The Big Bang Theory (2007–2019)
4 user 1 critic

The Killer Robot Instability 

Howard becomes depressed after Penny makes a cruel statement about his love life, while the rest of the guys prepare for a grudge killer robot duel against an obnoxious colleague at the university.


Mark Cendrowski


Chuck Lorre (created by), Bill Prady (created by) | 4 more credits »


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Episode complete credited cast:
Johnny Galecki ... Leonard Hofstadter
Jim Parsons ... Sheldon Cooper
Kaley Cuoco ... Penny
Simon Helberg ... Howard Wolowitz
Kunal Nayyar ... Raj Koothrappali
Carol Ann Susi ... Debbie Wolowitz (voice)
John Ross Bowie ... Barry Kripke


After Howard makes the latest in a long string of inappropriate comments to Penny in what he considers their courting ritual, Penny in return tells Howard in no uncertain terms that they are not dating nor ever will date. She makes a hurtful comment back to him. Depressed by Penny's comment, Howard retreats, not wanting to see or speak to anyone. This is bad timing for Leonard, Sheldon and Raj, who along with Howard, are entered into a killer robot competition. Being the engineer, Howard is the chief designer and builder of their entry, named MONTE (the mobile omnidirectional neutralization & termination eradicator). The stakes are even higher with a pre-competition "robot to the death" challenge by fellow nerd, Barry Kripke. Leonard pleads with Penny to apologize to Howard to get him out of his funk. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


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Did You Know?


This marks the first appearance of Barry Kripke, played by John Ross Bowie. See more »


When trash talking, and Kripke suggests a private battle, his reasoning is that "there's no guarantee we'll face each other in the round robin." "Round Robin" is a tournament structure which results in all competitors facing each other throughout the rounds, so they would in fact be guaranteed to face each other. See more »


[first lines]
Howard Wolowitz: All right, that's the last servo. Behold, the Mobile Omnidirectional Neutralization and Termination Eradicator, or
Howard WolowitzLeonard HofstadterSheldon CooperRajesh Koothrappali: Monte.
[pronounced monty]
Howard Wolowitz: Featuring one articulated razor-sharp killing saw, one polycarbonate grinding and flipping wheel, steel armor-plate exo-skeleton top and bottom, and enough horsepower to drive a hundred-and-ten pounds of mechanized death from zero to holy crap in four-point-eight seconds.
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Crazy Credits

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #235 FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION (spoiler alert) It's that time of the year when movie studios seeking Oscar nominations for their films start asking for my consideration. Every trade ad and mailing begins with the words, "For your consideration." It's kind of a Hollywood tradition. Anyway, this is what I've considered so far: Milk (a well-meaning gay guy is shot to death by a homophobe), Doubt (A really mean nun accuses a really terrific priest of being a pedophile), Revolutionary Road (a married couple fight a lot, cheat on each other, then the wife bleeds to death following a botched abortion), Slumdog Millionaire (incredibly poor kids subjected to unthinkable evil, but with a happy ending), Defiance (starving Jews fight Nazis in the woods), The Wrestler (a broken-down, over-the-hill wrestler on steroids has a tough life), Changeling (a woman's son is abducted and the police put her in an insane asylum), Gran Torino (a dying widower commits suicide to help his neighbor), Benjamin Button (a guy grows old in reverse and then dies), Rachel Getting Married (a drug addict kills her baby brother and then pisses off her family during a wedding), and The Reader (Nazi atrocities, under-age sex and illiteracy prove to be a lethal combo). So, what am I considering? Well, for a moment or two I actually considered hanging myself. But then I thought, if I do that, the movies win. See more »


References Milk (2008) See more »


Marcy Grossman
Performed to the tune of "My Girl"
Music & original lyrics by Smokey Robinson & Ronald White
Performed by Simon Helberg
[Howard sings the song to Penny, while she is trying to comfort him in his bedroom]
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User Reviews

The Beauty Insensitivity
28 December 2009 | by ttapolaSee all my reviews

As another user commented, this "is another quite funny episode", but it touches upon a subject that is very real, very painful and very inappropriate to milk for comedy. Let's call this The Beauty Insensitivity.

The Beauty Insensitivity goes something like this: Beautiful and popular girls often don't even realize they are hurting someone's feelings when they reject, or worse, say something hurtful to a person who to them is "just some weird geek". To them, the concept of living in a world where you are over the years subjected to ridicule time after time is so alien it is practically unfathomable. One girl, who was 20 at the time, told me that she had been picked upon only *once* during her *twelve years* of school. I haven't asked for an update of her years in an University, but it's a pretty good guess she hasn't been picked on while studying there.

Being on the receiving end of The Beauty Insensitivity is painful and can, when being subjected to often enough, lead to complete incapability to what we call "normal" social relationships. It is a very serious problem in our current beauty-obsessed world and there exists a similar phenomenon hurtful for girls that we could call The Wallpaper Imperceptibility - the one you see often discussed about on TV, while the harmful obsession with beauty is ironically created by all media.

It would be commendable to pay as much attention to The Beauty Insensitivity as is paid to The Wallpaper Imperceptibility, but neither should be made fun of. And that's exactly what this episode does. On top of that, there is a certain scene that only reinforces the pain caused by The Beauty Insensitivity, leading us to the conclusion that girls apologizing for their Beauty Insensitivity still will always look down upon "geeks". And while that is probably largely true in the real world, it offends me that it is used to "comedic" effect here. I was not laughing and I bet there were a lot of "geek" viewers of this show that weren't laughing either. This episode is an unwelcoming stain in an otherwise excellent series. I'm hoping this was just an Inevitable Continuum Anomaly.

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Release Date:

12 January 2009 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
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