Hard as it may be to imagine, the world of television is going to look very different, very soon. After 12 long seasons, many of which the series has spent as the most watched sitcom in America, CBS' The Big Bang Theory is finally coming to an end with an hour-long series finale on May 16. The Big Bang Theory has long been one of the most reliable series on television, featuring laugh a minute writing, strong performance from its cast, and, as always, pitch-perfect commentary on all things nerdy.
It all but goes without saying that there will be a real void in the television landscape in the absence of the series - and at this point, it's not hard to start feeling sentimental about everything the series has given us over the years. While The Big Bang Theory's signature brand of humor may not always be for everyone, there's no denying that this show has meant a lot, to a lot of people - regardless of whether they self identify as nerds or not.
As we get ready to say goodbye to the series that all started with a big bang, let's take a look at what we're really going to miss once the final episode ends.
10 THE GANG'S SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS
As much as The Big Bang Theory has always been a situation comedy about the personal lives of a group of unlikely, nerdy heroes, it has also always been a show totally unafraid of embracing the technicalities of their life of science at Caltech.
Over the years, adventures and experiments that the main gang have gotten involved in have included discussions of Schroedinger's cat, behavioral experiments with monkeys, Mars rovers, thoughts on dark matter, the Higgs Boson Particle, NASA space travel, and the potential of something called super asymmetry. It may not always be easy to understand what the heck these guys and girls are talking about, but there's no way to ignore their infectious excitement and passion for all that they do.
9 THE COMIC BOOK STORE
Some iconic sitcom friendship groups hang out in diners or coffee shops or offices. But for the main characters of The Big Bang Theory, their primary hangout - besides the apartment - has always been Stuart's comic book store. The comic book store has been a fixture of the series since the second season, and its lovable loser of an owner, Stuart, has likewise grown more and more important to the story over time.
The comic book store has been through a lot over the years, including burning down and being rebuilt, and sudden overnight fame thanks to a visit and tweet from beloved science fiction author Neil Gaiman. But at the end of the day, there's no place that feels more like a home away from home than the comic book store for these characters. We're going to miss our regular visits to it, too.
8 THE MAIN COUPLES
When The Big Bang Theory started, Leonard was helplessly in love with oblivious neighbor Penny; Sheldon was physically opposed to the very notion of a romantic relationship; Howard was a wannabe ladies' man with no charm; and Raj couldn't talk to women without the aid of alcohol. So much has changed since those early seasons - and so much for the better, too.
After years and years of back and forth, Leonard and Penny finally settled down and got married in the series' ninth season. Howard and Bernadette have been married even longer than that, tying the knot in the series' fifth season finale. And Sheldon and Amy finally joined the married club at the end of the eleventh season. While Raj is still looking for love, these three married couples have all been major parts of what contributed to the series' overall success. Our weekly checkins with them will be sorely missed.
7 THE SOFT KITTY SONG
Sheldon Cooper has a lot of peculiar, specific, and downright obsessive behaviors and tendencies, but few of them have been more heartwarming - and more downright adorable - than his need to be consoled with the song "Soft Kitty" whenever he's sick. A lullaby that he's loved ever since he was a child, "Soft Kitty" made quite frequent appearances earlier in the series, with Penny usually being the unsuspecting singer trying to soothe an upset Sheldon.
Over time, both Sheldon's mother, Mary, and his future wife, Amy Farrah Fowler, have been shown to get in on some of the "Soft Kitty" action. And once, Sheldon even broke his pattern of behavior, singing the sweet song to Penny when she had dislocated her shoulder. "Soft Kitty" has gone on to become one of the most iconic parts of the series - and we hope, somehow, we can hear it before the show ends, just one more time.
6 SHELDON AND LEONARD'S FRIENDSHIP
CBS may have tried to reboot The Odd Couple for a few years with Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon, but it's been clear since the pilot of The Big Bang Theory that the real odd couple friendship worth rooting for on the channel has always been the one between former roommates and forever best friends Sheldon and Leonard. The duo have many of the traditional hallmarks of iconic comedy partnerships: tall and short; loud and opinionated vs. quiet and withdrawn; antisocial and social.
Sheldon and Leonard may be opposites in a lot of ways, but at the end of the day, they complement each other perfectly and really care deeply about each other. The Big Bang Theory isn't a show that brings the tears very often, but some of the series' most emotional moments have been as a result of heart to hearts between these best buddies who are usually (lovingly) at each other's throats.
5 THE SUPPORTING PLAYERS
Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Howard, Penny, Bernadette, and Amy may be the main characters of The Big Bang Theory, but their prominence and importance don't in any way negate the significance and amusement provided by some of the series' longest running recurring characters. Fellow scientists at Caltech like geologist Bert Kibbler and physicist and string theorist Barry Kripke have added endless amounts of hilarity to the series.
Beloved comic book store owner and friend Stuart Bloom has more or less become a member of the main group, even though he's continually made to feel excluded. Sheldon's mother, Mary Cooper, and Leonard's mother, Beverly Hofstadter, are always welcome and truly amusing visitors. The Big Bang Theory may be about four guys and the women in their lives, but we're going to miss these supporting players, too.
4 POP CULTURE COMMENTARY
You can always count on The Big Bang Theory's group of friends to not only stay up to date on the latest in popular culture, but also remind you of pieces of media you'd long forgotten about, too. Over the years, the guys have passionately watched and discussed everything ranging from The Sarah Connor Chronicles to America's Next Top Model, Doctor Who to Game of Thrones, Star Wars to Star Trek.
Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj are always up to date on the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and have frequented countless science fiction and comic conventions and opening night movie premieres. The Big Bang Theory has never shied away from its commitment to portraying these characters as truly invested, passionate nerds - and that's one of the things we're going to miss most of all.
3 THE GUEST STARS
Stephen Hawking. Stan Lee. Leonard Nimoy. James Earl Jones. William Shatner. George Takei. Adam West. Kevin Smith. Mark Hamill. LeVar Burton. Carrie Fisher. Brent Spiner. Wil Wheaton. Bill Nye. Katee Sackhoff. Bob Newhart. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Buzz Aldrin. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Nathan Fillion. Eliza Dushku. Summer Glau. And the list goes on, and on, and on.
Few sitcoms have had as expansive, as wide-ranging, and as truly impressive lists of guest stars as The Big Bang Theory. With guests from fields including science fiction, real-life science, and other beloved television series, The Big Bang Theory is in a league all its own when it comes to the breadth and depth of its cast of guest stars - with every single one of them elevating the series to be better, smarter, and funnier each and every time.
2 HOWARD AND RAJ'S FRIENDSHIP
Arguably the series' secret weapon from the very beginning, the friendship between Howard Wolowitz and Rajesh "Raj" Koothrappali has developed beautifully and deepened over time. While the series has occasionally poked fun at the potential of these two best buds possibly being more than just friends, it's impossible to deny that these two are forever linked, and nothing - not even the most upsetting of arguments - will ever tear them apart.
Howard and Raj both make each other better people, with Raj helping Howard mature into the father and husband he is today, and Howard helping Raj come out of his shell more. And if we're being totally honest, their adventures with their nerd rock band Footprints on the Moon have been some of the series' most hilarious moments to date.
1 SHELDON COOPER
When The Big Bang Theory is over, and years and years have passed, if there's one thing that remains prominently featured in the public consciousness, it will absolutely, undoubtedly be the hilarious, one of a kind Dr. Sheldon Cooper. Played to perfection by Jim Parsons for 12 seasons, Sheldon is the beating heart of the series, even when he tries his best to act like he doesn't have any feelings.
Most of the series' zany adventures stem from Sheldon's impulsive behaviors, and the series' central relationships all but hinge upon the existence of this character. So it's no surprise, then, that CBS decided to put an end to the series when Jim Parsons decided not to return for any additional years. The Big Bang Theory just isn't The Big Bang Theory without Sheldon. We're going to miss him most of all.