Since the inception of The Big Bang Theory in 2007, creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady have delivered us over 250 episodes over 12 seasons. It’s a show that millions of viewers still watch religiously each week but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Filled with science, science fiction , and physics, references, the show has drawn us in with its affection for all things geeky. Its humor is largely derived from Sheldon Cooper’s irrational antics and how they affect the gang around him: Leonard, Howard, Raj, and Sheldon. Over the years, new characters and significant others like Bernadette and Amy Farrah Fowler have added some gender balance to the cast and added a fresh source of humor. Much like other seminal sitcoms like Friends, Seinfeld, and The Office, we’ve grown fond of certain characters and enjoy rooting for them; others have overstayed their welcome with their annoying ticks, one-note personalities, and staleness.
For the most part, the characters on The Big Bang Theory have been fun to watch. Many of them have evolved in a realistic way and we’ll certainly miss seeing them grow and mature once they’re gone. But there are others that we’ll be happy not to have beaming into our living rooms every week. The Big Bang Theory will no doubt live on in syndication for many generations to come, so let’s take a look at the characters we’ll be excited to see on reruns and others that can stay buried in the forgotten TV void.
20 MISS: LEONARD HOFSTADTER
Wonderfully portrayed by Johnny Galecki, Leonard is the sanity to Sheldon’s neuroticism. He’s always there to provide a funny quip to Sheldon’s ridiculous eccentricities. He’s became more confident as the series progressed, winning over Penny and maturing to the point where the couple got married and have discussed having a family.
Leonard has almost become the “cool” guy of the group. He’s less socially awkward than his friends and he usually knows how to be the voice of reason when the others are doing something morally wrong. He’s charming in a goofy sort of way and it’s fun to cheer for him since he’s the lovable underdog of the show.
19 NEVER SEE AGAIN: SHELDON COOPER
As the lead character in the show, Sheldon started off really funny with his eccentricities including everything from scheduling his bathroom breaks to creating roommate agreements that he forced Leonard to sign. Over time though, his character arc didn’t change and his mannerisms became unrealistic for a 30-something year old man.
Settling down with Amy has helped Sheldon learn how to compromise, but his over-the-top personality and reckless disregard for other people’s intelligence have become stale and drawn out. Parsons is a great actor in this role, but it’ll hard to picture him as anyone but Sheldon for the rest of his career.
18 MISS: HOWARD WOLOWITZ
Howard has actually been one of the few characters on the show whose character arc evolved in a realistic way. He’s transformed from being a weird, dorky university kid who was generally disgusting around women to a mature, accomplished father of two.
Professionally, he became an astronaut (though the guys still razz him for being an engineer rather than a “real” astronaut). Personally he settled down with Bernadette and does all he can to provide for his family despite growing up in a household without a father around. “Howie” has really come into his own over the years and we’ll miss his wise-cracking jokes and of course, his impeccable sense of fashion.
17 NEVER SEE AGAIN: AMY FARRAH FOWLER
Amy (Mayim Bialik) was a great addition to the main cast. Not only is Bialik a wonderful actor, the character was written as a sort of yin to Sheldon’s yang. It was fun to see a female version of Sheldon, with the same awkward quirks but grounded in a more realistic sense of reality.
Thing is, Amy’s character arc didn’t change much either. Even though she married Sheldon, the two are still meticulously planning their every move. Both characters are super career focused, still somewhat lacking in social skills, and generally uncomfortable to watch. We like shows where characters grow, and Sheldon and Amy just haven’t done enough of that to warrant more seasons.
16 MISS: BERNADETTE ROSTENKOWSKI-WOLOWITZ
Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) has charmed us with her cute, high-pitched, and sometimes foul-mouthed voice, which she actually modelled after her own mother’s voice in real life. She’s a petite and funny but sometimes stern woman who isn’t afraid to poke fun at the guys, particularly her subservient husband Howard, who she affectionately calls “Howie.”
Bernadette balances being a mother of two kids, Hallie and Neil, with being a professional microbiologist and even though she has a tendency to yell sometimes, her outbursts are a great source of comedy on the show. We’ll definitely miss her unique speech pattern which Rauch has amazingly kept up with consistency through all these years.
15 NEVER SEE AGAIN: MRS. FOWLER
Of all of the newer characters, Mrs. Fowler (Katy Bates) has to be the worst. She’s an overbearing mother with a huge personality, and she talks incessantly whether people want to hear her opinion or not. Worst of all, she’s very condescending to her husband Larry (Penn) to the point where he runs and hides from her any chance he gets.
Bates is known for playing these strong, dominant characters, but Mrs. Fowler just takes it to an uncomfortable extreme. Her marriage just doesn’t seem healthy and she’s grown apart from Amy (which was later revealed to be Amy’s fault) so it’s time we’re glad we won’t have to watch her much longer.
14 MISS: PENNY HOFSTADTER
This one might be controversial, but Penny’s (Kaley transformation on the show has actually been quite impressive. She’s gone from a clumsy, borderline alcoholic, out-of-work actress to a sales professional at a pharmaceutical company, showing maturity and work ethic along the way. She’s settled down with Leonard and the two have even discussed having kids.
Through it all, Penny hasn’t lost her sense of humor, often calling out the guys on their lies and still cracking jokes at their expense. The show has made Kaley Cuoco a worldwide star, so even though we’ll miss her as Penny, it’s likely not the last we’ll see of her in Hollywood.
13 NEVER SEE AGAIN: BARRY KRIPKE
Barry Kripke (John Ross Bowie) is a colleague of Sheldon and Leonard’s that seemingly exists only to annoy the pair with his showmanship. He’s constantly trying to one-up both of them, often bragging when he’s successful in doing so. Part of the comedy of his character comes from his lisp, which is starting to get old. Bowie has a speech impediment in real life, but he plays it up for the show. It’s simply not that funny anymore.
Furthermore, Barry just isn’t that interesting of a character. Other than the episode where the gang was competing for tenure at the University (which Barry was awarded), most of his episodes aren’t particularly funny or captivating.
12 MISS: MR. LARRY FOWLER
Larry Fowler -- played by Penn of the legendary magic duo Penn & Teller -- is Amy’s mild tempered and somewhat aloof dad. He’s constantly on the run from Mrs. Fowler, who’s always telling him what to do, how to act, and what (or what not) to say. He’s terrified of her, which makes for some great comedic moments, even if it does get to be a bit too much sometimes.
His timid demeanor is the perfect counter to Mrs. Fowler’s (Kathy Bates) bossy behavior. He’s a good father to Amy and pleasant to her friends, making him one of the least irritating characters on the show.
11 NEVER SEE AGAIN: RAJ KOOTHRAPPALI
Aside from Sheldon, Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) might be the most irritating character on the show. His need to find a girlfriend has been an ongoing issue in the series, as he often overthinks things, lacks confidence, and is all around awful at talking to women. Back in the day, he needed alcohol in order to speak to them; his character has become considerable less funny since that changed.
This season, Raj finally gave up on finding love for himself and agreed to let his parents work out an arranged marriage for him. His fiancée is the straight-edged intellect Anu, and her personality is about as stale as a day old loaf of bread. Raj seemed destined for failure from the start and it hasn’t gotten much better after 12 seasons.
10 MISS: MARY COOPER
Sheldon’s mother Mary (Laurie Metcalf) is definitely the funniest character on the show. Her born-again Christian values and traditional Texas hospitality make for some hilarious jokes on the show, and Metcalf plays the character perfectly. The Bible, fried food, and “mama’s boy” jokes never seem to get old. She loves Sheldon unconditionally even when it’s embarrassing (and funny) for him.
Mary is an intelligent, caring, and sweet mother who is always looking out for Sheldon, even into adulthood. She’s a bit naïve though, sometimes saying offensive things without realizing it. All in all, Metcalf’s good natured personality and dedication to the character make Mary the one character we will miss the most from The Big Bang Theory.
9 NEVER SEE AGAIN: STUART BLOOM
Stuart (Kevin Sussman) is the lanky and lowly guy who owns and operates the comic book store, and occasionally he hangs out with the gang. Despite being a business owner, Stuart is perpetually poor, lacks social skills, and has the same problem as many of the males on the show do: he’s pitiful around women.
At times, Stuart has even been forced to move in with Howard to stay afloat, presumably as a means for the writers to keep him in the show. For some reason, he lived with Howard and his mom, then with Howard and Bernadette even after they got married and had kids. Stuart isn’t as annoying as some of the other cast members, but these days he’s just sort of … around. We wouldn’t mind if he just sort of left.
8 MISS: MIKE ROSTENKOWSKI
Bernadette’s dad Mike Rostenkowki (Casey Sander) is a hard-nosed retired police officer who doesn’t care much for Howard at first. But in the season six episode “The Fish Guts Displacement,” two bond when their wives force them to go on a fishing trip. Neither of them wants to hang out with the other, so they ditch fishing and go to the casino to play craps instead.
Mike’s sense of humor, degrading comments to Howard, and rough and tumble personality made him one of the most memorable characters on the show. Even with his limited screen time, Sander created a well-rounded and believable personality for the right-wing, overprotective dad Mike.
7 NEVER SEE AGAIN: DR. BEVERLY HOFSTADTER
Like most of the mothers in the show, Dr. Beverly Hofstadter (Christine Baranski) is overbearing and doesn’t seem to be proud of her child no matter what they do. She’s a neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and an author, so she’ll always analyzing Leonard’s every move, even when it’s inappropriate. She has no problem discussing his personal life or embossing childhood stories in front of his friends, so she’s basically everyone’s living nightmare.
Often times, Dr. Hofstadter takes it too far. For example, she wrote a book called Needy Baby, Greedy Baby where she discusses Leonard’s childhood issues without his permission. She also talks down to people, which might be her worst quality. We won’t be missing her anytime soon.
6 MISS: PRESIDENT SIEBERT
President Siebert (Joshua Malina) is the president of the California Institute of Technology, where all of the guys work. He’s not on the show frequently but he’s showed up a couple of times in season 12 already with some amusing scenes. In the episode “The Grant Allocation Derivation” which aired in 2018, he passed off the responsibility of allocating extra grant money to Leonard in order to wipe his own hands clean. He simultaneously likes his job and hates it at the same time.
In “The Planetarium Collision” from the same year, Sheldon seeks Siebert’s advice put the president ends their conversation when Sheldon brings up his personal life. The back and forth between the two usually brings out some pretty funny material.
5 NEVER SEE AGAIN: ANU
Anu is a new character introduced in season 12 as Raj’s fiancée, found by his parents for an arranged marriage. Just like Raj, she comes from a wealthy Indian family and is looking to settle down after not having much luck doing that on her own.
And that’s about all we know about her. Her character is somewhat thin, with a serious demeanor and not much other backstory. She works as a hotel concierge, but we don’t know why. She corrects people and insists on being politically correct. Again, we don’t know why. Mostly, Anu doesn’t seem to have much of a personality. She’s stoic and pretty boring to watch.
4 MISS: WIL WHEATON
Almost every major star of the science or science fiction world has appeared on the show at some point, including Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, Summer Glau, and of course, Wil Wheaton from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He usually shows up to throw a few jabs at Sheldon but his presence is far less annoying than say, Dr. Leslie Winkle.
Wheaton has a great personality and you can tell he has fun just playing himself on the show. He’s a huge fan of comics, science fiction, and fantasy in real life so we’ll miss the honesty he brings to the role.
3 NEVER SEE AGIAN: ARTHUR JEFFRIES (PROFESSOR PROTON)
Arthurs Jeffries (aka Professor Proton) is Sheldon’s childhood idol as he was once the host of a popular kids science TV show. Played by legend Bob Newhart, Arthur is a bit trying to watch. He usually appears in Sheldon’s visions and dreams (not by choice, mind you) and Sheldon pesters him for advice even though he doesn’t know what to say or why he’s there.
Newhart is a great actor, but on the show he fumbles through his lines so much that it’s become annoying. The novelty of seeing him on the show has worn off and his scenes with Sheldon are rarely funny anymore.
2 MISS: BERT KIBBLER
As one of the gang’s colleagues at CalTech, Bert (Brian Posehn) is one of the more accomplished scientists at the university. He won a grant in the season ten episode “The Geology Elevation,” which made Sheldon insanely jealous. He’s a mild mannered gentle giant who keeps a happy-go-lucky attitude even when Amy rejects his offer for a date.
Interesting fact: Brian Posehn is one of only two actors to appear in two of the most popular sitcoms ever: The Big Bang Theory and Friends. In Friends, he played a postman in the season two episode “The One Where Dr. Ramoray Dies.” We’ll definitely miss Bert’s self-depreciating quips and gentle jokes.
1 NEVER SEE AGAIN: DR. LESLIE WINKLE
Dr. Leslie Winkle (Sara Gilbert) hasn’t been on the show with any regularity since the early days, and her presence hasn’t been missed. Originally, the idea of seeing her and Leonard interacting again on screen was fun; Gilbert and Galecki appeared on the show Roseanne together though the ‘90s.
Her character was sort of vile though, as she used Leonard for her own gain at a vulnerable time in his life. When Leonard tried to continue the relationship, she outright denied him and said was good. Dr. Winkle repeatedly calls people “dumbass,” which is supposed to be funny somehow. It’s a one-note joke that wore off a long time ago.