How did it all end on The Big Bang Theory? (Picture: CBS)
The Big Bang Theory has finally come to an end. The longest-running multi-camera sitcom ever has finished after 12 seasons, and fans have now said goodbye to Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, and the rest of the gang.
Bringing the curtain down on long-running TV shows has the tendency to add pressure to such occasions. Friends’ send-off was perfect, while others like How I Met Your Mother drew negative reactions for an ending that wasn’t what was expected.
Overall, The Big Bang Theory’s finale gave fans a fitting and emotional end to its 279-strong episodic run, but it wasn’t without its drawbacks.
Sheldon’s quest for a Nobel Prize is a story thread that’s been prevalent throughout the show’s history. From its mention all the way back in Season one, giving the eccentric physicist his moment in the sun was the perfect culmination to this particular character arc.
Allowing him to win it alongside Amy, and with his friends watching on, is further proof of just how far Sheldon has come too. It was unfathomable to think that he’d ever get into a relationship, let alone be happily married, way back when. The idea of him celebrating a Nobel Prize victory, with five close friends in attendance, was something we wouldn’t have expected from a character who was still exhibiting selfish and narcissistic tendencies up until this point.
His acceptance speech was proof of the transformation he’s undergone though. Sharing such an incredible moment with the people closest to him confirms this, and tied the different strands of his life – his marriage to Amy, friendly bonds, and his life’s work – together nicely.
Amy trumped Sheldon in their Nobel Prize speech in The Big Bang Theory finale (Picture: CBS)
Sheldon wasn’t the only character who has evolved throughout the show. Howard and Bernadette’s anxiety at leaving their children to join Sheldon and Amy in Stockholm serves as proof of their character growth from earlier seasons. Leonard’s maturing reactions towards Sheldon’s grating personality came to the fore again after he decided against flying home following another falling out. Penny’s desire to start a family with Leonard – albeit through a rushed pregnancy reveal during the finale – tied up a prominent Season 12 plot thread. Even Raj realised that he didn’t need to be married to be happy despite what he’d previously thought.
Each core character has undergone changes throughout the show’s history, and these developments were noticeable during the finale. Shining the spotlight on them during the Nobel Prize ceremony too, after Sheldon asked them to stand, allowed each character to take centre stage and give fans the opportunity to recognise them all.
Handing screen time to members of the supporting cast was satisfying as well. The likes of Stuart, Bert, Barry, and President Siebert were given final scenes as a thank you for their service, while others like Leonard’s mother had poignant moments earlier in the season.
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The elevator finally being fixed was a gratifying fan-service moment to savour too. The practical, and amusing, solution that the gang used to ferry their luggage to the ground floor wouldn’t have worked without it. In a way, even this provided some closure to a series-long in-joke.
There were a couple of notable missteps during the finale. Sheldon’s speech was, naturally, heartfelt and necessary for the final act. But we can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by the words Amy gave before him.
For a show that has championed women within scientific fields, the short nature of Amy’s speech was lacking. It felt like an afterthought and rushed to allow Sheldon more screen time. True, there needs to be a cut off somewhere due to the episode’s runtime and, with so much going on, maybe there was only so much time that the writers could afford to touch on this subject. For a show that’s inspired countless women to enter the sciences, it didn’t sit right though.
Raj was dealt a poor hand too. He’s suffered his fair share of heartache throughout the series, and the lack of character closure for him was evident. Every one of his friends has gone on to achieve success – marriage, having kids, promotions at work, and winning the Nobel prize – but he hasn’t.
Raj didn’t get the closure he deserved but he did get to meet Buffy (Picture: CBS)
Yes, it arguably wasn’t right for him to almost move to London to marry Anu. It would have left The Big Bang Theory having to enact a clichéd ending where his friends stop him from going, much like Howard did in the series’ penultimate episode. When every other core character got some semblance of closure though, it seems wrong to not afford Raj that same favour.
Maybe The Big Bang Theory’s writers feel that there’s potential to explore Raj’s story in more detail in a spin-off series, like they have done with Young Sheldon. If Friends spin-off Joey is any indication, however, it might be best to leave that idea alone.
The Big Bang Theory needed a fitting end. Allowing a 12-season long show to go out with a whimper instead a of bang wouldn’t have done it justice and, for the most part, it did. The finale served as a reminder to the progression each character has undergone. It tied up loose plot threads, and balanced its humour and heart-warming moments well.
There wouldn’t have been a more apt way to end the show without that final couch scene either. Bringing the seven core cast members together, as an acoustic rendition of its iconic theme tune played out, couldn’t have been a more perfect and nostalgic throwback.
The Big Bang Theory delivered a finale filled with optimism, fun, and love. It’s sad to see it go, but there couldn’t have been a more fitting end.
The Big Bang Theory finale is coming to E4 in the UK soon.
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