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Why Eagle-Eyed Big Bang Theory Fans Are Cracking Up Over This Set Detail

One might expect the world of "The Big Bang Theory" to lack much depth beyond its basic narrative, but that couldn't be more untrue for the fan-favorite sitcom. In reality, the show is quite meticulous in terms of crafting a built-out universe that viewers can delve into and analyze. From an extremely minute Howard detail that has many fans scratching their heads to a seemingly innocuous dialogue quirk that has made fans question Amy's relationship with Raj, even the smallest elements of the show hold surprising significance.

Sometimes, the subtler details on "The Big Bang Theory" aren't just used for worldbuilding, but for comedy as well. Though the vast majority of jokes are pretty easy to point out (just listen for the laugh track), some gags are more concealed, quietly layered in where only the most eagle-eyed of fans will take notice. Such is the case for one particularly amusing bit that took a whopping eight whole seasons to get to the punchline.

Sheldon keeps his gift to Leonard

It's no secret that the meticulous set design of "The Big Bang Theory" is a major draw for fans. Jim Parsons, who plays the hyper-intellectual Sheldon, once noted visual humor as one of the reasons "The Big Bang Theory" is so successful. "It's a bit of eye candy in its own way," the actor said in an interview with New York Magazine (via Vulture).

Few moments illustrate that idea more than a certain visual gag involving Sheldon. Season 1, Episode 16 sees the genius buy a birthday present for Leonard, and, in typical fashion, he settles on the mundane gift of an internet router. The joke could have ended there, and for the subsequent seven seasons of the show, it did. However, it gets revived in Season 9, Episode 19, when a glimpse into Sheldon's storage reveals he kept the router for himself. A blink-and-you'll-miss-it visual reference, it's one of the most subtle gags in the entire series.

Several users on the r/bigbangtheory subreddit commended u/KKaso for catching the joke and bringing attention to it. Some commenters even concluded that it doubles as a fun bit of character development for Sheldon. "I choose to think he holds onto things that have impacted him – positively or negatively – in some way," u/ryanfletcher1899 commented.

Regardless, Sheldon's router gag is a prime example of how dedicated "The Big Bang Theory" is to crafting a joke, even if most of the audience won't pick up on it.