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5 Best Running Gags (& 5 That Were Annoying)


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The Big Bang Theory built up an impressive collection of running gags – but not all of them stayed funny throughout the show.

As The Big Bang Theory is one of the longest-running sitcoms of all time, lasting for 12 seasons and reaching almost 300 episodes, the final hours of the show basically consisted of every running gag strung together.

RELATED: The Big Bang Theory: 20 Things About Howard Wolowitz We All Choose To Ignore

With so many hours of television shot, the amount of running gags on the show was vast. Not all of them hit the funny bone and some of them that were funny grew tiresome, but there were running gags that remained hilarious through to the very last episode.

10 Best: Sheldon’s Spot On The Couch

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From the very first episode when it’s established that a particular spot on the couch is reserved for Sheldon, the running gag has never failed to be amusing. Between his explanations as to why that’s the best spot, why the other seats fail in comparison, and other characters sitting in the seat as a form of revenge after being offended by the world’s most socially inept physicist, the couch gag is one of the best.

9 Annoying: “My Mother Had Me Tested”

sheldons blunder - the big bang theory

His inability to understand sarcasm is one of the saddest things about Sheldon, and it leads to the same response every time one of his friends sarcastically calls him crazy, “I’m not crazy, my mother had me tested.” The line is said way too often, and it was never really that funny to begin with. It does the job of showing just how much Sheldon doesn’t understand sarcasm, but it doesn’t do much for the stigmatization of mental health.

8 Best: Mrs. Wolowitz

Bernie with Howard TBBT

There are a ton of things people forgot about Mrs. Wolowitz, but nobody can forget that throaty, angry scream that comes from off-screen.

RELATED: The Big Bang Theory: 20 Things About Howard Wolowitz We All Choose To Ignore

The fact that the character is completely off-screen makes it all the more hilarious, as it probably wouldn’t have the same effect if audiences could see her. What makes it one of the best is that the writers intelligently put a new spin on the gag when it’s revealed that Bernadette, Howard Wolowitz’s wife, has the exact angry scream as his mother.

7 Annoying: Soft Kitty

Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of sweet things that Sheldon has done throughout the series, and some fans may consider singing “Soft Kitty” one of them. But to many, that treacherous song only grows more and more annoying with each time the cast harmoniously sing it. Of all the annoying songs that come from TV sitcoms, “Soft Kitty” is easily one of the worst. It’s no “Smelly Cat.”

6 Best: Inability To Understand Sarcasm

Galecki and Parsons

Jim Parsons will always be remembered for his role of Sheldon Cooper, and whether he considers that a good or a bad thing, what made the character so beloved and iconic was his complete inability to understand sarcasm. It’s what made his and Leonard’s relationship so great, as Leonard’s humor is so dry that they get themselves into so many arguments because of it. And the fact Sheldon takes things so literally and is part of the reason why he became a physicist is what makes the writing ingenious.

5 Annoying: Bromance ‘Gay’ Jokes

There are a lot of jokes from the show that wouldn’t fly today, but one of the most blindingly misguided gags is often repeated throughout the whole of the 12 seasons. Howard and Raj are continuously mistaken for a gay couple, only for them to be outraged and disgusted.

RELATED: The Big Bang Theory: 10 People Bernadette Should Have Been With (Other Than Howard)

The joke was infamously made on Seinfeld years prior, in which Jerry would say, “not that there’s anything wrong with that” after seeming freaked out by the notion of being gay. As that show was during the ’90s, the episode has since received backlash, but with most of The Big Bang Theory mostly taking place in the 2010s, it’s hard to believe the writers kept the gag running as long as they did. And his relationship with Raj remains one of the things that makes no sense about Howard.

4 Best: Getting Mocked For Not Having A Ph.D

howards impression of stephen hawking - the big bang theory

Despite being bereft of any social capability and being way too creepy when speaking with women, Howard is still a supremely intellectual nerd. However, as he’s the only guy of the group that doesn’t have a Ph.D, he’s looked at as the inferior scientist and is constantly mocked for it. It’s always hilarious, and it is totally conceivable that is the kind of banter that scientists would hurl at each other.

3 Annoying: Bazinga!

The scene in which Sheldon hides from Leonard in the ball pit, infrequently popping his head up to scream, “Bazinga!” is one of the single most hilarious things to ever happen on The Big Bang Theory. But it didn’t take long for the catchphrase to become increasingly overused. Though the joke is that the phrase is what annoys the other scientists, it doesn’t mean that even the mutter of the word in later seasons didn’t become exhausting.

2 Best: The Roommate Agreement

The roommate agreement is the best running gag in the show purely because it causes so many hindrances and is seemingly there just to ruin Leonard’s life. Though the idea of a roommate agreement is actually a great way to keep people who live together on the same page and avoid any friendship ruining arguments, the agreement that Sheldon concocted seems to have a reverse effect, as it clearly only exists for Sheldon’s benefit.

1 Annoying: Raj Whispering Into People’s Ear

There’s already a lot of annoying things about Raj, but the choice that the writers made to have him suffer from selective mutism, and then presenting it as a joke, is simply not funny. Being awkward around women is one thing, but selective mutism is a real condition, and not something to be used as a gag.

In addition, the writers later (presumably frustrated with how it limited the show) phased it out with the idea that alcohol would simply ‘cure’ Raj after a few sips. This should simply not have been a part of the show as a joke, and definitely not written out of the show with so little thought.

NEXT: Big Bang Theory: 10 Reasons Why Howard Was The Show’s Worst Character


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Updated: November 18, 2020 — 3:30 pm

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