The Big Bang Theory

The Toast Derivation

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"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 Plot


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]


  • Raj's flat screen HD plasma television has 2% dead pixels in the upper left corner.
  • Bernadette only features in two scenes with Penny and Amy in this episode and she shares no scenes with Priya and the men (Raj, Howard, Sheldon and Leonard) in this episode and she has no background appearance as the Cheesecake Factory waitress in the Cheesecake Factory scene of this episode (when Sheldon met Penny at the Cheesecake Factory bar alone before Amy video called him). This might not be the day of Bernadette and her Cheesecake Factory shift as the writers didn't want to pay for her just to be in the background.
  • Kripke is fond of raffles.
  • Priya ponders Sheldon buying a loom and weaving, while Leonard and Raj mention their serapes that Sheldon made; this is a reference to "The Luminous Fish Effect" (S1E4). Also, Priya talks about Sheldon adopting 25 cats, which occurred in "The Zazzy Substitution" (S4E3).
  • Sheldon once got punched by Bill Gates after telling him that maybe if he weren't so distracted by sick children in Africa, he could have put a little more thought into Windows Vista.
  • Sheldon hates haggis and blood pudding.
  • Sheldon shows his love for the vintage text adventure game again after The Hofstadter Isotope (S2E20) and The Irish Pub Formulation (S4E6).
  • The preserved snowflake from the North Pole that Leonard gave Penny in "The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation" (S3E1) appears in this episode again.
  • The storylines of this episode do not show Penny putting her black heels on before exiting the apartment with Bernadette and Amy to wherever they go to and the place they go to does not get shown in the storylines of this episode either.
  • Stuart didn't bring a spare change of clothes for after his shower at Sheldon's apartment to which was why he wore a couple of towels over him in the first place.
  • Amy has an electric toothbrush which she calls "Gerard" used for personal pleasuring.
  • When Sheldon goes to Raj's Apartment and knocks, he says, "all my friends" 3 times between knocks.
  • Amy listens to "I'm Walking on Sunshine" while Sheldon takes care of her in "The Fish Guts Displacement" (S6E10).
  • In this episode, Zack is seen eating Milk Duds which he previously showed a liking for in "The Justice League Recombination" (S4E11).


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.

Penny: Oh, hey.
Bernadette: Hi.
Amy: Yo, P-dog.
Penny: What’s up?
Bernadette: We’re here to kidnap you for a girls’ night out.
Amy: Parenthetical, the term kidnap is being used playfully.
Penny: I kind of figured that.
Amy: Good. Now put this pillowcase over your head.
Penny: No.
Amy: She used to be much more fun, until Leonard punched her in the heart.
Bernadette: We just thought you might want to go out and have a good time, maybe go dancing.
Penny: (she's very upset) Oh. Gee, thanks, but I’m not really in the mood.
Amy: You do understand that it will distract you from obsessing over the rich variety of sweet loving that your ex-boyfriend is currently receiving from the fiery jewel of Mumbai.
Penny: (she sighs angrily) Okay, look, if I agree to go out with you guys, will you promise to stop pestering me about Leonard and Priya?
Amy: Yes.
Bernadette: Sure.
Penny: (she's even more fed up) All right. I’ll go change. Come on in.
Amy: If you’d have let me bring the chloroform, we wouldn’t have had to put up with all this jibber-jabber.
(Bernadette is not very happy by what Amy had said).

Penny: So, where do you guys want to go dancing?
Bernadette: We were hoping you’d know a place.
Amy: Yes, perhaps somewhere packed tightly with young, beautiful bodies sweating and writhing against each other in a glorious orgy of the flesh.
Penny: Oh, yeah, I know that place. What do you think?
Amy: That should display enough of your bosom to attract a new mate, or a hungry infant.
Penny: Okay, let’s go through this one more time. Just because Leonard has a new girlfriend does not mean I need to go out and hook up with some guy.
Bernadette: But you could if you wanted to, right?
Penny: Well, yeah, I guess.
Bernadette: Pick out the hottest guy in the room, take him home, do unspeakable things to him, then kick him to the curb with a smile on his face and teeth marks on his heinie?
Penny: More or less.
Amy: What’s that like?
Penny: (out of vision) I don’t know. It’s fun while you’re doing it. And then after, it’s mostly embarrassment, self-loathing and regret.
Bernadette: I would take that deal all day long.
Penny: (out of vision) Yeah, well, it’s not gonna happen tonight. You know, for the first time in my life, I am not in a relationship, and I’m totally okay with it.
Amy: You know, if being on your own is new to you, I’d be happy to share some tension-relieving techniques for ladies I’ve perfected over the years. For example, do you have an electric toothbrush?
Penny: (out of vision) Um, no.
Amy: You should get one.
Bernadette: What’s that?
Amy: It appears to be something preserved between two pieces of acrylic.
Penny: (out of vision) Oh, it’s a snowflake from the North Pole. Leonard gave it to me last year.
Bernadette: Oh, God, that is so romantic.
Penny: Yeah, it was.
Bernadette: Leonard’s really one of a kind.
Amy: Saying that while holding a snowflake is a little bit heavy-handed, don’t you think?
Penny: Let me see that. Oh, screw it. I can deal with a little self-loathing. Let’s go find me a heinie to bite.
Amy: Outstanding. And if we fail, we can always stop at CVS and pick you out a nice toothbrush. I call mine Gerard.
Bernadette: (she's really surprised) That’s kind of creepy.


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