Andy Sullivan: Against the Grain
This week I conclude my ode to the Big Bang Theory, which ends its 12 season run Thursday night. This week I’ll touch on the guest stars and recurring characters who have helped make this show the juggernaut it’s been. Let’s start with probably my favorite recurring character, Barry Kripke.
This week must be doubly rough for John Ross Bowie, who plays Barry. Not only is Big Bang ending but I learned the other day of his ABC show, Speechless, cancellation. John’s role as Barry is the focus here, however. A Caltech plasma-physicist turned string theorist, and a colleague of Sheldon and Leonard, he has a case of rhoticism, where he pronounces “r” and I” like “w”, like Elmer Fudd. He’s a friend to Leonard, Howard and Raj, with a knack for ribbing people. He has an on again, off again friendship with Sheldon. His first appearance was in season 2 when he pitted his “kiwwa wobot” the Kwipe Kwippwuch”(Kripe Crippler) against the guys’ robot M.O.N.T.E. As Barry would say, “Monte was destwoyed”. He would appear in each of the remaining seasons with such duties as guesting on Sheldon’s “Fun With Flags” internet series. One of his most recent appearances was singing “At Last” in the episode The Bow-Tie Asymmetry. Barry has appeared in all seasons except season one. I cracked up when he sang “At Wast. My Wove has come awong. My wonwey days are ovew. And wife is wike a song”.
Stuart, Kevin Sussman, has, like Bowie, appeared in all seasons of the show except season one. He formerly played Walter on ABC’s Ugly Betty. Kevin used to work at a comic book store before becoming an actor. Guess what Stuart owns on the show? Leonard and Sheldon’s favorite comic book store. Both Kevin and John Ross Bowie auditioned for the parts of Sheldon and Leonard. Kevin later auditioned for the part of Barry, which was given to John. His first appearance on the show was season 2, episode 12 titled the Hofstadter Isotope”. Penny needed a present for her nephew’s 12th birthday. She went into Stuart’s store where Stuart asked her on a date. His final appearance will be the series finale.
Sara Gilbert(Roseanne) as Leslie Winkle, Christine Baranski as Leonard’s mom Beverly, Judd Hirsch as his dad in 2016. Keith Carradine as Penny’s dad Wyatt, Sara Rue as Leonard’s girlfriend Stephanie, Ketey Segal and Jack McBrayer as Penny’s mom and brother and Carol Ann Susi as Howard’s mother Mrs. Debbie Wolowitz. She passed in 2014. Fun fact: she introduced the cast(off-screen, of course) at Comic-Con 2011, as Debbie.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Stephen Hawking and Mark Hamil guesting as themselves: Sheldon spent an entire episode trying to get a meeting with Hawking. Howard has the pull so he made Sheldon jump through hoops. Hamil married Sheldon and Amy. Would you say I’m a fan? Obviously. I’ve wondered what tv will be like without the Big Bang Theory. Yes, reruns will go on for years. Obviously I’ll watch them again and again(as I’ve been doing for years). I do wonder, however, what show will take the 7 pm Thursday timeslot on CBS next year. Will they simply move Young Sheldon up a half hour? Time will tell. Major thanks to all involved in making such a great show week after week, year after year.