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10 Most Underrated Big Bang Theory Episodes, Ranked




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Summary

  • Underrated episodes of
    The Big Bang Theory
    showcase character development and hilarious jokes.
  • Some episodes use characters differently, creating humorous moments with Sheldon and Penny in particular.
  • Cameos from notable scientists and pop culture figures add to the entertainment value of select episodes.

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Some underrated episodes of The Big Bang Theory highlight aspects of the main characters better than any other episode in the series. The under-the-radar episodes also include hilarious jokes that reflect or lead to character development, as well as cameos from noteworthy scientists and people involved in fantasy and sci-fi pop culture.

Select episodes are entertaining because they use the characters, particularly Sheldon and Penny, in different ways than usual to create humorous moments. Episodes in the later seasons highlight how much the characters have grown since the beginning of the series, including Penny becoming a successful professional and Raj becoming financially independent. And some episodes just include underrated jokes that deserve more attention.

10 The Focus Attenuation (Season 8, Episode 5)

Penny preps for her new job while everyone else wastes time.

Penny looks at Amy and Bernadette hungover in The Big Bang Theory

Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj decide to have a weekend dedicated to coming up with new project ideas. When they tell Penny, Amy, and Bernadette, the women decide to have their own weekend in Vegas. However, the guys are distracted by movies and get nothing done. Meanwhile, Penny finds out that she needs to study for a project at work and sends Amy and Bernadette off on their own.

Penny’s character changes significantly after she lands a job as a sales rep at Bernadette’s company. It’s funny yet satisfying to see her being professional while everybody else goofs off. The next morning, Penny enjoys her vacation after she is done with work. She mocks a very hungover Amy and Bernadette before going to the pool at their hotel.

9 The Indecision Amalgamation (Season 7, Episode 19)

Sheldon, Penny, and Raj all face dilemmas.

Sheldon and Amy sit next to a playstation and xbox in The Big Bang Theory

While Penny debates taking a role in a terrible movie, Raj feels guilty about dating Emily and Lucy at the same time, and Sheldon frets over whether to buy the new PlayStation or Xbox. Penny ends up taking the role and stars alongside Wil Wheaton, whose guest appearances are always hilarious. While Penny regrets being in the movie later, it is an important moment for her as she comes to realize that acting is not making her happy. Meanwhile, Sheldon’s dilemma leads to some great jokes, including him taking a poll among the gang and Bernadette naively saying, “I like the Wii.”

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8 The Troll Manifestation (Season 8, Episode 14)

Stephen Hawking messes with Leonard and Sheldon.

Leonard and Sheldon in the Big Bang theory the troll manifestation

The Big Bang Theory was always lucky to get notable scientists to cameo on the show, including Stephen Hawking, who makes his first cameo in season 5. In season 8, Leonard and Sheldon publish a paper and are looking over the reactions online when someone starts criticizing their work. They end up having an online argument with the anonymous figure until Sheldon impulsively video-chats the person to confront them face-to-face.

Leonard and Sheldon’s cyberbully is then revealed to be Hawking himself. The reveal is hysterical, but Hawking says that he actually liked their paper and was just messing with them. The episode gets another funny moment from Leonard walking into Penny’s apartment to tell the women about Hawking’s compliments, and they all scream at him to get out because they are too busy reading Amy’s fanfiction.

7 The Retraction Reaction (Season 11, Episode 2)

The guys think about the future of physics and Regina King guest stars.

When Leonard says that physics is a dead end on the radio, Sheldon also begins to worry that his work is pointless. Penny and all the guys then visit the grave of Richard Feynman for inspiration. While science is a huge part of the show, this episode is unique in its discussion about the harder parts of being a scientist with words from a famous scientist about the job’s true meaning. Additionally, Oscar-winner Regina King guest stars as Janine Davis, Caltech’s Human Resources manager. Janine clearly enjoys getting to embarrass Leonard by reading back the drunk email he sent her from Feynman’s grave.

6 The Holographic Excitation (Season 6, Episode 5)

Penny takes an interest in science and Raj plans an epic Halloween party.

Howard and Bernadette as Smurfs in The Big Bang Theory

Amy and Bernadette point out that Penny should make more of an effort to understand Leonard’s job, leading to Leonard and Penny hooking up in his lab. Howard and Bernadette have a sweet moment when she reminds him that she fell in love with him before he was an astronaut, and he doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. All of this happens against the backdrop of Raj planning an all-out party at the comic book store for Halloween, demonstrating his underappreciated planning skills. Some of the gang also have some great costumes, with Leonard as Albert Einstein, Stuart as Willy Wonka, and Howard and Bernadette as Smurfs.

5 The Good Guy Fluctuation (Season 5, Episode 7)

Leonard “cheats” on his girlfriend and Sheldon scares Leonard.

alice meets leonard in the big bang theory comic book shop

While Leonard is in a long-distance relationship with Raj’s sister Priya, he meets and has a flirtationship with Alice, a comic book artist. Leonard is caught between Priya and Alice gets some no-nonsense advice from both Penny and Sheldon. Penny points out that Leonard is the problem when she tells him he is “looking for a way to sleep with both women and have everybody be happy about it.”

Meanwhile, Sheldon tries to scare his friends to get revenge for a Halloween prank. He is finally successful by hiding in the couch and scaring Leonard – albeit at a bad time. Leonard has just told Priya that he stopped things with Alice before it went too far, only for Priya to admit that she slept with her ex.

4 The Allowance Evaporation (Season 10, Episode 16)

Raj grows as a person when he decides to start supporting himself.

Kunal Nayyar's Raj sits looks glum on a couch in The Big Bang Theory

Raj being spoiled is the punchline of a lot of jokes throughout The Big Bang Theory. However, in season 10, he makes the mature decision to stop taking money from his parents and learn to support himself. For the rest of season 10, Raj demonstrates impressive character growth by figuring out a real budget and moving into a cheaper apartment. This change leads to others for Raj, including getting a new job and standing up to Howard for always making fun of him.

3 The Tangible Affection Proof (Season 6, Episode 16)

Leonard and Penny come to an agreement and Raj throws a Valentine’s Day party.

Leonard Hoftstadter and Penny in The Big Bang Theory copy

Leonard and Penny have an honest conversation after a disastrous dinner where she admits that the idea of getting married scares her. Leonard suggests that she be the one to propose to him when she is ready. Unfortunately, the writers seem to have forgotten to have Penny plan the over-the-top proposal Leonard asks for. Meanwhile, Raj throws a party at the comic book store for single people. It’s a nice change of pace for Raj, who is always worried that he will end up alone – even if the moment is undermined when he leaves with Lucy.

2 The Comet Polarization (Season 11, Episode 21)

Denise starts working at the comic book store and Neil Gaiman appears.

One of The Big Bang Theory’s running gags is that the women are not interested in Star Wars, comic books, or anything else the guys like. That is why Denise was a great addition to the show. When Stuart’s comic book business picks up, he hires Denise, an art student who impresses Sheldon with her knowledge of comics. Additionally, Neil Gaiman cameos in the same episode. Gaiman turns Stuart’s business into a success overnight by tweeting about the store. Despite being huge fans, the gang is always oblivious when Gaiman visits the store.

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1 The 43 Peculiarity (Season 6, Episode 8)

Leonard, Howard, and Raj all obsess over something, and Sheldon doesn’t care.

Howard and Raj try to solve the mystery of what Sheldon does on his own for 20 minutes every day, their only clue being the number 43 drawn on a chalkboard in a secluded room. Meanwhile, Leonard worries that Penny’s British study partner will steal her away. Sheldon makes some deadpan comments, such as how Leonard’s “emotional maturity” is not evidenced by him “spying on [his] girlfriend through a peephole.” Some of the funniest moments in The Big Bang Theory come not from Sheldon being the center of the drama, but when he is so above it all that he just makes sarcastic and hilarious observations.

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