After 12 seasons of stellar comedy fission, The Big Bang Theory is counting down the days to its final fade-out from the CBS primetime lineup. The perennial sitcom hit will close out its historic run Thursday with its final two episodes, “The Change Constant” and “The Stockholm Syndrome,” which will air back-to-back as a one-hour doubleheader.
There have been a number of other milestones leading up to this week’s series finale. At Deadline’s fourth annual The Contenders Emmys, for instance, the delegation representing The Big Bang Theory was basking in the fact that their show had just surpassed NBC classic Cheers and its 275 total episodes to take over the title as the longest-running multi-camera sitcom in TV history.
Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva moderated the Big Bang panel, which brought together cast members Melissa Rauch and Kunal Nayyar as well as one of the show’s key figures, Mark Cendrowski, who has directed a staggering 241 episodes.
When Andreeva asked him if he had a favorite Big Bang episode, Cendrowski blanched a bit.
“It’s sort of like a Sophie’s Choice for me,” Cendrowski deadpanned onstage at the Paramount Theater in front of a packed house of TV Academy and guild voters. “But last year, doing the wedding episode, with Sheldon and Amy getting married, was probably the highlight not only because of all the guest stars, all the talent we had we had, but having something like 28 speaking parts in the final scene. It was a thrill. I felt like a conductor out there trying to keep all the parts working and all the parts moving. And when you see the final product, it’s just something I’m really, really proud of.”
That episode was the Season 11 finale, “The Bow Tie Asymmetry,” which included guest stars (like Star Wars icon Mark Hamill) and earned Cendrowski the first Emmy nomination of his career. Andreeva pointed out that Cendrowski’s nomination was the first in seven years for any director of a multi-camera show and asked him if the format was getting a fair shake.
“That’s a really good and tough question to answer,” Cendrowski said. He said he disagrees with the perception the format is “old-fashioned,” but he did acknowledge that the level of difficulty is steep and not for the faint of heart. “Things go in cycles…we are basically shooting a play if you think about it. We are staging a play and then we are shooting it in front of an audience, a live 200-250 people, and they tell you immediately if it works or it doesn’t work.”
Check out our conversation in the video above.
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