The Big Bang Theory

The Apology Insufficiency

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The Apology Insufficiency
Big Bang Theory episode
Season 4, Episode 7
November 4, 2010
Guest star(s)
Episode guide

"The Irish Pub Formulation"

"The 21-Second Excitation"
Season guide

Season 3

Season 5

"The Apology Insufficiency" is the seventh episode of the fourth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on November 4, 2010.[1]


Howard is trying to get top-level security clearance, and in order to clear him, an F.B.I. agent interviews his friends about his past and any secrets he may have.

Extended PlotEdit

The FBI Agent Angela Page.
Sheldon seeking advice from the local bartender.

When Howard attempts to receive government security clearance, his friends are interviewed by an F.B.I. 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.


  • The TV Critic: "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."[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode a B-.[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • 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).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on November 4, 2010 with 3.408 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In England, this episode aired on December 16, 2010 with 0.832 million total viewers and a weekly ranking of #13.[6]
  • In Australia, it aired on February 16, 2011 with 0.964 million viewers.[7]



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.


  • Leonard, Sheldon and his nightmare Gorn.
  • FBI agent Page interviewing Sheldon.
  • Raj pleading that he is doing nothing that will get him deported.
  • Leonard hitting on FBI agent Page WITH confidence.
  • Sheldon visiting FBI agent Page.
  • Sheldon seeking advice from his local barkeep, Penny.
  • FBI agent Angela Page.
  • Sheldon visiting Penny's bar.
  • Penny reacting to Sheldon.
  • Showing Sheldon her badge.
  • I'll have a Rose Water Rickey.
  • There's a nice bar down at The Olive Garden.
  • Penny trying to bear Sheldon.
  • Leonard hitting on Angela Page.
  • I have troubles Penny.
  • Gorn waving to Sheldon.
  • Raj insisting that he isn't doing anything that will jeopadize his immigrant status.
  • Searching for a cocktail.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #309


  1. The Big Bang Theory - The Apology Insufficiency (TV Episode 2010) - IMDb
  2. The TV Critic's Review
  3. The Big Bang Theory: "The Apology Insufficiency" - TV Club - The A.V. Club
  4. Thursday Final Ratings: Big Bang Theory, The Mentalist, Office, Vampire Diaries Adjusted Up - Zap2it
  5. Top Programs – Total Canada (English) November 1 – November 7, 2010 - BBM Canada
  6. BARB via Wikipedia
  7. Week 8 - TV Tonight
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