When The Big Bang Theory premiered in 2007, it was a much different show than the one we’ll see for the last time tonight. The focus was squarely on Sheldon, Leonard, and Penny; Howard and Raj were much less prominent in the show’s storylines. Sure, Leonard had a thing for Penny, but none of the other women in the series were part of the cast. (Poor Raj, he couldn’t even talk to women yet.) And, of course, some things haven’t changed. Even though he got the woman he loved, Leonard is still as neurotic as ever; Sheldon is — knock knock knock — still as OCD as ever; the apartment building’s elevator is still out of service; and the show is still as funny as ever.

Twelve seasons and three marriages later, the show has morphed from a story about socially awkward loners who found solace in their geeky group of peers into a story about how even geniuses could have trouble navigating their way through life, love, marriage, and even parenthood. At first, we liked the characters because we felt sorry for their social ineptitude. But as the show went on, we started to care about them — and even love them — for who they were, quirks and all. We got to know their stories and their backstories, to the point where we even got a Young Sheldon spinoff. We started to see them not as gawky nerds, but as real people who, for all their brainpower, still had to deal with all of the emotional issues we all experience.

Now, it’s time to say goodbye. We’re going to miss our weekly visits to Pasadena. We’re going to miss the running gags. We’re going to miss the amazing array of guest stars and cameos. (After all, no other show can boast seven appearances by Stephen Hawking, along with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader.) We’re going to miss the take-out meals in the living room. We’re going to miss the scientific equations drawn on their home whiteboards (which, yes, had some real science behind them). We’re going to miss the laughs. We’re going to miss the emotional moments. We’re going to miss Sheldon and Amy. We’re going to miss Leonard and Penny. We’re going to miss Howard and Bernadette. We’re going to miss Raj and his dog.

We hope the show will give us a proper send-off. Maybe we’ll get a look into their future — we could certainly imagine seeing them at a Nobel Prize ceremony or at a science fair where their kids are even smarter than they are. But however the end is envisioned, we hope the group will stay together. Over these twelve seasons, they’ve embarked on an incredible journey together, and we can’t see them breaking up now. Just like Sheldon will always have his spot on the couch, these characters and this show will always have a spot in our hearts. Because, ultimately, this show about people with big brains did win us over with their equally big hearts. Thanks for the laughter, the tears, and the unraveling of mysteries, Big Bang Theory. We’re going to miss you.

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Posted by: AC