'The Big Bang Theory': From 'Star Trek' to 'Lord of the Rings,' the Show's Nerdiest Moments

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Cliff Lipson/CBS

For a show about the lives of science geeks and the people who love them, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory has had its fair share of nerd moments.

Now, as the show prepares to unspool its 100th episode, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the cast and creators to discuss their favorite nerd moments on the series, and the results are everything you’d expect: The Lord of the Rings, Leonard Nimoy and Star Trek references as well as Bollywood dances and yes, The Justice League.

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Chuck Lorre, co-creator/executive producer
“When Penny gave Sheldon a napkin signed by Leonard Nimoy that he had wiped his mouth with and Sheldon now had his DNA and could clone him. He was so overcome with affection for her, he physically hugged her, which he can’t do as a character. We all stood there on the stage and everybody got all fablungent and weepy. It was a moment that rose above the show and became something else.”

Bill Prady, co-creator/executive producer
“When Sheldon is in a conflict with Priya and he activates the self-destruct sequence, which is set up to send an e-mail to her parents revealing her relationship with Leonard. We duplicated self-destruct sequence from Star Trek. That’s my favorite thing in Star Trek, when they get into real trouble and they activate the self-destruct sequence on the ship to confound whomever it is who is trying to take control of the Enterprise. I said, ‘Someday I want to say, Computer, activate self-destruct sequence.’ ”

Steve Molaro, executive producer
“When Sheldon had too much coffee and put on the Flash suit and was running around and when the guys met Stan Lee. This is a very difficult question; there have been so many!”

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Jim Parsons (Sheldon)
“When we found a Lord of the Rings ring and we all wanted to keep it. The lengths we went to in that episode, it was very fun to play and a genius idea that they completely geeked out over: It affected them in a similar way that it affected anybody who had the ring in LOTR and it corrupted them. Sheldon turned completely insane, visually and physically.”

Johnny Galecki (Leonard)
“I rode an imaginary video game horse, that was probably the nerdiest moment. We play a lot of board games on the show that we have to learn in order to know what we’re doing in the scene.”

Kaley Cuoco (Penny)
“We did a holiday episode and Penny gives Sheldon a Leonard Nimoy napkin. He hugs her and it’s very special. I think that’s why we haven’t done a holiday episode since because they like to show that one because it’s such a sweet moment. He hasn’t hugged me since.”

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Simon Helberg (Howard)
“Superhero drag costumes are among the more vulnerable things a man can do to himself in front of millions of people. Everything feels a little geeky to me. If I didn’t feel geeky, I would have to raise a red flag and say there’s something wrong here. I enjoy embracing the geekiness of all of it: the pants, the outfits. It’s hard to find anything cool — that would be the real secret.”

Kunal Nayyar (Raj)
“We did an episode where we found what we thought was the one ring [from Lord of the Rings] in a garage sale, and it destroyed the sanctity of our group. There was a scene where Wolowitz holds the ring and says, “Gentlemen, we have the ring.” Sheldon grabs it and says, ‘Mine!’ How it turns him into Gollum. That whole episode was me being in those movies because I am the biggest LOTR fan in the world. To have that in my TV life — someone holding up the ring saying, ‘This is the ring’? I didn’t have to act.”

Melissa Rauch (Bernadette)
“I’m a nerd in a musical theater kind of way, so learning the Bollywood dance with Kunal was pretty much geeking out for me at its best. We got to go in a recording studio and I pretended like I was doing ‘We Are the World.’ ”

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Mayim Bialik (Amy)
“The debate is neurobiology or physics better that she and Sheldon had in one of their early episodes is pretty good. Seeing her dance with Sheldon and the way the sweater cut so awfully, it was so hideous? And seeing them trying to dance … there are different aspects of nerd. Her trying to cuddle with him was so sad. How to pick?!”

Will Wheaton (himself)
“My favorite nerd moment that I’ve been part of was walking into the bowling alley and saying, ‘Hey, they named their team after me!’ With a close second being, ‘Game over, Moonpie.’ ”

And because no Big Bang Theory moment is better than Sheldon geeking out with a final “Bazinga!” THR asked Parsons just how many times he thinks he’s said the now-famous line. His guess: about 25. “Because they’re pointed when he says it, so I think it makes it reverberate in that way, but I feel like I may be overestimating. That may not count how many times I said it in that ball pit. (Laughs.) He was insane then.”

The Big Bang Theory’s 100th episode airs Thursday, Jan. 19, at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit