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"The Excelsior Acquisition" is the sixteenth episode of the third season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, March 1, 2010.


The gang finds out Stan Lee is coming to the comic book store to sign autographs, which conflicts with the day Sheldon has to go to court (because he ignored a red light at Penny's insistence). Penny takes him to court and he insults the judge. He gets locked up temporarily until he apologizes to the judge. To cheer Sheldon up, Penny finds out Stan Lee's address and brings Sheldon to meet him. Sheldon misinterprets Stan Lee's sarcasm and enters his house. He ends up getting a restraining order from Stan Lee, but he is happy about it.

Extended Plot[]


Sheldon in jail.

The Excelsior Acquisition - Stan Lee meets Penny and Sheldon

Stan Lee guest stars as himself.

Raj walks into the comic book store and turns on the music on his speaker T-shirt, to Howard's annoyance. Stuart announces to the gang that Stan Lee is coming to his comic book store to sign books on Thursday and everyone is excited. Back at the apartment, they discuss which comics they should get him to sign. Sheldon decides he will get him to sign his Batman comic as it will be unique since Stan Lee has nothing to do with Batman.

When Howard has a paper cut, he searches Sheldon's drawer for bandages, but instead finds unopened paychecks and, among them, a summons for running a red light when he was driving Penny to the hospital, courtesy of a red light camera. Sheldon points this out to Penny, but she denies it repeatedly, despite Sheldon's excellent memory and even when Sheldon points out the photo of Penny in the car with him. Sheldon demands to know why the ticket went to him since it was Penny's car and license plate. She explains that she had been sent the ticket, but betrayed Sheldon and told them that it had been him because she couldn't afford anymore points on her license. Since Sheldon believes he's not guilty, he starts to prepare his defense rather than just pay the fine. Since he is supposed to be in court on Thursday, it conflicts with getting his comic book signed by Stan Lee, much to Sheldon's horror. The other guys refuse to go with him as they want to meet Stan Lee instead, leaving Sheldon no other choice but to force Penny to go with him who is his only witness.

The following day, Sheldon has taken the liberty of scripting Penny's statement because he describes her as a "loose cannon".

At the court, Sheldon makes his defense, but is ignored by the judge] and is told to pay the cashier. Sheldon objects and insults the judge's position of working in traffic court calling it the kiddie table of courts. After refusing to apologize, he is thrown in jail.

Penny rings the guys about the incident, but they aren't interested as they are lining up for Stan Lee. Sheldon is ready to apologize to the judge because he refuses to use a metal bowl (jail toilet).

Penny sees that Sheldon is depressed about missing his chance with Stan Lee, so she goes to Stuart and is able to get Stan Lee's address in exchange for a date to his cousin's wedding (though she can bring Leonard). They arrive at his house and ring the doorbell, but Stan Lee is not impressed by their act and sarcastically invites Sheldon in to watch the Lakers. Since Sheldon doesn't understand sarcasm, he takes him at his word, causing Stan to tell his wife Joan to call the cops.

When Sheldon gets home, he brags about how he got a signed restraining order from Stan Lee and is able to hang out with him again at the hearing. He plans on hanging it next to his restraining order from Leonard Nimoy.



  • "The Big Bang Theory could run for years and years and now has the reach to pull in various celebrities to make fun cameos. While Stan Lee isn't the best here it does open your mind to the amazing possibilities on offer from all the different geeky worlds which the guys are into...Sheldon being in court and jail should have been a bigger deal than this. There are so many jokes which could be made and there was no time for them here. However I am sure they will revisit the scene in a future episode...A fun story which was enjoyable throughout without being overly funny or interesting." - The TV Critic's Review
  • IMDb user reviews


Costume Notes[]

Prehistoric Monsters BDG Aqua/Gray Stripe


  • While not having an official role in Star Trek or Batman as mentioned in the episode:
    • Stan Lee appeared in the 2011 Trek Nation documentary, as well as Star Trek comics licensed to Marvel having the "Stan Lee Presents" header on the first story pages.
    • He wrote an alternate take on Batman in the oneshots "Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating Batman" "Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating JLA" and "Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating Crisis". Lee wrote similar one shots for Robin and Catwoman for the Just Imagine line as well.
  • Because Sheldon believes science-fiction will become real in the future, he doesn't trust banks as he believes ATMs will lead the charge when the robots rise.
  • Even in jail, Sheldon appointed one of the seats as his spot, even though he isn't sure of the drafts or other small things like that.
  • Sheldon has a restraining order from Leonard Nimoy.
  • Due to Sheldon's insult to the judge, he has a criminal record, but it's not really effective.
  • When Sheldon does get a driver's license, he will have 3 points on it.
  • Sheldon gets some much needed Karma from the judge. Sheldon normally gets his way by pestering everyone and throwing insults at them until they give him what he wants, basically the equivalent of throwing a tantrum. However, when he tries doing this to the judge at his trial after he is found guilty, all this does is get him thrown in jail for contempt of court. Sheldon's whining might be annoying but it won't help him against someone with actual authority over him and no patience or reason to tolerate it from him.
  • The judge at the traffic court's name is J. Kirby, a nod to the famous comic book writer and artist Jack "The King" Kirby.
  • On the back of one of the comics Raj is reading, there is an ad for the Nintendo DS game Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days.
  • Sheldon complains that "the flags in front of the courthouse are flying in the wrong order. From left to right, it’s supposed to be federal, state, and then city of Pasadena." He sent more than one letter about that. Similarly, in "The Euclid Alternative" (S2E5), he argued with the DMV regarding many concerns about the testing questions for his learner's permit, reasoning this statement is the only means by which they will learn.
  • Sheldon says that the guys would be in court with him to stand by his side supporting him, feeding him with legal precedence, and if they have upper body strength to carry him out on their shoulders when he is victorious. In "The Romance Resonance" (S7E6), Sheldon says that he doesn't want to be carried around The Cafeteria on their shoulders because he doesn't like heights, motion sickness or their necks touching his butt.
  • To express his exasperation over never getting to have gelato with Stan Lee, Sheldon quotes a verse from Edward FitzGerald's translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, / Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit / Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, / Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
  • Raj detests the allerative names that Stan Lee selects, mentioning the following as examples: Bruce Banner, Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Steven Strange, Otto Octavius, Silver Surfer, Peter Parker, J. Jonah Jameson Junior, Dum Dum Dugan, Green Goblin, Matt Murdock, Pepper Potts, Victor Von Doom, Millie the Model, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Invincible Iron Man, Happy Hogan, Curt Connors and Fin Fang Foom. When Raj confronts Stan Lee about this, he immediately begins to resent him and does not give him an autograph addressing him as his friend or telling him "Excelsior". This episode changes Raj's life forever, where he becomes a pathetic nerd and an antagonist.
  • Stan Lee calls out for Joan to call the cops; Joan Lee is Stan's real-life wife.
  • The summons Sheldon receives is pertains to November 16, the night Penny slipped in the shower and the other three watched a meteor shower that really does peak around November 16 in real life.
  • Sheldon is detained on March 4.
  • Iron Man is the Stan Lee character most often referred to in the series next to Spiderman.
  • The "chung chung" sound effect that Raj plays on his musical shirt when Sheldon and Penny are talking about his court appearance on the television show Law & Order]'. Known as "The Clang," the iconic sound was used between scenes (accompanied by a black-and-white title card) to indicate the passage of time in a case. It became so popular that it was subsequently used in the various spin-off shows in the franchise (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit", Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Trial By Jury, and the British adaptation Law & Order: UK").
  • The moment where Stan sarcastically invites Sheldon and Penny into his house was later shown in comic form on the bottom of page 190 in the autobiographical graphic novel about Lee titled Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir.


(Raj is about to enter the comic book store. He presses a button on a remote, making his shirt play the Star Wars "Imperial March" theme and walks up to Leonard and Howard).

Leonard: Will you please turn your shirt off?

Raj: What? I'm giving myself dramatic entrance music, people will know I'm awesome and to be feared.

Howard: Right, there's nothing more awesome and frightening than a man who's got music blasting from between his nipples.

(Raj turns his shirt off).

Raj: I can't believe it. I'm going to meet Stan Lee. (Presses a button making his shirt play Pointers Sisters "I'm So Excited" and dances to it while the guys just stare at him).

Howard: I'm sad to say I taught him those moves.

Sheldon: I'm not going to pay a fine. That would imply I'm guilty.

Howard: You ARE guilty.

(Raj presses a button on his remote, making his shirt play the post-opening monologue "The Clang" sound effect from the various Law & Order TV programmes. Leonard and Howard laugh.)

Howard: (Still laughing) That one I liked!

Penny: Did he (Sheldon) somehow give me the finger?

Howard: Not just the finger... (in a deeper, dramatic voice) the moving finger!

Raj: (still going on about alliterative names in comic books) Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Invincible Iron Man, Happy Hogan, Curt Connors...

Howard: (Annoyed) OK, just let it go!

Raj: Oh and worst of all, Fin Fang Foom.

(Sheldon comes home with a piece of paper in his hands.)

Leonard: Hey, where have you been?

Sheldon: I'll tell you where I've been. You boys may have had gelato with Stan Lee and gotten autographed comics but, I saw the inside of his house. And got an autographed application for a restraining order.

Howard (sarcastically): Sweet.

Sheldon: Plus, I get to hang out with him again: at the hearing. (Sheldon goes to his room and marvels at the restraining order.) This is going to look great hanging next to my restraining order from Leonard Nimoy.

(Sheldon has just finished explaining his case.)

Judge Kirby: Impressive.

Sheldon: Thank You.

Judge Kirby: Guilty. Pay the cashier.

Sheldon: I object, you're completely ignoring the law!

Judge Kirby: No, I'm following the law, I'm ignoring you.

Sheldon: Really, well, may I remind you that I am at the top of my profession while you reside over the kiddie table of yours.

Judge Kirby: Dr. Cooper, before I find you in contempt and throw you in jail, I'm gonna give you a chance to apologize for that last remark.

Sheldon: I'm a scientist, I never apologize for the truth.

(Cut to Sheldon in a cell as the guard closes the door. He turns to a bench full of criminals.)

Sheldon (to the criminal on the far left end): That's my spot.

Leonard: (He, Howard and Raj are discussing their Stan Lee autographs) Look at that. "To my friend, Leonard, from Stan Lee, Excelsior!"

Howard: Awesome. Mine says, "To my friend, Howard, from Stan Lee, Excelsior!"

Raj: Mine says, "To Raj, from Stan Lee."

Howard: That's 'cause you pissed him off about his character names.

Raj: Hey, I didn't even mention Dum Dum Dugan or Green Goblin, Matt Murdock, Pepper Potts, Victor Von Doom, oh, and worst of all, Millie the Model.