“The Big Bang Theory” concluded its epic 12-season run on Thursday, May 16, but it also brought about the surprise return of Sarah Michelle Gellar (ex-Kendall Hart, “All My Children”; “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) to CBS since the cancellation of her comedy series, “The Crazy Ones,” back in 2014.
In the final episode of television’s biggest comedy, entitled “The Stockholm Syndrome,” Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) has just ended his season-long fling with Anu (Rati Gupta) and doesn’t have anyone to take with him to Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and Amy Farrah Fowler’s (Mayim Bialik) Nobel Prize ceremony. Enter SMG, who was a huge fan of the comedy series, according to showrunner Steve Holland in an interview with TVLine.
“We knew that Raj wouldn’t have anyone to sit next to on the flight to Stockholm,” the EP said to the publication. “And [series co-creator] Chuck [Lorre] was like, ‘Maybe there’s somebody fun that he’s sitting next to.’ And then we started talking about who that could be.
“I’ve been a fan of ‘Buffy’ for years,” Holland added. “It’s probably the show I’ve watched more than any other. I think a lot of our writers are fans of ‘Buffy.’ [Having Sarah in the finale] felt like a fun, like, deeper-reel pull that would be exciting to us and exciting to these characters.”
Of course, before you can have Gellar in your episode you actually have to ask. “Chuck got on the phone with [Sarah] and, luckily, the conversation got started with her saying that her family is a huge fan of ‘The Big Bang Theory,'” recalled Holland. “At that point, we felt like it was going to work out. Then it was just a matter of figuring out the logistics and the scheduling.”
With Gellar appearing in the episode as herself, the producers noted that they were aware that the actress is “famously” married in real-life to Freddie Prinze Jr. so any reel romance between Raj and Sarah would be unlikely. The writers played that up by throwing in a line where Sarah says to Raj, “just to be clear, this isn’t a date” in order to emphasize that point.
Speaking of, Gellar took to Instagram to talk about her appearance and further clarify the non-date. “It may not have been a date for me and Raj, but it was certainly an important date for ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and I was so excited and honored to be a part of it!!! Thank you for having me,” she said on the platform while also sharing a photo of the nameplate hanging on her dressing room door from the day of filming.
Watch a compilation clip of Gellar’s cameo appearance on “The Big Bang Theory” finale below.
The final episode of “The Big Bang Theory” attracted 18.52 million viewers and a 3.2/17 rating in Adults 18-49, according to updated final broadcast numbers released on TVbytheNumbers.