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"The Inspiration Deprivation"[1] is the nineteenth episode of the twelfth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Thursday, April 18, 2019.


The concept of what it would mean for women everywhere if Amy were to win a Nobel Prize causes Amy to have a meltdown. Also, Koothrappali and Wolowitz try to relive the good old days after Wolowitz buys a scooter that looks like the one he had years ago.[2]

Extended Plot[]

Amy comes up to the guys in the cafeteria wanting to show Sheldon a message on her cellphone. She has been called into Human Resources probably because of her blow-up in front of Pemberton and Campbell at their university reception. Raj never thought of Amy as a bad girl. Then Sheldon also gets a summons from HR. He wants to make sure that their stories are straight and that the incident was all Amy's fault.

Janine Davis and President Siebert asked them in to discuss the incident and then have a plan to move forward without pointing fingers. Sheldon then points at Amy. The President starts that the situation was all his fault because he thought that Sheldon and Amy wanted to win a Nobel Prize. He needs them to “keep their traps shut”! Also he concludes that they have a good shot at a Nobel Prize and that they are blowing it. Their speaking tours and interviews are going to be cancelled. Janine Davis adds that their winning is not just important to the university, but also will be inspirational to a whole generation of women since Amy would only be the fourth woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. The President adds that the next words he wants out of their mouths is “Thank you for this honor" in Stockholm at the Nobel Prize presentation.


Shamy is to keep their traps shut.

Raj and Howard are strolling through the Caltech parking lot when they spot a scooter just like the one that Howard used to have. They start reminiscing about driving around and looking for women and not really finding any. Howard did find his woman who also made him get rid of his scooter.

As the Hofstadters', Penny agrees that Amy winning inspiring women is a real big deal. Both Sheldon and Amy are kind of freaked out. Leonard calmed Sheldon down with a Rubix Cube where he had switched some of the colored stickers around and it was unsolvable. Sheldon still solved the puzzle by finding which colors had been shifted fairly quickly. Penny then suggests a massage, but only Amy's hands can touch Sheldon's body. And they have to be proven clean. Then Penny suggests a Reiki massage where the hands are only placed near one's body and the universal energy field will manifest their healing powers. No. Leonard then suggests a sensory deprivation tank where one floats in a liquid cutting off all sensory stimulation. Amy finds it interesting, but Sheldon doesn't want to be cut off from his senses. Leonard objects that everything Sheldon complains about is what he sees, feels and hears.

Howard is leading Raj across the parking lot with closed eyes and then surprises him having bought the scooter. He plans to keep it at work so that Bernadette won't find out about it. Howard starts it up calling it “twelve horsepower of eye-talian” thunder.


Twelve HP of Italian power.

Both the Coopers and the Hofstadters enter the sensory deprivation tank room. According to the technician, they could be calmed, sleep or have visions. If they panic, they can push the "panic button" and call out “Bebe”, the woman's name. Sheldon then asks for confirmation of the fluid's pH and sterility which also helps to relax Sheldon. Both Amy and Sheldon climb into their tanks.

At the Wolowitz's Howard is fooling around with his motorcycle helmet until Bernadette returns with the kids from a walk. He immediately throws the helmet into the trashcan claiming that it's not his. She knows that he is acting guilty and then is shocked when Raj drives by on the scooter. Bernadette just stares at him.

Sheldon in his hallucination is floating among colors and infinite iterations of Nautilus sections of the Mandelbrot set. Amy is having a nightmarish vision of women blaming her for ruining their chances for her to be an inspiration to them in science causing them to become housewives or worse.

Leonard and Penny return when Sheldon and Amy's hour in the tank is up. Sheldon is very calm while Amy comes out feeling a failure and still feeling like she can't deal with the situation.

Back home Sheldon is praising his experience and that was like Disneyland in 35 dimensions. A hyped-up Amy is busily cleaning out the refrigerator. She is still freaking out. She believes that not only is she letting their project down, she is letting ALL women down. Sheldon Googles what to do when one is freaking out. Take a walk. So Sheldon leaves her and takes a walk.

Howard enters the kitchen and finds Bernadette still mad at him. Howard says that he just didn't want to worry her. She translates that as he didn't want to get caught. Bernadette doesn't want him to get hurt and find herself raising two children and one large vegetable. Howard didn't want to feel emasculated and to experience the freedom of his youth. Bernadette reminded him that he lived with his mother and had a curfew.

Howard sells the scooter to their friend Bert the geologist, who loves it. Bert drives off and immediately has an accident.

Sheldon is seeking advice from Leonard and Penny since he doesn't know how to console Amy. Leonard tells him that sometimes all you can do is be there for them. Penny adds that Amy has always been taking care of him and that maybe he should do that it return. Sheldon decides to have an emotional breakdown so that Amy can forget about her problems and take care of him.


Amy waking up from her nightmare.

Sheldon returns telling Amy that he needs her help since he is literally losing his brain|mind. He wants her to focus on him, but she has no time for whatever Sheldon is trying to do. Sheldon then admits that he doesn't know how to help her and Amy says that she doesn't know what to do either. Sheldon sits next her and takes her in his arms. Amy looks much better and Sheldon then sings to her “Soft Kitty”.

Bernadette is adding up the money that Howard got from Bert and he was $20 short. Howard gives up the last bill. Selling it was not a whole loss because Bert did get the phone number of an ER nurse after he woke up.

Amy returns to Janine Davis’ office. She agreed that the Nobel Prize is bigger than she is and like it or not, she is a role model. Still she does not want to be left out on the sidelines as she is a strong, capable, smart woman and can make a difference. Janine agrees with her and offers Amy a seat. How about a drink of water? Amy wants something with some extra kick. Janine denies that she does that in Human Resources, but does close the door and offers her a hard drink – without ice.



  • Title Reference: The title refers to Sheldon and Amy using the isolation tanks to calm down and also limit thinking about their Nobel Prize work.
  • Taping date: March 12, 2019
  • This episode was watched by 12.22 million people with a rating of 2.0 (adults 18–49).
  • This episode aired in Canada on April 18, 2019.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card. [1]


  • To be entered.
  • IMDb user review [2]


  • Fifth episode of the last ten episodes.
  • Only non flashback appearance of Regina King since she won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for "If Beale Street Could Talk".
  • Marie Curie aka Madame Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Physics.
  • Amy would only be the fourth woman in history who won the Nobel Prize for Physics.
    • In real life, that honor went to astronomer Andrea M. Ghez in 2020 "for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy".
  • In the Sensory Deprivation Tank Sheldon calms down while Amy's fears are magnified.
  • President Siebert is very mad at the conduct of his two Nobel Prize contenders.
  • Sheldon is not above blaming Amy for her outburst.
  • Sheldon can't figure out how to calm a very stressed wife.
  • Howard had a curfew when he lived with his mother at 18 is just a rumor. He stayed out way late, when he was living with her early seasons. Mostly Howard still wanted to move out when his mother made his life a living hell.
    • Howard corrected Bernadette that it wasn't a curfew but it was a time of night where if he got home after that, her mother would be mad at him.


Howard: This is a twist. Usually you’re the one called into H.R.
Raj: Yeah, now it’s Amy. Who knew you we’re married to such a bad girl.
Sheldon: I suppose the signs were always there. I mean. She did recently go to that rave in the mall.
Amy: It was a Spenser Gifts.
Sheldon: There was music and a strobe light. If that isn’t a rave, then I don’t know what one is.
Leonard: You don’t know what one is.

President Siebert: This is all my fault. I assumed you knew the Nobel Prize was good and we wanted to win it, that’s on me.

Raj: Well, does that take me back.
Howard:: Yeah, the two of us, cruising around town looking for women,
Raj: Looking and looking and looking. Remember that time one looked back and said hi?
Howard: Oh yeah. We drove away so fast.

Amy: So apparently, if we win, I’ll be the fourth woman ever to win the Nobel in Physics.
Penny: Wow that is a big deal

Sheldon: I’m sorry. I know you’re upset and I don’t know how to make it better.
Amy: I don’t know how you can either, I mean, I don’t know if anybody can. I just…I feek like I’m letting everybody down.
Sheldon: I’m about to hold you. Would you like to smell my hand first?
Amy: I’m fine. [They embrace.] [Sigh] Thank-you.
Sheldon: Soft kitty, warm, little all of fur. Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr, purr, purr, purr.
Amy: That helps.
Sheldon: Shh. I’m singing.
Amy: Oh.
Sheldon: Soft kitty, warm, little all of fur…