Entertainment

Hugs, tears mark taping of final Big Bang Theory episode

Hugs and tears punctuated the final taping of The Big Bang Theory, a lovefest for its stars, crew and audience alike.

Two-part finale to be followed by behind-the-scenes look back at the sitcom

Long-running CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory wrapped its two-part, hour-long finale on Tuesday with a shoot that was emotional for fans and the cast, including Kunal Nayyar, from left, Simon Helberg, Melissa Rauch, Jim Parsons, Mayim Bialik, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco. (Erik Voake/CBS/Associated Press)

Hugs and tears punctuated the final taping of The Big Bang Theory, a lovefest for its stars, crew and audience alike.

There were plenty of punchlines as well, as the true-to-form hit comedy about scientists and those who love them wrapped the two-part, hour-long finale that will air in mid-May on CBS.

"This show has touched so many hearts," an emotional Kaley Cuoco told the fans who filled a Warner Bros. soundstage Tuesday.

She shared a comment made by series creator Chuck Lorre at a reading of the final script: "The Big Bang Theory will live on in our hearts forever."

Johnny Galecki, who plays husband Leonard Hofstadter to Cuoco's Penny, thanked the audience and called the top-rated comedy's 12-season run "a dream come true for all of us."

Johnny Galecki, seen at left with co-stars Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco, called the top-rated comedy's 12-season run 'a dream come true for all of us.' (Michael Yarish/CBS via AP)

It was definitely a pinch-me moment for those lucky — and persistent — enough to be on hand for episode No. 279. Some, urged by audience warm-up comedian and emcee Mark Sweet, paid tribute to the series that turned the really smart set into unlikely crowd-pleasers.

Malerie Shakter, of Oakland, Calif., who works in the tech industry, said she's been inspired by the powerful female characters portrayed on the sitcom. She waited in line for 14 hours to get a seat, she said, adding, "I would do it all over again."

Jim Parsons, who stars as awkward genius Sheldon Cooper, had a key fan in attendance: His mother, Judy Parsons. The actor — a four-time Emmy winner for the role — looked relaxed and even broke into a few dance moves between shots.

Parsons is keeping ties to his character, as an executive producer of Young Sheldon, the CBS spinoff about the future physicist's childhood in Texas that stars Iain Armitage in the title role.

Johnny Galecki, from left, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, members of the cast of The Big Bang Theory, place their hands in cement during a ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday. (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/The Associated Press)

The cast, including Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar and Melissa Rauch, lingered after taking their final bows. Mayim Bialik, who plays neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler, hugged Lorre tightly on the stage that was named after the series last February. A plaque outside the building commemorates other projects filmed there, from movie classic Casablanca to the TV series Cheyenne in the 1950s and 1960s.

The celebration continued Wednesday, as the stars put their handprints in cement at the TCL Chinese Theatre, a nearly century-old Hollywood salute to its famous citizens.

The Big Bang Theory episode taped Tuesday will air as the last half of a two-part finale on May 16. Also airing that night is Unraveling the Mystery: A Big Bang Farewell, with Galecki and Cuoco hosting a behind-the-scenes look back at the show.

The Big Bang Theory cast is seen in January presenting at the Critics' Choice Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/Associated Press)

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