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Things you never noticed in The Big Bang Theory's final episode

Back in 2007, collecting comics, wearing superhero merch, and researching particle physics might have seemed strictly reserved for nerds. It was the year after the original X-Men trilogy had wrapped at movie theaters, and the same year that the Tobey Maguire-starring Spider-Man trilogy ended with Emo Spidey. That September, a little show about four geeky scientists and one beautiful aspiring actress debuted not with a bang but with an "oh, okay."

Co-created by Two and a Half Men and Grace Under Fire mastermind Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, who worked on series like Star Trek: Voyager and Married... with ChildrenThe Big Bang Theory had creative powerhouses behind it, but it didn't take off like a homemade, vinegar-and-baking-soda-powered bottle rocket until a bit later in the game. After all, The Big Bang Theory was riffing on nerd culture before nerd culture became mainstream. Following a lukewarm response to the first few seasons, the series eventually found its audience and broke several records. In 2018, the show's four leads — Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar — were the highest-paid actors on TV (just one way that The Big Bang Theory is a lot like Friends). In 2019, 12 years after its premiere on CBS, The Big Bang Theory became the longest-running multi-camera sitcom, surpassing the previous record of 275 episodes set by Cheers.

But by then, Parsons had already turned down a reported $50 million to make two more seasons, which is the real reason why The Big Bang Theory ended after the 12th season aired in 2019. As both celebration and mockery of geek culture, the show usually wasn't subtle about its references. Still, there were probably a few things you never noticed in the The Big Theory's final episode.

The Big Bang Theory finale included callbacks in the clothing

The Big Bang Theory first aired at the peak of '00s fashion, when UGG boots, pleated mini skirts, and weird chunky belts — often all together — were The Look. 12 years later, the trends may have changed, but the show's costume department snuck in a few references to the pilot to show how the characters' lives have come full circle.

Howard (Helberg) is famous for the novelty belt buckles topping his super skinny colorful jeans. He wears the same Nintendo controller design in the pilot and the finale — and Helberg actually kept it as a memento of the show.

Sheldon's t-shirts have always been a talking point — especially now that superhero merch is more omnipresent than ever. In the first half of the finale, "The Change Constant," Sheldon is wearing a classic Sheldon shirt bearing the Green Lantern logo. However, the t-shirt is deliberately faded, emphasizing the passing of time, and the fact that his clothing is yet another thing that he can't keep from changing.

In the second half of the finale, "The Stockholm Syndrome," Sheldon wears a t-shirt showing multiple superhero logos, which is unusual for him. This matches the feel of the episode as a summing up of the whole series, culminating in Sheldon and Amy (Mayim Bialik) accepting the Nobel Prize and Sheldon finally learning to appreciate his friends, instead of thinking about himself all the time.

Leonard's pilot prophecy comes true (nearly)

Sheldon isn't the only one whose t-shirt is talking. In the final shot, look closer at Penny's (Kaley Cuoco) light blue top with purple flowers, and you'll see that it's the same one she wore when she first met Sheldon (Parsons) and Leonard (Galecki). (Watch the scene from the pilot again and you'll also hear a transphobic joke that hopefully wouldn't play in 2019.) She also wore this top when Leonard asked her on the date that led to them rekindling their relationship in season 5. It's a nice way to connect the pivotal moments in a relationship that has been at the heart of the show from Day One.

There's another Penny-Leonard connection between the pilot and finale. In "The Stockholm Syndrome," Penny reveals that she's pregnant. The couple's decision over whether to have children is a thread throughout the final season — but one of the things you never noticed in The Big Bang Theory's first episode is that Leonard predicted this plot line in the pilot. Immediately after meeting Penny, he told Sheldon, "Our babies will be smart and beautiful." We'll have to wait 20 years or so for the inevitable revival to find out whether or not this assessment is true. But it also marked an unusual moment for Sheldon — his response to Leonard's prediction is, "Not to mention imaginary." Even Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicists can't be right all the time.