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Recap / The Big Bang Theory S 3 E 16 The Excelsior Acquisition

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Stan Lee will be making an appearance at the comic book store. Unfortunately, Sheldon has to appear in traffic court the same day.


  • Actually Pretty Funny: The guys get annoyed by Raj's sound T-shirt, but when he follows Howard's line about Sheldon being guilty with the Law & Order "Thunk-thunk!" sound, they all laugh, and Howard admits that he liked that one.
  • Adam Westing: Stan Lee cameos as himself as being a grumpy Deadpan Snarker who easily loses his temper (though it's a bit more understandable with Sheldon than with Raj).
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  • Alliterative Name: Raj plans to ask Stan Lee about his use of them, and recites a long list of Marvel characters with alliterative names to prove his point.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Sheldon's luck after his court trial fits this trope: he had to pay $533 for the ticket, he now earned 2 points on a driver's license he does not yet possess and he missed getting to meet Stan Lee.
  • Artistic License – Law: "I am unable to confront my accuser, a non-human entity, to wit, a camera." This is possibly a parody of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Court Martial", in which a similar line of argumentation is used with regards to Captain Kirk's accuser being a computer.
  • Berserk Button: Asking Stan Lee about his use of Alliterative Names for his characters seems to be one for him. Raj pisses him off when he asks him about it to the point where Stan doesn't give him the same autograph as Leonard and Howard, and is the only member of the group not allowed to call him "Stan".
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  • Big "SHUT UP!": At the end of the episode when Raj is giving a Long List of characters with Alliterative Names created by Stan Lee, Howard interrupts him by screaming at him "Would you just let it go?!"
  • Breather Episode: Nothing bad really happens to Leonard, the show's primary Butt-Monkey, in this episode.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Sheldon lashes out at the traffic court judge with demeaning insults; the outcome is predictable.
  • The Cameo: Stan Lee
  • Continuity Nod: Sheldon was photographed running a red light to take Penny to the hospital, which occurred back in "The Adhesive Duck Deficiency".
  • Courtroom Episode: Most of the episode is about Sheldon preparing for, then blowing his trial at traffic court.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The jailer whom Sheldon had to argue with about where the bathroom is.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Sheldon, after breaking into Stan Lee's home when he misunderstands a sarcastic statement from him, happily gets the latter's autograph in restraining order form and is able to "hang out" with Lee again for another court trial.
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  • A Fool for a Client: Sheldon represents himself in court. It goes as well as you expect.
    Leonard: Sheldon's in jail?... For what?
    Penny: What do you think? For doing the same crap he usually does, but to a judge.
  • Foreshadowing: Howard when he expresses his sentiment on Sheldon's plan to resist paying the fine.
    Howard: Okay, he's going to jail.
  • Fun T-Shirt: Raj wears a shirt with a sound box that plays various musical cues and sound effects. The others, however quickly get annoyed by it.
  • Idiot Ball: It never comes to Sheldon's mind that the judge has the authority to throw him in jail for contempt of court.
  • Implausible Deniability: At first, Penny denies her involvement in Sheldon running a red light, even when Sheldon points out she's in the traffic camera's picture with him.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Sheldon addresses the traffic camera that recorded his moving violation as his accuser even while admitting the camera is, as he worded it, a non-human entity. The camera is merely evidence. Sheldon's accuser is, of course, the state of California.
  • "Jeopardy!" Thinking Music: One of the sounds on Raj's T-shirt.
    Leonard: I can't decide if I want Stan Lee to sign my Journey into Mystery 83, first appearances of Thor, or my Fantastic Four number 5, first appearance of Doctor Doom.
    Raj: [Plays Jeopardy! music]
    Leonard: Hmm... Alex, I'm going to go with: What is you're a dumb ass?
  • Jerkass Ball: Penny was handed the ball when she tried to deny that the night where Sheldon drove her to the hospital ever happened.
  • Karma Houdini: Penny very much gets away with her moving violation by having passed the blame onto Sheldon and doesn't pay a penny to Sheldon as compensation or lose her driver's license. The worst that's happened to her is that she got forced by Sheldon to tag along with him to court, but she thinks even that is undeserved punishment. She also runs away before Stan Lee's guards can get her when she takes Sheldon to his house without an appointment.
  • Never My Fault: Sheldon makes a fuss when he is summoned to court and stubbornly claims he is not guilty, preparing an entire speech in his defense instead of just paying a fine and moving on. When he arrives at court he gives a lackluster defense for himself and when the judge immediately declares him guilty he starts insulting the judge, which ends up getting him thrown in jail for contempt of court. After he is released for apologizing and pays his fine he still believes that the apology was an undeserved one and he blames Penny for all of the misfortune he suffered and being unable to meet Stan Lee, even though he caused it all himself for not sucking it up and paying the fine when he was told to.
  • Reality Ensues: In the end, after getting the information out of Stewart, Penny tries to make amends with Sheldon by taking him to see Stan Lee at his house...though without actual permission, they're treated as well as you would expect two trespassers on a celebrity's property to be.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: You can tell that the traffic court judge was actually being very patient with Sheldon's poor behavior and was far more merciful to Sheldon than you'd expect from a typical judge.
  • Rule of Three: Raj recites long lists of Marvel characters with alliterative names thrice in the episode.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: While Stan Lee berates Sheldon and Penny for trespassing on his property, he states "Why don't I just invite you in to watch the big game?", which Sheldon interprets as an actual invitation and leads directly to Stan calling for his security guards.
  • The Trouble with Tickets: Sheldon contests his ticket rather than pay the $533 fine, as Penny suggested. He ends up being jailed for contempt of court.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: How does Penny try to compensate Sheldon for driving her to the hospital? By 1) denying it ever happened over and over, 2) making Sheldon earn the points (that she obviously deserves) on his driver's license that has yet to come into fruition, 3) offering to write him a bad check, and 4) taking him to see Stan Lee at his house, which gets him another court date for trespassing.
  • With Friends Like These...: Sheldon is really put off that his friends would rather go see Stan Lee rather than be by his side during his court day, especially since it means they'd be going without him. Though since he is normally the one this trope applies to, this is more of a case of Laser-Guided Karma, since chances are if any of them were in his situation he would have abandoned them to go see Stan Lee himself too.

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