Anyone who’s tuned in at least occasionally over the nine seasons of The Big Bang Theory might wonder who else lives in that building in Pasadena. There are precious few faces going up and down the stairs, save the occasional neighbor who comments on Leonard’s amorous noises after a raucous night with Penny, such as Mrs. Gunderson in Season 3, according to The Big Bang Theory Wikia.
The laundry room is also suspiciously empty every time the gang goes down to put on a load. Although Sheldon may only want to do his clothing errands on Saturday nights, even when Leonard or Penny are emptying their baskets, they are the only ones in the room. Close inspection of the laundry room implies there are some interesting characters who make their way in when the gang is hanging out upstairs. As you can see in this clip, a sign on the brick wall is a plea for modesty.
“Please keep your clothes on while doing laundry.”
What could that possibly mean? Does Mrs. Gunderson try to maximize her laundry efficiency by doing everything she owns, including her current outfit, in one load?
This Big Bang Theory hidden joke isn’t uncommon in sitcoms and movies. Frequently, writers and directors will add an extra element that is either a nod to the series’ past or an inside reference meant to delight hardcore fans. Many of these are deliberate, but some may be the result of a lengthy production process. The Simpsons fan discussion site NoHomers reported different jokes appearing in the show’s closed captioning than the voiced dialogue in the early years of the program. A 2015 report in the Verge described in detail the long journey from a Simpsons episode pitch to the completed project.
— The Simpsons (@TheSimpsons) August 18, 2016
What Culture did a round-up of some of the best Easter eggs in Parks and Recreation, including some very subtle jokes. During the memorial for the death of L’il Sebastian, the town horse, audiences can hear songs like “Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones and other equine-themed tunes, implying the entire playlist had to do with horses. As a side note, NBC put a mock obituary of Sebastian on its mock website of the City of Pawnee, stating that the horse died at age 23 and had arthritis and cataracts.
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) August 12, 2016
Uproxx did a similar list of the best running gags and hidden jokes in the cult sitcom hit Community. One character, Abed, helps a woman give birth in the background of one scene. What’s more, if fans look closely, they may see in an earlier episode when the child was also conceived — also in the background. Uproxx noted that actor Jay Johnston, who played an unnamed cop in one episode of Community, had exactly the same role in a number of different shows, including Parks and Recreation. Johnston’s IMDb page reveals he actually played an FBI Agent and Ranger on those other programs — strictly speaking, not all cop roles.
BuzzFeed rounded up some interesting cameos and nods to good friends in the realm of sci-fi and adventure, particularly in the work of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Apparently, Lucas liked to make reference to Star Wars in the Indiana Jones series. In Indiana Jones: The Temple of Doom, the main character goes to Club Obi Wan, a reference to Luke Skywalker’s mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi.
As Spielberg made reference to the Yoda of Star Wars in his film E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, Lucas included a group of E.T.-like creatures in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace during a senate chamber scene. Harrison Ford was crossing franchises in Raiders of the Lost Ark, as in one scene he appears with supposed ancient hieroglyphs that depict the Star Wars droids C3P0 and R2D2.
[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]