The Big Bang Theory centered around its five major characters (Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Howard, and Penny) living in Pasadena, California. Over the course of 12 seasons, this friend group expanded with girlfriends and more friends, but we’ll always remember the beginning.
Sheldon Cooper is the show’s resident genius. With an IQ of 187, he’s brilliant with his job at Caltech but is lacking some major social skills, which is where the comedy kicks in. After 279 episodes, we’ve seen a whole lot of subplots come in and out of each episode. And like any sitcom that’s been on for more than five seasons, some are great (fitting the show impecibly) while others could use some work.
PERFECTLY WRAPPED UP: Sheldon & Amy’s Intimacy
The most beautiful part about Sheldon and Amy’s relationship is how much respect the two of them had for each other. Sure, Sheldon was far more disrespectful than Amy was but he gets away with it simply because he doesn’t always notice it.
We didn’t see them have a romantic kiss until Season 7’s “The Locomotive Manipulation” — three seasons after first meeting her! And they didn’t go all the way until Season 9! We spent five seasons waiting for these two to connect on an intimate level and when it happened, long-time fans finally felt like they had their questions answered.
NEEDED SOME WORK: Who Got Tenure?
In Season 6’s “The Tenure Turbulence,” a tenured professor at Caltech passed away, which meant a new tenure position just opened up. In order to be an option for tenure, all four of them tried to get closer to the tenure committee for a higher chance of winning.
But after getting into a small argument about tenure at the memorial service, they all decide that their friendship is more important. And by the end of the show, we find out that Mrs. Davis out all four men on the “final shortlist.” But we never heard about tenure again. If these four didn’t win, who did?
PERFECTLY WRAPPED UP: Serial Ape-Ist 2 & Penny’s Acting Career
Penny’s acting career was a huge plot at the beginning of the series. In fact, it was the sole purpose that Penny was in California. She would talk about auditions and possible roles, and the gang seemed genuinely interested when she had news about the acting world.
And while Penny is no longer an actress by the end of the series, the show did a great job at wrapping up this subplot. We see her starting off strong before watching her dreams being crushed after getting cut from an NCIS role. And then we saw her realize that acting wasn’t her destiny after leaving Serial Ape-ist 2: Monkey See, Monkey Kill. It came full circle when she was on Wil Wheaton’s podcast and decided to do one more audition when she realized her heart wasn’t in it anymore.
NEEDED SOME WORK: The Combination Of Sheldon & Amy’s Cells
Amy and Sheldon decide to play doctor and create a “neural network” from their skin cells. Knowing how brilliant Amy and Sheldon are on their own, creating functioning cells proved to both of them that they had the opportunity of creating an incredible being. Sheldon’s “profound sense of creation” immediately made him want to have a child for science reasons. And while fans thought Amy would be thrilled, she was repelled by Sheldon’s offer.
Throughout the remainder of the episode, Sheldon tried seducing Amy but none of it worked. But just because Amy didn’t want a baby right away didn’t mean they couldn’t further continue their research from their skin cells.
PERFECTLY WRAPPED UP: The Broken Elevator
Part of me feels like the elevator is the unrecognized 12th man in The Big Bang Theory. It’s the one thing that brought Sheldon and his (at the time) new friends together. It’s the reason why this group of friends has so many great conversations on the stairway up to their apartment. Even better, it’s seen in every episode, practically making it a character in its own right.
Thankfully by the twelfth season, fans realized that the elevator is finally working when Penny takes it up to the fourth floor where she’s met by a bickering Leonard and Sheldon. It was the perfect conclusion to this elevator debacle.
NEEDED SOME WORK: The New Neighbor
In “The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition,” Penny learns that there was a new neighbor moving above Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment. The news almost brought Sheldon to a panic attack. The mere thought of having a noisy upstairs neighbor startled him. But when we finally meet their new neighbor (Alicia), the roles switched. The guys were all excited and calm about Alicia (due to how sweet and attractive) while Penny was annoyed.
Not only was she pretty and taking her boys away from her, but she was also a struggling actress who had a much better resume than Penny. After the two got into a physical altercation, we didn’t hear or see much more of Alicia. What happened to her and how did the two girls leave it?
PERFECTLY WRAPPED UP: Tam! Tam! Tam!
By the 12th season, we thought we knew everything there was about Sheldon and his youth. He talked about growing up in East Texas all the time and now once have we heard him mentioned a best friend named Tam. In “The Tam Turbulence,” we learn that Tam was one of Sheldon’s best buddies.
They grew up together and when Sheldon was planning to move to California, Tam said he would follow but never did. Due to Tam essentially breaking Sheldon’s heart, he had some very strong feelings against him. Unlike other irrelevant characters in the series, we learned a lot about Tam, his relationship with Shelly, and we saw them come together at the end. This subplot worked so well because Sheldon grew as a character and conquered someone that once made him sad, ending on good terms.
NEEDED SOME WORK: We Never Heard From Priya Again
Leonard and Priya seemed like the real deal when they were together but their relationship made so many people unhappy. For starters, Priya was Raj’s sister! That’s crossing some major boundaries. Secondly, his relationship with Priya made Penny realize she should have never broken up with him in the first place.
Not to mention Priya moved back to India where the chances of their relationship working out were slim to none. Nevertheless, when they did inevitably break up, it was due to mutual cheating. However, knowing how often she was in the States and that she’s Raj’s sister, why did we never hear more of her?
PERFECTLY WRAPPED UP: Leonard & Penny’s Baby
The question of ‘will they or won’t they?’ regarding Penny and Leonard’s baby debate was strong towards the final two seasons. The pair did take a long time to start dating and they took an even longer time deciding to get married, making the chances that they would have a baby later in life pretty high. So when Penny announced she didn’t want to have kids, Leonard felt stuck.
But when her ex-boyfriend Zack asked Leonard for his sperm, his eyes lit up again. As we know, the two were “okay” with not having kids. That is until she got pregnant in the twelfth season. Fans were excited for the couple’s new journey but others were sad that writers felt like they needed a child just to make their love seem authentic.
NEEDED SOME WORK: Elon Musk & Howard’s Thanksgiving Connection
In “The Platonic Permutation,” it’s Thanksgiving and the gang heads to a homeless shelter to help out and help the needy. Howard did everything he could to get out of the situation but he went anyway. But it’s a good thing he did because he met Elon Musk while doing the dishes!
It’s here that the two begin talking about space, NASA, and Howard’s engineer background. Musk, essentially, offers Howard a job but we never heard more of his connection with Elon Musk or the potential to team up.