They’ve made you laugh and made you cry. They’ve made you say “awww” and also “uh-oh!” As you gear up for the series finale of The Big Bang Theory this Thursday, join us as we count down 12 stand-out scenes that fans will always remember.
12. The magic touche: season 9, episode 5
The guys take up fencing in an attempt to get more exercise — and things quickly get out of hand. From Sheldon’s comments about not having a “dominant leg” and his giddiness to use the word “touché,” it’s lively from the beginning — and their antics only get more outlandish when the instructor turns his back and the boys break out into a crazy four-way duel.
11. On a roll: season 6, episode 23
After months of being hung up at first base, Amy and Sheldon find they’ve been playing the wrong game all along. It all starts when they’re playing Dungeons & Dragons, with the gang joking about the couple’s inability to “do it.” Embarrassed, Amy leaves and hides away in Sheldon’s bedroom. He follows her and they discuss their intimacy issues, but as things get tense, Sheldon breaks the ice by offering to continue playing D&D together — privately. Through their characters, Sheldon and Amy get intimate, and the last thing we hear is Amy yelling, “…my…14. Yes!”
10. The gift-giving showdown: season 2, episode 11
What do you get for the nerd who has everything? That’s the key to this memorable moment that also kick-started another show relationship: Shenny (a.k.a. Sheldon and Penny). Sheldon is surprised to learn that Penny has bought him a Christmas gift, leading the overthinking Ph.D. down the rabbit hole for a reciprocal gift of similar value. When the gift-giving showdown finally comes, Penny’s present for Sheldon goes above and beyond: a used napkin signed by Star Trek‘s Leonard Nimoy. Overwhelmed, Sheldon gives the most unique and rare gift he can: a hug.
9. Sky high: season 3, episode 8
Raj, Howard, and Leonard go camping to observe the annual Leonid Meteor Shower. While there, they receive some “special” cookies from fellow campers that, unbeknownst to them, are laced with marijuana. The munchies hits the trio hard; they are so busy chowing down on their food supply, including a brisket from Howard’s mom, that they forget to notice the meteors cascading above them.
8. The love conclusion: season 8, episode 8
An accidental self-diagnosis of brain parasites turns into a truthful admission of love by Sheldon to Amy. It begins when the women decide to reenact their proms to make up for the memories they missed in high school. Sheldon’s social insecurities lead him to bow out, but after seeing Amy in her prom dress he can’t help but compliment her. Surprised by Sheldon’s flattery, she opens up about wanting to say “I love you” to him — only for him to beat her to it. Sheldon explains how he came to this “logical conclusion”: It’s either love or a brain parasite.
7. Oh (big) brother: season 9, episode 24
Howard and Raj receive an unexpected email from the Air Force about their invention, leading the two down a dark road of paranoia over government surveillance. Their paranoia goes from bad to worse when they notice a car following them on the way to dinner with friends (not realizing it’s their friends in that car) and culminates when police pull them over for erratic driving. Howard overshares his thoughts on the government spying on him, leading to his being presumed drunk and forced to take a field sobriety test.
6. Girls vs. boys: season 6, episode 4
Howard returns from his five-month stay on the space station expecting a hero’s welcome but gets a rude awakening when it’s simply Bernadette. Those chants of “Howie! Howie! Howie!” in the background? That’s for Howie Mandel, who also arrived at the airport — albeit not from space. (Sorry, Howard.) While they wait, Penny and Amy play Leonard and Sheldon in a women vs. men game night. To the guys’ shock, it’s the women who sweep: winning Pictionary, Where’s Waldo?, wrestling, even a math drill, and ending with a pie-eating contest.
5. The kiss correction: season 10, episode 24
While Amy is away, Sheldon runs into a graduate student from years prior who had a crush on him. Their friendship is quickly rekindled, startling Sheldon’s friends so much that they consider stepping in. Sheldon himself is oblivious to this other woman’s affections until Leonard and Penny bring it up, leading him to confront her — and confirming his friends’ suspicions. That sudden, unwanted kiss sends Sheldon off like an unstable atom, straight to the airport. One cross-country flight later, a familiar knock on Amy’s door opens to reveal Sheldon down on one knee with his grandmother’s engagement ring, asking her to marry him.
4. Heat of the moment: season 5, episode 23
Proposing to someone in the middle of sex might not be the best timing. Someone should have told Leonard that. Although they didn’t show the act itself, the proposal plays right into Penny’s ongoing concern that they are moving too fast in their relationship. She jokingly asks what’s next: “Want to go look for houses in neighborhoods with good schools?” Leonard argues that this is something they’ll look back on as funny, but Penny doesn’t think so. (Penny, if you’re reading this, we hope you’ve changed your mind!)
3. Wheeeeaaaatoooooon!: season 3, episode 19
While he’s a fan of his Star Trek: The Next Generation character, Sheldon has a long-brewing distaste for actor Wil Wheaton, and that comes to a head when they’re on opposing bowling teams. Sheldon loses by forfeit when relationship problems between Penny and Leonard fracture their team, so Sheldon returns for a rematch wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with their new name: the Wesley Crushers. Of course, Wheaton plays dirty, giving some sour relationship advice to Penny to hamper Sheldon’s team. Worse: It works, leaving Sheldon to belt out a Wrath of Khan-style cry.
2. Shire romance: season 1, episode 6
Penny and Leonard’s first kiss sets the stage for the show’s central romance for years to come. A discussion over a compliment and a tender admission, all undercut with idiosyncratic and self-effacing humor. Is Penny “perfect”? Is Leonard “really smart”? Would the human race survive if all men were like him? This moment is frickin’ genius, to borrow a phrase from Leonard.
1. Ball-zinga!: season 3, episode 14
Although the catchphrase “Bazinga!” debuted a year prior, this 2010 episode builds itself up like a powder keg as Sheldon single-mindedly stews over a physics problem. After some hilarious attempts at visualizing the issue, Sheldon sneaks into a local mall’s ball pit to act out an experiment, leading security to call Leonard to pick up his “special” friend. Leonard is drawn into the ball pit to fish him out, leading Sheldon to hide under the surface and pop out intermittently, perfunctorily saying “Bazinga.” A chase ensues, like a modern-day Wile E. Coyote cartoon. That’s all, folks!
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