When “The Big Bang Theory” hit the sitcom scene way back in 2007, little did anyone realize the success and profound pop culture impact it would go on to have. In bringing a sampling of nerd culture into the mainstream, it became one of the most popular, quotable, and enduring television shows of its time — racking up 12 seasons that covered 279 episodes. Simultaneously, it got the TV watching world well-acquainted with a cast of unforgettable characters who each brought something unique to the program.
The bulk of “Big Bang” put the spotlight on the tumultuous relationship between Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and Penny Teller (Kaley Cuoco), but they were far from alone. Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar), later joined by the likes of Bernadette Rostenkowski (Melissa Rauch) and Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik), provided plenty of memorable moments as well. However, none of them could measure up to their fellow geek and undisputed poster boy of the series, Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons).
Sheldon was at the forefront of “Big Bang” for its entire run, giving audiences plenty of reasons to laugh, cry, and want to rip their hair out along the way. Although, there’s one scene from his tenure that noticeably stands out from all the rest.
Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur…
When looking back at Sheldon Cooper’s greatest hits, a handful of specific examples likely spring to mind immediately. Who could forget his very first use of the term “Bazinga!” in the Season 2 episode “The Monopolar Expedition,” or the revelation that he was engulfed in a bitter rivalry with “Star Trek: The Next Generation” alum Wil Wheaton that dated back decades? This is just the tip of the iceberg, but truth be told, there are few more iconic Sheldon moments than the introduction of one of his favorite childhood songs: “Soft Kitty.”
Season 1’s “The Pancake Batter Anomaly” saw poor Sheldon come down with a cold, leaving Penny to tend to his every whim. Unsurprisingly, he’s incredibly needy in his bedridden state and expects her to go above and beyond to aid in his recovery — requesting she rub Vicks VapoRub on his chest and sing the song “Softy Kitty” just like his mother did when he was a kid. Despite her reservations, she gives in and sings the tune to Sheldon’s delight, a decision that would have ramifications for the show and the fandom surrounding it.
Not only was the way this scene played out hilarious, but it spawned several more renditions of the song throughout “The Big Bang Theory.” Its final appearance on the program came in the Season 10 episode “The Recollection Dissipation” when Amy sang it to Sheldon in three different languages — English, Mandarin, and German — but it popped up again in the debut season of the “Big Bang” spin-off “Young Sheldon.” Not to mention, it has become a lasting symbol of the show’s legacy through memes, merchandise, and the odd live performance by the cast members themselves.
Whether you love it or hate it, “Soft Kitty” is an essential piece to the “Big Bang Theory” puzzle. Sheldon certainly contributed a lot to the series over the years, but the initial recollection of his childhood comfort song is near-impossible to compete with.