This year brings with it the end of an era. No, not Avengers: Endgame nor Star Wars: Episode IX. Come May, The Big Bang Theory will air its final episode ever, bringing the screen antics of Leonard, Penny, Sheldon, and company to a close.
While twelve seasons and 268 episodes might not quite rank Big Bang as the longest running sitcom of all time, the Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady created series is up there. Over twenty million viewers watched the show at its peak in the US alone and its global fan base is huge.
For those who have spent the last twelve years under a rock, The Big Bang Theory is a CBS comedy about a group of scientists, and their aspiring actress friend, who live in Pasadena, revel in geek culture, and regularly get into hilarious misdemeanors. Each episode is excessively titled to resemble a pseudo-scientific principle and balances quick wit with genuine science.
Over the years, the cast has expanded from five to a ensemble of nine regulars, including Melissa Rauch’s Bernadette and Kevin Sussman’s Stuart, the hapless owner of the gang’s local comic book store. In the face of growing accusation that the show’s become repetitive and tired, it’s barreled on regardless.
References and Easter eggs, not to mention some mind-boggling star cameos, have littered the show from day one but, with so many to catch, it’s all too easy to regularly miss the best of them.
With this in mind, we’ve scoured the show’s back catalogue to search where no fan has searched before and found
29325 Little Things Fans Completely Missed In The Big Bang Theory.
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Howard wears turtle necks, Raj favours a cardigan and Leonard likes his polos topped with an unbuttoned shirt. When it comes to clothing on The Big Bang Theory, consistency rules.
Sheldon, in this regard, is no different and can usually be found sporting a short-sleeved t-shirt over a long one with its sleeves rolled up.
There is, however, a fun theory that suggests the colors of Sheldon’s top layer tee is far from random. The theory states that Sheldon wears red when he’s angry, orange when he’s greedy, yellow when he’s afraid, blue when he’s hopeful, purple when he’s in love, indigo when being compassionate, and green when his willpower is strong.
Whilst this doesn’t always work, it’s a very convincing theory in many an episode.
23. Amy’s Flat Number Was Math Famous
Now that Amy and Sheldon live together, it’s easy to forget that not so long ago Amy had an apartment of her own. It was there that the pair kissed for the very first time – in ‘The Agreement Dissection’ – and there that Sheldon presented Amy with their first Relationship Agreement.
One little thing fans might not have noticed, however, is that Amy’s old apartment number was no coincidental digit. The number on Amy’s door qA 314, which are also the first three numbers in the mathematical constant ‘Pi’. The full number is 3.14592653589793238462643383279502… and so on
22. Penny’s Fridge Gives The Game Away
Most TV shows do their best to hide the fact that they’re not actually real – give or take the odd in-joke and reference – but there’s one Easter Egg in The Big Bang Theory that gave the game away for any fan prepared to look close enough.
Back when Penny lived across the hall in apartment 4B, she covered her fridge in photographs. It was a nice touch, but what you might not have realized is that in these photographs were members of the cast and crew of the show. Some of them moved with her to 4A too.
21. Sheldon’s Favorite Number
Sheldon really loves the number 73. While he didn’t explain his reasoning until the show’s seventy-third episode – ‘The Alien Parasite Hypothesis’ – the clues had been present for quite a long time. This was particularly clear in just how many t-shirts Sheldon owns with the number on it.
So, what’s so special about 73? In Sheldon’s own words: “73 is the 21st prime number. Its mirror, 37, is the 12th and its mirror, 21, is the product of multiplying 7 and 3”. In binary, 73 is a palindrome too and it’s also the year in which Jim Parsons was born! Neat, right?
20. Where’d Your Voice Go, Bernadette?
Melissa Rauch joined The Big Bang Theory back in the show’s third season. At that time, she worked at The Cheesecake Factory and was set up for a relationship with Howard by her colleague Penny. By the following season, Bernadette was a series regular and before long the two married.
One little thing fans may not have noticed, however, is that Bernadette’s voice wasn’t originally as high pitched as it is these days. As it transpires, Rauch was encouraged to change her voice when she became a regular to distinguish her with co-star Kaley Cuoco.
19. Penny’s Missing Something Important
What’s Penny’s last name? Wrack your brain and Google it as much as you like, but you won’t find the answer and for very good reason. In the show’s early days, it was just chance that no one ever mentioned Penny’s surname but, as the series ran on, the decision became more significant.
Executive producer Steve Molaro has put it down to superstition, suggesting that the root of the show’s success may well be down to their never having revealed Penny’s name. Since marrying Leonard at the close of season eight, however, Penny has become a Hofstadter.
18. A lot Happens In The Laundry Room
The Laundry Room has been a staple of The Big Bang Theory since the first season. Whilst most of the characters in the show – and the human race, as it goes – do their laundry as and when they need to, Sheldon does his at 8.15pm on Saturdays.
One little thing fans might not have noticed in the Laundry Room is the tiny note on the wall that suggests that Sheldon isn’t the only resident in the building with eccentric habits. The note – which wasn’t there in the room’s first appearance – reads: ‘Please keep your clothes on while doing laundry’. Interesting…
10. Amy Has Two Moms
Recent series of The Big Bang Theory have seen Kathy Bates join the show as Amy’s mother with increasing regularity. As wonderful as Bates is in the dour role, one little thing fans of the show completely missed is that Mrs. Fowler was originally played by a completely different actor.
Amy’s mother first appeared in the show during its fourth season, where she was played by Annie O’Donnell. After just a handful of episodes, the character disappeared from the show until season ten – by which point Bates had taken over.
9. Leonard And Sheldon Are Tribute Names
Now well-known across the world, Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper’s names were inspired by three key figures in the history of science and television. Robert Hofstadter was the winner of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work in the field of electrons. Leon Cooper was a fellow Nobel Prize Laureate, known for discovering ‘the Cooper pair.’
The character’s first names, meanwhile, were created in honor of American film and television producer, director, writer, and actor Sheldon Leonard. In a quirky twist, Johnny Galecki was originally top choice for the role of Sheldon but felt he was better suited to Leonard.
8. The Props Got A Lot Geekier
From Doctor Who and The Flash to Star Trek and Batman, the characters in The Big Bang Theory love their film, television, and comic book memorabilia. As such, in any given episode of the show, it is usually possible to spot the odd posable action figure somewhere in the background.
What you may not realize, however, is that pop culture props weren’t always so prominent on the show. Sure, the first half of season one was full of references, but Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment was relatively sparse on Daleks and Norse hammers until ‘The Nerdvana Annihilation’. Originally, the flatmates preferred scientific clutter.
7. Sheldon’s Mothers Are Related
All the best US sitcoms get spin-offs and The Big Bang Theory is no different. Unlike Joey and The Cleveland Show, Young Sheldon is actually good. One thing you might not have noticed in the sibling shows is how well Young Sheldon did in casting a young version of Laurie Metcalf’s Mary Cooper.
In Young Sheldon, Sheldon’s mom is played by Zoe Perry, an actress remarkably similar to Metcalf. As it turns out, this isn’t actually a coincidence, with Perry being Metcalf’s real-life daughter.
Big Bang isn’t even the first time mother and daughter have played the same character at different ages. Perry’s very first acting role was as Metcalf junior in Roseanne.
6. The Laundry They Do Isn’t Random
While we’ve already established that The Big Bang Theory’s laundry room is home to unusual signage, there’s more than one Easter egg to be found down there. This one’s very easy to completely miss though – especially if the series’ episodes are viewed out of order.
It might seem like the laundry we see Sheldon, Leonard, and Penny doing is random – and usually to facilitate some hilarious conversation – it actually transpires that the clothes the characters are cleaning match up to those worn in the previous episode. Now that’s dedication to continuity.
5. Leonard’s Glasses Come With A Twist
Hold onto your hats, this piece of Big Bang trivia will blow your mind – not even the most hard-core fans have spotted it! Ever since the show’s very first episode, Leonard has sported spectacles. It was actually Johnny Galecki who suggested that the character ought to.
The little thing fans completely missed, in this case, is that those distinctive glasses of Leonard’s don’t actually have any glass. During a recent Build Series interview, Galecki revealed that the original lenses were found to reflect too much studio lighting glare; to solve the problem, they had to go.
4. Sheldon’s Referential Judge
In the same episode that the late Stan Lee made his Big Bang debut, the show’s writers slipped in a sly reference that flew right over the heads of the average fan. While Lee is widely credited as the creator of some of the most iconic superheroes in comic book history, another name pops up often in the hero hall of fame.
Jack Kirby was key to the creation of Marvel’s Fantastic Four, X-Men, and the Hulk in his time with company. Having sadly passed away over a decade before the arrival of The Big Bang Theory there was no chance of Kirby making an appearance but that didn’t stop the show naming the judge who sent Sheldon to jail – for being in contempt of court – after him.
You won’t find it online anymore, but earlier in The Big Bang Theory’s history the in-show comic book store, run by Kevin Sussman’s Stuart Bloom, had a real website. Officially named ‘The Comic Center of Pasadena’, Stuart’s store didn’t appear in the show until towards the end of its second season. Five seasons later, it burned down, but recent seasons have seen it rebuilt and thriving thanks to a donation by Howard’s mom.
As a tie-in with the store’s increasing presence on the show, a real website was set up under the domain: thecomiccenter.com. On the site, fans could buy Big Bang props and just about everything the store might happen to sell.
Incidentally, did you know that the Comic Store was owned by an unseen character called Larry in the show’s first season?
2. Sheldon’s Wedding Get-Up
Who’d have guessed Sheldon was ever going to wind up happily married? Certainly not his family and friends. And yet, come ‘The Bow Tie Asymmetry’ #Shamy finally tied the knot and hearts melted the world over, proving that Sheldon had indeed grown over the course of the series.
But that didn’t mean Sheldon wasn’t still his unique self and there were some little touches hidden away in his wedding get up that many fans completely missed. For instance, did you spot Sheldon’s Flash-themed socks and cuff-links?
17. Did You Count The Images In The Title?
While every fan knows that The Big Bang Theory’s iconic theme music – ‘The History of Everything’ – was written for the show by Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies, there are one or two things about the opening scroll that you may not have noticed.
The track was written by the band’s co-lead singer Ed Robertson after producers spotted him free-styling a rap about the origins of the Universe at a concert in LA. 109 images appear in The Big Bang Theory’s opening, including snaps of the dinosaurs, pyramids, the Great Wall, and the space race.
16. Raiders Of The Lost Easter Egg
The Big Bang Theory is renowned for its science-talk and engagement with contemporary developments in physics. To make sure the characters get their facts right, the show has employed UCLA professor David Saltzberg since day one. In recent years, he’s been helped too by bone fide neuroscientist Mayim Bialik.
This adherence to accuracy goes right down to the many whiteboards that appear on the show. Indeed, the only time The Big Bang Theory got its science wrong was in the episode ‘The Raiders Minimization’, where real equations were swapped out in favor of ones used in Raiders of the Lost Ark. This was also the episode in which Amy ruined Indiana Jones forever…
15. Star Wars Is Never Far, Far Away…
A list of Star Wars references in The Big Bang Theory could probably fill a book. While some of these were hard to miss – like the Carrie Fisher and James Earl Jones’ roles in ‘The Convention Conundrum’ or Sheldon’s LEGO Death Star in ‘The Isolation Permutation’ – others are hidden in plain sight.
Arguably the best secret Star Wars reference came in ‘The Pants Alternative’. This was the episode in which Sheldon overcame his fear of public speaking with the help of liquid courage. The next morning, Sheldon wakes up to discover a video of his inebriated antics on YouTube. In the top right corner of his screen, we learn that his username is ‘ob1’ – in honor of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
14. Wil Wheaton Lives In A Reference
If you thought the number of Amy’s apartment was the geekiest numerical reference in The Big Bang Theory then you clearly missed the brilliant nod to Wil Wheaton’s past Star Trek fame on the door to his home on the show.
Wheaton has played himself in Big Bang ever since he was revealed to be among Sheldon’s enemies in the third season. Prior to this, Wheaton was known for his role as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The New Generation. On that show, he was a resident of the NCC-1701 starship. His house number in Big Bang is… 1701 of course!
13. Howard’s Special Ringtone
A Billboard Hot 100 in 1982 for Thomas Dolby, the song ‘She Blinded Me with Science’ was very nearly The Big Bang Theory’s theme tune. Instead of the fast-talking Barenaked Ladies tune fans know (off by heart) and love, the show’s unaired pilot episode featured Dolby’s electronic beat.
While the song was ultimately dropped, the showrunners would later pay tribute to Dolby by featuring it in a number of episodes – such as ‘The Vegas Renormalization’ and ‘The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary’ – as Howard’s ringtone.
12. The 4A Apartment Flag
Living with Sheldon comes with rules, regulations and, of course, a lengthy contract. There is one perk, though, the camaraderie of living under an apartment flag. First introduced in ‘The Staircase Implementation’, the Apartment 4A insignia is so important to Sheldon that, when filming ‘Fun with Flags’, he flies it alongside the American flag.
What you may not have noticed is that the flag also appears in magnet form on the apartment’s fridge. Further still, whenever there’s an argument going on in the apartment, the flag magnet flips upset down.
11. Count The Blossom References
While it’s common knowledge that Mayim Bialik – who plays Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Bang Theory – has a Ph.D. in neuroscience, she’s also been acting since 1987. Bialik’s longest-lasting role pre-Amy was as the title character NBC sitcom Blossom. It’s a part that’s been referenced many times in the later show.
Even before Bialik joined the show, Raj referenced ‘the girl who played TV’s Blossom’. A few seasons later, meanwhile, Sheldon and Amy are seen to list ‘Blossom and Joey’ in their list of potential Halloween couples concerts.
25. 268 Big Bang Vanity Cards
The Big Bang Theory is just one of many sitcoms to come from the mind of Chuck Lorre. Among Lorre’s other hits are Roseanne, Mike & Molly, and Mom. The one thing that each has in common is the so-called ‘vanity card’ that appears for one second at the end of every episode.
These are blink and you’ll miss ‘em Easter eggs, but Big Bang has accumulated hundreds over the years. Only eagle-eyed fans have spotted them but the rest of you can catch up on Lorre’s own website.
1. The Costumes Are Exclusively DC
While no corner of geekdom is left unreferenced by the writers of The Big Bang Theory, one little thing you may not have noticed is that the superhero costumes on the show all lean one way. It’s often said that comic book fans are either Team Marvel or Team DC. If this is true, Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj are all Team DC.
In season one episode ‘The Middle-Earth Paradigm’, the group each chose the Flash as their go-to Halloween costume. Three seasons later it was the Justice League, not The Avengers, that the cast dressed up as in ‘The Justice League Recombination’.
There is motive behind the madness. Whilst Big Bang is broadcast on CBS, it’s a Warner Bros. production – just like the DCEU. It makes sense then that the show has DC rights but not Marvel.