It all began with a Big Bang on Sept. 24, 2007 when starving actress Penny moved in across the hall, wowing her socially inept nerd neighbors.
The nerdy foursome included physicists Leonard Hofstader (John Galecki) and Dr. Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), aerospace engineer Howard Woltwitz (Simon Helberg) and astrophysicist Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar). Over the next 12 seasons the group would evolve together and as individuals, growing closer together by adding new members neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler and microbiologist Bernadette Rostenkowski.
The marvelously mixed nerd culture with references from Star Trek to Marvel, surprise guest including, Buzz Aldrin, Mark Hamil, Stan Lee and Stephen Hawkins, with comedy and heart.
Like the theory from which the show gets its name, the characters show extensive growth and expansion over many seasons by making sacrifices that are bigger than themselves and change the ways they interact with others. Characters like Sheldon, once hot dense and self-absorbed, cool down throughout the seasons and, by the finale, learn to appreciate other’s contributions in their achievements.
Sheldon successfully completes his character when he puts down his self-centered speech to give this quote:
“I was under a misapprehension that my accomplishments were mine alone. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been encouraged, sustained, inspired and tolerated not only by my wife, but by the greatest group of friends anyone ever had.”
Through the combination of these very different people, time and pressure families are form, sole characters pair off and scientific breakthroughs are made.
By the end of Season 12, all of the major characters had immensely expanded from their original positions. Even those which seemed destined to be alone found relationships both within and outside the group. Raj a character which for the first five seasons could not talk to a woman without being drunk not only got over his fear but by the end was in a meaningful relationship. Stewart, the comic bookstore owner, remained single while others paired up, until season twelve when he also found love.
The one thing that remained stable throughout the series: the characters were constantly changing and growing as individuals and a group. Relationships between characters drastically change and form within in the series.
While romantic relationships like Penny and Leonard, Bernadette and Howard and Sheldon and Amy form and grow through out the series, there is also a continuing growth of platonic relationships. Friends like Leonard and Sheldon, who were at odds in the pilot, grew mutual respect and friendship for each other by the series finale.
What started with a Big Bang continued to expand in characters, group dynamics and intergroup relationships until the very end of the series.