The Big Bang Theory Stephen Hawking

(Spoilers ahead: Do not read if you haven’t watched tonight’s episode of “Big Bang Theory.”)

On tonight’s episode of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” Leonard (Johnny Galecki) comes up with a theory that even roommate Sheldon (Jim Parsons) approves of — and the two proudly post it online for the scientific community to weigh in.

The “quantum diaries physics blog” message board quickly fills up with praise, calling it “insightful” and “innovative” — until one critic slams them repeatedly for being “crackpot wannabe theoreticians” and “two clowns with their heads in a bucket.”

Their Internet bully turns out to be none other than past “Big Bang” guest Stephen Hawking, who finally tells the guys he was just pranking them. “If you were sitting in a chair for 40 years, you’d get bored, too,” says Hawking.

Executive producer Steve Molaro says they came up with the idea for getting Hawking back on the show in the writers’ room. “We love that Professor Hawking is a part of the ‘Big Bang’ family,” he said. “He has a terrific sense of humor, and we thought he’d be the last person you’d expect to be playing an Internet bully.”

Hawking’s scenes were shot from his home in England, but Molaro says, “He’s welcome to visit our set again anytime.”

Given the Oscar buzz around “The Theory of Everything,” which chronicles Hawking’s life, the timing of the episode just before the Academy Awards is just a “happy coincidence,” says Molaro. “But if it makes us look brilliant, then yes, (it’s) absolutely intentional.”

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