In Season 3, Episode 5 of “The Big Bang Theory,” Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and girlfriend Penny (Kaley Cuoco) set his friend Howard (Simon Helberg) up with the tiny but feisty Bernadette Rostenkowski, played by Melissa Rauch. She was an iconic figure in the show from then on, with her and Howard’s relationship slowly blossoming into love, then marriage, and eventually a baby of their own. Rauch faithfully dedicated herself to that role for a decade, and her character — especially her voice — is still remembered to this day.
In real life, Rauch is just under 5′ — but she makes up for her short stature with an abundance of personality. Consequently, that makes her especially well suited for voice acting work, which she has done quite a bit of over the years. If her face doesn’t look familiar but you swear you’ve heard her voice somewhere before, you’re not imagining things. Here are some of the more memorable roles she’s appeared in over the years.
She lent her vocal talents to several animated shows while filming The Big Bang Theory
Melissa Rauch started cultivating a voice acting career on the side while solidifying her acting chops on “The Big Bang Theory.” It started with several one-time appearances on children’s cartoon shows like “Awesome Magical Tales” in 2013, where she played Miss Macabra in the episode “Something Wicked This Way Substitute,” and “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” in 2014, where she played Mollie in the episode “Smee-erella.”
Additional one-time but memorable credits include voicing Kiki Brownstone in “Scooby-Doo! and the Beach Beastie” in 2015, the Light Thief in an episode of “Blaze and the Monster Machines” in 2017, and Baby in an episode of “Star vs. the Forces of Evil” later that same year.
She also had a few small but recurring roles. Her character in “Sofia the First,” Tizzy, first appeared in 2015 and then returned for a second episode in 2018. In between those, she was in back-to-back episodes of the 2017 animated series “Ant-Man” as Hope Pym, aka Wasp.
She played Francine the sloth in Ice Age: Collision Course
20th Century StudiosIn fall 2015, Melissa Rauch announced on Twitter that she was excited to join the cast of 2016’s “Ice Age: Collision Course” as Francine the sloth. She and Sid (John Leguizamo) have a brief romance — and by “brief,” we mean a single date that lasts a grand total of 14 minutes. Sid is ready to profess his undying love for Francine and mate with her for life after that, but she is ready to call it quits and swears to date outside of her species from that moment on.
Despite “Collision Course” grossing nearly four times its $105 million budget (via Box Office Mojo), critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes mostly hated it. Critics on panned it, with a dismal 18% approval rating; audiences were slightly more generous, with 39% approval. Fans on IMDb were a little kinder still, with a 5.6/10 rating.
She talked a lot about pudding in Batman and Harley Quinn
The 2017 animated film “Batman and Harley Quinn” was a major step forward for Melissa Rauch’s voice acting career. It was her first time voicing a titular character. In the film, she plays Harley Quinn, the on-again, off-again lover of the Joker and strong antihero in her own right (when it suits her, that is). The flick didn’t get the highest ratings of all time, but it did score a modest 5.9/10 on IMDb and managed to achieve majority approval from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.
Interestingly enough, Warner Bros.’ next endeavor into the Harley Quinn storyline came in the form of an animated series, “Harley Quinn,” which is available on HBO Max right alongside Rauch’s animated film. Instead of asking Rauch back to voice the complicated character, however, the studio hired fellow “Big Bang Theory” alumna Kaley Cuoco, who very much enjoys the role (via Entertainment Weekly).
Voice work after The Big Bang Theory
Shortly after the final episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” Melissa Rauch got a few more one-shot guest appearances on some pretty popular animated shows. In Season 10, Episode 8 of “Robot Chicken,” released in 2019, she played both Rainbow Brightstar and Betty Spaghetty, the latter of whom gets stuck in and nearly decapitated by an elevator while trying to save everyone else. Rauch also got the chance to tell some iconic cartoon characters to eat cake while voicing Marie Antoinette in Season 1, Episode 7 of the 2020 “Animaniacs” reboot, “Warner She Wrote/France France Revolution/Gift Rapper.”
She also received a more regular role on Disney Junior’s “The Chicken Squad” in 2021, playing mama hen Dinah. But you’ll need a really well-trained ear to pick her out. She sounds nothing like she does in her bigger roles, which goes to show how much vocal range she has developed during her career.
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