“The Big Bang Theory,” one of the most watched TV shows in America, was successful at keeping its cast small and its main characters entertaining (via Statista). For 12 years, the sitcom garnered laughter, from Sheldon’s quirky brilliance to Leonard and Penny’s sweet (but a bit strange) relationship, and while the show was often said to be about a bunch of funny nerds, it was indeed so much more than that.
“The Big Bang Theory” offered its audience unabashed pop culture satire, a look into loyal and evolving friendships, and even provided an interesting educational piece from time to time. The viewers ate it all up, fell in love with the characters, and when the series came to an end in 2019, both fans and even some stars of the show were disappointed (via The Independent).
But, as loyal and loving as the fans of the scientists may have been, did they notice the change in Bernadette from her first appearance on the show through to her last?
The change was inspired by her mother
In the episode “The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary” from Season 3, Bernadette Rostenkowski, played by Melissa Rauch, was introduced to the gang by Kaley Cuoco’s character, Penny (via Screen Rant). Bernadette then became a staple in the show, forming a relationship with Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg), eventually marrying him, and starting a family.
As fans grew to love and accept Bernadette, did any notice a change in her through the seasons? When she first stepped into the series, Bernadette spoke with a voice much like Rauch’s own — slow and in a deeper tone — but as the show, and the character, evolved, her voice began to change.
Rauch slowly introduced a faster and more high pitched sound with every passing episode, and that new voice eventually became part of Bernadette’s charm. She shares that Bernadette’s vocal transition was inspired by her own mother’s. The Daily Express reports that in a previous interview with “The Rubin Report,” Rauch revealed, “Bernadette’s voice is very similar to my mother’s — except without the Jersey accent.”
Bernadette was not the only Big Bang character to go through a change
While Bernadette underwent a change that may have gone unnoticed, one character’s metamorphosis was more obvious. Often called the show’s leading man, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons, was said to go through his own kind of slow transformation. The brilliant, and often eccentric, character captivated the audience from the beginning with his unusual personality. Psychology Today remarks that Sheldon’s character is the perfect portrayal of a “mad genius,” and compares him to the likes of other popular characters, including Dr. Gregory House from the TV series “House” and Dr. Emmet Brown (aka Doc) of the “Back to the Future” films.
Showbiz CheatSheet reports that in the early seasons of “The Big Bang Theory,” it was Sheldon who fans went crazy for, suggesting that his narcissistic nature, social awkwardness, and overall “rigidity” made him highly likeable. But after Season 3, Sheldon began to change, and while some fans thought it was a great way to help the series and the characters evolve, others stood firm in their beliefs that it ruined the show.
Sheldon started breaking out of his shell
At the end of Season 3 when Sheldon meets Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler, played by Mayim Bialik, fans say that that was the turning point from all that made Sheldon, well, Sheldon (via Showbiz CheatSheet).
Through the first seasons of “TBBT,” Sheldon was clear in his stance that he did not have an interest in, or time for, sexual relationships, and even as he spent more time with Amy, he still did not entertain a romantic connection. He did, however, open himself up to possibilities and eventually stepped out of his comfort zone, sometimes in a small way, and other times in a big way — like in “The Cohabitation Experimentation” in Season 10.
As Amy pursued him, Sheldon eventually broke down, but it was not until Season 7 when the two shared their first real kiss (via Entertainment Weekly). From that point on, the “Shamy” (Sheldon and Amy, of course) relationship was a big focal point of the show. Many fans were not happy about the change in Sheldon, particularly after he gave into Amy’s constant requests for intimacy.
Slate reports that the first time the couple had sex, it felt like a “breach of character” and Showbiz CheatSheet shares that some viewers felt it was a betrayal of Sheldon’s core characteristics. One Reddit user explained, “…he just doesn’t feel like Sheldon Cooper anymore.”