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Big Bang Theory: 15 Canceled Storylines That Would Have Saved The Show (And 15 That Hurt It)

We’re in the Endgame now. Don’t worry, you clicked on the right article if you’re looking to read about The Big Bang Theory. But it’s true for this show too, we are in the Endgame now for the series. After twelve seasons and becoming the longest-running sitcom and one of the most influential shows for geek and gaming culture ever, the show ended May 16, 2019. With some bajillion different platforms to watch the show on, we’ll never have to say goodbye to Leonard, Sheldon, Penny, and their friends. They’ll live on in perpetuity forever.

Unfortunately, we won’t see any new adventures for our heroes to go on. But the success of this show on TV has helped pave the way for plenty of nerdtastic shows and movies to keep coming out of the pipeline. The Big Bang Theory can’t take credit for fans flocking to the MCU or Stranger Things or other pop culture events, but the show on a weekly basis did bring plenty of nerd culture to light and made it cool and funny to argue about the mundane and trivial things that plenty of comic book fans have been doing for years, who can lift Thor’s hammer?

But like any show, it wasn’t all roses and butterflies. Some storylines fell flat or were outright unsettling. Others were the reason the show lives on. Here are 15 Canceled Storylines That Would Have Saved The Big Bang Theory (And 15 That Hurt It).

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30 Saved – Sheldon Being More Childlike

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When TV shows begin, the beginning episodes have actors trying out all kinds of different choices with their character. When the show began, not only was Sheldon as smart as he is nowadays, he was mean-spirited with his jokes and his sarcasm. Jim Parsons played him as a know-it-all-jerk.

While he still plays him that way to this very day, Parsons added Sheldon being a lot more childlike and far less understanding of the how and why people act the way they do. It turned Sheldon more or less into a toddler with a super-brain. A person you can be exasperated by but seldom truly angry at.

29 Hurt – Stuart Is Not A Success

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One of the cooler aspects of The Big Bang Theory is that while our Fab Four aren’t necessarily always “winners” in life and are socially awkward; they’re all also have fairly successful careers. Stuart was at one point a very successful comic book store owner and an aspiring artist.

Whoever decided to turn him into not just a down-on-his-luck loser, but a thoroughly unnerving one at that should be smacked in the face. It was refreshing to see a non-science geek on the show and even more so that he was treated as their equal because of his love of comics. That all went away when he became the behind of everyone’s jokes, including his own.

28 Saved – Raj Can’t Talk To Women

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Raj has one of the most interesting character quirks of anyone in a sitcom, not just The Big Bang Theory. When girls are around, he can’t say anything. As Raj, Kunal Nayyar got to show off some great comedic silent acting.

He’d then take a sip of an adult beverage and be fine. While this trait has gone away in recent years, his nervousness came back recently when he was trying to get to know his future wife, Anu, to hysterical results.

27 Hurt – Lucy Can’t Talk To Raj

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When all of his other awkward friends started finding love, it was pretty sad that Raj not only wasn’t as lucky as his friends, but his efforts were bordering pathetic or criminally unsettling. Then he was able to find Lucy at the comic store during a stag Valentines Party.

But she was even more awkward that Raj! Even after all of the nonsense Raj had to put up with over the years and he still finds a girl more socially inept than he was. It just seemed like the Writer’s Room didn’t know how to do anything except just keep dumping on the guy.

26 Saved – Amy And Bernadette Join The Fray

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Kaley Cuoco might be very easy on the eyes. The boys are also pretty funny. But watching all five of these characters and whatever configuration of them weekly was getting a little stale. That usually means the show needs to end or add some characters to shake some things up.

The Big Bang Theory chose to do the latter and added Bernadette and Amy. Despite being a traditional sitcom, thanks to Amy and Bernie, our heroes got the opportunity to grow and fans also got to see all kinds of new permutations of characters getting together.

25 Hurt – Raj Can’t Find Love

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Raj overcame his fear of not being able to speak to women with rampant alcoholism. But he still can’t find a girl. The guy acts as anyone might when he sees all of his guy friends finding ladies to share their lives with. No matter how successful he has become as a scientist, Raj feels as angry and as upset as a person would without that deep personal connection.

It’s an exercise watching Raj strike out all of the time. No matter how comically bad he is at being with women, it’s downright depressing when you see a strange one like Howard be happily married with children and Raj has nothing.

24 Saved – “WHHHHEAAAATTTONNNN!!!!!”

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Sheldon’s list of enemies and frenemies runs deep. But no one is as fun to watch spar with Sheldon than Wil Wheaton himself. Partially because in real life, he’s as much of a nerd as the rest of our scientist heroes.

On the series, Wheaton plays himself in an exaggerated way to exasperate Sheldon’s patience. He shows up fairly regularly and most recently he wasn’t alone. He hosted a Dungeons And Dragons game with William Shatner, Kevin Smith, Joe Manganiello, and whichever one of our heroes didn’t spill the beans.

23 Hurt – Raj And Penny

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It seems like a lifetime ago now, but by the middle of the fourth season, it seemed like Leonard had given up on trying to be with Penny in favor of a more meaningful relationship with Raj’s sister, Priya. Realizing she had actual feelings for him, Penny decided to drown her sorrows...in Raj!

As the season-ending cliff-hanger, it was a sub-par development and one that seemed out of place, even for these two half in the bag. Like most sitcoms, by the end of the next episode, it was all cleared up and mostly forgiven.

22 Saved – Penny And Sheldon

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Leonard and Penny might be The Big Bang Theory’s great love story, but Penny and Sheldon have the show’s best friendship on lockdown. For all of the flack that Sheldon gives her for not being terribly bright, Penny is still the only character on the show to have figured out Sheldon.

While everyone else just gets exhausted by dealing with the childlike brainiac, Penny has found a way to either calm him down by singing Soft Kitty. Or even better putting him down with sarcasm that takes him a minute to figure out.

21 Hurt – Priya And Leonard

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Like a lot of sitcoms that are at least partially centered on a love story between two characters, The Big Bang Theory loves to put obstacles in front of Leonard and Penny. Sometimes, Penny just couldn’t see it or was scared of really loving Leonard, or she was just dating someone else.

Meanwhile, Leonard wasn’t just waiting around for his blond bombshell. He was dating as well. Raj’s sister Priya was one of his girlfriends for a while. Nothing was inherently wrong with Priya. Nothing, if you count how controlling she was and forcing Leonard to stop seeing Penny.

20 Saved – Leonard And Penny’s Courtship

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Much of the entire Big Bang Theory is devoted to seeing how Leonard will win the affections of his way–out–of–his–league next door neighbor, Amy. Over the course of the show, it has been sweet to see the push and pull of these two. Leonard’s comical desire to have babies with her (they’ll be “smart and beautiful”), Penny finally expressing some real affection towards Leonard when he left town for a research experiment.

Those early moments helped bring a strong foundation to Leonard and Penny. They tried to have every kind of friendship and relationship before finally realizing they’re both ready to take the plunge and get married.

19 Hurt – Leonard And Penny’s Marriage

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Penny and Leonard’s marriage, however, hasn’t been as exciting as watching the couple get together. While real-life married couples settle into the mundane sameness of everyday life, these two are characters on TV. No, they’re not contemplating how to pay the rent.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not traveling the world or doing anything worthwhile on the series. They’ve been married for a few years now, and their marriage finally got a little interesting when Zack of all people wanted Leonard to be a surrogate for his own kid.

18 Saved – “ShAmy”

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Thanks to Raj and Howard’s meddling and setting Sheldon up with an online dating profile, the world was introduced to Amy Farrah Fowler. The neuroscientist played by real-life neuroscientist, Mayim Bialik, has been the apple of Sheldon’s eye since the instant they met.

Even though Sheldon would take years to admit it, and on his own way and own terms, he finally mustered up the courage to draw up a “Relationship Agreement,” and make Amy his girlfriend. Every “first” between them has been a classic sitcom “aww” moment, thanks in no small part to the actors portraying them.

17 Hurt – The Strange Friendship Of Our ‘Heroes’

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You would think that four friends who have been virtually teased their whole lives would be nicer to each other. That doesn’t make for good comedy though. Besides, what’s some harmless hazing between friends?

Not a whole lot, actually except when it costs one of them months of research and perhaps his reputation. Raj, Leonard, and Howard decided to lie about the data on the quartet’s research trip, foiling Sheldon’s “discovery” of String Theory. That’s just harmless razzing, that’s how Sheldon once felt about it – outright betrayal.

16 Saved – The Main Character’s Family Members

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The casting directors of The Big Bang Theory need to be commended. Besides finding a main cast that gels well together, they also found some amazing guest stars to play the extended family members of all our heroes.

First, we met Christine Baranski as Leonard’s mother and Laurie Metcalf as Sheldon’s. Those two powerhouse actresses were just the tip of the iceberg. Keith Carradine and Katey Sagal as Penny’s folks; reunited the two girls from their 8 Simple Rules days. Perhaps the wildest pairing and ‘get’ for the show though would be Kathy Bates and Teller as Amy’s wacky parents.

15 Hurt – Howard Goes To Space

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For all of the good work that the series has done bringing nerd culture to the forefront, the writers seemingly have a hard time reconciling when it was cool to make fun of nerds and now, when it’s not. Howard got to go into space, the dream of plenty of people. But he got to do it because he built a toilet.

Once he came home, he just wouldn’t keep quiet about his achievement, so his friends mocked him. Instead of heralding an amazing accomplishment, everyone, even the guy’s wife made him feel like it was nothing special.

14 Saved – Fun With Flags

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Of all the ridiculous things to catch on in a sitcom, “Sheldon Cooper Presents: Fun With Flags” had got to be at the top of the list. Presented as a cheesy old Public-Access show or exactly what it’s supposed to be – a cheesy YouTube series that is about flags.

Thanks to Jim Parsons’ great timing and facials, the one-time bit has become a bit of a staple on the show. Sheldon and Amy have put together a slew of these, and often times with a guest star. Standouts include Penny to talk about Nebraska and Wil Wheaton to discuss Starfleet.

13 Hurt – Sheldon Proposes Because Another Woman Kissed Him

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Sheldon and Amy have had some endearing moments on the show. Their getaway on a train comes to mind almost immediately. Sheldon’s heart to heart with Penny about his true feelings for Amy is another banner (flag) moment for the show.

How and why he actually proposed is not. While it was still sweet to see Sheldon realize that he wanted nothing more than to spend his life with Amy, it also came at the hands of another woman coming onto him; as of that was the spark. Not Amy herself.

12 Saved – Professor Proton

It was refreshing to see a character like Professor Proton on the show. The guys had to have been inspired by someone along the way. Why not be a Don Herbert or Bill Nye type of scientist? Professor Proton was originally played by sitcom veteran Bob Newhart. He played the role as a grumpy old man exasperated with Sheldon – even when showing up in Sheldon’s dreams.

When the original Professor retired, Sheldon vied to take over the role, but lost out to Wil Wheaton, because anytime Wheaton can irk Sheldon, it’s hysterical.

11 Hurt – Stuart And Penny

Another character obstacle in getting Leonard and Penny together was Stuart. She seemingly went out with the guy just because he drew her a picture and at this point, Stuart still had self–confidence and asked her out.

It also seemed a little, if not totally messed up that he would ask out the girl Leonard has feelings for. He might have been oblivious to that fact, but their relationship was never going to last. Stuart might’ve been a nice guy, but he was no Leonard and Penny only had eyes for one geek.

10 Saved – “The Staircase Implementation”

How on any planet in any universe does Leonard put up with a guy like Sheldon? The penultimate episode of the third season, “The Staircase Implementation,” was the backstory fans had wanted – how Leonard met Sheldon, but more importantly – what happened to the elevator!

Leonard has always been grateful to Sheldon for not turning him into the feds; since his ex, Joyce Kim was actually a North Korean spy. Furthermore, he didn’t rat him out and saved all of their lives. When a failed experiment was about blow up the whole apartment building, Sheldon thought quickly and dumped the boy’s experiment down the elevator shaft.

9 Hurt – Leonard And Leslie

For fans of Roseanne (of which Big Bang’s creator, Chuck Lorre was a writer), it was cool to see David and Darlene reunited in the form of Leonard and Leslie Winkle. But as far as The Big Bang Theory goes, the actors’ reunion seemed a little forced.

Sara Gilbert was cast to be a foil for Sheldon and a potential love interest for Leonard. Meanwhile, Leslie was way too smart and instantly knew that Leonard had it bad for Penny. This only left one reason for her be on the show, and everyone else not part of the main cast already was a foil for Sheldon.

8 Saved – Sheldon And Moms

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Sheldon is a know–it–all and being generally disrespectful towards everyone, even when unintentional. Despite this, he has a level of respect that is unparalleled for mothers on the show. Even though his own mother is very religious, and he is not, he, of course, loves her and treats with her respect.

Leonard’s mom and Sheldon have a hilarious relationship based on academic respect and it still bothers Leonard. Recently, he got to know his mother–in–law, Mrs. Fowler; and he even won her over.

7 Hurt – Howard’s A Strange One

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Several shows that have groups of friends over the years have had that one friend who is a complete womanizer. But they’re usually more like Joey or Barney, a lovable cad. Howard Wolowitz is not a lovable cad. He’s a geek who has no idea what correct and proper etiquette is.

He’s not suave or debonair. In the early seasons, he was downright creepy not just with how he spoke to women, but how he taught Raj to. Bernie might have whipped him into a passable version of a decent human being, but even just for laughs, Howard’s moments weren’t that funny.

6 Saved – Leslie And Sheldon

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While the relationship between Leonard and Leslie seemed like a forced fan service between the two Roseanne alum, the vitriolic banter between Leslie and Sheldon gave some of the early episodes some bite to them.

Leslie helped both the guys and the audience that not everyone let Sheldon behave the way that he did towards his friends. She had no issue stepping up to him and calling him an idiot. Sheldon didn’t seem to mind either, when she returned to celebrate Sheldon’s birthday, he demanded and received a “happy birthday [idiot]” from Dr. Winkle.

5 Hurt – Bernadette Turns Into Howard’s Mom

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The Big Bang Theory has never been subtle about Howard being a stereotypical male. Which means, of course, Bernadette would turn more and more into his mother. Melissa Rauch for several episodes even did an impression of Carol Ann Susi’s Mrs. Wolowitz. But like early Wolowitz, watching Bernie become more and more like her mother–in–law was getting old fast.

4 Saved – Sheldon’s From Texas

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Sheldon hails from deep in the heart of Texas, Galveston to be exact. In the nature vs. nurture debate come to life, every so often Sheldon’s upbringing shows that you can take the boy out of Texas, but not Texas out of the boy.

When it’s least expected and played up for laughs, Sheldon reveals some of his Texas upbringing that would otherwise not seem like normal behavior for him. His intimate knowledge of football helped Leonard learn the game. He even went out dancing with the girls since he grew up going to debutante balls.

3 Hurt – The Zack Attack

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In the last of our Big Bang Theory’s of unnecessary obstacles in the way of Leonard and Penny, we have Zack. Dumber than box of rocks Zack. Seeing this guy even in episodes now is just a stark reminder at how vapid Penny once was.

Not only was he thrown into the mix to keep Leonard and Penny apart, but then he became part of the crew. Sometimes he got made fun of for being stupid, other times he took part in their costume parties.

2 Saved – Cult Hero Cameos

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Plenty of shows over the years have had all kinds of fun cameos and guest-stars. It’s a tradition on TV. The Big Bang Theory is no different. Over the course of the series, a litany of huge names from both geek and science culture have made their way to Pasadena.

Comedians like Lewis Black; geek goddesses like Katee Sackhoff, Danica McKellar, and Summer Glau; and just about every living original Star Trek and Star Wars alum have found their way onto the show. That’s just the tip of the iceberg – the series also landed Buzz Aldrin, Stan Lee, and lead scientist of our times, Neil deGrasse Tyson.

1 Hurt – Barry Kripke And Other Bully Scientists

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While Sheldon can be a handful to deal with, there are people on the show that are outright horrible people and in reality, should probably be in prison. Instead, on The Big Bang Theory, they’re just moments of comedy.

Barry Kripke is the worst offender of this. Besides his Porky Pig voice, Kripke has destroyed the guy’s robots, reputation, and dumped a slew of helium into a room where Sheldon was on the radio. To most people helium just makes your voice higher, but use too much of it, and you can actually die from asphyxiation.

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