It’s been 12 years in coming, but the final episode — the 279th — of the nerds rule the universe comedy The Big Bang Theory has been taped, providing one last shot of laughter to the gathered studio audience before we, the viewers at home, get to have the same experience.

Reports Entertainment Weekly, “Some parts of the finale will feel just like another week in the wacky world of Big Bang … But in between solid jokes about sex, apartment decor, childcare and food, there are some tender and very unexpected surprises. And there’s at least two revelations that no one will see coming.”

Deadline adds, “No spoilers here but the episode itself was a golden one. The central characters each have a major life moment and along the way there are appropriately grand-scale surprises (including an unexpected visitor, a huge happening, a giant announcement, and a major life step).”

Just before the final scene of the last episode was shot, Johnny Galecki took to the stage and addressed the audience, commenting, “This is a dream come true for all of us. You’ve been the best fans for 12 years. You are a part of a family, and we love you very much.”

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Leonard Hofstadter, PhD.

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Added Kaley Cuoco, “The Big Bang Theory will live on in our hearts forever. It’s so sweet and simple, and it’s so true … everyone here is part of making Big Bang special, the entire crew. We love all of them.”

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knock, knock, knock, thank you… Thank you, apartment 4A, for being a home to so many dreams come true, to so many friendships made. And thank YOU, ALL of you – yes, YOU, reading this right NOW! As we get ready to tape our final episode tonight, to walk in and out of this apartment door for the last time, it is hard to find the words to articulate what a profound experience this has been. But the words “love” and “gratitude” come to mind… so love and gratitude to all of you. ALL of you. Thank you. ❤️ (oh! and happy birthday to @sanctionedjohnnygalecki and @kunalkarmanayyar – talk about good timing… may your next 12 years be as vibrant and wonderful as the last 12 years in which i’ve had the pleasure to know and work with you both 🎉)

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Appearing on NBC’s Today, Melissa Rauch sang the praises of the show, but in particular the writers. “One of the benefits of having a show run this long is that we really have gotten to see these characters evolve in a very organic way. And it evolved into this show about the beauty of human potential,” she said. “These characters have had a chance to grow up and … become the best possible version of themselves and done things that they wouldn’t necessarily have seen themselves doing before.”

We’ll be able to see all of them for the last time — not counting reruns, of course — on May 16 in a one-hour series finale.

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