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How A $10 Prop Helped Melissa Rauch Land The Big Bang Theory's Bernadette

Between 2007 and 2019, few television series were quite as prominent in the network landscape as CBS' geek-life sitcom "The Big Bang Theory." That's just as true in regards to its station in the pop culture realm, too, as the series' popularity stretched well beyond the "water-cooler conversation" realm. As one might expect, that sort of meteoric success helped make stars of the entire cast of "The Big Bang Theory." Many of those cast members had, of course, been working steadily in Hollywood for years prior to the show's breakout. Others, however, were just getting their real first taste of the spotlight as the show took off.

Melissa Rauch was arguably of the latter category, having booked a handful of small but impressive roles before joining "The Big Bang Theory" cast in 2009. She joined that cast as the bespectacled Bernadette Rostenkowski, a chirpy waitress friend of Penny Hofstadter (Kaley Cuoco) who'd go on to become the long-time romantic partner of Howard Walowitz (Simon Helberg). All-in, "The Big Bang Theory" became a legit career changer for Rauch, who would eventually appear in 209 episodes of the show before its 2019 finale. And it turns out, she can credit a super-cheap prop for helping her get the part.

A cheap pair of prop glasses proved a difference maker during Rauch's audition

That tasty bit of primetime trivia came out when Melissa Rauch discussed her experience auditioning for the role of Bernadette Rostenkowski in the new behind-the-scenes book "The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series." In recounting the fateful audition, Rauch admitted the outfit she wore to the audition more or less became the template for her character's costume on the show. And yes, that includes a specific costume piece the actor claims was a character flourish purely of her own design.

Per Rauch, that costume piece was a pair of glasses she wore purely in hopes of setting herself apart from the score of actors auditioning for the role, "I wore glasses, even though it didn't say Bernadette wore glasses," Rauch stated, adding, "There were so many girls auditioning, so I thought, I need to do something a little different." She indeed found something different in a cheap pair of prop glasses she kept on hand for just such occasions, noting, "I had crappy $10 prop glasses in the glove compartment of my car for auditions ... but I put on the glasses as a last-minute decision."

That decision proved more than fruitful, with Rauch adding she as the glasses were indeed added to Bernadette's repertoire for her first "The Big Bang Theory" table read, "It wasn't until I got the role and was about to do the table read a few weeks later when Nikki Valko and Ken Miller [the show's casting directors] sent a note to my agent saying, 'The glasses were really great in the audition; she should wear them in the table read.'" And it's safe to say a $10 prop has likely never paid bigger dividends in the network television realm.