'Big Bang Theory': Inside the Surprising Season 10 Finale Proposal

Showrunner Steve Molaro talks with THR about the cliffhanger ending, if season 12 will be its last and more.
Courtesy of CBS

[This story contains spoilers from the season 10 finale of CBS' The Big Bang Theory.]

CBS' The Big Bang Theory just ended its 10th season with an exclamation point.

Punctuating a season of Sheldon's (Jim Parsons) growth, the nerdy comedy from Chuck Lorre and Steve Molaro featured Sheldon's long-awaited marriage proposal to Amy (Mayim Bialik).

In the penultimate episode, Amy left to spend three months teaching at Princeton. That left Sheldon alone in the apartment they share to fend for himself for the first time. Bored, Sheldon begins spending time with Ramona Nowitzki (guest star Riki Lindhome) who returns to the university and pursues Sheldon romantically. Sheldon, thinking his friends are wrong about Ramona's interest in him — winds up asking her point blank if she's interested in him. Much to his surprise, Ramona swiftly responds by kissing him on the lips.

Shocked, Sheldon gets up and leaves and in a music-less montage, gets in a taxi, goes to the airport, buys a plane ticket and flies across the country and goes directly to Amy's door. A shocked Amy opens the door to find Sheldon on a knee, holding the ring he's had since the season eight finale, and proposing. 

With the season ending on a cliffhanger — will Amy say yes? Will she be put off by the fact that he proposed after another woman kissed him? — The Hollywood Reporter turned to showrunner Molaro to break down the romantic surprise.

You're renewed for two more seasons. How clear are you that this is the end? That's what we're hearing from sources.

I have no idea. There was a time when 10 could have been the end and now we're lucky enough to have two more years to do this as a family and all we can do is focus on what's in front of us and try to make it as good as we can.

Have you thought about if Amy and Sheldon's wedding would be a fitting series finale? 

I don't know. I don't want to think about the series finale because it's too emotional for me. Time will tell. It was a surprise to us when we decided Sheldon was going to propose and I would like to think it would be a surprise to us when they get married.

What changed for Sheldon that made this the right time to propose?

The week before the finale, Amy told him that she's going to Princeton for at least three months and that helped him start to think about where he is in this relationship. That was already on his mind and then once we introduced another woman sniffing around, that helped crystallize things even further.

Sheldon goes on quite a journey after Ramona kisses him. For someone who is so methodical about everything — travel, etc. — what does that journey say about Sheldon at this point as well as Amy's impact on him?

He himself is surprised at her impact on him. I really enjoyed watching him take that journey. From moment Ramona kisses him, I like that Sheldon really takes a moment to process what just happened. He's thinking, "OK, my friends were right; Penny was right; what am I doing? How am I feeling about Amy? … Excuse me a moment." In his analytical mind he said, "You should go propose." That answer made sense to him and he did it. I like how it played out and really enjoyed the montage. We weren't sure how we were going to feel about that montage. We put it in the script and sometimes you think something is a good idea in the writers' room and then you see it on its feet and think, "What have we done?!" We had to go to a table read and at the read, we were hearing the director read, "Sheldon gets in a taxi. Sheldon goes to the airport. Sheldon buys a plane ticket." And we were thinking, "Boy, I hope this isn't boring and is interesting." When we saw it play out at the run-through the next day, we started to feel really good about it." We looked at it in editing and made the decision to not put any music over it and let it play out in this weird silence where you go on this journey and it's interesting to watch him and try to figure out what exactly is happening here."

Big Bang is famous for not planning stories out too far along. But when did Sheldon's proposal become something you wanted to end the season with?

A couple weeks before the end [of season 10], we starting batting around ways it could end. Once we were in the territory that Ramona was going to be sniffing around, that seemed to be an organic way to get to Sheldon proposing. We've known this ring has been floating around for a while so it's not outrageous that he had the engagement ring.

Considering how slow Amy and Sheldon's relationship has moved — they moved in together this season — this is moving pretty quick for Sheldon. Have you thought about how long this engagement might last given how quickly they moved in and the proposal came? Amy is really helping to accelerate Sheldon's development.

A lot happened in season 10! We haven't talked about it extensively. It's a slow-moving relationship and wedding dates are movable, so who knows. I would imagine they're not in a rush but we try not to plan too far ahead — because it helps keep things exciting and organic. But time will tell. I don't know what's in store for them and that's what I find exciting about it.

How much of Amy's reaction will we see?

We're just thinking about it now but, as a viewer, I'd feel cheated if I didn't get to see Amy's reaction!

Is it safe to presume Amy will say yes?

I don't know what's going to happen but any viewer would imagine she would — but we, the audience, know what propelled him there. It's an interesting situation and I'm excited to see how it turns out.

So could the fact that another woman kissed Sheldon be a problem?

It might be! We were careful to keep Sheldon an innocent bystander in all this but another woman being the impetus? If I'm Amy, I'm not sure how I feel about that. She knows she loves Sheldon and he's here in front of me … but it's a really interesting situation. 

Could this be a Leonard and Penny situation? Look how many times they each proposed!

[Laughing] There were a lot of Leonard and Penny proposals, that's for sure!

Will there be a time jump when season 11 returns? Maybe see Amy's reaction in flashback?

We haven't talked about it in depth that much yet. Anything is possible.

Wedding planning for someone who is as particular as Sheldon … seeing Amy's family — have you thought about some of the stories that you could open up with Sheldon and Amy's engagement?

We haven't thought about it long-term but if and when we get to that point, it does open a lot of fun possibilities — like family members. We've seen how Amy behaves herself as a maid of honor so who knows what's in store. 

How might the gang respond?

As weird as Sheldon and Amy's relationship is and has been, if you mapped it out as a graph, it's probably very consistent. It's slow, but it all makes sense. I would imagine they'll be happy about it but I don't know. It's shocking and at the same time, it isn't.

What's next for Leonard and Penny? What about Bernadette and Howard? The guys' project ends too.

What's nice about season 11 is we're on a fresh page in a lot of their lives and we're ready to start some new adventures personally and professionally and it's going to be fun to dig into that. Bernadette and Howard are still figuring out how to be parents; Penny seems a little unhappy at her job; Leonard and all the guys are ready to take on the next scientific frontier that they're going to tackle. It seems like it's ripe for them to boldly go where ever they're going to boldly go.

Raj is going to be living in what sounded like less than ideal conditions in Bert's garage. Could that empty apartment become something we see again, maybe for Raj and Stuart, who Howard and Bernadette at some point will no longer need as a nanny? Could they take that over?

The apartment was not put there intentionally for those sorts of reasons. It really was a visual joke for us. But anything is possible we love Kevin Sussaman as Stuart and Raj is flailing around. Stuart is in an interesting position because he's also worked his way into being a nanny for Howard and Bernadette and I've really been enjoying him living with them. I don't know what's going to happen but it turns out there is an apartment there so time will tell.

Bert has been a great foil for Sheldon. Will we continue to see more of him in season 11?

I sure hope so. Brian Posehn is hilarious and we love him and it's been fun to explore his character. Bert makes Sheldon crazy in part because he's so nice and that's a really fun frenemy. He's a good foil in a way in that it's his sweetness that Sheldon finds so frustrating.

Have we seen the last of Ramona?

I don't know. I can tell you we love Riki Lindhome and if the story makes sense to see her again, no reason not to.

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