The Big Bang Theory is headed into its 11th season this fall, secure in its spot as one of the most popular sitcoms on television. Of course, after ten years, a lot has changed. Season one started the phenomenon, when gorgeous blonde Penny (Kaley Cuoco) moved in across the hall from two physicists, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons). As Leonard’s crush on Penny grew, she was slowly drawn into their adventures with friends Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar), and of course, hilarity ensued.
Now, Leonard and Penny are finally together, and the cast has grown and balanced out with the addition of Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) and Amy (Mayim Bialik), as well as a slew of minor characters. The guys have been to the North Pole, outer space, and (for some) down the aisle, and fans have loved watching them grow. The show has also been packed with quotable lines and great catchphrases, as well as pop culture and comic book jokes and references. It’s funny, frivolous, and fantastic… and we bet that only a true fan will be able to guess who said each of these 35 great lines from the past ten seasons.
Theoretical physicists do not get 'canned'.
In ‘The Luminous Fish Effect’, Sheldon gets fired, and takes up all kinds of bizarre projects to try and keep himself occupied while he deals with it. He gets a loom, and tries to make glow-in-the-dark fish, among other things, leading his friends to call in the big guns: his mother, Mary Cooper. Penny, having been fired from her fair share of jobs in the past, is particularly sympathetic when she hears: but who was it that told Penny that Sheldon wasn’t “canned”?
Every night you don't kill him in his sleep, he wins.
No prizes for guessing that this quote from ‘The Itchy Brain Simulation’ is about Sheldon, who drives everybody crazy (even though they love him, really). This time, Sheldon is trying to explain what it’s like when his friends don’t take his quirks seriously, and makes one of them wear a horribly itchy sweater to try and replicate the ‘brain itch’ that it gives him. After a short time, the sweater is driving his friend completely bonkers, but they refuse to take it off, because if they did, Sheldon would win. Who replies that Sheldon always wins, anyway?
This would be so much easier if I were a violent sociopath!
In ‘The Loobenfeld Decay’, Leonard lies to Penny about being free to go hear her sing at a showcase, and Sheldon (as usual) feels the need to complicate things. He makes up a fake drug-addicted cousin, hires a friend to play the cousin, and pretends that they are going to his intervention. It’s an un-unravelable lie, but it ends up driving everyone a little crazy. Raj and Howard think they are being lied to, Penny thinks she is being lied to, and Leonard can’t keep the lies straight. But who got so annoyed they fantasized about being a sociopath?
Nobody can be that attractive and this skilled at a videogame.
In ‘The Dumpling Paradox’, Penny’s friend Christy comes to town, and ends up seducing one of the guys… leading Penny to take their place playing Halo. At first, they assume that she won’t be any good at the game, but Penny quickly proves her worth, absolutely decimating Sheldon within seconds. She’s so good that Leonard even suggests joining some tournaments (which she scoffs at): but who claims she must be ‘cheating’ because she’s too pretty to play a video game that well?
Sheldon, don't take this the wrong way, but, you're insane.
Everybody knows that Sheldon isn’t actually insane (his mother had him tested), but he certainly seems that way! In ‘The Griffin Equivalency’, the focus is on Raj, who has just made it into People Magazine's ‘30 Under 30’, and is becoming insufferable as a result. However, there’s still enough Sheldon-based insanity to have one of his friends make this comment when Sheldon suggests replacing Raj with an animatronic substitute, just like he tried to create a Griffin to replace his cat as a kid - but which friend was it?
God forbid you get one of them fancy sex diseases.
There’s a whole lot of sex in this geeky comedy, and it creates some especially awkward arguments in ‘The Cohabitation Formulation’. Leonard is back together with Raj’s sister Priya while she is in town, and their romance is making Penny jealous and Raj unhappy. Meanwhile, Bernadette is getting sick of Howard never spending the night, and demands that he chooses between her and his mother. Of course, she doesn’t bet on him expecting her to take on his mother’s role when he moves in! Among all this chaos, who is worried about someone catching a ‘fancy sex disease’?
We're all pathetic and creepy, and can't get girls. That's why we fight robots.
‘The Killer Robot Instability’ has some fun with ‘Robot Wars’, the show that pitted home-made robots against each other in a fight to the ‘death’. Unable to get girls, several of the scientists at the university get together for robot fights, and Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj decide to enter. However, when Penny yells at Howard for being ‘creepy’, he goes into a tailspin and stops working on the robot with his friends: but who is confused about why Howard takes her words so hard?
She's only been here a day and a half, and I'm seriously considering alcoholism as a new career path.
Leonard’s mother, Dr Beverly Hofstadter is introduced to the show in ‘The Maternal Capacitance’, and wreaks havoc on almost everyone in the show when she arrives. As a psychiatrist, she analyzes everyone she meets without mercy or compassion, including her own son. Sheldon finds her absolutely captivating, but the rest of the friends are less than thrilled with her observations. More than one of the gang turn to booze to drown their resulting sorrows, but who describes it as a new career path?
But mummy, all the other guys are going to the North Pole.
In ‘The Monopolar Expedition’, the guys get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to go the North Pole on a research expedition, but it’s not an easy decision to make. For Leonard and Penny, this means months apart… and for everyone going, it means months stuck in a tiny room with Sheldon! On top of all that, it’s not a risk-free expedition, and several of the boys’ parents aren’t too thrilled about the idea of their sons being in such a frozen wasteland for months on end. But who was it that whined to his parents about all his friends being able to go?
I cry because others are stupid, and that makes me sad.
In ‘The Gorilla Experiment’, Penny is having a tough time. Bernadette has been taking an interest in Leonard’s work, and she’s suddenly very aware that she really doesn’t know anything about physics. In an attempt to be a better girlfriend, she gets one of the gang to teach her ‘a little about physics’ to try and compare, but when she just doesn’t understand, she bursts into tears. Who ‘comforts’ her by telling her that being stupid isn’t a reason to be sad?
I call my meemaw, Nana, and she's going to be very happy to hear my small rock kills your enchanted bunny.
Wil Wheaton has since become a regular guest star on the show, and a friend to the main cast - but his first appearance, in ‘The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary’ was as an enemy to one of the guys. The Star Trek actor turns up at the comic book store to play a card game tournament, and when the guys hear about it, they just have to show up… and beat him! The episode reveals a story of childhood disappointment and a lifelong grudge against Wheaton: but who taunted their opponent while playing ‘small rock’ to win?
I didn't come here to help, I came here to mock.
In ‘The Vengeance Formulation’, things at the university get heated when a prank-war breaks out between Leonard, Sheldon, and Barry Kripke. It starts when Sheldon makes an appearance on national radio, and Kripke humiliates him on air by releasing helium into the room. From there, things escalate into shaving foam explosions and daily tauntings. Although Sheldon thinks he’s won in the end, some bad timing ends up making things worse when members of the university board get caught in the crossfire. But who prefers to mock, rather than help, before that happens?
I love my mother. Even if she fornicates like a demonic weasel.
Throughout the series, various people’s families come into play, from Leonard’s cold and distant mother to Sheldon’s gorgeous twin, to Bernadette’s Dad and of course, Raj’s sister Priya. This colorful quote pops up in another family-centric episode: ‘The Mommy Observation’. This time, one of the gang goes home to visit their mother, and finds out that she is in a new relationship. It’s definitely not easy for them to come to grips with, but who was it who referred to their mother as a ‘demonic weasel’?
You're married, it doesn't matter what you look like.
When the show begins, everyone is single, but by season nine many of our favorite nerds have paired off - and are even married. In ‘The Mystery Date Observation’, the group is divided after Sheldon and Amy break up, and both start looking for love again. Sheldon gets help from his friends, while Amy tries to keep hers at arms length, but both struggle to find someone to replace the other. In the process, who says that when someone is married, they can let themselves go?
The implication being that you somehow tripped and fell into her lady parts?
In ‘The Plimpton Stimulation’, Sheldon’s friend (and fellow scientist) Dr Elizabeth Plimpton comes to stay at the apartment, surprising everyone. However, things quickly go haywire as Dr Plimpton turns out to have a thing for sleeping with scientists that she meets. She manages to seduce most of the main characters, leaving Sheldon furious at his friends, and Penny furious at Leonard (because they had just stopped seeing each other recently). Raj, Howard, and Leonard are also upset, mostly because Dr Plimpton doesn’t want any one of them in particular. But who accused someone of falling onto her?
Galileo did his best work while drinking wine.
It’s all about relationships in ‘The Boyfriend Complexity’, as Penny attempts to convince her father that she and Leonard are still together, and Howard tries to make Raj more comfortable with his new girlfriend, Bernadette. Meanwhile, Raj is spending the night in the astrophysics lab, attempting to use a high-powered telescope to make a new discovery, prompting one of his friends to compare him to famous astronomer Galileo. But who was it who assumed that Galileo was probably drinking at work, because he was Italian?
Nothing rhymes with orange. It's probably lonely.
A big part of the early seasons of the show is Raj’s social anxiety - and he finally decides to tackle it head on in ‘The Wildebeest Implementation’. Earlier in the series, it is established that Raj can only talk to women if he’s been drinking alcohol, but in this episode, he tries out experimental drugs to try and treat it more effectively… with some interesting effects! Before trying them, Raj bemoans his loneliness to his friends, who comment that there is no color associated with the emotion. But who suggests that orange would work?
Okay. If you think being nice will get him to shut up, I'll try it.
When Howard is recently returned from space in ‘The Holographic Excitation’, the rest of the gang are quickly getting sick of him talking about it - even though this is probably the biggest thing that will happen in his entire life! Throughout the episode, Howard’s friends talk about how they can get him to quit yammering on about being an astronaut, and while some go for ‘helpful honesty’, others are trying a different approach. Who was willing to try being nice, but only if it would make him shut up?
You know how insecure I am about my insecurities.
There are plenty of insecurities in this little gang of nerds, that range from the minor to the life-altering (and that Leonard’s mother loves to call them out on when she comes to visit). Even Penny, who is the gorgeous, popular one in the crowd, has her own insecurities about her talent (and her Daddy issues), but in ‘The Expedition Approximation’, one person in particular makes a joke about it when they are called on their neuroses, but who is ‘insecure about my insecurities’?
You know what they say. Revenge is a dish best served nude.
When things get heated in ‘The Parking Spot Escalation’, they also get naked, much to the displeasure of everyone involved. In this episode, Sheldon and Howard are fighting after Howard gets a new car… and the university decides that it would be a good idea to give him Sheldon’s assigned parking spot. Seeing as Sheldon doesn’t drive, it makes perfect sense, but he’s not having any of it. The two end up in a fight that spills over to their girlfriends, too: but who paraphrases the classic line about revenge?
Sometimes the pancreas wants what the pancreas wants.
In ‘The Santa Simulation’, the guys are hanging out at Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment, to play a Christmas-themed game of Dungeons and Dragons. The girls aren’t playing, so they head out for girls’ night, and when Raj’s character is killed right off the bat, he decides to join them. At the bar, the ladies decide to try and find a girl for Raj, and he and Amy end up bonding over their loneliness and sharing stories of rejection. But when she tells a story of blackmailing someone with insulin for a kiss, who finishes the story with this line?
I have a lab full of coked up monkeys with nothing to lose.
There have certainly been some interesting experiments throughout this series, especially this one, from ‘The Egg Salad Equivalency’. Here, when Sheldon’s new assistant Alex ends up hitting on Leonard, it leaves everyone uncomfortable - especially Alex herself, after Sheldon handles it badly. His idea of giving her a lecture and a book on STDs may not have been the best call, but neither is the idea of using ‘coked up monkeys’ to deal with it. But whose suggestion was that?
Maybe tomorrow morning we put on some hot pants and see if we could score us some free omelettes.
In ‘The Hofstadter Insufficiency’, Leonard is away at sea, and it changes the group dynamic quite a bit. Sheldon and Penny end up bonding (although they take a while to get there), and Bernadette and Amy do the same at a convention. They also have their ups and downs, of course, especially when it comes to talking about their respective relationships. At the same time, Howard is comforting Raj after his recent breakup… but which character suggests provocative clothing might lead to free food?
Your kid might be a honor student but you're a moron!
There are a few locations that the show visits again and again; their respective homes, the university, the comic shop… and the car. In ‘The Scavenger Vortex’, everyone gets their cars involved when Raj creates a scavenger hunt - and some unusual pairings, when Leonard doesn’t want to do couples because he thinks that Penny won’t be smart enough. There’s fighting, bonding, and a lot of crazy clues, but who yells this quote at another car when they aren’t driving well?
It's been a long time since I've seen a girl's really not her shoulder.
Raj has a few girlfriends over the course of the series, although by the end of the most recent season, he’s still single. In ‘The Gorilla Dissolution’, however, Raj has started seeing a new girl named Emily, and things are going well… until he is out with Sheldon and sees her out with another guy! Emily also reveals in this episode that she has three tattoos, one on her shoulder, one not on her shoulder, and one really not on her shoulder. Whose reply is this?
I like that show. It's got dragons and people doing it.
The Big Bang Theory loves to reference other shows, movies, games and comics, including Game of Thrones. In ‘The Skywalker Incursion’, an episode where Sheldon and Leonard take a detour to try and meet George Lucas, there are a lot of Star Wars references as well - but the gang is talking George R R Martin in this conversation. Someone makes a reference to the Viper fighting the Mountain, before saying that they like the show because it has ‘dragons and people doing it’. But who loves Game of Thrones for these reasons?
Visigoths are kind of up my butt right now
Sometimes, it’s hard to distract a nerd from what they are doing, and the nerds aren’t always the greatest at separating reality from whatever is happening in a video game. This happens in ‘The Spock Resonance’, when one of the gang is immersed in a game to the point that they aren’t paying much attention to their partner’s attempts to get their attention… and digital Visigoths are not considered a good enough excuse to avoid the argument that’s a-brewing. But who is being bothered by virtual visigoths in ‘The Spock Resonance’?
It's like shooting nerds in a barrel.
In ‘The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition’, much of the episode takes place in the comic book store, where Amy expresses her lack of enthusiasm over Sheldon’s love of all things comic. She’s also asked out on a date by Stuart, and accepts - something that causes Sheldon to reevaluate their relationship, and decide that he is ready to take things to the next level. This is also the episode that introduces their 31-page relationship agreement, which Amy finds ‘romantic’. But who refers to selling expansion packs to geeks as ‘shooting nerds in a barrel’?
Buck up, sissy pants.
Leonard’s love life is in crisis again in ‘The Skank Reflex Analysis’, when he finds out that Raj’s sister Priya is moving back to India. The two have been dating for eight months, and he doesn’t want to lose her… but he’s also still hung up on Penny, even though he’s angry at her for sleeping with Raj (at least, he thinks that she did). He turns to someone for support, but after pouring his heart out, who tells Leonard to buck up, and calls him a sissy?
Restricting myself to a single partner is against my nature.
The series might look like it’s all about geek culture, but fans know that it’s really all about dating and relationships (like most sitcoms!). Of course, the characters like to get a little more scientific about it than most. In ‘The Hot Tub Contamination’, the focus is on moving in together and living together - even though, as one character points out, monogamy goes against basic biological instincts. Who points out that they have ‘an evolutionary drive to perpetuate my DNA’?
I'd call it a Fortress of Solitude for babies.
By season ten, Howard has gone from being a lonely, horny nerd to an astronaut and married man with a baby on the way! He and Bernadette are in full preparation mode for the baby in ‘The Fetal Kick Catalyst’, and starting to get a little crazy with their purchases. Not only do they get an expensive new crib, but also take a minivan for a test drive - but who was it who referenced Superman to describe the crib a a ‘Fortress of Solitude for babies’?
It's a little wrong to say a tomato is a vegetable, it's very wrong to say it's a suspension bridge.
This particularly accurate line from ‘The Hofstadter Isotope’ is the response to Sheldon’s assertion that the phrase ‘more wrong’ should never be used because ‘wrong is an absolute state and not subject to gradation’. It all starts when Sheldon disagrees with someone about Batman, and the response is nothing short of brilliant, and leads to a long discussion that leads to Sheldon de-railing a date that Penny is on… but who is it that tells Sheldon he couldn’t be more wrong in the first place?
If a little is good, more must be better!
At the start of the series, there are a few characters who aren’t that experienced with alcohol… although as the show progresses, fans are treated to the sight of almost everyone getting rip-roaring drunk at some point. Raj learns booze helps his anxiety, Amy happily gives into ‘peer pressure’ when she’s offered Kahlua on her ice cream, and Sheldon even gets so drunk that he loses his pants at an important dinner! But in ‘The Maternal Congruence’, who reacts to booze with the assumption that more is going to be better than a little?
Scooter sucks. He's the Aquaman of the Muppet Babies.
Aquaman is often the butt of jokes in the show, especially when it comes to talking about the Justice League - and only time will tell if this is going to change when Jason Momoa’s Aquaman hits screens in 2018. In ‘The Justice League Recombination’, however, the gang are still years from seeing the new, buff, Aquaman, and he’s still just a blonde dude who talks to fish. But who was it who called Scooted the ‘Aquaman of the Muppet Babies’?
Ending with the easiest of all - whose catchphrase is ‘bazinga’? This character says his favorite phrase whenever he makes a joke… and it’s often the only way that the rest of the gang knows that he is trying to be funny! As well as being the best-known motto of this particular character, ‘Bazinga’ has become a favorite phrase for fans of the show, and even appears on merchandise like T-shirts and bumper stickers. But which main character coined the now-famous phrase?