Skip to main content

‘The Big Bang Theory’: 3 Little Details That Still Infuriate Fans

'The Big Bang Theory' fans are still irritated by a few tiny details from the show's 12-season run. They note that none of the scientists practiced basic lab safety, first and foremost. They are still mad that Penny was never given a last name and that Howard Wolowitz went to space.

The Big Bang Theory ended in 2019 after 12 illustrious seasons. While the show amassed a huge number of loyal fans, it collected plenty of critics, too. The show’s haters often point to its cliché portrayal of nerd culture and lazy writing as its cardinal sins. While fans largely love the show, even they can admit there are some problems with the series. Several tiny details still infuriate fans to this day. 

For a group dedicated to science, the gang doesn’t take lab safety seriously at all 

One of the most glaring issues for The Big Bang Theory fans is the sloppy science, and that’s not referring to the show’s actual science. The network hired a science consultant to make sure the equations and storylines were correct. Still, the show’s writers dropped the ball when it came to basic lab safety and hygiene practices.

Amy Farrah Fowler looks at Howard Wolowitz expectantly in a shared lab space during "The Neonatal Nomenclature"
Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) and Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz | Bill Inoshita/CBS via Getty Images

Howard Wolowitz, Raj Koothrappali, and Leonard Hofstadter completely ruined a clean room in one episode. Leonard and Leslie Winkle were shown using lab equipment for non-sensical purposes, like cooking lunch. One Reddit fan points out that Sheldon Cooper and Amy Fowler were just as lax in their lab safety practices. Sheldon cuts up brain tissue without gloves, and Amy’s hair is loose during lab scenes.  

Howard Wolowitz would have never been deemed fit for space travel, argue ‘The Big Bang Theory’ fans

Fans either loved Howard, or they hated him. The engineer found himself as the butt of the joke often because of his subpar education. Instead of earning a Ph.D., Howard only had a Master’s degree. Most of his pals stopped making fun of him after NASA selected him to go up to the International Space Station as an astronaut, though. 

Raj, Leonard, Howard and Sheldon stand around Howard's workstation during an episode of 'The Big Bang Theory'
Raj Koothrappali, Leonard Hofstadter, Howard Wolowitz and Leonard Hofstadter | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

While the storyline was cool, it was completely implausible, note fans. Throughout the show’s 12-season run, Howard had several serious medical conditions. According to Fandom, Howard revealed that he was asthmatic. He also had anaphylactic reactions to peanuts and multiple tree nuts, and he had a heart condition. Finally, he suffered from seasickness. His medical history would have likely disqualified him from going to space, regardless of his engineering prowess. Even if his medical history got clearance, fans don’t think he would have cleared a psychological exam. 

Penny’s secret last name still infuriates fans of the series

The show’s creator gave every character a surname. Even side characters, like Stuart Bloom, had a last name. Penny, however, remained nameless for the entirety of the show’s 12-season run. According to Looper, Steve Molaro, The Big Bang Theory‘s executive producer, revealed that the writing team didn’t bother to give her a name right away. Once fans started asking about it, they became superstitious and opted to leave her nameless until, of course, she married Leonard. 

Raj Koothrappali and Penny sit on the couch in Leonard and Sheldon's apartment in "The Big Bang Theory"
Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

‘The Big Bang Theory’: 3 Times Caltech Should Have Fired Its Employees

The decision still doesn’t sit right with fans. The writing team could have easily revealed Penny’s maiden name during the show’s final episode. It would have been an easy way to give the character a more developed, independent identity. Opting to keep her maiden name secret left fans feeling a bit let down. Penny was just as important as the rest of the characters featured on the show. She was deserving of a full name.