With no new episodes of The Big Bang Theory to look forward to, it’s fun to go back to older seasons and search for clues that hinted at the ending.
The audience often gets a different perspective on old scenes from this. After a 12-season run, there’s a lot to unpack about where the show began, how it ended, and what the characters achieved.
While The Big Bang Theory was a comedy, a genre that’s not big on foreshadowing, there’re a few things from the first season that hinted at how things would go. Although some were a coincidence, certain events were set into motion from the very first episode.
“Our Babies Will Be Smart And Beautiful.”
In the pilot, Leonard and Sheldon met Penny, their new neighbor. Leonard immediately fell for her and fantasized about a relationship with her. At one point he said, “our babies will be smart and beautiful,” which seemed like a far-fetched dream at the time. As the show went on, Leonard and Penny gradually grew closer together, evolving from friends to lovers before starting over and then finally tying the knot.
When the series ended, Penny was pregnant and Sheldon took a moment to remind the audience of Leonard’s words from the pilot. Although fans won’t get to see the child, it was heartwarming to look back to the beginning and realize Leonard’s dream wasn’t crazy after all.
The 3-D DNA Model
Each of the 279 episodes of The Big Bang Theory had more than one scene in Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment. One thing that was always in the background was the DNA model in the living room made up of blue, red, black, and white balls on a support rod.
In the series’ penultimate episode, when Leonard moved the model, sending most of the balls rolling to the floor, it’s revealed that Sheldon made that structure. It took 139 and a half hours for him and Leonard to put it back together again in the series finale.
It was later revealed that the time it took them to put it together was the exact total number of hours of every episode of The Big Bang Theory. It felt fitting for something that had been in the show from the start to have such a significant meaning in the end, giving fans a fresh perspective of it.
Raj And Arranged Marriages
During an internal monologue in “The Big Bran Hypothesis,” Raj entertained the thought of marrying an Indian girl as his parents wanted. For most of the show, he did the complete opposite until the last season when he caved and asked his dad to set him up. That led to his relationship and engagement with Anu.
Fans of the show were surprised by this because apart from that inner monologue, Raj often spoke against arranged marriages. Looking back to that episode, it seems Raj always believed an arranged match was his best chance at a lasting relationship.
Penny And Sheldon
The relationship between Sheldon and Penny was a beautiful one that warmed the hearts of many fans. Even though they had a rocky start and a few bumps along the road, Sheldon eventually warmed up to her. In the first season, after one of his classic roundabout answers that rarely made sense to her, Penny told Sheldon “one day, I’ll get the hang of talking to you,” and in hindsight, she did.
During the course of the series, right up to the end, Penny knew and understood Sheldon so well she could talk him out of his classic tantrums. She could even talk him into things he would normally scoff at, like consulting a psychic.
Sheldon And Sex
As the storyline grew to accommodate more characters with each passing season, the focus shifted from Leonard and Penny’s love story to the tumultuous love lives of his three friends. Although each relationship was unique and comical in its own way, Sheldon’s relationship with Amy was one of the most entertaining.
By the end of the series, Sheldon and Amy were married and had sex 12 times (according to a conversation he had with Penny). Back in the first season, Sheldon had expressed his aversion to coitus, as he liked to call it, pointing out that it involved human contact, which is something he disliked from the beginning. Looks like the audience had the last laugh on that one.
Howard’s Role In Raj’s Love Life
In “The Grasshopper Experiment,” Raj’s parents arranged a match for him. At that point, Raj couldn’t talk to women and asked for advice from his friends when the lady, Lalita Gupta, called to arrange a meeting. Howard took matters into his hands and called her to agree on a time and place to meet while impersonating Raj. Howard advised him to meet the lady and see how it goes. In the same episode, the group discovered alcohol eliminates Raj’s selective mutism.
Towards the end of the series, Raj wanted to leave the country and follow Anu, another arranged match, because he didn’t want to end their relationship and be alone. Howard intervened again, helping Raj see that he was just afraid of being alone. The scene called to attention how big an influence Howard has been in Raj’s love life from the beginning.
Sheldon And Awards
As top professionals in their individual fields, both Sheldon and Leonard got a lot of recognition for their work from the first season to the last. More than once, they collaborated on a project and often fought over who deserved credit. In “The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization,” Leonard discovered a letter in the trash about speaking at a conference on a project they’d worked on. Sheldon didn’t want to go and even forbade Leonard from going.
Initially, it seemed like Sheldon being his usual, quirky self, but seeing how he ran away from the press following his Nobel Prize win in the series finale, it’s clear there was always more to the issue.
Leonard Supporting Sheldon
Like many scientists, Leonard hoped to win a Nobel Prize someday. In season one he mentioned this to Sheldon several times, and each time, Sheldon shot him down. Given how most fans disliked Sheldon at the time, it’s not surprising many were rooting for Leonard to prove him wrong and rub the win in his face.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as Amy and Sheldon won the Nobel Prize instead. During his acceptance speech, Sheldon acknowledged Leonard and his friends, stating that the prize was theirs as well for the love and support they’d offered through the years. Going back to the earlier episodes in season one, knowing that Sheldon would say such beautiful things to Leonard, it’s no surprise fans would root for Sheldon over Leonard the next time around.
Foreshadowing New Characters
Two things that fans loved about The Big Bang Theory were the pop-culture references and the mention of significant figures in the world of science. In their first appearance during the pilot, Raj and Howard mentioned Stephen Hawking, a renowned theoretical physicist, and the man himself featured in a few episodes before he passed. He was one of many celebrity cameos in the show that fans loved.
The same thing happened with Mayim Bialik, who played Amy. Raj suggested her as a possible teammate for their Physics Bowl team, stating that she’d just attained a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. A couple of seasons later, Amy was introduced and became a series regular and a favorite of the audience. However, the showrunners insist Mayim’s casting as Amy was purely coincidental.
In the beginning, Penny seemed like she was simply the pretty girl next door who might fall in love with Leonard and they’d live happily ever after. After 12 seasons, during which Penny was at the center of many major moments in the boys’ lives, that first “hi” from her feels like so much more now.
She helped Leonard gain confidence, was the first woman Raj could talk to, introduced Howard to his wife Bernadette (which changed his character for the better), and helped Sheldon become a better friend. In essence, she had them all at that first “hi.”