The Big Bang Theory

The Closure Alternative

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The Closure Alternative
Finish the tic-tac-toe game.
The Big Bang Theory episode
Season 6, Episode 21
April 25, 2013
Guest star(s)
Episode guide

"The Tenure Turbulence"

"The Proton Resurgence"
Season guide

Season 5

Season 7

"The Closure Alternative" is the twenty-first episode of the sixth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, April 25, 2013.[1]


Amy tries to help Sheldon with his "closure" obsession where he has to make sure that everything is completed. Penny is searching for something to be passionate about in her life.

Extended PlotEdit

Sheldon asks Penny if she had been recording TV shows on their DVR and she denies it. She asks Leonard for help and he suggests that the Chinese may have hacked their system. Then Sheldon wonders why they would have recorded Paul Blart, Mall Cop. Leonard tells him to clear off the system and erase his Alphas episodes. Sheldon replies that there is a season 2 cliffhanger so he wants to keep it until season 3 starts. Leonard lets him know that there is no season 3 and the show had been canceled which disturbs Sheldon. Penny suggests that he makes up his own ending. Sheldon is peeved and says that he might as well make up his own rules on oral hygiene and rub pudding on his gums. He then declares that he's going to call the SyFy channel to complain. Sheldon feels that they are obligated to help the viewer let go. Firefly made a movie after it was canceled. Buffy the Vampire Slayer continued as a comic book. And Heroes slowly lowered the quality season by season until fans were grateful it ended. Penny feels sorry for whoever gets the call. Leonard disagrees and says that if they didn't want to hear from crazy nerds, they shouldn't have started a SyFy Channel.


Howard thinking Raj's treatment of his dog is a little creepy.

Howard is installing a security camera in Raj's apartment so he can watch his Yorkie at work. Raj then finds Lucy's blog which mentions she has met an Indian astrophysicist named Roger whom Raj thinks she is cheating on him with. Howard assures him that she just changed his name for privacy. If Raj ever had a white name, he wanted it to be Gavin. Howard tells him to read it, but Raj thinks it is like ready her diary. Then he picks up his Yorkie who starts to lick him and Howard asks if he should leave them alone.

After talking about all those TV shows, Leonard shows up at Penny's apartment wanting to introduce one of his favorite shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He says that the show has action, romance, hot guys and girls, something for both of them. Penny tells him that it's six-thirty in the morning and closes the door. Leonard calls out that he thought she grew up on a farm.


Amy confronting Sheldon about his need for closure.

Sheldon is on the phone claiming to be the SyFy vice president of programming telling them that they made a huge mistake in canceling Alphas. They recognize him from a previous phone call and hang up on him. Amy, who is having tea, says that she is sorry he is upset. She says that sometimes people seek human contact in such instances, hoping to comfort him. Sheldon says that he is not flying back to Texas just to see his mother to get a hug. Amy explains that he has a pathological need for closure. She can help him retrain his neural pathways to help him out. Sheldon denies that he has a problem, so Amy knocks five times (Shave and a haircut), Sheldon finishes it with two knocks (Two bits) claiming that it proves nothing. 

Howard meets Raj in his office for lunch and Raj asks him if he is feminine. Howard quickly agrees and tries to get him to come. Raj did read Lucy's blog and she called him a little feminine. Howard says that it's great it was only a little. Howard then tells Raj to use what she said to his advantage to turn the tables on her and get her pants off. Raj gets angry and asks him why he has to get dirty instead of romantic. Maybe she is giving him the keys to her heart, which he quotes from Sir Elton John who he thinks knows a lot about women, even though he is gay. 

Leonard and Penny are watching the end of a Buffy episode. Leonard enthusiastically asks her how much she loved it and she calls it cute. He thinks that the word cute diminishes it, so she asks if she should stop calling his tushy cute. Penny says that she is excited about it, but doesn't look it. She says that it was fun and reminds her of her own high school except instead of vampires, they had meth heads. And both only came out at night with messed up teeth. The next episode has cheerleaders under an evil curse. That was also like Penny's high school, but instead of a curse it was crabs.

Amy takes Sheldon through a series of OCD Exercises, where she won't let him finish things to help him with his compulsive need for closure. She tells him that they are in a world where closure is not always an op-----. Sheldon waits as she picks at her nails and then shouts "tion". She tells him that she plans to help reprogram his brain so that his need for closure is not so overwhelming. She starts by playing tic-tac-toe with him and erases it before he can win. She asks how it makes him feel and Sheldon says that he wants to pull his face off and shred it. Amy tells him that he can do it. Sheldon reacts with that she doesn't know how it is to be completely frustrated, have it build up inside her without any means of release. Amy just looks at him probably thinking about her own sexual frustration. "Yea, sounds like a drag." she replies. 

Penny and Bernadette finish watching an episode of Buffy and Penny asks her why Leonard likes it so much. Bernie replies that it has action and is funny and the pretty girl is chasing the monsters instead of the more common other way around. Penny reacts with "Yippee, it's backwards." She finds Leonard passionate about so many things; however she doesn't feel that way. Bernadette has always been passionate about science ever since she saw little millions of micro-organisms swimming around through a microscope and she knew that she could wipe out their whole universe with her thumb. She tells Penny to spend some time thinking about what excites her and she can be passionate about something too. Penny thinks that sounds like a lot of work. 

Raj Skypes with Howard just before Lucy comes over to his apartment. He needs to know if his hockey or his football jersey is manlier. Howard goes with the hockey jersey he is already wearing when Lucy knocks at the door. Raj answers with a manly "Hey!" She tells him how cute his Yorkie is, however Raj claims that with the right command in German, she will rip her face off.

In apartment 4A, Amy is playing the American national anthem and doesn't play the last note as Sheldon's nose twitches. Next Sheldon has hundreds of dominoes set up on the floor for toppling. Amy tells him that his setup is impressive, but now he has to put them away. Next Sheldon has a child's jack-in-the-box that Amy doesn't let him pop out the clown figure. She takes it away from Sheldon as he gets more agitated. Amy then has a birthday cake that she tells him to blow out the candles and covers one of them so he doesn't get his wish. He quietly says to himself that she is lucky because he wished that she was dead


Raj trying to act manly for Lucy.

Lucy and Raj are finishing dinner which she enjoyed. Raj mentions that he loves hockey, which Lucy does too. Raj stumbles when he can't name his favorite player. His dinner is still a bit frozen because he merely zapped it in the microwave and claimed to have not read the instructions since no wrapper tells him what to do, unless it's Jay-Z. Lucy says that he is acting weird and since she is weird, she thinks she knows what she is talking about. Raj claims that it may be all the steroids he's been taking. Lucy excuses herself and tells him that she better go and thanks him for the pork rinds and the 20 min. monster truck lecture. Raj asks her to wait and that he found her blog which describes him as feminine. She replies that she meant it in a good way and that he is sweet, thoughtful, and has very nice caramel skin. Raj tells her that he is now fine. When asked if he even likes hockey, he replies that he got the jersey when he went to see Taylor Swift.

Penny telling Leonard that she is passionate about him and their friends.

Penny and Leonard are having dinner as Penny is talking about how he is passionate about Buffy, science, and which TV remote to buy which gets Leonard off on his remote argument with Sheldon. Penny then explains about her epiphany that she is passionate about Leonard. She had all these plans about being a movie star and she found anything less exciting wasn't worth getting passionate about. Leonard says that all her plans can still happen. She agrees because a psychic told her they would at a bachelorette party. She does have Leonard, Sheldon, and all these wonderful friends and finds that her life is exciting right now. They both agree that that is a big deal. Leonard then wonders if they can talk about cool shows and dress up in costumes and go to Comic-Con. Penny gently tells him that she had an epiphany, not a stroke.

Amy is getting ready to leave as Sheldon tells her that despite his initial skepticism, he does believe that it was a trans-formative evening. Amy is surprised that he is so positive. Sheldon calls her a wonderful neuroscientist, an excellent girlfriend and... She asks "And??" He tells her that it doesn't matter. Amy says she is proud of him as she leaves. Behind the closed door Sheldon finishes, "...and a complete sucker."  He finishes the tic-tac-toe game, blows out the birthday candles, pops up the jack-in-the-box, sings the full national anthem, and resets the dominoes and knocks them all down. Sheldon rolls over appearing to be in ecstasy, when Penny pops in and says that she loves having him in her life. Sheldon replies offhandedly that he loves her too. Penny gives him one of her confused looks and leaves.

Sheldon calls up the writer of the Alphas season finale and asks how he would have resolved the cliffhanger. Sheldon listens and tells him that his solution stinks and that it's no wonder why they got canceled.


  • The TV Critic: "The use of Alphas and Buffy within the stories felt entirely appropriate. Particularly Buffy which of course is dear to my heart but would certainly be the ideal show for Leonard to try and entice Penny into enjoying...However I wasn't sure of what to make of Penny's epiphany. She has never appeared passionate about Leonard. I can buy that after the last year or two she is genuinely happy with him but passion felt like an adjective too far. Does this signal a genuine move toward contentment? It would be odd for any TV show to go there because how do you generate stories from happy domesticity?"[2]
  • TV Fanatic: "Overall, "The Closure Alternative" was a funny return after a much-too-long hiatus."[3]
  • IGN gave this episode 8.5/10.[4]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode an A.[5]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The title refers to Amy helping Sheldon work on his compulsion for finishing things or his closure about various activities.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 15.05 million people with a rating of 4.5 (adults 18-49).[6]
  • Total viewers including DVR users 19.63 million.
  • This episode aired in Canada on April 25, 2013 with 3.644 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[7]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on June 20, 2013 with 2.428 million total viewers.[8]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Costume NotesEdit


The Flash Equation


  • Sheldon watched the Syfy TV series Alphas,which was canceled after the second season and ended on a cliffhanger. Ryan Cartwright, who played the autistic "transducer" Gary Bell in Alphas, guest starred in "The 43 Peculiarity" (S6E8) as Cole, Penny's study partner.
  • Bernadette only appears in one scene in this episode.
  • First appearance of Sheldon's old office (now fully occupied by Raj) since Sheldon won Professor Rothman's office in "The Rothman Disintegration" (S5E17). Raj still has the desk he bought in "The Hot Troll Deviation" (S4E04).
  • Amy knocks the rhythm "Shave and a haircut", which Sheldon must answer with "two bits" as an example of his compulsive need for closure. Judge Doom keeps knocking on the wall "Shave and a haircut" to find Roger Rabbit in the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" because Toons in that universe can't help finishing the line with "two bits".
  • Sheldon does show some disrespect to Amy when he calls her a "sucker", but not to her face.


Star Spangled Banner: But finished right before "Brave" the first time, and finished the song the second time.


Sheldon: I do not have a problem with closure. (Amy knocks five times. - Shave and a haircut..)
Sheldon: (Knocks twice. - ...two bits) That proves nothing.

Sheldon: They can't just cancel a show like Alphas. You know? They have to help the viewers let go. Firefly did a movie to wrap things up. Buffy the Vampire Slayer continued on as a comic book. Heroes gradually lowered the quality season by season till we were grateful it ended.

Penny: So I was thinking about how excited you get about stuff like Buffy or science or which TV remote you and Sheldon should buy.
Leonard: The Hominy one was fine. We didn't need to upgrade to the 1100 which he knows is too big for my hand.
Penny: You see that’s the kind of passion I didn't think I had. But then I realize I’m passionate about you.
Leonard: Ahh, my cute little tushie strikes again.
Penny : Well I’m serious .Look  I always had these plans to be in the movies, to live this glamorous life and anything else in my  life just wasn't worth getting excited about.
Leonard: Well, those things can still happen.
Penny: Oh, obviously it’s going to happen. A psychic at a bachelorette party told me so. Anyway what I meant was I shouldn't wait. You know, I got you. I got Sheldon. These wonderful friends. My life is exciting right now.
Leonard: Big deal.
Penny: It is, isn't it?  
Leonard:  So does that mean we get to do stuff like talk about cool shows or get dressed up in matching costumes and then go to Comic Con.
Penny: Leonard, I had an epiphany; not a stroke.

Bernadette: I'm pretty passionate about science. I remember the first time I looked through a microscope and saw millions of tiny microorganisms; it was like a whole other universe. If I wanted to I could wipe it out with my thumb like a god.


  • Raj dolts on his dog too much.
  • Raj trying to acts really manly for Lucy.
  • Sheldon.
  • Hanging out in Apartment 4A.
  • Raj worried about Lucy's comments about him being feminine.
  • I'm passionate about you, Leonard.
  • Yea, whatever. Belch.
  • I can help you with your closure compulsion.
  • Try and finish the game. Just try.
  • Sheldon having a climax after finishing all the things Amy wouldn't let him finish.
  • The National Anthem.
  • Penny.
  • Howard and Raj.
  • Amy and Sheldon having tea together.
  • Bernie and Penny.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #413


  1. The Big Bang Theory - The Closure Alternative (TV Episode 2013) - IMDb
  2. The TV Critic's Review
  3. - TV Fanatic by Carla Day
  4. The Big Bang Theory: "The Closure Alternative" Review - IGN
  5. The Big Bang Theory: “The Closure Alternative” - TV Club - The A.V. Club
  6. Live+7 DVR Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory' Leads Adults 18-49 Ratings Increase & Tops Total Viewership Gains; 'Smash' Earns Biggest Percentage Increase in Week 31 - Zap2it
  7. Top Programs – Total Canada (English) April 22, 2013 – April 28, 2013 - BBM Canada
  8. BARB via Wikipedia


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