Melissa Rauch and Simon Helberg
Don't be fooled by the photos you've seen. Just because Bernadette is in a wedding gown and is arm-in-arm with a tuxed-out Howard doesn't mean the two will actually make it down the aisle on The Big Bang Theory.
"There is very much an attempt to have a wedding, but as has been the case with them, there will be further obstacles," executive producer Steve Molaro tells TVGuide.com. "There will be a lot of things in play and then it's a question of 'What do I want?'"
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Howard (Simon Helberg) wants to marry Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), of course, but he also wants to realize his lifelong dream of shuttling into space on his NASA mission. It becomes a Sophie's Choice of sorts when NASA moves up the mission in Thursday's episode, putting it in conflict with their big day. And in perhaps an even worse consequence for Howard, it brings Bernadette's blue-collar, ex-cop father (guest star Casey Sander) to town.
"He's a former cop, so he's a very intimidating guy," Molaro says. "He's not particularly thrilled with Bernadette's choice for a husband. He thinks she could've done better. And it certainly doesn't help that because of [Howard], the wedding might not happen. Casey did a fantastic job. He is funny and as intimidating as you'd hope for him to be. I was there in the audition and I was uncomfortable! If I were Howard, I'd be like, 'I wouldn't want to hang out with this guy!'"
While Howard has yet to get the parental seal of approval, Mr. Rostenkowski will try to make sense of the whole situation — especially when the gang rushes to put on a wedding for the couple in next week's season finale before Howard's launch. "The great thing is that their friends are really there for them. They certainly all try to accomplish both things, but that of course sounds easier than it is," Molaro says. "But there are some of them who would love for Howard to have both and there are others who think one or the other would be better."
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Could Raj (Kunal Nayyar) be part of the latter? With everyone else coupled up — Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik), and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) trying to give it another go — Raj is the odd man out and might lose his BFF to marriage or space, or both. "Raj is our resident loner right now," Molaro says. "He has his puppy, but that does weigh a lot on him, watching his best friend about to get married or fulfill his childhood dream. You'll see he gets a little emotional, but at the same time I think everyone knows that it's about Howard and Bernadette right now."
Speaking of emotional, Molaro warns that you may want to keep the Kleenex nearby for the season finale, which ends on a "semi-cliff-hanger." Multiple endings were not shot, so there is no chance of a last-minute switcheroo.
"The last scene of the last episode of Season 5 is so amazing that I have yet to watch it without getting choked up," Molaro says. "That goes for the table read to the run-throughs to shooting for the cameras to sitting in editing. I have gotten choked up every single time. Everybody's in the scene. It is really great. I'm not saying this to be promotional; I love it. When it airs, I will sit at home with my wife in my living room and watch it and I promise you I will cry. There was a lot of thought about how we would do what we're trying to do and I think it turned out quite nicely. Maybe I'm just a big softie. Maybe you're dead inside! Who knows? All I know is I was crying."
The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8/7c on CBS.