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5 Actors Who Nailed Their Roles (& 5 Who Fell Short)

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Throughout 12 seasons, The Big Bang Theory introduced audiences to a plethora of memorable and lovable characters. The show explored the day-to-day of the four main characters – Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard – and an array of supporting characters who were intimately intertwined in their lives. This includes their friends, family, love interests, and coworkers.


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Though the characters were lively and quirky, some of these characters’ portrayals were not as great as others. Certain actors filled their roles with ease, making the character even more likable and iconic. Other actors missed the mark or were wasted in The Big Bang Theory.

Fell Short

Laurie Metcalf Was Too Exaggerated As The Religious Mary Cooper

Mary Cooper at Sheldon's Wedding from the Big Bang Theory

Laurie Metcalf played Mary Cooper, Sheldon’s devout Christian mother. She provides a nice contrast to Sheldon, who was a science-minded atheist. The problem with Metcalf’s portrayal of Mary Cooper was that she exaggerated Mary Cooper’s religious nature.

Metcalf’s portrayal aligns more with who Sheldon thinks her to be, and not who she actually is. As such, Mary turned into a running joke, rather than an integral supporting character. This might be because Metcalf had limited screentime. Luckily, the character was better fleshed out in Young Sheldon.

Kevin Sussman Made Stuart Bloom Too Creepy

Stuart from the Comic Book Store from the Big Bang Theory

Stuart is supposed to be the gang’s even nerdier friend. He isn’t as smart as they are but his comic book interest and knowledge should match that of Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj. Kevin Sussman is a talented actor who does a good job of making Stuart feel funny, sympathetic, and even relatable.

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However, in the earlier seasons, Stuart comes across as far too creepy. Sussman may have played up this trait for laughs, but it can rub some fans the wrong way. It’s a bit of a shame as the character was quite enjoyable and funny.

Kunal Nayyar Didn’t Add Much To Rajesh Koothrappali

Raj from the Big Bang Theory

Raj is one of the best characters in The Big Bang Theory. He’s kind, sensitive, and provides comedic relief in an already light-hearted environment. However, fans found some problematic elements in his character as the show progressed, especially his questionable approach to women.

Kunal Nayyar is a great actor, but there was nothing too quirky about his portrayal. Everything great about the character was already imprinted into the script. Though Raj has become a memorable Big Bang Theory character and Nayyar has proved his acting abilities in films like Consumed, nothing was truly distinct about Nayyar as Koothrappali.

Johnny Galecki Took Leonard Hofstadter Away From His Roots

Younger and older versions of Leonard from the Big Bang Theory

Leonard is arguably the main character in The Big Bang Theory. This was especially true in earlier seasons of the show. He was reasonable, intelligent, and social. Galecki’s Leonard desperately wanted to be “cooler” and more social. Many aspects of his character were relatable, but as the seasons progressed, Leonard became more desperate and often unreasonable.

Some might argue that this is character development, but Leonard actually seemed to regress. He became less mature, whined throughout the later episodes, and was especially stubborn. By the end of The Big Bang Theory, Leonard was a completely different character, deviating from what fans might have originally fallen in love with.

Melissa Rauch Made Bernadette Feel Unnecessary

Bernadette with baby stuff from the Big Bang Theory

Bernadette Rostenkowski is a bit of a boring character. Melissa Rauch is talented, but her portrayal of Bernadette was quite inconsistent. Fans never really understood what Bernadette’s schtick was. She seemed to be both a petite woman with a huge temper and a sweet woman who could deal with all of Howard’s unattractive traits.

Rauch has portrayed both versions of the character, which felt inconsistent. Additionally, fans initially found her high-pitched, quirky voice to be rather endearing, but it soon became jarring.

Nailed Their Role

Sara Gilbert’s Leslie Winkle Was Always Teasing

Leslie Winkle confronting Leonard about their relationship from the Big Bang Theory

Sara Gilbert did an excellent job of reinforcing The Big Bang Theory’s main themes with her portrayal of Dr. Leslie Winkle. Although she is still a “nerd” like the rest of the crew, it is clear that she is a bit above them. Gilbert does a brilliant job of capturing this aspect of the character.

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Leslie was arrogant, mean, and condescending. She is just as smart as Leonard and Sheldon, but she is somewhat of a bully. Nevertheless, her constant teasing and utter distaste for Sheldon were some of the best scenes in the show.

Carol Ann Susi Perfectly Captured The Essence Of Mrs. Wolowitz With Just Her Voice

Mrs. Wolowitz with Raj and the actress who voiced her, Carol Ann Susi

Although audiences have never seen Mrs. Wolowitz’s face on-screen, she is one of the most beloved Big Bang Theory characters. This is thanks to voice actor Carol Ann Susi. Susi does a superb job of capturing what a stereotypically overbearing and overly protective mother should sound like. Mrs. Wolowitz is loud and obnoxious, and Susi’s voice is distinct and dynamic.

Mrs. Wolowitz’s strong Jersey accent is also a nice touch as it helps distinguish her from the other notable characters on the show. Susi’s performance perfectly captured what the writers were trying to do to the character, making Mrs. Wolowitz that much more enjoyable to hear.

Mayim Bialik’s Background In Neuroscience Helped Her Connect With Her Role As Amy Farrah Fowler

Amy Farrah Fowler talking to Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory

Mayim Bialik shares many similarities with her fictional counterpart Amy Farrah Fowler. The biggest similarity is that they both have PhDs in neuroscience. Bialik earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA back in 2007. Because of this, Amy Farrah Fowler represents a small part of Bialik.

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Bialik channels her background into this role and connects to her character in a way no other cast member can. Additionally, Amy has one of the best character arcs in The Big Bang Theory, and Bialik had no problem bringing that to life.

Kaley Cuoco Explored An Otherwise One-Dimensional Character, Penny Teller

Penny meeting Sheldon and Leonard for the first time

Penny could have been a very boring and stereotypical character. She was a stereotypical airhead and the gang’s attractive neighbor. At first, she didn’t offer much. Fortunately, Cuoco brought life to Penny and made audiences care about Sheldon and Leonard’s next-door neighbor.

Cuoco also helped Penny to be relatable. The character spends a lot of her time trying to break out of stereotypes and shatter assumptions that other people have about her. Ultimately, Cuoco turned Penny from a stereotypical “dumb blonde” to a hardworking and compassionate character.

Jim Parsons Truly Understood And Embodied Sheldon Cooper

Sheldon, the main character of the show, in his apartment in The Big Bang Theory.

No other actor could have brought so much life and excitement to Sheldon Cooper as Jim Parsons did. Parsons has become synonymous with the role, much like Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.

Everything about Parsons’ performance was perfect. His body movements and facial expressions were spot-on. It was all the small things about Parsons’ performance that made Sheldon Cooper so beloved, humorous, and remarkable. Parsons turned Sheldon into such an interesting character that he even got his own prequel spin-off series, Young Sheldon.

NEXT: 10 Strongest Relationships From The Big Bang Theory

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