|The Apology Insufficiency|
Season 4, Episode 7
November 4, 2010
"The Irish Pub Formulation"
"The 21-Second Excitation"
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Extended PlotEditWhen Howard attempts to receive government security clearance, his friends are interviewed by an FBI agent checking into Howard’s past. Raj and Leonard screw up their respective interviews (the former being overly terrified over being deported back to India despite no good reason, and the latter trying and failing to ask her out by seeming “confident”), but the worst comes from Sheldon, inadvertently lets slip Howard’s involvement in crashing the Mars rover. His slip was included in a long list of trivial examples of Howard being irresponsible. Sheldon feels guilty that he caused Howard’s career to be set back, and apologizes, expecting to be forgiven. Howard refuses to accept the apology, leaving Sheldon unsure what to do, with him feeling true guilt for one of the first times in his life, with him even having a guilt-ridden dream which includes a Gorn from Star Trek. Sheldon visits Penny at the Cheesecake Factory bar, looking for guidance and alcohol to drown his sorrows in. Because of a reference Penny makes to Star Trek (Kobayashi Maru), Sheldon decides he will force Howard to accept his apology with neurolinguistic programming. Sheldon finds Howard in the lunch room, where he at first tries to reprogram the latter, then gives him the couch cushion from his and Leonard's apartment, offering Howard his spot. Howard is touched and accepts Sheldon’s apology and friendship. The last scene shows the group back at the apartment with Howard sitting in the spot. Howard tells Sheldon he can see why the latter chose that particular spot, lists its good qualities, causing Sheldon to announce he changed his mind and wants his spot back. Penny and Leonard consult a clock, noting that Sheldon lasted less than two minutes without his precious spot.
"Sheldon's decision to offer Howard his spot on the couch is another victory for continuity. The writing has so consistently made that spot a core component of Sheldon's character that the offer to Howard came across as a genuinely meaningful sacrifice on Sheldon's part...The scenes with Sheldon confronting Agent Page and then chatting to Penny suffered because they had little purpose. They were attempts to exploit Sheldon's ability to get laughs but they failed. Sheldon works at his best when he organically interacts with the outside world as he did in the original interview." - The TV Critic's Review
- Sheldon: No, the cushion is merely symbolic. I'm giving you my spot on the couch.
- Howard: [aghast] But... you love that spot!
- Sheldon: No, I love my mother. My feelings for my spot are much greater. It is the singular location in space around which revolves my entire universe... And now it's yours.
- Sheldon: If only there was a way to force Howard to accept my apology to escape this miasma of guilt!
- Penny: You know, sometimes stuff just happens and there's nothing you can do about it. For example, Lisa Peterson hasn't talked to me since the 11th grade because no matter how much you apologize, you can't go back and un-dry-hump someone's boyfriend.
- Howard: I got to tell you, Sheldon, I understand why you chose this spot. I mean, the temperature is good, but there’s no draft. I can see the television, but I can still talk to…
- Sheldon: I changed my mind. Get out of my spot.
- Penny: How long?
- Leonard: 94 seconds.
- Penny: I’m sorry, honey, I don’t know milliliters.
- Sheldon: Ah. Blame President James “Jimmy” Carter. He started America on a path to the metric system but then just gave up. He wonders why he was a one-term president.
- Title Reference: The title refers to Sheldon's first apology to Howard about his comments to the F.B.I . that he considered insufficient.
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card 
- This episode was watched by 14.00 million people with a rating of 4.7 (adults 18-49).
- This episode aired in Canada on November 4, 2010 with 3.408 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1. In England, this episode aired on December 16, 2010 with 0.832 million total viewers and a weekly ranking of #13. In Australia, it aired on February 16, 2011 with 0.964 million viewers.
- Howard's middle name, Joel, is revealed for the first time in this episode.
- Sheldon mentions his honorary Justice League of America membership card, first mentioned in "The Grasshopper Experiment".
- Penny is shown behind the bar as her actress Kaley Cuoco was recovering from a broken leg to hide the injury. She also appeared at the end but did not move.
- Sheldon revealed that he loves his spot on the couch more than he loves his own mother.
- Sheldon, confused about the cause of his guilt-ridden insomnia, reveals that he is no longer obsessing over why the predicted mass of the quantum vacuum has little effect on the expansion of the universe.
- Raj's paranoid behavior regarding Agent Page is partially justified because he was almost deported in "The Pirate Solution".
- The appearance of Eliza Dushku as an FBI agent could possibly be a subtle reference to her TV series Dollhouse.
- When Agent Page knocks on Raj's door he is reading a book from the Twilight series of vampire fantasy romance novels. This is an in-joke as Eliza Dushku who plays Angela Page previously played 'Faith the Vampire Slayer' on Buffy/Angel.
- The fourth reference to the Olive Garden is made, as there is one down the street from The Cheesecake Factory. Previously, it was mentioned in "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification", "The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition", and "The Lizard-Spock Expansion".