The Big Bang Theory

The Pants Alternative

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The Pants Alternative
Pants Alternative
Big Bang Theory episode
Season 3, Episode 18
March 22, 2010
Guest star(s)
Ren Hanami as Singer
Episode guide

"The Precious Fragmentation"

"The Wheaton Recurrence"
Season guide

Season 2

Season 4

"The Pants Alternative" is the eighteenth episode of the third season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on March 22, 2010.


Sheldon needs help to overcome his fear of public speaking when he earns an award. First the gang helps him individually and then Penny plies him with wine to help him loosen up. When he goes up to the stage he embarrasses himself, while Howard wasn't caring about his "piddly ass problems". The next morning Sheldon comes out with no pants on, and Leonard asks him to watch a video he had uploaded on the Internet. When he sees the video he is surprised he was so drunk as he didn't realize he had embarrassed himself, and Leonard and Penny laugh.

Extended PlotEdit

I'm ready!!!!
Sheldon giving his speech
Wondering where his pants are in the morning.

Sheldon's friends come to his aid when his fear of public speaking stands between him and a coveted award. They offer to be Sheldon's X-Men, which Sheldon changes to his "C-Men" because his last name is Cooper. Leonard will help Sheldon psychologically by analyzing his fears, Penny will shop for a suit with him to give him confidence, and Raj will help with "some kind of Indian meditation crap" according to Howard, while Howard will pretend to "give a damn about his piddly ass problem." When it's time for the speech, Sheldon feels faint, so Penny gives him alcohol, first one drink and then another. Sheldon gets drunk and behaves like a stereotypical stand up comedian, and gives a speech that gets put on YouTube under the title "Physicist Melts Down".

The song Sheldon sings at the ceremony is the song "The Elements" by Tom Lehrer.

MV5BMTkwNjkwMzQ1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODk4NDcyMw@@. V1 SX214 -1-
Sheldon in a white formal suit.
LidianrawrsAdded by Lidianrawrs
The next morning, Leonard and Penny are having breakfast and greet a hung-over Sheldon, who inquires about his missing pants. Amused, they direct him to watch the YouTube video they've already loaded on the laptop. His horrified embarrassment is taken to new heights when he learns that he had mooned the crowd, as Leonard and Penny break into fits of laughter.


  • "The structure of the plot was perfect, the execution was not. Sheldon has a problem which he can't solve. So his friends graciously offer to help him out and each one tries and fails leading up to the moment where he must face his weakness...So what was wrong with this? Nothing in theory. This was what it was. Sheldon turned to alcohol to cure his fear and did what all characters in sit coms do, he humiliated himself. This episode was in no way bad, but it was vanilla when it could have been really funny." The TV Critic's Review
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: Sheldon takes off his pants during his acceptance speech for the award.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity [1]
  • This episode was watched by 13.42 million people with a rating of 5.1 (adults 18-49).
  • This episode aired in Canada on March 22, 2010 with 1.939 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #8. 


  • Second time an embarrassing video of Sheldon's antics is leaked to YouTube. The first was him fighting with Leonard in Season 1's "The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization".
  • Embarrassing YouTube videos would seem to be a recurring theme. Howard would become a victim in Season 5's "The Stag Convergence", in which Raj's drunken toast (where he reveals details of Howard's sordid sexual past) is recorded by Wil Wheaton and published on YouTube, where it nearly wrecks his impending wedding when it's viewed by Bernadette.
  • Penny compares being a member of the Corn Queen’s court in high school back in Omaha to the Caltech Chancellor’s Award for Science, to which Sheldon says he would keep that in mind if he's ever nominated for the Hillbilly Peace Prize. She similarly thinks a celebration pie is even remotely comparable to a Nobel Prize in Season 3's "The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation", and Sheldon questioned her on the matter.
  • Sheldon declares, "The X-Men were named for the 'X' in Charles Xavier." In Son of Origins of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee describes the origin of the title as follows: "Mutants are, in a sense, people with something extra. And, if we think of the word "extra" in phonetic terms, we might think of that phrase as 'people with something x-tra'. And a man with something x-tra could conceivably be called an X-Man! Therefore, since we were discussing a whole group of mutants, why not call the book The X-Men? Even our peerless publisher couldn't claim that the youngest reader would have difficulty recognizing the letter 'x,' and the word 'x-men' did have a juicy, mysterious ring to it; so we had our title, and a comicbook was born." He further explains, in the Foreword to X-Men: The Ultimate Guide, "After thinking about it for a while, it occurred to me that all our characters had an extra power and their leader's name was Professor Xavier;so I suggested the name 'The X-Men.'" Professor X simply explained to Jean Grey, "You, Miss Grey, like the other four students at this most exclusive school, are a mutant! You possess an extra which ordinary humans do not!! That is why I call my students...X-Men, for Ex-tra power!" (Uncanny X-Men (1963) #1) Within the fictional Marvel Universe it's recognized that the X-Men were named after Professor Xavier. However, in Uncanny X-Men #309, Professor X insists that the name "X-Men" was never intended as a self-tribute, but instead as a recognition of this X-Factor. (Comic Books: How the Industry Works)
  • Drunk Sheldon makes a reference to the famous album "Dark Side Of The Moon" by Pink Floyd.
  • Second episode where alcohol causes Sheldon to reveal his inner entertainer. The first was "The Grasshopper Experiment".


(Sheldon comes home from work to find the others waiting for him)

Sheldon: Hello.

Leonard: Sit down, we wanna talk to you.

Sheldon: Am I in trouble? Did my mother call you?

Penny: Just sit.

Leonard: We think we can help you with your stage fright.

Sheldon: Oh, I doubt that. I haven't figured out a way and I'm much smarter than all of you.

Penny: Yes, but you're not smarter than all of us put together.

Sheldon: I'm sorry, that is what I meant.

Penny: OK, your problem is, you're trying to do this all by yourself.

Leonard: We can help you, we can be your team, like, Professor Xavier and his X-Men.

(Sheldon grins at the thought)

Sheldon: I do like the X-Men.

Penny (to Leonard): Did I see X-Men?

Leonard: Yeah, we saw it last week, you said you liked it.

Penny: Oh, I say a lot of things sweetie. So, how about it Sheldon?

Sheldon: I don't know. If you're my X-Men, what are your powers?

Penny: OK, well I'm gonna take you shopping and get you a nice suit, might give you more confidence.

Sheldon: It's not exactly a mutation that will get you into Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, but go on, Leonard.

Leonard: I thought I could try to analyze you and get to the root of your anxiety.

Sheldon: What qualifies you to attempt to understand my mind?

Leonard: My mother is a highly regarded psychiatrist and I've been in therapy ever since she accused me of breast feeding co-dependently.

(Raj whispers to Howard to what he has to say)

Howard: Raj says he can teach you... what do call it? (Raj repeats it to him again.) Uh, I don't know, some Indian meditation crap.

Sheldon: I see, I assume since the rest of you have set the bar so low, you're saving the most impressive contribution for last. Go ahead, Howard, dazzle me.

Howard: Well, my power is the ability to pretend like I give a damn about your piddly-ass problem. And that's 24/7 buddy.

Sheldon: And I appreciate the pretence.

Penny: So what do you say Sheldon, are we your X-Men?

Sheldon: No. The X-men were named for the "X" in Charles Xavier. Since I am Sheldon Cooper, you will be my C-Men (sounds like semen to the others and they are in disgust.)

Howard: Oh, that's not a good name.

(Sheldon, without his pants and hungover from the previous night, is watching his performance on YouTube and is humiliated.)

Sheldon: Oh Lord. This couldn't be anymore humiliating.

Leonard: A dadadada, give it a minute.

Sheldon (On Youtube): Now for the astronomers in the audience, get ready to see the dark side of the moon (He turns around and moons the audiences). And here's Uranus!

(Sheldon looks horrified, while Penny and Leonard are laughing their heads off at Sheldon's clip.)

Sheldon: And you want to rub my nose in the fact that my contributions are being overlooked again? I am the William Shatner of theoretical physics.

Sheldon: A Godzilla-like monster is approaching the city. I have to get my people to safety. People of Sheldonopolis, this is your mayor. Follow me. If the children can’t run, leave them behind. Oh, the simulated horror! (Sound of door slamming) Raj? Just as I suspected. Meditation is nothing but hokum.


Physicist Melts Down(03:28)
Here is a clip from the episode where Sheldon is so drunk, he overcomes his stagefright.
SheldonCAdded by SheldonC


  • Sheldon without his pants.
  • Sheldon working the audience.
  • I'm ready!!
  • Where are my pants?
  • You look great!!
  • Let's tell some jokes.
  • Leonard analyzes Sheldon.
  • Sheldon.
  • Sheldon likes this suit.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #282

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