The Einstein Approximation Season 3, Episode 14 -  Aired February 1, 2010

The Einstein Approximation

When Sheldon's struggle with a physics problem keeps him awake for days on end, he decides to free his mind by taking a menial job. After failing to find gainful employment anywhere else, Sheldon starts work at the Cheesecake Factory with Penny.

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Guest Stars: Melissa Rauch as Bernadette, Yeardley Smith as Sandy, Kevin Brief as Glen

Writers: Lee Aronsohn (Story), Dave Goetsch (Story), Steve Holland (Story), Chuck Lorre (Teleplay), Steven Molaro (Teleplay), Eric Kaplan (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 15.44 million Households Rating: 10/14 Adults 18-49 Rating: 5.4/13

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to Sheldon approximately following Albert Einstein's lead by taking a menial job, freeing his mind up to work on higher problems. Albert Einstein developed his theory of special relativity while working at a patent office.

> Bazinga

Sheldon says Bazinga multiple times as he tries to escape from Leonard in a ball pit.

> Sheldon's Knock

Sheldon uses his knock when he goes to wake up Leonard and Penny in Leonard's bedroom in the middle of the night.

Episode Quotes

Raj: Okay, just to be clear, roller skating was my idea, and I'm very unhappy that you turned it into a double date. I hope you both fall on your asses and break your coccyxes.
Sheldon: The plural of coccyx is coccyges.
Raj: Screw you. Give me back my lima beans.

Leonard: Penny, I told you if you don't put him in his crate at night, he just runs around the apartment.

Leonard: Black beans, not pinto beans?
Sheldon: Yes.
Leonard: Double guacamole?
Sheldon: Of course.
Leonard: Lettuce shredded, not chopped?
Sheldon: Yes.
Leonard: No cilantro?
Sheldon: Nope.
Leonard: You understand why I'm doing this to you?
Sheldon: I do.
Leonard: That will be all.

Penny: What happened?
Leonard: Sheldon's escaped and he's terrorizing the village.

Sheldon: Oh, by the way, I was watching you sleep for a moment, and I noticed that your snoring seems to be worse when you're on your back.
Penny: Leonard doesn't snore.
Sheldon: I wasn't talking to Leonard.
Leonard (to Penny): Told ya.


Penny wakes to find Sheldon trying to engage the superior colliculus of his brain because he's stuck on a physics problem. When Leonard wakes up, he suggests that Sheldon try a "fresh start", so Sheldon throws his whiteboard out of the window. The next day at the cafeteria, Sheldon is still obsessing over the problem. When Raj turns up, he suggests they go to Disco Night at the Moonlight Rollerway. Leonard and Howard like the idea and decide to make it a double-date with Penny and Bernadette. Raj is upset at being the fifth wheel and decides not to go.

Penny and Bernadette return home for the Disco Night and are deeply embarrassed about Howard and Leonard, who actually seem proud of their dance moves. When entering the apartment, Penny and Leonard slip on marbles that Sheldon had spread on the floor to visualize his physics problem. Bernadette realizes that Sheldon is tired and instructs him to get to bed, reminding him what a lack of sleep does to cognitive function.

In the middle of the night, Leonard gets a phone call from a security officer at a nearby children's place. Sheldon has broken in and is in the ball pit. Leonard tells Sheldon to come home, but he plays a game of hide and seek instead. Sheldon wakes Penny and Leonard up to tell them that he's found the solution to his problem - he will look for a menial job to free his mind. The next day, Sheldon goes to the job center and tries to apply for several menial jobs, but he annoys the clerk and she calls security.

Penny is working at the Cheesecake Factory and soon encounters Sheldon, who is "volunteering" as a busboy. Sheldon serves Leonard, Howard and Raj. When Sheldon drops a tray of dirty dishes, he suddenly sees the answer to his physics problem. He leaves the mess and his "job" behind. Finally, Raj finally gets the roller skating experience he wanted with Howard.