CHARLOTTE, NC. It’s a big week for television fans as the final episodes of some of their favorite long-running shows will be broadcast, including Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory. Though Thrones looks to tie up numerous loose ends, some viewers feel that last week’s episode all but brought the program to a rousing conclusion. As for Big Bang Theory, had Jim Parsons’ (Sheldon Cooper) opted not to continue with the show, the popular series might have run for at least two more seasons.
Big Bang ends Thursday; Let’s review some trivial facts
With the Big Bang Theory grand finale set for Thursday, Myth Trivia looks into some of the more interesting bits of fluff surrounding the show’s successful 12-year run.
Back in 2008 when Big Bang was only a year old, Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler) earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience before she became the only cast member on the show with a doctorate.
At first, Johnny Galecki who plays Leonard was the original choice for the role of Sheldon. But Galecki felt he was a better fit as Sheldon’s roommate, so he accepted that part instead.
Music and scientific accuracy
Over the run of the show, Amy, Leonard, Sheldon, and Howard all played musical instruments. Of the group, only Simon Helberg (Howard), a professional piano player, could actually play his instrument. The other cast members learned to play for the show: Amy (harp), Leonard (cello) and Sheldon (theremin). According to many musicians, the theremin is considered one of the most difficult instruments to play.
One of the most notable aspects of Big Bang was the accuracy of the information regardless of whether it dealt with comic books or scientific data. Though the equations frequently seen in the background or simply used as props may not have had large amounts of camera time, they were verified by several consulting physicists as accurate.
The showrunners incorporated additional significant numbers into the show as well.
Will Wheaton’s house number (1701) is the same number that was on the hull of the U.S.S. Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). Also, Amy’s apartment number “314” references pi (π), an irrational number methematicians typically round off to 3.14.
Big Bang Character Development
As with most successful televisions series’ characters evolve, which was certainly true in the case of The Big Bang Theory. While Sheldon was always known for his quirkiness, some of his oddities evolved as the show progressed. One running gag was knocking three times on a door.
The genesis of the routine actually belongs to Penny (Kaley Cuoco) who performs the ritual in Season Two before Sheldon repeated the bit later in the same episode.
Actress Carol Ann Susi played Howard’s (Simon Helberg) mom for several seasons during the show, but no one ever saw her on-camera. Mama Wolowitz’s voice became a staple until Susi died of cancer.
In tribute, the showrunners posted a tiny picture of her on the side of Sheldon and Leonard’s refrigerator. Too small to recognize, the picture later got a reference in a Big Bang “behind the scenes” show.
Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), became the first main character to get married when she got hitched to Howard. Initially, she did not employ the high pitched voice that became her character’s trademark over time. Rauch says she based the trait from her own mother who boasted a uniquely screechy tone all her own.
Oddly enough, in several of the early episodes in which Bernadette’s character appeared, Rauch also replicated the voice of Howard’s mother with amazing accuracy.
Howard and Penny
Howard became the first character to “come on” to Penny and flirt with her early in Season One. But he is the only male cast member who never sees her naked in person over the run of the series. Sheldon helps her out of the bathtub after a fall. Raj (Kunal Nayyar) accidentally sleeps with her and Leonard eventually marries her. But Howard? Nada.
Penny, who in real life secretly admitted to dating Leonard for a couple of years during the show’s infancy, missed filming two episodes in Season Four. Prior to the episodes, she suffered a broken leg while horseback riding. In her first appearance following the accident, the crew filmed Penny standing behind a counter to conceal the situation.
By the way, believe it or not, Penny has used the same purse since the second episode of Season One.
Sheldon hearts Star Trek
According to an underlying theme of Big Bang, Sheldon is a huge fan of Star Trek though Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon, admits he has never seen it.
Another of Sheldon’s quirks is his favorite comfort song, Soft Kitty, which is based on an Australian children’s song from Executive Producer Bill Prady’s daughter’s pre-school.
Showrunners re-dressed floors two, three and four of Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment building for each scene. Look closely and you can notice identical scuff marks on the molding on each level.
Other than the pilot, every episode name follows the same format as the show’s title, which is the name of a scientific theory.
As usual, we attempt to save the best bits for last. Though admittedly the first one will likely escape anyone unfamiliar with the classic western High Noon (1952,) starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. In the movie, the real life Cooper marries the character Amy Fowler (Grace Kelly). Big Bang’s (Sheldon) Cooper takes Amy Fowler at the altar. A coincidence? Or not?
In another more obvious connection, Warner Brothers owns The Big Bang property, Barry Kripke (John Ross Bowie) suffers from the same speech impediment as cartoon character Elmer Fudd of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies fame.
Every character except Penny has a last name in his or her identity. Some speculate this may evolve from some superstition. But thus far Penny is just Penny. That said, however, apparently Chuck Lorre revealed in an interview that Penny’s surname is Barrington.
Though we may never know for sure, Leonard would agree that “Penny’s from heaven.”
—Headline image: Big Bang Theory cast. Image via Big Bang Theory pages on CBS-TV website.
Fair use in article discussing the series.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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