After an extremely popular 12-year run that made it the longest-running laugh track sitcom in TV history, The Big Bang Theory comes to an end this week. Here’s a look into the world of those nerdy Caltech scientists and their sci-fi-memorabilia filled apartments.
Any sitcom worth its meddle generates a catchphrase, and for The Big Bang Theory it’s “Bazinga!” Sheldon Cooper says it as a form of “I win!” or “gotcha!” It originated in the Big Bang writers room. Writer Stephen Engel would play practical jokes on his coworkers, and when he’d get somebody good, he’d shout “Bazinga!”
Midway through the show’s run, former Blossom star Mayim Bialik joined the cast as neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler. In real life, Bialik took a few years off of acting to get her Ph.D in neuroscience. That fun fact popped around Hollywood…and wound up in a first season episode of The Big Bang Theory. (When Sheldon quits the gang’s physics bowl team, Raj suggests their recruit “the girl who played TV’s Blossom
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The show made a star out of Jim Parsons, who won four Emmy Awards, and returned Roseanne teen star Johnny Galecki to TV. It’s hard to imagine the show without one or both of them, but at least one of them wasn’t producers’ first choice. According to Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin, the show’s creators wanted him bad. He turned them down three separate times because he didn’t think the show sounded any good. “The way the pitch was, ‘Alright, these two astrophysicist nerds and a pretty girl lives with them. Yoinks!’ That was the pitch,” Culkin said on The Joe Roman Experience.
The theme song
The show’s original, 30-second-long theme song was written and recorded by Canadian pop band Barenaked Ladies. They never released it as a single, but fans loved the song so much that they went back into the studio to record a full-length version, and included it on their greatest hits album. They even play it live.
From the mind of Chuck Lorre
The Big Bang Theory comes from the mind of veteran TV writer Chuck Lorre, who created Two and a Half Men and Grace Under Fire. Despite that track record, Jim Parsons had never heard of the guy. His agent sent him on an audition to The Big Bang Theory with the knowledge that it was Chuck Lorre’s new show; Parsons thought his agent meant the series was the creation of Chuck Woolery…the game show host. (He was subsequently quite skeptical of auditioning.)
Penny’s last name
One of the show’s many running gags: the last name of Penny (or at least her name before she got married) has never been revealed. In advance of the show’s finale, the show’s writers revealed that they would not be sharing that information in the last episode.