The Big Bang Theory

The Toast Derivation

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The Toast Derivation
TBBT 417
Sheldon's new social group performing karaoke.
The Big Bang Theory episode
Season 4, Episode 17
February 24, 2011
Guest star(s)
Episode guide

"The Cohabitation Formulation"

"The Prestidigitation Approximation"
Season guide

Season 3

Season 5

"The Toast Derivation" is the seventeenth episode of the fourth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, February 24, 2011.[1]


Sheldon realizes he is not the center of his group, thus he attempts to form a different social group where he can be the center. Meanwhile, Penny tries to get over Leonard who just got into a new relationship with Priya, Raj's sister.

Extended PlotEdit


Sheldon's new social group.


Getting ready to go dancing.

Leonard is going over to Raj's apartment for dinner with the gang; however, Sheldon insists he stays because of their Thursday tradition of eating pizza at their apartment. Leonard is still going so Sheldon tags along. After a brief unsatisfactory experience at Raj's, Sheldon heads to The Cheesecake Factory's bar alone and tries to get Penny to empathize with him. Amy video calls him and points out that Leonard is the "nucleus" of their social group.

Later, back at apartment 4A, Sheldon prepares some snacks for his forthcoming guests Stuart (who came to take a hot shower because he's living in his comic book store), Kripke (who came for a waffle), Zack (who isn't sure what he is or why he's there), and LeVar Burton (whom he invited via Twitter); he invites everyone to form a new social group where he is the "nucleus". At Sheldon's event, he announces that it seems LeVar Burton will not be attending, and kicks off the gathering with some introductory activities, in which all of the guests receive a goody bag containing a free copy of the fictitious The New England Journal of High Energy Physics.

Amy and Bernadette come over to Penny's to "kidnap" her for a night out dancing to get over Leonard. She agrees, if the two agree not to pester her about Leonard any further. They try to get Penny to go to a place where she can get a young guy to have sex with. She refuses, but then Amy and Bernadette discover the preserved snowflake from the North Pole which Leonard gave her (in "The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation") on her bedside table. She holds it in her hands and stares at it pensively for a moment before changing her mind.

Back at Sheldon's event, Zack impresses the gang (except Sheldon) with his racy story. Next, Sheldon asks the gang to choose between an array of vintage video games (Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle, Cookie Monster Munch and Zork, which Sheldon emphasizes over the others by exclaiming, "Pick me! Pick me!") which the others find boring so Kripke decides to bring up his karaoke machine instead. Zack leaves to get some beer.

Back at Raj's, the gang is reminiscing about their experiences with Sheldon. Sheldon is suddenly at the door and he is greeted with a warm welcome. Sheldon asks if anyone knows why a salute is called a toast and Priya knows the answer. He thinks she is something of a know-it-all.

In the final scene, in the apartment building outside apartment 4A, LeVar Burton ends up making an appearance to join them, but swiftly changes his mind after seeing Stuart, Kripke, and Zack singing "Walking On Sunshine", with Stuart in a towel. And says that he is so through with Twitter (with which Sheldon had invited him to the party).


  • The TV Critic: "There was a lot to like about this episode. The producers seem to have embraced the idea that the show needs more characters and the results have been solid. Although there wasn't much depth we managed to explore Penny's feelings for Leonard, Leonard's relationship with Priya, and Sheldon's attitude to friendship all in one go... None of the three stories exactly took off but they were all adequate. The writers still try a little too hard with Amy."[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode a C-.[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The origination of the word "toast".
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 12.35 million people with a rating of 3.8 (adults 18-49).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on February 24, 2011 with 3.447 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #2.[5]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on July 28, 2011 with 1.308 million total viewers and a weekly ranking of #11.[6]
  • Episode transcript [1]



Howard: Hey, Raj, did you ever tell your sister about the time Sheldon got punched by Bill Gates?
Priya: Oh God, you're kidding!
Raj: (laughing) No. Gates gave a speech at the university. Sheldon went up to him afterwards and said "Maybe if you weren't so distracted by sick children in Africa you could have put a little more thought into Windows Vista."
Leonard: Bam! Right in the nose! Made me proud to own a PC.

Sheldon: Well, no, sir, and do you know why? In a word "tradition". Every Thursday night for the last eight years, you and I and our friends have gathered here in this very spot to break bread covered with cheese and sauce, discuss the issues of the day, and yes, share a laugh or two. But I guess our rich heritage means nothing to you.

Howard: I think it’s like Beetlejuice. We said his name too many times.

LeVar Burton: Oh, I don't think so. (Closes door and walks downstairs) I am so done with Twitter.

Sheldon: When he finished, he shouted "Eureka".
Zack: No, I always shout "Holy Moly". Don't know why, just do.


  • Sheldon and his new gang.
  • Going out with the girls.
  • Priya made chili.
  • Leonard and Sheldon.
  • Going out with the girls.
  • Stuart borrows the shower.
  • Priya made chili.
  • The new gang singing together.
  • Howard and Sheldon at Raj's apartment.
  • Sheldon at the bar.
  • Levar Burton in shock at the party going on in 4A.
  • Sheldon.
  • Stuart and Sheldon.
  • Sheldon visiting the Cheesecake Factory bar.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #333.


  1. The Big Bang Theory - The Toast Derivation (TV Episode 2011) - IMDb
  2. The TV Critic's Review
  3. The Big Bang Theory: "The Toast Derivation" - TV Club - The A.V. Club
  4. Thursday Final Ratings: 'Grey's Anatomy' Adjusted Up; 'The Office,' 'Outsourced,' and 'Private Practice' Down - Zap2it
  5. Top Programs – Total Canada (English) February 21 – February 27, 2011 - BBM Canada
  6. BARB via Wikipedia

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