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/ Source: TODAY
By Erin Clements

“The Big Bang Theory” wraps its 12-season run in May, and Melissa Rauch has played scene-stealing microbiologist Dr. Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz since season three.

In honor of the much-anticipated finale, the actress shared some of her favorite moments from the series.

“The first time that we saw some of Bernadette's attitude was when she assisted Howard at a children's birthday party where he was a magician,” she told TODAY. “She was not happy dealing with the kids there. And that was early on when we got to see a part of this side of Bernadette that we hadn't seen in earlier episodes, where she just was shutting everyone down, really quickly left and right.”

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She added, “The scavenger hunt episode, where all of us paired off, was one of the most fun to shoot. We laughed the entire way through it, to the point we were in tears, we were laughing so hard. That one remains a favorite. And then Miss California Quiznos, where I got to get all dressed up in pageant gear, was by far one of the most fun things I've ever done — especially since I'm from Jersey, so having any excuse to pouf my hair out to those extreme heights was just a joy.”

Rauch said the best part about playing Bernadette has been seeing the character evolve over time.

“Over the years, she's sort of found her big-girl voice,” she said. “When we originally met her, she didn't really like kids. She didn't know how she would interact with them. And it's been really cool to follow that journey from her not knowing if she even wanted kids to not knowing if she'd be a good mom to the struggle of when she finally did become a mom — that moment of, like, ‘What is going on?’ And then just the very relatable struggle of having to enter back into the workplace after being home and leaving her kids. And there was some really raw emotion that was an honor to get to play.”

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In real life, the actress is mom to 16-month-old daughter Sadie. Rauch, who says she’s passionate about helping kids develop healthy eating habits, recently joined House Foods as a spokesperson to create “The Tales of Tofu,” a children’s book featuring recipes (a free digital copy can be downloaded here).

Rauch also opened up about Bernadette’s marriage to lovably nerdy engineer Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg).

“One of my favorite parts about Bernadette's relationship with Howard is how sexy she finds him,” she revealed. “Whenever there's a moment for Bernadette to talk about how she loves the way he dresses. Or there was an episode this season where Lauren Lapkus' character asks ‘Why Howard?’ and Bernadette's like, ‘Have you seen him?’ That is my favorite — just shows her extreme love for him. Even though she's always, like, putting him in his place. The fact that we get to see these glimpses of how attracted she is to him, I think, is awesome.”

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Reflecting on the comedy’s longevity, Rauch said, “The writers are so incredible; we have genius architects behind this show.”

She added, “One of the benefits of having a show run this long is that we really have gotten to see these characters evolve in a very organic way. And it evolved into this show about the beauty of human potential, in a way, because these characters have had a chance to grow up and the fact that they've all sort of become the best possible version of themselves and done things that they wouldn't necessarily have seen themselves doing before.”