Andy Sullivan: Against the Grain
May 16 is the end of an era. After 12 years(279 episodes)The Big Bang Theory is calling it quits. The show started right when I started the second half of my college career. Therefore, my viewing for the first couple of years was via recording. It was likely tape because DirecTV(what we had at the time) chose to not give us CBS. I’m pretty sure I ran through several VCR tapes(remember those?) by the time college was done and I could switch to live viewing.
Johnny Galecki was not the only member of the cast most fans had any prior knowledge of, even if they weren’t aware of it at the time. Remember Russ from National Lampoon’s Vacation and Christmas Vacation back in the ‘80’s? That was a young Johnny. Kaley Cuoco had previously played the late John Ritter’s daughter in his final sitcom, 8 Simple Rules.
Jim Parsons got his big break playing Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang. He did, however, have bit parts on some things you might remember. The first came in 2002 as Chet on the show Ed. Yes, it was one episode. It was a start, though. Between 2004-5, Parsons played Rob Holbrook in 7 episodes of CBS’ Judging Amy. Most of his other roles have been in the voice-over capacity. Currently, he’s continuing voicing Sheldon in Young Sheldon on CBS. In 2014, he played Buddy the Elf in Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas. That same year, he played Tommy Boatwright in the television film The Normal Heart. He played the same role in the play in 2011. Last year, he was in the play The Boys In The Band.
Simon Helberg(Howard Joel Walowitz) also did a lot before BBT premiered in 2007. You might not recall(I sure didn’t) that he was in the 2002 movie Van Wilder. He actually got his break in the 1999 movie Mumford where he played the college roommate. He played Jerry in the ’02 Will Ferrell movie Old School. I might need to go back and watch that movie. He did some work in singular episodes of shows such as Popular(’01), Son of a Beach(’01), Less Than Perfect(’03)-fun fact-that show starred Sara Rue who would appear in Big Bang as Stephanie, who was Howard’s girlfriend and then Leonard’s. He was in 4 episodes of Matt LeBlanc’s first post-Friends venture Joey.
Kunal Naayar(Raj) gained attention in the U.S. for his role in the west coast production of Rajiv Joseph’s 2006 play Huck & Holden, where he portrayed an Indian exchange student anxious to experience American culture before returning home. He played a pizza man in 2004’s S.C.I.E.N.C.E. He voiced Gupta in 2012’s Ice Age: Continental Drift. He was Guy Diamond in 2016’s Trolls movie. He has an unnamed role in an upcoming film called Sweetness in the Belly. TV roles include Sullivan & Son(’13-’14, 2 episodes) and and episode of the Mindy Project in 2014.
Melissa Rauch(Bernadette)started as a recurring character in season 3 before joining full-time in season 4. Before BBT, she was in the movie Delirious in ’06. She landed I Love You Man with Paul Rudd the same year she began playing Bernadette. She played Cathy Duke in a 2010 episode of the Office. 2010 she also played Summer in 6 episodes of True Blood. Lately she was the voice of the Wasp for 2 episodes in 2017’s animated Ant-Man. She also did the voice of Shira in an episode of Black Monday.
Dr. Amy Farah Fowler(played perfectly by Mayim Bialik) started as a guest role in season 3, just like Melissa). She has been a regular since season 4. Before that, though, she’d had quite the career. She was on a couple of episodes of Facts of Life in 1988(Beginning of the Beginning and Beginning of the End). She had the recurring role of Freida in season 6 of Webster(’88-’89). She was in a couple of episodes of Empty Nest(’89-’90), MacGyver(’89, ’90), lead roles in Malloy(’90) and Blossom(’90-’95), she was in a few episodes of the John Laroquette Show(’94-’95), 7th Heaven, Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc…
I couldn’t pick a favorite Big Bang episode if I tried. I’ll try anyway. I loved the Friendship Algorithm when Sheldon tried to deduce a formula for making friends. I even got a Friendship Algorithm t-shirt. I’ve gotten a lot of Sheldon shirts over the years. The first Bazinga utterance: when he had insomnia, went to a ball pit late at night and Leonard came to get him. Sheldon kept hiding in the pit and would pop up and say “Bazinga”. Later he’d explain that he didn’t joke much but you’d know it by when he said “Bazinga”. I also have a “Don’t you think if I were wrong, I’d know it” shirt, and “I cry because others are stupid and that makes me sad”. The Friendship Algorithm shirt has long since gotten small. And had to be given away.
I also have little bobblehead figurines of all cast-members except Bernadette and Amy. I never could find them. I scoured every store and looked online. I never could come up with anything. Needless to say this show got a lot of my money. Like, many, I’ll miss The Big Bang Theory. Big thanks to the cast, writers and crew who put on, in my opinion, one of the best comedies in several decades. We’ll always have memories….and reruns.