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Hidden Costume Details You Missed In The Big Bang Theory

Known for its sharp humor and clever gags, "The Big Bang Theory" remains one of the biggest and best sitcoms of its day. It ran for an astonishing 12 seasons, regaling audiences with the misadventures of goofballs Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Raj (Kunal Nayyar), Howard (Simon Helberg), and Amy (Mayim Bialik) — and their much cooler neighbor Penny (Kaley Cuoco). But the show is known for more than just laughs, and has also become famous for its wacky wardrobes.

Led by a whole host of graphic T-shirts worn by Sheldon, the show's use of vibrant, colorful, and fun clothing for its cast always helps brighten the vibe of the show itself. But the clothing and costumes on "The Big Bang Theory" weren't randomly assembled by the show's wardrobe department. Beneath the graphics of superheroes and robots lie some hidden details and deeper meanings that you may never have noticed before. 

Leonard, the shirt thief?

Every character on "The Big Bang Theory" has a unique brand of fashion, but in one episode, things get a little mixed up. It happens in the Season 2 episode "The Codpiece Topology," where Leonard is wearing a yellow shirt under his customary hoodie and jacket. The graphic is of an M.C. Escher-like series of repeating colored cubes. What's a little strange about this shirt is that it is used again later that season but this time is worn by Sheldon. So whose shirt is it?

It's certainly possible that it is Leonard's and Sheldon has his own copy, but it seems unlikely — given how fussy Sheldon is — that he'd own and wear the same shirt as his best friend. And we know it's most likely Sheldon's shirt because not only does he wear it just a few episodes later but at least twice more in the show's run. 

It's more plausible, then, that Leonard is wearing Sheldon's shirt, something we know he's done before. Of course, in reality, it's probably just a case of messing with the character's wardrobe, with costume fitters not realizing Leonard had already worn that T-shirt.

A nod to the past

"The Big Bang Theory" seems to enjoy inserting episodes with little in-jokes for fans to find. With the wardrobe of its main cast almost being a separate character itself, it makes sense that writers and costume designers would do the same for that part of the show. One such example is a particular shirt worn by Penny that turns up in three landmark episodes.

First seen in the series premiere, the shirt is a pale blue with some violet flowers, nothing that is of particular note other than that Penny is wearing it when she first meets Sheldon and Leonard. Then, nearly five seasons later, in the episode "The Recombination Hypothesis," she's wearing it again when Leonard finally gets the urge to ask her out. Some fans have suggested Leonard may be prompted by seeing her in the same outfit as when they first met, stirring nostalgic feelings.

The fact that "The Recombination Hypothesis" is the show's 100th episode, a milestone for the series, may not be a coincidence. Penny is again seen wearing the same shirt in the series finale, forcing us to wonder if the costume department was having a little fun dressing Penny for those numerically noteworthy episodes.

The gang reuses their wardrobe

When it comes to TV sitcoms, it's not uncommon at all for an entire cast of characters to never wear the same clothes twice. Visually, it makes sense to switch things up, whether it's to find clothes that best suit a specific scene, help convey a character's emotional state, or are simply practical for that week's story. But "The Big Bang Theory" does something different, and it goes beyond Penny wearing the same blouse in some significant installments. 

Make no mistake — the cast of the show has a varied set of outfits. They're not the Simpsons, after all. But it's actually quite commonplace to see Penny, Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Amy frequently wearing outfits we've seen them wear before. As in real life, where we wash out clothes and wear them week after week rather than getting a new outfit every day like in some TV shows, "TBBT" shows Sheldon wearing his various graphic T-shirts multiple times. Savvy viewers have noticed, and it can make a fun game to play while watching.

Penny's laundry room uniform

Continuing on the subject of reused wardrobes, we have another case of Penny popping up in two places in the same shirt. While for some that might be interesting enough, it's the commonalities between the scenes they appear in that make it worth talking about. An eagle-eyed viewer on Reddit pointed out that in the Season 2 episode "The Lizard-Spock Expansion," Penny is seen wearing a nearly neon yellow and green baseball tee in the laundry room.

Perhaps while binge-watching, the fan noticed that two seasons later, in "The Prestidigitation Approximation," Penny is back in the laundry room and sporting the exact same T-shirt. But beyond the shirt and the location, even the situation is the same: She's there with Leonard, and the two are having conversations about women in his life, specifically Dr. Stephanie Barnett (Sara Rue) and Priya Koothrappali (Aarti Mann). Is this Penny's "Leonard dating talk" outfit?

Sheldon gives a nod to his favorite social media site

Sheldon Cooper is a geek-of-all-trades, from math and science to superheroes and fantasy. And that includes his love of tech. He's perpetually plugged into the internet and beyond, which means he must be all over social media. But with his obvious social awkwardness, don't expect Sheldon to be posting on Facebook or Instagram — instead, he's all over Reddit, the domain of pedantic, argumentative sticklers everywhere. And we know because in one particular episode, Sheldon shows off his love of the online community via his wardrobe.

In the Season 5 episode "The Wiggly Finger Catalyst," Sheldon can be seen sporting a T-shirt with the Reddit robot emblazoned across the front, which was noticed by many fans online. And that's not the last time it shows up, either. Sheldon wears it again just 12 episodes later, in "The Vacation Solution," and audiences love pointing it out. In fact, regular Reddit posters have even grown weary of fans talking about it, week after week, year after year — more than a decade after the episodes aired — as if they were the first person who ever noticed it.

The men in The Big Bang Theory each have a unique look

In "The Big Bang Theory," each member of the main cast has their own style, true, but it goes further than just an overall fashion. Even within the character's identifiable looks, viewers might notice some detail about their wardrobes. When it comes specifically to the men in the series — Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard — they all have certain pieces of attire that have become ubiquitous, worn in nearly every episode.

For Sheldon, you'll find that in almost every episode, he's wearing his typical graphic T-shirt — with a superhero logo or quirky, colorful design — and nearly universally over a long-sleeved T-shirt (a holdover of early-2000s fashion). When it comes to Leonard, the hoodie and jacket combo is always present. No matter the weather, he's always got his two heavier layers.

Raj, meanwhile, is never seen without his sweater vest, worn over a collared shirt. Even when rocking a jacket or coat, Raj always has the knit sweater vest underneath. As for Howard, would he even be Howard without a turtleneck?

Sheldon has worn his wardrobe into the ground

On "The Big Bang Theory," Sheldon's trademark fashion is his colorful T-shirts, and with the show's penchant for reusing clothing for that real-life feel, it makes sense that he's worn some of them over and over. But even that's an understatement. Over on Reddit, a dedicated "TBBT" fan and graphic designer sat down and watched every episode and compiled an exhaustive infographic of just about every T-shirt Sheldon wears from Seasons 1 to 6. And the results are eye-popping, even if they cover just half the show's run. Beyond that, there's even an entire website dedicated to chronicling Sheldon's shirts.

It will come as no surprise that Green Lantern and the Flash dominate Sheldon's wardrobe, as he seems to favor those two heroes above all. But it's not just superheroes — some of his favorite shirts that he's seen wearing over and over are basic striped or plaid designs, too, while more abstract graphics also pop up again and again. Sheldon's love of prehistoric monsters is also on full display in his wardrobe, with a number of dinosaur T-shirts making their way into his regular rotation. His most interesting shirt theme, though, has to be his odd love of TV test patterns, which show up on more than one design in dozens of episodes.

Sheldon isn't a fan of Marvel

If you had a chance to peruse the infographic of all the T-shirts worn by Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory," you may have noticed something rather conspicuous in its absence. For all the superheroes in his extensive array of graphic T-shirts, there are no Marvel Comics characters anywhere to be found.

Between Green Lantern, the Flash, Aquaman, Batman, and Superman, Sheldon clearly loves his superhero tees, but he seems to wear those only from DC Comics. We know he loves Marvel, too, considering his obsession with Raj's pair of Stan Lee-autographed Hulk hands. Yet despite dozens and dozens of comic book tees, he never once wears a shirt adorned with the likes of Spider-Man, Captain America, Black Panther, or the X-Men. 

The real reason, of course, could have something to do with who makes the show. When one considers that the series is produced by Warner Bros., the parent company of DC Comics, his plethora of shirts featuring DC heroes begins to make a little more sense.

Mark Hamill's T-shirt has a special connection

Like any sitcom, "The Big Bang Theory" loves its guest stars. In this sitcom's case, though, it's used them to emphasize Sheldon and Leonard's obsession with geek culture, with celebrities from the world of science, science fiction, and comic books often guest starring as themselves. This has included everyone from Stephen Hawking ("The Hawking Excitation") and Bill Nye ("The Proton Displacement") to LeVar Burton ("The Toast Derivation") and Stan Lee ("The Excelsior Acquisition"). When Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, guest-starred, though, he wore a shirt with a unique meaning.

It happens in the episode "The Bow Tie Asymmetry," when Hamill's dog goes missing and is found by Howard. When he pops in, he's wearing a T-shirt with a bizarre graphic of what appears to be some kind of vampiric mouse. With the episode airing just months after the release of the oft-criticized "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," some took it to be a statement on his true feelings for the House of Mouse and how it has sucked the life out of the "Star Wars" franchise. While only the actor knows for sure what it really means to him, one thing we do know is that the T-shirt was designed by his son, Nathan Hamill, a successful artist and toymaker in his own right.

Sheldon's T-shirt reveals his Hogwarts house

Supergenius Sheldon Cooper loves math, science, and history, and he can even speak Klingon, but we can learn even more about him from his clothing. Sure, it tells us he loves DC superheroes and dinosaurs, but in one particular episode, discerning fans may be able to learn more about how he perceives his personality thanks to his T-shirt.

That shirt isn't from DC Comics, "Star Trek," or "Star Wars" but from "Harry Potter," seen in the Season 11 episode "The Monetary Insufficiency." Adorned with a Hogwarts house logo, it tells us that the Sorting Hat put Sheldon into Gryffindor ... or at least, that's how Sheldon imagines it. Fans haven't been happy, arguing that there's no way he would belong to Gryffindor, the house of bravery, nerve, and chivalry, but the show doesn't lie: Later, in "The Conjugal Configuration," Sheldon and Amy come back from their honeymoon in "Potter" attire, and he's wearing a robe from House Gryffindor.

Sheldon's outfit calls back to his favorite number

Every character on "The Big Bang Theory" has their oddball quirks, none more so than Sheldon Cooper, including a love of what some might think of as random things. This includes his affection for the Doppler effect, spaghetti with cut-up hot dog pieces, and the song "Soft Kitty," each of which has a special meaning for him. But he also has a favorite number, and just like most of the things he loves, it feels kind of random: 73. 

Like most of his beloved things, Sheldon's favorite number isn't as random as it might seem, because it is first revealed in the episode "The Alien Parasite Hypothesis," the 73rd episode of the series. Following that discovery, astute fans may notice that it affects his clothing choices later in the show. Later that same season, Sheldon begins wearing shirts with the number 73 on them, beginning in the episode "The Thespian Catalyst." Over the course of the rest of the show, Sheldon wears a version of the same shirt — in multiple colors — at least 10 more times.

An homage to Mystery Inc.

Beyond sporting T-shirts with their favorite movies, TV shows, or comics on them, the gang on "The Big Bang Theory" also dresses up in elaborate cosplay from time to time. But it would also seem that the costumers have as much fun as Sheldon and Leonard, at least if we go by the episode "The Intimacy Acceleration." 

In one part of the episode, Amy, Raj, Leonard, and Emily play a round at a local escape room, which means solving an elaborate puzzle before the time runs out and they're attacked by a zombie. What some fans might not notice, though, is that Amy and Emily are dressed eerily similarly to Daphne and Velma from "Scooby-Doo," wholly appropriate for a story about solving a mystery. It's subtle, but it's most noticeable when they are next to each other, with Amy's red jumper and glasses turning her into the spitting image of Velma, while Emily's purple sweater and knee-high go-go boots make her easily identifiable as Daphne.

Finale fashion has a hidden meaning

In the finale, Penny isn't the only one to make a callback to a notable prior episode. Just as Kaley Cuoco is wearing the same shirt she wore in the series premiere, there's another cast member doing something similar, but you'd be forgiven if you didn't take notice. A more subtle, more hidden nod, it can easily go unnoticed, but thanks to the help of some dedicated viewers on social media, you can now be on the lookout for it.

Watch for Simon Helberg as Howard, and keep your eyes below his waist. Look closely, and you may notice he is wearing the same Nintendo belt buckle he was wearing in the series premiere. Elsewhere, Sheldon's pair of "Justice League" T-shirts in the finale could also represent the total sum of all his shirts, while his final "Flash" logo tee is a clear callback to his own first Flash shirt in the premiere.

Amy's Star Trek outfit has a few problems

The show — and Sheldon's — love of "Star Trek" is made obvious over and over, with such frequent references you'd think they all had pointed ears. Several cast members have actually dressed up in "Trek" cosplay, most famously in "The Bakersfield Expedition," where Sheldon and co. are dressed as the crew of "The Next Generation." Elsewhere, though, in the episode "The Launch Acceleration" (which also features a big game of "Star Trek" 3D chess), Amy dresses up as a Starfleet nurse in a steamy final scene.

Wearing the iconic blue of Starfleet science and medical and holding a prop medical tricorder, Amy — and the audience — probably thinks she is the spitting image of Nurse Chapel. But as any Trekkie will tell you, there are some small problems with this outfit that could be hiding a secret meaning. If we're being 100% authentic to the classic "Trek" series, it's not a nurse's uniform. As worn by the likes of Chapel, the nurse's uniform had no black collar and no rank insignia on the sleeves.

Admittedly, this might not reveal any major meaning. But the fact that Sheldon doesn't point out the problems does suggest that he has very strong feelings for Amy, which is a point of contention in the episode.

The Big Bang Theory and The Flash trade costume jabs

It's not uncommon for TV shows to have some kind of rivalry, like "The Addams Family" and "The Munsters" fighting for the title of best monster sitcom. Sometimes, though, there are more friendly jabs that go back and forth with on-screen jokes, like when "South Park" lampooned "The Simpsons." Well, the costume designers on "The Big Bang Theory" seem like they were engaged in humorous little homages with their counterparts on The CW's superhero drama "The Flash."

As we've already pointed out, Sheldon wears shirts with the Flash's symbol on them dozens of times. Well, someone at The CW took notice and decided to play a little "return the favor" with them. In episodes of "The Flash," Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is seen sporting "The Big Bang Theory" shirts as a payback homage. This includes one "bazinga" tee, seen in the pilot episode, and another with a picture of Sheldon's favorite side of the couch, complete with a striped pillow and the phrase "This is my spot."