5:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Big Bang Theory' Stars Preview What's Next After Sweet 200th Episode
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the 200th episode of CBS' The Big Bang Theory, "The Celebration Experimentation."]
CBS' The Big Bang Theory celebrated its 200th episode in grand fashion with a show first: the gang was allowed to throw Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) a birthday party.
Typically guarded about his birthday, Sheldon reveals that his twin sister and her friends tormented him as a child, going so far as to tell him that Batman would be coming. That never happened and an inspired Leonard gets Adam West to come to the apartment to celebrate alongside a long roster of friends who care about Sheldon.
Overcome by emotions with the strong show of support for him, Sheldon retreats into the bathroom and Penny — not Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and not girlfriend Amy (Mayim Bialik) — winds up being the one to comfort him. Their exchange was a fine example of how far both characters have come in the past 200 episodes, with Penny revealing she would have been one of the mean girls who tormented him but has now grown to care about him very deeply.
The amusing installment concludes with Sheldon forcing everyone in the group to share something — what they love about him.
THR caught up with the Big Bang Theory cast and creators during the show's recent 200th episode bash to get the scoop on what to expect from the nerdy family comedy going forward.
The Ring — and Beyond
Bialik tells THR that Amy's knowledge that Sheldon has an engagement ring with her name on it "doesn't really change things" for her. "They've really settled back into their arrangement — which is to let things be." Showrunner Steve Molaro agrees, noting that he "likes that it's there" — alongside other stories the series has yet to explore including Howard's dad, Penny's mom and brother and more. "I like that you can still do day-to-day, typical Big Bang episodes but there's still big tentpole stuff looming in the distance and that feels nice," Molaro says. "We're always thinking about [adding those]; there's no immediate plans but I'd love to meet all those people. We'll see. When the time is right, sometimes we never know until we're literally writing the script and then we'll pull the trigger on something, which is how it happened with Bernadette's pregnancy."
For his part, Parsons acknowledges Sheldon's growth from a former man-child into a character who better understands emotions — and judging from the 200th episode, someone able to actually feel them. "He's still a child but he does have a girlfriend and has started to feel these things," he says. "They've all grown in different ways. We've tried really hard to let these small moments of growth happen but not let them float away from the characters that we know and love. To me, that's the balancing act that we work hard on."
A Formal Ceremony?
Leonard's mother (returning guest star Christine Baranski) seems to be a little bit miffed that her son eloped and deprived her of a formal wedding. As it happens, that's something that Galecki hopes the series rectifies for Leonard and Penny. "I wonder if they might have some sort of ceremony for their nuptials since they went off on their own," he says. "I think they might regret that. I hope that's the case. I'd like to see their best friends and family celebrate them. Not necessarily a wedding episode because how many times have we seen that but some sort of ceremony."
Mom and Pop Wolowitz
Melissa Rauch (Bernadette) was all smiles talking about the Wolowitz family's upcoming addition. "I feel like I'm starting a TV family with my TV family and I'm overjoyed about these storylines," she says, warning that the pregnancy makes sense for the couple. "When you think back to Wolowitz and how he was the big ladies' man of the group, now he's essentially the most domesticated of the group — yet the DNA of the show has stayed the same." Helberg, meanwhile, notes the pregnancy will force Howard to embrace the fact that the couple really have no idea what they're doing when it comes to being parents. "That is the only way," he says. "Howard wants to be a better dad than his dad was, which will probably be an interesting psychological journey for him."
The actor also hopes that the pregnancy storyline will prove the perfect time for Big Bang to introduce Howard's estranged father. "I feel like something will happen [with Howard's uncast dad]. I've heard different people mentioned — all of whom are short comedians. I've heard Rick Moranis and Martin Short. Any short, gawky comedian basically means that I idolized them growing up, like those two, and they can potentially be Howard's dad. I stunted my own growth to be more like Martin Short — I drank coffee and smoked cigarettes from the age of 6 because I thought you had to be short to be that funny. You can't go wrong with anyone like that. I hope we get to meet him and I'm sure it will be somebody brilliant."
Meet the New Ladies' Man
Inspired by his chemistry with Claire (Alessandra Torresani), Raj (Kunal Nayyar) broke up with girlfriend Emily (Laura Spencer) but regretted it immediately when the former reunited with her boyfriend. But that won't stop Raj from boldly going where he's never gone before: dating two women at once. "The last couple of seasons, ever since Raj has been able to speak in front of women, it's been really fun. Emily and Claire are both going to be in the picture — he's going to try and date the two of them. It's about time a character tried to date two women at the same time!" Nayyar says.
What did you think of the Big Bang Theory's 200th episode? Sound off in the comments below. Big Bang airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.