‘The Big Bang Theory’: Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki Will Host Special Farewell After Finale

Certain TV shows become so iconic in pop culture they need retrospectives to put things in perspective. We’ve seen this done before over the decades with classic sitcoms and dramas. In the case of The Big Bang Theory, having a retrospective on the show is more than deserving considering how much it brought a “Revenge of the Nerds” concept to TV for the first time.

The Big Bang Theory fans will still be treated with a farewell special after the finale on May 16. How will this special place the sitcom in context? Perhaps we’ll receive some clues on what might happen from Young Sheldon.

‘The Big Bang Theory’ retrospective will be shorter

Kaley Cuoco
Kaley Cuoco | Mike Windle/Getty Images

If you happened to be around in May of 1993 when Cheers left the airwaves, you may remember NBC had the idea to go live with an hour-long special featuring the show’s cast after the last episode aired. This was hosted by Jay Leno (then the new host of The Tonight Show) and intended to be an emotional tribute to the actors who made the show great.

It turned out to be a major disaster when the cast became drunk and couldn’t keep themselves behaved for the duration of the hour. No wonder a network has never done a live special like this again, other than shows like Talking Dead on AMC to do group panel discussions about The Walking Dead.

From all indications, the wrap-up special for The Big Bang Theory won’t be live. It will be relegated to just one pre-taped half-hour. Hosts will be Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, who will take fans behind-the-scenes of how the show was put together. The cast obviously knows better than to be interviewed at a wrap party where drinks flow freely.

Understanding the legacy of ‘The Big Bang Theory’

You can argue The Big Bang Theory was a bit overdue on having a retrospective to place the show in a historical perspective. Maybe some have looked at it as a simple satire of geeks studying at CalTech who can’t adjust to everyday living. In reality, it’s brought a bigger legacy with major implications.

As many fans would note, it has brought forth an important focus on science in making it look cool(er) and not just accessible to characters like Sheldon Cooper. Also, the scientific community itself has embraced the show, including using the character names as monikers for specific biological species.

Any kids who’ve grown up watching Sheldon and the other characters may also feel more inspired to learn physics. Thanks to UCLA providing a scholarship program for kids using the show’s name, this is a major opportunity.

What will the retrospective tell us about the future of ‘Young Sheldon’?

Despite this half-hour special being a tribute to devoted The Big Bang Theory fans, some are probably hoping it’ll give some insight into what comes next. We can’t imagine the entire cast will stay away from the franchise completely when Young Sheldon could run for years more.

Some flash-forward sequences are potentially in the cards if the cast decided guest appearances would be worth their time. More creatively, how fun would it be if the show did time jumps up to the years just before The Big Bang Theory began in 2007?

Maybe even the fans will acknowledge Young Sheldon won’t run as long as The Big Bang Theory has. Nevertheless, placing the latter show in better context may help those who haven’t watched The Big Bang Theory enough to catch it in syndication while giving Young Sheldon added viewers.

We’ll see if more shows about geeks become copycats or if The Big Bang Theory forever stands the test of time as something unique.