Audiences could have never guessed that The Big Bang Theory would become as big a hit as it did – but fans all over the world fell in love with the nerdy physicists living in Pasadena the second that they stepped on screen.
Despite the show lasting for over a decade and producing several of the highest-rated episodes in the entire series during the last few seasons, it was the premieres for each season that were often the episodes that were most highly anticipated and had cliff-hanger reveals for the shows loyal fans.
The Matrimonial Momentum, Season 9 (6.8)
A lot occurred during the season 8 finale that the show had to find ways to address once the season 9 premiere came around – Amy had broken up with Sheldon (who was about to propose) while Leonard and Penny spontaneously drove to Vegas to get married… whereupon Leonard revealed that he had cheated on Penny a few years prior when he made out with a woman. Penny understands and they still agree to get married, but things get a million times worse when Leonard admits that he sees the woman that he kissed every single day at work. Meanwhile, Sheldon tries to get back with Amy and simply can’t wrap his mind around the fact that they’re broken up.
The Locomotion Interruption, Season 8 (7.2)
During the season 7 finale, Sheldon had a lot of changes occur in his life that he was unable to cope with, so he decided to get away from Pasadena for the summer. Unfortunately, during the season 8 premiere, Sheldon has all of his belongings stolen from him and has Leonard and Amy drive out to Arizona to pick him up and bring him home. Meanwhile, Penny finally decides to give up acting and takes a job as a pharmaceutical sales rep at the company Bernadette works for – and only gets the job because she and Bernadette’s boss bond over their shared fear of Bernadette.
The Conjugal Configuration, Season 12 (7.2)
Sheldon had spent over a decade learning how to become a more empathetic and spontaneous person, but when he and Amy spent the season 12 premiere on their honeymoon and Sheldon admitted to scheduling his and Amy’s “sex time”, Amy gets annoyed and admits that she wants more spontaneity when it comes to their intimate life, which Sheldon agrees to. Meanwhile, Penny and Leonard spend the episode terrified that they’re going to turn into Amy’s parents since they seem to share a lot of the same qualities as the miserable couple.
The Proposal Proposal, Season 11 (7.6)
The eleventh season opened up right where the tenth had left off – with Sheldon on his knee and proposing to Amy. She says yes and then spends the episode introducing Sheldon to all of her colleagues and sharing the good news… which quickly irritates Sheldon when all anybody wants to talk about is Amy.
Acting like a stubborn child, he eventually concedes and realizes that Amy was worthy of the spotlight and decides to let her bask in the glory of her work. Meanwhile, Wolowitz and Bernadette are thrown for a loop when it’s revealed Bernadette is pregnant with another child.
The Date Night Variable, Season 6 (7.7)
Season 6 opened with Howard in space aboard the International Space Station which resulted in Raj becoming lonely without his best friend around. He tries to impose on Sheldon and Amy’s anniversary date (although that was slightly Sheldon’s fault as well) and then drunkenly imposes on Leonard and Penny’s date after Amy tells him to get lost. He eventually gets himself kicked out of Leonard and Penny’s apartment too, and finds a friend in Stuart when he wanders into the comic book store.
The Conjugal Conjecture, Season 10 (7.8)
Since Penny and Leonard decided to elope in Vegas without anybody else around, they decided to have a second wedding during the season 10 premiere that all of their beloved family members and friends could be there. Unfortunately, the ceremony gets ruined before it even begins when Leonard’s father and Sheldon’s mother seem to hit it off and the show implies that they might try to start dating. Eventually, despite all the drama and personal-antics, Leonard and Penny have a lovely and touching ceremony, getting married for the second time in two years.
The Hofstadter Insufficiency, Season 7 (7.9)
Leonard left during the season 6 finale in order to go on a research trip, which understandably left Sheldon and Penny missing him. During the season 7 premiere, the episode revolves around Penny and Sheldon bonding over their mutual misery at Leonard being gone… until they call him and find out that he’s partying on the trip and having the time of his life and barely missing them at all.
The Skank Reflex Analysis, Season 5 (8.1)
It was well known during the earlier seasons that Penny enjoyed a healthy sex life, but audiences found out that she occasionally made some mistakes in that arena when Penny drunkenly crawled into bed with Raj during the season 4 finale.
The season 5 premiere deals with the aftermath of the gang finding out about Penny and Raj’s one night stand and how Penny not only regrets spending the night with him but is beginning to regret moving out to LA in the first place. That is, until she gets a call that she’s won the part for a national commercial and brags about what a huge star she’s going to become.
Pilot, Season 1 (8.3)
The episode that began a 12-year journey also happened to be a bottle episode (save for one scene) – Sheldon and Leonard come home to their apartment to eat dinner and discover that they have a new neighbor, Penny, a beautiful 22-year-old actress. The entire episode is spent getting to know the three main characters as Sheldon and Leonard invite Penny over for dinner, which then includes Howard and Raj showing up for the first time and the entire group deciding to go out for Chinese food when Penny’s ex-boyfriend steals Leonard and Sheldon’s pants.
The Bad Fish Paradigm, Season 2 (8.3)
It took Leonard an entire season but he was finally able to get a date with Penny – unfortunately, their first date didn’t go as well as Leonard had hoped, and the episode revolves around Penny admitting that she’s intimidated by how smart Leonard is and thinks that he’ll get bored with her. Sheldon accidentally reveals this secret to Leonard and Leonard thinks that it’s crazy… but then he screws up by showing Penny pamphlets to local community colleges and tells her she can just take some classes if she wants too.
The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation, Season 3 (8.4)
Sheldon was positive that a Nobel Prize was coming his way during the season 3 premiere when he and the gang return from their arctic expedition, but he’s devastated when he finds out that the group tampered with his research and all of their results are false/incorrect. In response to this betrayal, Sheldon flies home to Texas since he has no true friends left – but he changes his mind and heads back home to Pasadena when his mother tries to dispute evolution.
The Robotic Manipulation, Season 4 (8.8)
Amy Farrah Fowler had a brief appearance at the end of season 3, but it was during the season 4 premiere that audiences truly got to know the woman who seemed to be a carbon-copy of Sheldon Cooper. Penny makes the suggestion that Sheldon and Amy should go on a date (especially since the two have discussed making a child together) and she ends up on the date with them, and it’s as awkward as it sounds. Meanwhile, Wolowitz ends up getting his junk stuck in a robot-hand that he invented and has to have Leonard and Raj take him to the hospital to get it removed.