Twelves years and 279 episodes culminated in one tearful bittersweet day on Tuesday — the taping of “The Big Bang Theory” series finale.
Cast members of the longest-running multicamera comedy ever gave emotional testimonials on what that last day on set was like to Variety on the red carpet of the series finale party in Los Angeles, Calif. Wednesday.
“You really can’t prepare for that final moment. This is the last time we’ll bow together, this is the last time we’ll do scenes together,” said Jim Parsons, who played Sheldon on the show. “Logically you can know that, but to go through that is a different thing.”
Of all the fan encounters over the years, Parsons added, “You’re a part of someone’s intimate life and that is just moving. It’s a real companion if you joined up and watched for 12 years.”
Kaley Cuoco, who played Penny, called the finale “beautiful” both from the story perspective, as well as the energy in the room. “People were so happy. It couldn’t have been better. It’s just this beautiful chapter of our lives coming to an end.”
Johnny Galecki and Kunal Nayyar, the actors behind Leonard and Raj, respectively, both celebrated their birthdays at the final taping. Only two times did the two actors film during their birthdays — the first and final seasons. “That made things even more poetic,” said Galecki.
Before every taping, the cast got together in a traditional huddle, which Galecki said started out as a joke but soon enough became essential to the experience.
“We were being cheesy,” said Galecki. “Then we became superstitious about starting the show without doing it. It became a special moment before a show. The last one was tough — a lot of loving words shared.”
Nayyar said of the pre-show huddle, “There were more tears shed than words said. How do you say anything other than we love each other and we can’t believe that we did it and that we’ll always be there for each other?”
Nayyar said that his whole family was in the audience Tuesday night. He saw friends who had been in the audience for the pilot 12 years ago back for the last episode. “I’ve shared this journey not just with myself, but with so many people that have supported me. Just to have that experience with them was the greatest thing ever.”
“We’ve been through a lot together. I’ve been there nine years and there are sorts of things that people don’t know about or see that we’ve been through together. That is just for us, because we live life together,” added Mayim Bialik, who played Amy.
Melissa Rauch, who played Bernadette, thought a lot about the last time she was speaking in her character’s higher-pitched voice, as well as wearing her glasses. “I wonder if I’ll find myself a few years from now missing that voice,” she said.
Simon Helberg, who played Howard, said the final taping felt like a graduation. He said, “We huddled together and you remember doing that 12 years ago and it feels like yesterday. And it also feels like there was never a moment in time when we weren’t here, and we didn’t know each other. … The world can know and take solace in all of our sloppy emotions.”
“The Big Bang Theory” series finale airs May 16 on CBS.