Running gags throughout tv shows are a beloved part of any series, and showrunners have a habit of keeping them going for the duration of the series’ run. From Friends and How I Met Your Mother to Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, most long-running sitcoms have something that makes you instantly think of them.
Throughout The Big Bang Theory‘s 12-year run, many phrases and character quirks became very quotable and recognizable to the show. You couldn’t hear someone say, “Bazinga!” without thinking of Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and his go-to word for a joke, and you couldn’t knock on a door without the urge to do it three times.
Sheldon’s Food Questions
Sheldon is never one to leap at the chance of trying new things. From the way he knocks on a door to how he eats his food, there is always a specific way he needs to do it.
Because he likes things to be done in a certain way, meal times typically result in a game of twenty questions with the person bringing it to him. From making sure that a type of vegetable is diced instead of shredded to ensuring they used a specific mustard brand, Sheldon isn’t one to hold back when it comes to making sure his food is just the way he likes it.
In what turned out to be the show’s most well-known phrase, Sheldon’s use of the word bazinga whenever he made a joke became something fans of the show would use in their own lives.
The phrase never continued past the show’s eighth season, with its last mention in the episode titled “The Comic Book Store Regeneration.” Nevertheless, Sheldon’s catchphrase stayed a long-running gag in the show, and even seven years on remains in the heads of every TBBT fan all over the world.
Sheldon and Sarcasm
If you were to compare Sheldon to another fictional character, The Guardians of the Galaxy’s Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) would be the perfect match! Neither of them understands the concept of sarcasm very well, and it typically goes straight over their heads.
During the early seasons of TBBT, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) often tried teaching him about picking up on the signs of sarcasm. Sheldon also taught himself a few key aspects and became quite good at recognizing when someone was using it. While he became better at understanding it later in the show, the writers had a lot of fun with this gag throughout the series.
Howard and Raj’s Relationship
Whenever this duo was sharing the screen together, there was bound to be something funny to follow. Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) were best friends, but throughout the show’s 12-year run, their friendship became a high point for comedy on multiple occasions.
The first time Leonard’s mother, Beverley (Christine Baranski), met them, she mistook them for a couple, and from then on, the show continued to use this to their advantage. From going to couples counseling together to arguing like a married couple and even kissing, these friends only became more like a couple as the seasons went on.
Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty
Season one of The Big Bang Theory not only introduced us to these loveable geeks, but it also introduced the Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty song. When Sheldon woke up sick, the guys fled, leaving an unknowing Penny (Kaley Cuoco) to deal with a feverish Sheldon.
This episode was the origin of the Soft Kitty song, and it started what would become one of the most known running gags on the show. From that moment, it became routine throughout the seasons that whenever someone was hurt or sick, one of the gang, usually Penny, Sheldon, or Sheldon’s mother, Mary (Laurie Metcalf), would have to chime in with the song.
Bernadette Sounds Like Howard’s Mother
Howard’s mother had a voice you could never forget. Whether she was hollering at Howard about a phone ringing or screaming to him to answer the door, Mrs. Wolowiz (Carol Ann Susi) was never one for quiet responses. And it soon became apparent that Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) wasn’t either.
This running gag began when Mrs. Wolowitz and Bernadette were screaming between rooms, and the resemblance in their voices was uncanny. Howard was unaware of just how much Bernie sounded like his mom until season 8, episode 18 when she screamed at Leonard and Sheldon during dinner, and the similarities clicked.
The Roommate Agreement
For 12 years, a large part of Leonard’s torment came from a contract Sheldon had written up when they first moved in together. The roommate agreement was constantly causing trouble for Leonard as Sheldon would use it to get his way a lot.
Throughout the series, Sheldon would refer to this contract in almost every situation that involved himself. Whether it be a social gathering or something as simple as changing the thermostat temperature in the apartment, it was all covered under the roommate agreement, even the bathroom schedule!
In the pilot episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon made it very clear, very quickly, that the seat on the end of the couch was his and his alone. Everyone Sheldon knew learned almost immediately that no one else was allowed to sit there.
When he allowed Howard to sit in his seat, it came as a big surprise. However, knowing what Sheldon was like, Leonard and Penny had secretly bet on how long he would last. He lasted 94 seconds before announcing that he wanted to switch back. This gag was present throughout the 12 years of TBBT and is still a very memorable part of the show.
Throughout the entirety of TBBT, the elevator in Leonard, Sheldon, and Penny’s apartment building was out of order and had remained untouched until the series’ penultimate episode in 2019. The show revealed what happened to the elevator in episode 22 of season 3, depicting an experiment gone wrong, showing that it had been out of service since 2003 before the show had even aired.
In season 12, episode 22, fans got the shock of the series when the elevator suddenly dinged, and Penny appeared inside. Having known nothing but an out-of-service elevator for twelve years, when maintenance fixed it just before the finale, it was almost like a farewell to this part of the series.
Sheldon’s Triple Knock
In what became one of, if not the most, well-known gag from The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon’s triple knock was present throughout the show’s entire 12-year run. Disregarding the second episode of season one, when he appeared to only knock once, his unique knock became a consistent and beloved part of the show.
Throughout the show, even the rest of the gang would join in on the fun and sometimes knock three times, albeit to wind Sheldon up, but still. Considering it almost didn’t happen, this running gag became such a big part of TBBT that we couldn’t imagine the show without it. Knock, knock, knock.
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