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"The Confidence Erosion"[1] is the tenth episode of the eleventh season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Thursday, December 7, 2017.


Sheldon and Amy try to eliminate stress from wedding planning by applying math to the process. Also, Koothrappali "breaks up" with Wolowitz after realizing his best friend is actually hurting his confidence.[2]

Extended Plot[]

At girls’ night at Amy's apartment, Amy and Penny agree that it is nice to be at home doing nothing. While Skyping, Bernadette claims that it's not any different than her other thirty days of bed rest. Raj shows up at the door to ask some fashion Penny. He has a job interview at the Griffith planetarium since they are looking for an astrophysicist. Amy asks Bernadette if she thought Raj would be good at that, but she then denies that she is watching “The Crown”. Amy says that he needs to pick something that he feels confident in. Raj retorts that he left his magic clothes at home. They don't like either of his outfits and Raj doubts that he is even going to get the job. He was very confident when he got here from India. Howard comes onto the computer screen and makes some cracks about Raj being at girls’ night.


Girls night with Bernie at home in bed.

At the cafeteria, the guys are discussing the Shamy wedding plans. They are using mathematical decision theory to assign random tasks to each other. Raj shows up in a dark suit ready for his afternoon interview. Howard tells him that if it doesn't work out he can always be a Mormon missionary. Leonard is sure that he will get the job. Raj wishes that Howard would be a little more supportive. Howard then cracks that if he was, Raj could bury him at the funeral home he directs.

Later in his office Raj calls his father. His interview wasn't great. When they asked his greatest weakness, he talked on that point for 45 minutes. His father blames Raj's problems on his friends and Howard who is always making fun of him. Raj says that he is just like that and comes from a very sarcastic village called Brooklyn. His father was in a bad relationship where he always felt bad about himself. Raj's mother. He suggests to Raj that to feel good, he should replace Howard with a pretty 22 year old grad student, which will increase his confidence.

Amy and Sheldon are choosing wedding tasks on an on-line slot machine. Amy gets invitations. Yes! Sheldon suggests holographic invitations projected out of R2D2. Amy wants English calligraphy on Egyptian papyrus. Sheldon gets ring bearer and wants R2D2. They both agree that planning their wedding is fun when others say that it is a chore.

Raj is talking about his interview with Leonard and Penny. He got so nervous that he just kept apologizing. Penny suggests a therapist, but Leonard shoots down Raj's suggestion of his mother Beverly. Raj mentions his father comments about Howard and Leonard then agrees. Penny disagrees and says that just what friends do. Leonard tells Penny that she is mean to him sometimes. Raj adds that they are both being disrespected, but Leonard is still willing to take it.


Raj ready for his interview.

The Shamy wedding planners have Amy arriving in a Little House on the Prairie covered wagon met by an honor guard of Star Wars Star Wars storm troopers|storm troopers. Amy wonders about the space Nazis so Sheldon suggests she arrive in Luke Skywalker's land speeder. Sheldon then wants to exchange ushers for the first dance which he eliminates. Amy then changes the confetti to releasing butterflies. Airborne worms? No! Then they start to make suggestions that they know the other won't like. Toasts in Latin. Vows in Klingon. The flower girl becomes a dog.

Howard enters Raj's office so they can go to lunch. Raj declines and Howard makes a chubby joke. Raj exclaims that that is the problem, that Howard is always making jokes at his expense. Howard insists that it is just his way and that it means that they are friends. Raj is tired of 15 years of ridicule. He thinks that they need to take a break from each other. Howard asks if he can see other needy Indian men and Raj yells at him to get out.

At the cafeteria, Sheldon keeps coming up with wedding plans that Amy will hate. He wants everyone to get rings and for them to get the ring that rules them all ala "The Lord of the Rings". Raj comes by and then sits by himself. Howard says that he is sorry, but Raj won't accept that apology after years of emotional abuse. Leonard goes over to talk to him so he doesn't have to hear anymore of Sheldon's insane wedding chatter.


Planning the Shamy wedding.

Sheldon comes home to tell Amy that he has decided on an asbestos centerpiece. Amy claims that they were going to end up with a wedding that neither of them will enjoy so she proposes that they just go down to City Hall and get married. Sheldon agrees and surprises her by suggesting the next day. Then the next time they get intimate it will be an official requirement of being married. Or Sheldon suggests the Beverly Hills city hall if she wants to make it a destination wedding.

Leonard comes out and was surprised when Penny compliments him. After being mean to him Penny is trying to be nice to him. Raj joins them and has let his hair go natural instead of straightening it to blend in in America. He was in the mood to celebrate since he went back to the planetarium, was confident and charming, and got the job since the first applicant didn't work out. Leonard and Penny congratulated him. Raj doesn't want to see Howard because he didn't want to be around his negative energy.

Howard stops by the comic book store. The gang isn't with him and the store is empty. He mentioned his falling out with Raj and how he thinks his making fun of him was ruining his confidence. Stuart says that he never blames others for his problems. Howard wants to hang out there and Stuart wants him to make fun of him.

Sheldon and Amy get their marriage license and go to sit down to wait for the official. Sheldon wonders why the clerk doesn't want a blood test to see if they had syphilis. Sheldon can't believe how the year is ending strong since they were getting married AND the new Star Wars movie is coming out. Amy doesn't want to ask which his favorite was. They are called in. Amy says that she can't believe they will go in there Dr. Cooper and Dr. Fowler and will come out a married couple, Dr. Cooper and Dr. Fowler. Sheldon changes his mind that he wants to have a first dance with his new wife. Amy reminds him that that planning the wedding makes the two of them fight. Sheldon is so astonished that he found Amy (much like dark matter). It was such a discovery that he wants to tell the whole world whether it is in Latin, Klingon or smoke-signals. Sheldon wants to do it right. Amy agrees so they decide to plan a real wedding. Though while they are all dressed up at City Hall, Sheldon does want to get a hazardous waste disposal permit. They go off hand in hand.

Raj is finishing his show at the planetarium with the gang in the audience. Penny admits that she has never seen science so interesting even though Leonard talks about science all the time. Amy talks Sheldon out of giving Raj constructive criticism. Raj is sweating too much for Penny to give him a hug, so he gets a high five. Leonard sees Howard hiding in the back. He was hiding out since he didn't know if he was welcomed. Leonard talks him into saying hello until he sees that Raj has a woman comes up and asks him to have coffee with her. Raj says that it is too late for coffee. Penny walks in between them telling him to change it to decaf and off they go together.


  • Guest starring:


  • Title Reference: Raj and the erosion of his confidence due to Howard's constant ribbing.
  • Taping date: November 14, 2017
  • This episode was watched by 14.41 million people with a rating of 2.8 (adults 18–49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 19.36 million.
  • This episode aired in Canada on December 7, 2017.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]


  • Caroline Preece at Den of Geek! - I’ve heaped this praise on the series before for story-lines like this, most recently when the aforementioned apartment switch took place, or when the show separated Sheldon and Amy for almost half a season. While so much of the sitcom can be disappointing on a scene-by-scene basis, I feel like it still knows how to take these steps effectively, and fold in lasting ramifications despite a necessary return to the status quo...The Confidence Erosion shows what The Big Bang Theory could be if it simply tried a bit harder. While tackling dramatic issues that feel true to character, the joke hit rate remains steady and you don't come out of the half-hour feeling bummed out. Let's hope next week's mid-season finale sticks the landing, and finally gives Raj a voice he can keep for more than an episode. [2]


  • Raj's father returns in this episode.
  • Sheldon and Amy go to city hall to get married, but they opt for a real wedding.
  • Howard and Raj split up.
  • This is the second time a suggestion is made to release butterflies at a wedding and Sheldon disagrees and calls them airborne worms. The first time it was suggested was in "The Commitment Determination" when Penny was discussing her wedding plans.
  • Just before Sheldon and Amy go into the clerk to get married, Amy says that she will still be Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler after she is married not taking Sheldon's last name.
  • This is the first time Raj's hair is seen as curly since mid-season 2. In this episode, Raj explains that he had been straightening it since he wanted to fit in with Howard. He stopped in this episode after breaking off their friendship.
  • Bernadette only had one onscreen scene in this episode.


Clerk: Here’s your license. Now if you’ll wait over there we’ll call you when the officiant is ready.
Sheldon: Do we need a blood test?
Clerk: No.
Sheldon: Well, then how will you know whether or not we have syphilis?
Clerk: I’m going out on a limb and say you don’t have that.
Amy: Okay Sheldon you officially exceeded the number of times I hope I heard the word syphilis on my wedding day. I can’t believe we’re doing this.
Sheldon: I know. I’m getting married, the new Star Wars movie’s coming out. We are really finishing this year strong.
Amy: Okay, but of the two of tho… You know, I’m not even going to ask. I’m not gonna ask.
Sheldon: Are you sad we’re not having a big party?
Amy: I’m really not. I’m here with you. It’s perfect.
Court Clerk: Cooper-Fowler? You’re up.
Amy: Can you believe it? We’re about to walk in that door, Dr. Cooper and Dr. Fowler, and walk out as a married couple, Dr. Cooper and Dr. Fowler.
Sheldon: Wait. I want to have a first dance with you.
Amy: Right here?
Sheldon: At our wedding.
Amy: This is our wedding.
Sheldon: No, I want a real wedding.
Amy: Well, Sheldon, it was just making us fight.
Sheldon: I know, but Amy, I never thought I would want to marry anyone. So that fact that I found you is astonishing. It’s…it’s like finding dark matter, except I was looking for dark matter. I wasn’t even looking for you. SO you’re even better than dark matter.
Amy: Sheldon.
Sheldon: you even interact with light, so I can see you. And, also, you don’t account for the missing mass in the universe. Oh…and…oh…
Amy: Okay, I think you’re getting caught up on the ways I’m not like dark matter.
Sheldon: Right. Sorry. But when you make a discovery like this, you don’t just take it down to city hall…you tell the whole world. SO I’ll say it in Latin or Klingon or…or smoke signals if that’s not culturally appropriation.
Amy: It is.
Sheldon: Okay, so not smoke signals. But I want to do this right.
Amy: Me, too. Let’s go plan a wedding. [Kiss.]
Sheldon: You know we did get dressed up and come all the way to city hall.
Amy: What are you thinking?
Sheldon: I have always wanted a permit to dispose of hazardous waste.
Amy: Let’s do it. [Shamy leaves the office.]

Penny: Decaf, genius.

Bernadette: You're gonna make me forget I've been stuck in bed while a baby uses my bladder as a kickball?
Penny: Hey, you had unprotected sex with Howard. You deserve to be miserable.

Howard: Hey, is that Raj there at girls' night? Well, hey.
Raj: Hey, Howard.
Howard: Just remember, if you fall asleep first, they're gonna freeze your bra.

Penny: Oh, I love the observatory. They tell you your weight on all the different planets. Yeah, it's always bikini season on Venus.

(Skype tones sound)

Raj: Hey, Dad.
Dr. Koothrappali: Hello, Rajesh. How was the interview?
Raj: Uh, not so great. They asked me what my biggest weakness was and 45 minutes later, they thanked me for coming.
Dr. Koothrappali: Son, don't take this the wrong way, but what's your problem?
Raj: I would tell you, but apparently it takes 45 minutes.
Dr. Koothrappali: You know what? I bet it's those friends you surround yourself with. Like that Howard, always making fun of you.
Raj: Howard doesn't mean anything by it. I-I think it's cultural. His people come from a very sarcastic village called Brooklyn.
Dr. Koothrappali: Don't make excuses. What kind of friend acts that way?
Raj: Well, I-I guess--
Dr. Koothrappali: It was a rhetorical question. A bad friend!
Raj: Come on, Dad! That's just our relationship, okay? He makes Indian jokes and I laugh, but, you know, with angry eyes so he knows it's not okay.
Dr. Koothrappali: I, too, was in a relationship with someone who made me feel bad about myself.
Raj: If you're talking about Mom, I don't want to hear it.
Dr. Koothrappali: I'm just saying, if you replace Howard with a nice 22-year-old grad student, your self-confidence will soar.

Sheldon: I mean, it's not that I think we're living in sin, but I do like the idea that our next act of intimacy will be a legal requirement.

(Raj is alone in his office; Howard comes in.)

Howard: Want to grab some lunch?
Raj: You know what? I don't think so.
Howard: Well, let me guess: You're not eating because the mean girls circled your chubby bits in marker? (smiles jokingly)
Raj: (looking at him with a frank facial expression.) No, that. That right there, that's the reason: You're always making fun of me!
Howard: Those are just jokes. It's my way of saying we're friends, and it wouldn't hurt you to drop a few.
Raj: See? No wonder I don't have any confidence!
Howard: Come on! You can't blame that on me.
Raj: Why not?! Fifteen years of constant ridicule. I think our relationship has become toxic.
Howard: What are you saying?
Raj: I think you and I need to spend some time away from each other.
Howard: I can see you're upset, but I'm gonna need some ground rules. While we're apart, can I see other needy Indian men?
Raj: GET OUT! (slightly downhearted, Howard leaves Raj's office.)

(Raj shows up as Howard, Leonard, and Sheldon are having lunch)

Raj: Hello.
Sheldon, Howard, and Leonard: Hello. (Raj promptly walks over to another table and sits there with his back to Howard)
Howard: Really? You're not gonna sit here?
Raj: (looking over his shoulder at Howard.) I'll sit there as soon as you leave.
Howard: (in disbelief) You're still on this? I said sorry!
Raj: Well, sorry doesn't make up for years of emotional abuse.
Howard: Well, what's it gonna take? You want half my sandwich? (Raj goes back to his own food and ignores Howard.)