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'The Big Bang Theory' review: Series finale brings closure

Some of the cast of "The Big Bang

Some of the cast of "The Big Bang Theory" appears in a scene from the series finale, which aired Thursday. Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment / Michael Yarish

After 12 years, 279 episodes, and 64 (give-or-take) "bazingas," TV's longest-running comedy has wrapped, forcing die-hard fans to come to terms with something that never seemed quite possible, at least in this decade: "Big Bang" closure.

And "Big Bang" closure they got.

First things first. The elevator finally got fixed.

And just in time, so that all the luggage could be loaded on to it for that trip to Stockholm.

Surely no one was surprised that Sheldon and Amy won their Nobel Prize for "superasymmetry," right?

Surely not.

Also predictably, Sheldon has problems with sudden fame and fortune and just as predictably, finds ways and means to insult his friends (Leonard, in particular) and then Penny, who reveals on the flight to Sweden that she is indeed pregnant. A relief to Sheldon: He feared she was contagious with something.

Then, sitcom resolution: During the ceremony, Sheldon asks the gang to stand and says, "I apologize if I haven't been the friend you deserve. In my way, I want you to know I love you all."

He then turns to Amy and says: "And I love you."

All in all, a sweet, gentle, kind, sentimental and congenial wrap. Exactly what fans would expect.   

And on that note ends an era, and for a change, "end of an era" is not a cliché. Freakishly durable, "The Big Bang Theory" is TV's fifth longest-running live-action sitcom in terms of episode count. Don't bother Googling the others, all relics from the last century, including one from when Ike was president. Launched in 2007, "Big Bang" soldiered on through a TV revolution or two, an ocean of other shows, and through rapidly changing viewer tastes, habits, impulses and appetites. As sitcoms go, "The Big Bang Theory" was never cool but never not-cool either — sort of a meta-cultural artifact that, like Sheldon, didn't care much what anyone thought. (Except, of course. …)

As this ends, the usual confident declarations seem easy to make — the last of the massive multicamera sitcoms! There will never be another like it! Sure (fine), and when "Cheers" and "Seinfeld" ended there were similarly confident predictions from the professional pundits.

Nevertheless, this time we really mean it.


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