Creator Chuck Lorre isn’t worried about the fan reaction to The Big Bang Theory series finale. Debuting in 2007, the long-running sitcom is finally wrapping up this week, sending off the Pasadena gang that the public has watched go through life for more than a decade. Considering the continued massive interest in the series (CBS was originally eyeing season 13), pressure to deliver a satisfying conclusion has understandably mounted in the last several months. Despite this, Lorre admits that he’s not concerned about the potential backlash if viewers end up not liking his decisions on how to end the characters’ respective arcs.
Starting off with five main characters – Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) – The Big Bang Theory‘s cast expanded with Melissa Rauch’s Bernadette and Mayim Bialik’s Amy being promoted to series regulars by season 4. Loyal viewers of the sitcom are emotionally invested in these characters after spending 12 years with them, and it’s understandable that they would want the best possible sendoff for each of them. Lorre knows this, but he’s also aware there’s no pleasing everybody.
Speaking with The Wrap in light of the nearing one-hour special series finale for The Big Bang Theory, the producer says that he’s come to terms with the fact that “a large percentage of the audience will hate what you do no matter what you do,” so at this point, he “can basically relax about how it’s going to be received.” Being one of the brains behind some of the most popular sitcoms in the last decade – including Two and a Half Men, Dharma & Greg, Grace Under Fire, Mike & Molly, Mom and The Big Bang Theory spin-off Young Sheldon – Lorre says that “people’s expectations are their expectations, and some people will like what you’ve done and how you brought the show in for a landing and others will not. That’s just built into the equation.”
Lorre, however, previews what fans can expect in The Big Bang Theory finale without giving any specific plot points, so as to give fans an idea on how it’ll play out. This way, they can temper their aspirations for the last two episodes of the longest-running multi-camera sitcom. Apparently, it’s not going to be this massive shake-up, instead, it’ll just be a pivotal junction in the lives of the characters that will launch them to the future. “The finale really plays more as a transition for the characters as an emotional finale as opposed to a big, heavy, plot-driven finale. The characters aren’t packing their bags and going off to parts unknown, or getting on a spaceship and going to Mars,” he said.
This type of series finale will be interesting to see, as it gives people the impression that while the show’s ending, the characters’ lives go on, albeit possibly in different directions, and explains the lack of overarching narrative throughout the final seasons. The risk of capping off one of the most popular sitcoms ever this way, however, is that it might not feel like a series finale at all. At the very least, it should allow people to say goodbye to the characters, knowing that they’re not going to see them (at least together in the same setting) ever again.