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The Best Episodes Of The Big Bang Theory, According To IMDb

Over 12 seasons, The Big Bang Theory kept fans across the globe endlessly entertained by the quirky, socially awkward scientists and their pursuits in life and love. Although the show came to an end in May 2019, fans of the popular sitcom haven't stopped watching it now that Netflix is streaming 11 of the 12 seasons. Watching Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) somewhat blindly stumble his way through social interactions, seeing Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) pine for and eventually marry Penny (Kaley Cuoco), watching Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) develop from a rather creepy, failed ladies man to a loving husband and father, and even seeing Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) struggle to find love has yet to get old for Big Bang Theory fans.

There are a total of 279 episodes of the series, making it the longest-running multi-camera sitcom in history — surpassing Cheers within its final season to take the record with approximately 6,138 minutes of comedy. But which of those episodes are held in highest regard? Here are the best episodes of The Big Bang Theory, according to their ratings on IMDb. 

"The Staircase Implementation"

Number five on the list of best Big Bang Theory episodes is "The Staircase Implementation," the episode where fans finally learned how the elevator in the apartment building broke. Rated 9.1 out of 10 on IMDb, the episode also shows how Leonard and Sheldon first met one another, and frankly leads fans (and Penny) to wonder how on earth Leonard agreed to move in with Sheldon in the first place. Sheldon made Leonard jump through bizarre hoops before he was offered the second bedroom in the apartment, including having to answer some strange questions. We're talking about Leonard having to know the sixth noble gas, choosing between Picard and Kirk, and having to detail his bathroom schedule.

At the time, the apartment was, well, sparsely decorated, with just two lawn chairs and a coffee table in the living room. While Sheldon peppered Leonard with questions, he responded to most of them with a wrinkled nose while jotting down notes on a clipboard. When Sheldon finally decided to approve of Leonard as his roommate, the pair first had to hash out the details of the infamous roommate agreement.

And then, it turns out, the reason everyone walks up and down three flights of stairs daily is because of Leonard. The trio were working in Sheldon and Leonard's kitchen on fuel for Howard's rocket, when Sheldon warned Leonard he'd made a mistake with his calculations. As Leonard argued, the fuel began to smoke, and they rushed to get it out of the apartment. When the elevator doors opened, Sheldon swooped in, took it out of Leonard's hands and placed it on the floor of the elevator, ushered him out, and sent the elevator down the shaft.

With Leonard protesting he had time to get it out of the building, the elevator shaft exploded, finally explaining why it's never worked.

"The Opening Night Excitation"

The fourth highest-rated episode is "The Opening Night Excitation" with a 9.1 rating on IMDb. The episode in question comes from season 9, shortly after Amy and Sheldon have rekindled their romance following their brief breakup. It's the opening night of the new Star Wars movie, and Sheldon and the rest of the guys have — of course — bought themselves tickets to the premiere. There's just one problem, though: it happens to fall on the same night as Amy's birthday.

It takes some convincing, but Sheldon is eventually persuaded that he can't disappear to the movies with his friends on his girlfriend's birthday. Reluctantly, he agrees to spend the night with her instead, and then has another problem to face: what to get her as a gift.

He comes up with a number of options, and enlists the help of Penny and Bernadette to determine which one Amy would like the most. Him suggesting he and Amy sleep together for the first time results in Penny breaking her wine glass, but is definitely the favorite option among the girls. Although he's always struggled with intimacy and being touched, his long-standing relationship with Amy has led to him to feel like it's finally the right time for him to be physical with her. Still, Sheldon consults with the Force Ghost of his old idol Professor Proton, confiding that he's worried he might be overwhelmed in the moment by being physical.

The couple ultimately have a romantic night in Amy's apartment, which ends with them together in her bed. Amy has messed up hair and is lying across her pillow with a huge grin on her face, while Sheldon expresses his surprise that he "enjoyed that more than [he] thought [he] would."

"The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis"

Tied with the penultimate episode of the series is another touching episode from The Big Bang Theory season 2: "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis," which features one of the few times we see Sheldon actually hug someone. The moment is prompted by Penny telling Sheldon and Leonard that she has bought them Christmas gifts. Sheldon — who isn't a fan of holidays and the social convention of gift-giving — isn't happy with Penny, because it means he has to reciprocate with a gift for her. Naturally, he has absolutely no idea how to shop for a woman, and ends up in a cosmetics store trying to figure out which bath products he should buy.

Finally convinced by an annoyed Howard and Raj to get Penny a gift basket, Sheldon then argues that he doesn't know which size basket to get to properly reciprocate whatever Penny has bought him. The result is Sheldon coming home with an overburdened Howard and Raj carrying multiple baskets in every size imaginable so that he has a perfectly matched gift for whatever Penny might bring him. The conundrum for Sheldon comes in when he opens his gift from her, discovering that she got him the autograph of Leonard Nimoy on a napkin after the actor came into the Cheesecake Factory where she worked.

Excusing himself to get Penny's gift, instead of coming back with one basket, he comes out carrying them all. To her bewildered expression he responds with, "I know, it's not enough." After a brief pause, Sheldon comes up with something to properly reflect the incredible gift Penny's gotten him, awkwardly stepping towards her and wrapping his arms around her in the most Sheldon hug ever. Penny and Leonard are equally surprised by the gesture, with Leonard calling it a "saturnalia miracle."

"The Change Constant"

The second best-rated episode of The Big Bang Theory, with 9.2 on IMDb, is the penultimate episode of the entire show, "The Change Constant." The first part of the two-part series finale shows the moment when Sheldon and Amy learn about their Nobel Prize win. It's an episode of goals achieved. From Sheldon fulfilling his life-long dream to win the most coveted prize in physics, to Leonard finally getting to slap Sheldon, to Amy getting herself a major makeover and the elevator in Sheldon and Leonard's building finally getting fixed, the gang sees a lot of change in this episode.

However, there's one member of the group who doesn't take the changes at all well. Sheldon, who's so used to having things exactly the way he likes it, is completely overwhelmed by the series of events brought on by his Nobel Prize win. Cameras are waiting for him outside the apartment building, Amy gets a haircut and wardrobe upgrade, there's thunderous applause from his colleagues in the lunchroom at Caltech, and the elevator lets out a sudden and unexpected ping — and Sheldon is driven straight into sensory overload territory.

Considering their relationship in the final few seasons of The Big Bang Theory, it's Penny that manages to talk Sheldon down — convincing him that change is the only constant when the pair go out for drinks. Sheldon decides to embrace the moment, climbing into the elevator with Penny (with a little help from her, of course) when the pair arrive back at home.

"The Stockholm Syndrome"

The highest-rated episode of The Big Bang Theory is "The Stockholm Syndrome," the touching second part of the two-part finale, which clocks in at a 9.2 rating on IMDb.

Early on in the episode, fans discover that Penny is pregnant with her and Leonard's first child. The couple haven't yet shared the news with their friends, as Penny is still coming to grips with the idea of motherhood after previously being more than a little tentative on the issue.

The episode saw the entire gang head off to Sweden for the Nobel Prize ceremony, put up in business class on their flight by Sheldon and Amy with their prize money. It's on the flight that Penny's news is shared, but, Sheldon being Sheldon, his reaction is somewhat less than congratulatory. It's not at all unsurprising coming from Sheldon, but it's the thing that finally sends Leonard over the edge.

Arriving in Stockholm, Leonard wants nothing more than to go home and leave Sheldon to his own selfish devices. At the same time, Howard and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) phone home to discover their son has been sick and their daughter took a tumble down the stairs. The couple contemplate leaving, and when Sheldon calls them selfish for not wanting to celebrate him, they decide to head back home. It's Penny, hanging over the toilet with morning sickness after eating copious amounts of pickled fish, that convinces her husband they need to stay for Amy's sake.

In the meantime, Amy is berating her husband for his behavior, explaining their friends are leaving because of him. The moment is all Sheldon needs to see the error of his ways (however temporarily). The final words of the series see him giving a touching Nobel Prize acceptance speech, thanking each and every one of his friends for always putting up with him despite his many quirks.