‘The Big Bang Theory’: Raj’s Lady Problems Are Inspired By a Real Person’s Dating Woe

The Big Bang Theory was tremendously popular, and a lot of that fan response hinged on the relatability of its quirky characters. The chemistry between the characters — and the actors who portrayed them — definitely made its way onto the screen in an endearing way.

By the time that the show wrapped up in 2019, it had drawn in a huge mass of fans, and 18 million people tuned in for the hour-long finale. That’s a real accomplishment for any show, but it’s especially impressive in an era when primetime network television has more and more competition from streaming services.


Perhaps part of what made The Big Bang Theory so relatable was how it drew from real-life experiences. One of these times was in the writing of Raj’s relationship woes.

‘The Big Bang Theory’ explored nerd culture

The Big Bang Theory has garnered praise for daring to go where few television shows had been before — deep into nerd culture. The series premiered in 2007 and revolved around two brilliant astrophysicists named Leonard and Sheldon.

Sheldon is depicted as being very exacting and rigid in his approach to the world, and his portrayal has brought up the debate on whether it was a positive portrayal of neurodiversity or a mockery of cognitive differences. The best friends live across the hall from Penny, an aspiring actress whose appearance in their lives helps provide the catalyst for the show.

Along the way, fans get to see the relationships unfold between not just these three neighbors but also several of the astrophysicists’ equally brilliant friends. This provides plenty of opportunities to explore nerd culture in all its glory. Several of the actors deeply identified with the nerdy characteristics of their own characters, helping to add authenticity and charm to the parts.

Raj faced many dating woes on ‘The Big Bang Theory’

Raj (Kunal Nayyar) in the season finale of
Raj (Kunal Nayyar) in the season finale of ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ | Matt Kennedy/CBS ©2011 CBS

One of the secondary characters on The Big Bang Theory was Raj, a fellow astrophysicist at CalTech along with Leonard and Sheldon.

Raj — who is portrayed by Kunal Nayyar — comes from an extremely wealthy family, and his generous allowance from his parents allows him to live a pretty fun and luxurious lifestyle. He’s got a fortune at his disposal, a great job, and close friends, but the one area of his life that wasn’t really working for him was the romantic one.

When the series ends, Raj is still single, and the series showed Raj’s many ups and downs (mostly downs) with the dating scene. It’s particularly hard to see Raj fail at finding love because — unlike some of the other male scientists who all started the show out single — Raj really was looking for true love.

At first, Raj is too nervous to even speak to women, but he eventually works through that fear. Along the way, he dates a few women, but things always fizzle out.

Eventually, Raj gives up on dating and asks his parents to find a match for him. That winds up in an engagement, but when his would-be wife moves to London, he chooses not to go with her. The rest of the quartet end up married, but Raj has no such luck — at least not by the finale.

Raj’s love life was based on a real experience

As is often the case for compelling art, there was a basis in reality for Raj’s fictional tale of woe. As Good Housekeeping reports, the story came from executive producer Bill Prady. It wasn’t Prady’s own experience, though. He was drawing from a former co-worker who wasn’t able to muster up the courage to speak to women unless he was drunk.

That same shy quality was written into Raj’s story and became a big part of his relationship woes. Hopefully, things went better for Prady’s friend than they did for Raj.

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