The Big Bang Theory's Stars -- Then and Now

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Yup, we all started out in "a hot, dense state" as the theme song says but after twelve seasons and nearly three hundred episodes, The Big Bang Theory is wrapping it up.

It's been quite the journey for a cast that started out as a rather stereotypical posse of characters. Not only have they grown in number, balancing out the gender representation, but they have grown into multi-faceted, well-rounded individuals with nuanced goals and intentions.

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The legacy they leave behind is a mainstream audience that is more accepting of geek culture, more aware of the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and with better recognition of some of the brightest minds in the IRL science world.

Seriously, the cameos alone should stand as a high-water mark of awesomeness for sitcoms.

And it all started with The Big Bang! (Theory) You can watch The Big Bang Theory online to remember it all from the beginning.

1. Leonard Then

Leonard Then
Leonard at the start of the series was an optimistic dreamer. On The Big Bang Theory Season 1 Episode 1, when Sheldon questioned his roommate's sanity in pursuing a relationship with Penny, his response was that their children would be "smart AND beautiful" to which Sheldon responded,"not to mention imaginary."

2. Leonard Now

Leonard Now
Today, Leonard has achieved some of his seemingly unattainable dreams. He's married to Penny and no longer living with Sheldon. In addition, he's developed a better rapport with his mother and recently learned to stand up for himself on both a personal and professional level.

3. Sheldon Then

Sheldon Then
Sheldon Cooper's role in representing neurodiverse individuals on mainstream television cannot be understated. Although his behavior on The Big Bang Theory Season 1 Episode 1 was "quirky" to a large degree, we soon came to understand the rigidity of his personality as well as the scripts he had learned to cope with societal protocols.

4. Sheldon Now

Sheldon Now
Sheldon today has added considerably to his understanding of human interactions, including the application of many physical skills he never had need of before meeting his wife, Amy Farrah Fowler. Of course, they met through the Internet on The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 23 (credit to Howard and Raj)

5. Penny Then

Penny Then
Penny (maiden surname STILL unknown) came in like a wrecking ball (at least in Sheldon's opinion) with her sweet Nebraskan optimism and starry-eyed dreams of becoming a famous actress and disrupted the predictable world of our fave foursome of science-y guys.

6. Penny Now

Penny Now
Having lived out some of her Hollywood dream -- never forget the cinematic gem that was "Serial Ape-ist" -- Penny found true career success as a pharmaceutical sales manager for Bernadette's company. Twice married to Leonard and thoroughly entrenched in the expanded social circle, she's come to know her value in a collective of mostly academic intellectuals.

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TBBT Quotes

Leonard: Hi. I'm Leonard. You are beautiful. You pop, sparkle and buzz electric. I'm going to pick you up at eight, show you a night you will never forget.
Raj: Where are we going?

Penny: What actor holds the record for being named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive?
Sheldon: William Shatner!
Leonard: I don't think it's Shatner.
Sheldon: Then it's got to be Patrick Stewart