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"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 Plot[]

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 make 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 reading 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 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 it is a big deal.

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 have had an orgasm, 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 without question.

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 cancelled.



  • 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 Notes[]

  • Sheldon wears his distressed Superman logo on black t-shirt, his Aquaman "Leaping" t-shir] (he's worn this shirt in both orange and brown), and his red "Flash Equation" t-shirt.

    Distressed Superman logo


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 Robb Rothman's office in "The Rothman Disintegration" (S5E17). Raj still has the desk he bought in "The Hot Troll Deviation" (S4E4).
  • 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.
  • Sheldon derides Tic Tac Toe because "it can only end in win, lose or draw". Actually, that's how every game ends.
  • After Leonard shows Penny Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he mentions the next episode is about cheerleaders being cursed, which is the plot of the show's third episode "Witch". It's a safe assumption that prior to that, they have watched the two-episode pilot "Welcome to the Hellmouth"/"The Harvest".


The 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. (This quote is used as the introductory referenced quote for the page about Seasonal Rot as a whole on TV Tropes.)

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.

[The scene at Penny's apartment where Bernadette and Penny have just finished watching an episode of 'Buffy'. Penny turns the TV off grumpily]
Penny: (asks Bernadette with sloppiness) Okay, help me out here. Why does he love this show so much?
Bernadette: Well, there was action, it was funny. I mean, you do get that usually the monster chases the pretty girl, but this time the pretty girl chases the monsters?
Penny: [tired and fed up] Yippee, it’s backwards. I get it.
Bernadette: Why does this bother you so much?
Penny: I don’t know. It’s just, he’s so passionate about so many different things. I just don’t get that way. Do you?
Bernadette: Well, sure. 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.
Penny: See? I wish I had some of that fire in my life. I mean, I want to care about things and get excited like you guys.
Bernadette: Well, there’s no reason you can’t.
Penny: You think?
Bernadette: Absolutely. All we need to do is spend a little time and find something you’re passionate about.
Penny: (groans grumpily) Ugh, that sounds like a lot of work.

[The first montage scene of Amy singing on a keyboard to the quiet Sheldon]
Amy (singing): O’er the land of the free, and the home of the… Next.
[Sheldon twitches has mouth. Now comes the second montage scene where Sheldon is laying out an intricate pattern of dominoes]
Amy: That’s quite an impressive layout, isn’t it?
[Sheldon just gazes up at Amy]
Sheldon: Yes.
[Amy looks down at the layout for a second and then claps at Sheldon]
Amy: Let’s box it up.
Sheldon: (chanters) Let’s box it up.
[Sheldon throws the dominoes back into the box furiously. Now comes the third montage scene of Sheldon turning the handle on a jack-in-the-box. Amy then stops it just before the end of the tune]
Amy: That’s enough. (both Sheldon and Amy fight over it) Sheldon, give it!
[Sheldon growls angrily as Amy takes it off him and runs away off the sofa with it. Here is the last montage scene].
Amy: Okay, Sheldon, make a wish and blow out the candles.
[He takes a deep breath and only blows out five of the candles. Amy puts a cardboard plate over the last candle that remains alight. Sheldon glares guiltily at Amy].
Amy: Oops, missed one. Now your wish can’t come true.
[She moves the cake away from him and Sheldon has a grumpy think for one second]
Sheldon: (so grumpy by all of this) Lucky for you, ’cause I wished you were dead.

(The scene at apartment 4A where Amy is leaving and Sheldon holds the door for her).
Sheldon: Amy, I must say, I was skeptical at first, but this has truly been a transformative evening.
Amy: I’m a little surprised to hear you feeling so positive.
Sheldon: Well, you’re an excellent neuroscientist, you’re a wonderful girlfriend, and…
Amy: And?
Sheldon: Doesn’t matter, does it?
Amy: I’m proud of you, Sheldon. (Exits.)
Sheldon: And a complete sucker.
(Montage of scenes)
(First, he redraws the tic-tac-toe board)
Sheldon: Oh, yeah.
(Here is the second montage scene blows out all candles on the cake and blows a party whistle. Here is the third montage clip where he winds up the jack-in-the-box until it finally pops out)
Sheldon: There he is.
(He winds the box for one last second and Here is the fourth montage clip with him on the keyboard)
Sheldon (singing): And the home of the brave (holds last note).
(The final montage scene of where Sheldon knocks over first of intricate domino pattern)
Sheldon: Don’t stop. Yes, keep going. Just like that. Almost there, almost there. Uh-huh-huh!
(Sheldon imitates an orgasm and lies still for a second. Enter Penny)
Penny: Sheldon, you big weirdo, I want you to know that I love that you’re in my life.
Sheldon: I love you, too.

Sheldon: Hello. Uh, is this the Bruce Miller who wrote the season finale of Alphas? Oh, smashing. Yeah, you already sound nicer than the last Bruce Miller who suggested I have sexual relations with myself. Now, down to business. Um, your show ended on a cliffhanger. Could you please tell me how you planned to resolve it? Uh-huh. Mm-hmm. I see. Well, that all stinks. No wonder you got cancelled. Bye.