Big Bang Theory Finale: The Story Behind Amy's Big [Spoiler]

The Big Bang Theory‘s decision to conclude the series by giving Amy Farrah Fowler something of an extreme makeover served as one of the finale’s biggest — and potentially controversial — surprises.

Early into the two-part episode, the newly-minted Nobel Prize co-winner suffers a major vanity attack when she realizes that her sudden fame comes at a price (read: photos of her self-described “frumpy” appearance are blanketing the Internet). Horrified and embarrassed, she leans on Raj, who promptly convinces her to overhaul her look.

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TVLine asked showrunner Steve Holland about the decision to take such a decidedly superficial detour with Mayim Bialik’s alter ego, who has always based her self-worth more on her brains than her appearance.

“It let us push Amy’s character a little bit,” Holland explains. “It let us get her out of her comfort zone, as well as the wardrobe we’ve seen her in forever. And it also felt like a real thing. I don’t think Amy’s self-worth is wrapped up in her looks, but I do think that everyone has a little vanity in them. And I just think it makes her more real and more human to admit that sometimes it’s hard for her to see pictures of herself.

“It may be controversial,” the EP adds. “I don’t know how fans will react to it. But, to me, it felt very real and human for her to have that reaction. I think it’s unexpected, and it felt honest… To have her as this monolithic character who’s like, ‘I don’t care about this, I’m only this way’ just didn’t feel true to us.”

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