cal Tech: "Roommate Wanted. Whistlers need NOT apply."
  • The final scene with Sheldon being chased from the theater by the audience is based on the scene in "Raiders" where Indiana Jones is chased by the natives and runs for the pontoon plane. Sheldon even mentions that there is never a pontoon plane when you need one as he runs off camera.
  • In line at the movie theater, Leonard is holding a copy of Eat, Pray, Love.
  • Captain Sweatpants and Lonely Larry are in Will Wheaton's gang.
  • First episode to feature Penny, Amy and Bernadette together. Thus the first episode to feature a girls story, the future "Penny's Posse".


Amy: Yes, and continue to bond. I have a feeling that after tonight, one of you will become my best friend forever, or BFF if you prefer - which I don't.

Bernadette: Oh, no. That movie has melting faces. It reminds me too much of the time I dropped that vial of flesh-eating bacteria into the Rhesus monkey lab. Besides, Penny and I are having a girls’ night tonight.

Sheldon: I believe in knowing my enemy, Leonard. Had Twitter existed at the time, would not General Custer have followed the tweets of Sitting Bull? Would not Lee have followed Grant? Would not Spy have followed Spy? I have more examples, but excuse me. (On phone) Hello. Well, this seems like an odd time to test my cell phone quality, but go on. Test phrases? All right. I'm a toat. Ulbut. Twad. All together? I’m a total butt wad. Why are you laughing? Hello?

Wil Wheaton: Oh, look who they let in.
Sheldon: Don't worry, Wil Wheaton, I was just leaving. (taking the Indiana Jones movie and singing) Da-da-da-da, da-da-da. (exits)
Howard: Come on, short round.
Leonard: Yeah.

Wil Wheaton: He’s got the movie! Get him!
Sheldon: Why is there never a pontoon plane when you need one?

Sheldon: "Trouble" is my middle name, Leonard. Actually, it's Lee, but I prefer "Trouble".


The Big Bang Theory 4x08 The 21 Second Excitation Sub Ita(01:07)
The guys run away from the wrath of angered fanboys
ChaniqueAdded by Chanique


  • Wil Wheaton and his friends.
  • The guys heading to get in line for Raiders.
  • Wil Wheaton doing Jar-Jar Binks.
  • Waiting in line for Raiders.
  • I think we won.
  • Receiving Penny's phony phone call.
  • Pillow fight!!
  • We're all full up.
  • Sheldon put that film back.
  • There's never a float plane around when you need it.
  • Sheldon draws the line here, doing Cpt. Picard.
  • I'm the guy with the clip board.
  • Sheldon steals the movie.
  • Penny hosting a Girls' Night.
  • Amy at Penny's Girl's Night.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #311


  1. The Big Bang Theory - The 21-Second Excitation (TV Episode 2010) - IMDb
  2. The Big Bang Theory: "The 21-Second Excitation" - TV Club - The A.V. Club
  3. Thursday Final Ratings: Fringe, Community, 30 Rock, Outsourced, The Office Adjusted Down; Bones, $#*! My Dad Says Adjusted Up - Zap2it
  4. Top Programs – Total Canada (English) November 8 – November 14, 2010 - BBM Canada
  5. BARB via Wikipedia
  6. Seven wins while Nine, TEN struggle - TV Tonight
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