The Big Bang Theory was one of the most popular and enduring sitcoms in the history of television. During a time when the television audience was diversifying and shifting towards streaming, The Big Bang Theory was perhaps the last sitcom to be a ratings hit.
The show ran for 12 years and was filmed almost exclusively at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank. Like other 3-camera style sitcoms, it was filmed in front of a live studio audience. I had the chance to attend a taping in the final season, and if you’d like to read about my experience, you can find it here.
Warner Bros’ Stage 25 was home to The Big Bang Theory for it’s entire 12 year run. This soundstage held the audience seating, as well as the permanent sets of the apartments and the stairway. There was also room at either end for some swing (temporary) sets.
Other sets, like the Comic Book Shop, Howard’s house, and Raj’s apartments, would be set up as needed. If an episode didn’t require them, the sets would be town down and stored on the lot until needed again.
The Apartment Exterior
Many locations on the WB backlots were used throughout the show. The address of the apartment building is mentioned several times as being at 2311 North Los Robles Avenue. While this is a real address in Pasadena, it is actually a strip mall, not an apartment building.
The outside of the building shown in numerous episodes is actually the French Street backlot.
Warner Brothers has a small park area that has been used on countless shows. It often filled in for Central Park on Friends. On The Big Bang Theory, it was seen several times, including the scene where Howard and Raj fly kites.
Hennessy Street is Warner Bros backlot area resembling a city, with storefronts and apartment buildings. It was often used when the characters were seen walking down a street. It also filled in for Sheldon and Amy’s honeymoon in New York City.
In a memorable episode in season 4, the boys spend the night in line to see a version of Raiders of the Lost Ark, with an extra 21 second sequence never seen before. The movie theatre and the street are also located on the Warner Bros. backlot.
A small street of residential facades at Warner Bros. is known as Warner Village. This area was seen on the episode “The Inspiration Deprivation” when Howard buys a scooter and drives it down the road.
The Jungle is an area of the Warner Bros. lot featuring a lot of trees and vegetation. It has been used in many productions including The Waltons, Jurassic Park, and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. In The Big Bang Theory, this area was used in the 12th season episode “The Paintball Scattering”. Much of the episode revolves around the characters playing paintball, and these scenes were all filmed in the Jungle.
Once the series ended, parts of the set were put on display on Stage 48, which is a museum included in the Warner Bros. Studio Tours. Here you can have your photo taken in Sheldon’s spot in the apartment, and also see the hallway, the cafeteria, and various costumes for the show as well.
The Guest Stars
I’ve had the chance to meet a couple guest stars from The Big Bang Theory over the years. Wil Wheaton made several appearances as himself over the series run, and Levar Burton also made a cameo as himself. Magician Teller (of Penn and Teller) also appeared twice as Amy’s father.