There is a big bazinga coming, and Mayim Bialik wants to see it play out.
Like most sets, those used on “The Big Bang Theory” are segments that don’t easily flow from one to another. Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny’s (Kaley Cuoco) kitchen, for example, does not share a wall with a hotel hallway on the show. But the door to the apartment once shared by Leonard and Sheldon does, in fact, lead to the hallway set and a formerly broken elevator.
In the scene we’re watching from the opening minutes of the final episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” Penny and Amy (Bialik) have just returned from getting their dresses from the tailor. Amy is jazzed that her dress had to be taken in and Penny’s had to be taken out.
As Amy and Sheldon leave, the attention stays on Leonard and Penny.
From the other side of the now-closed door, Bialik peaks around the fake wall to watch the rest of the scene.
Leonard wants to know if Penny thinks Amy knows their secret. He doesn’t say it explicitly right away, but the audience watching from the bleacher-style seats instantly knows what he’s inferring and gasps erupt.
The crowd reacts as if they’ve just found out a best friend is pregnant. There’s joy and some even look a little glassy eyed.
As they express their glee, Bialik turns toward the audience from the set below the stands, smiling ear to ear. As the reaction and scene continues, she keeps watching them as they watch the show. She’s taking it all in.
In many ways, the characters on “The Big Bang Theory” have become friends to those watching. Over 279 episodes of television, they’ve laughed, cried and geeked out with Penny, Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, Howard, Bernadette and Amy.
During the breaks in taping, some of the people in attendance for the final taping speak to their fellow fans about what the series has meant to them. Many hit on a similar theme: the show made them proud to be themselves.
When “The Big Bang Theory” debuted in 2007, it was an ode to the different, to the ostracized, to the lovably dorky. But what was once known as geek culture is now accepted as just culture. Whether that was, at least in part, the show’s doing is debatable, but it is undeniable that “The Big Bang Theory” has brought people together online and in real life.
Some audience members talk about the friends they’ve made through their love of the show. One man says it brought his family closer together.
A family, too, has formed on the set of “The Big Bang Theory.” It’s trite now for cast members and actors to say that about any production, but the tears on the final day of taping prove it true nonetheless for this cast and crew.
Other crew members get brief moments in the spotlight as the man charged with keeping the audience’s energy up during lulls in filming reads their names and honors different departments.
Creator Chuck Lorre makes a surprise appearance to slate the final scene of the taping, and he’s given his own hero’s welcome.
It truly has taken a village, as they say, to make the show happen every week.
Galecki says every moment has been “a dream come true” in a speech to the crowd.
“It’s never lost on us it’s because all of you,” he tells the audience.