‘Big Bang Theory’: ‘We didn’t anticipate how protective the audience would feel about our guys’

“The Big Bang Theory” co-creator/executive producer Bill Prady answered every one of the questions that was submitted before the deadline. He even addressed the questions that Jim Parsons’ couldn’t answer.

Pradycast With the season finale of the CBS comedy looming Monday, it seemed like the perfect time to post the results.

Before “TBBT,” Prady (far left in the picture to the right, flanking the cast with Chuck Lorre) wrote for shows such as “Dharma and Greg” “Gilmore Girls” and began his Hollywood career working for Jim Henson Productions. He is a fan of many things the characters on the show like, particularly “Star Trek.” He was previously a computer programmer and said he worked with
people who were very bright but couldn’t fit in well in the world and
that this was the genesis for the characters we’ve come to love

Before we get to your questions, I’d like to share with you some tidbits we gathered at the “Big Bang” panel at the Paley Festival, which my colleague Cynthia Littleton moderated.

  • The original working title of the show was “Lenny, Penny and Kenny.”
  • The show was not “pitched” in the traditional way. Normally a writer would go to the network with an outline of the premise, the characters and a vision for where the show would go in the future. For what eventually became “The Big Bang Theory,” Prady and Chuck Lorre wrote a script, hired some actor friends and “put on a show” for CBS honcho Leslie Moonves. “It was crazy,” Lorre said. But it worked.
  • Kaley got teary-eyed every time someone on the panel or a guest in the audience gave her a compliment. It was really quite endearing. My favorite line of the whole panel — from Jim Parsons to Cuoco — “Did you think these people were going to throw fruit at us?”
  • Asked why the show works so well, Lorre and Prady agreed that everyone, no matter how confident they may seem, at some point feels as if they are on the outside looking in and so the audience can easily identify with the characters.
  • The staff calls the scenes between Penny and Sheldon “Peldon” or “Shenny” scenes
  • Parsons, told by his manager that he was being asked to audition for a Chuck Lorre pilot, thought it was a Chuck Woolery pilot.
  • Musing about how difficult it is to find the perfect actor for even one role in a pilot, Lorre said he felt they’d captured “lightning in a bottle five times” with the “Big Bang” gang. We couldn’t agree more.

And now, on to your questions. I’ve chosen the elevator question as my favorite because it made me giggle. Nicola, I will contact you about your prize.

Elevator Q. As much as I love the awkward staircase conversations in “TBBT” I want to know if the elevator will EVER be fixed? It would be so funny to watch someone get trapped in there with Sheldon. (Nicola)
A. Our broken elevator does two wonderful things for us. First, it eliminates the traditional sitcom L-shaped apartment building hallway and second, it allows us to do “walk and talk” scenes without having to create a city street or similar set. We’re proud of the set, which required we jackhammer a hole in the floor of Stage 25 (to make room for the stairs going down). I can’t tell you whether it will ever get fixed, but if it does, I’m sure things won’t go well.

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  13. Anne Greyton says:

    I hope they never, ever attempt to introduce a romantic relationship between Sheldon and Penny, or Sheldon and anyone for that matter. It’s precisely because Sheldon has no romantic feelings or sexual attraction to Penny that their chemistry works so well together. Asexuals are so invisible in mainstream media, it’s good to have at least one character in a good show they can identify with – someone who is unashamed of being uninterested in sex and romance.

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  18. Penny and Sheldon would be perfect together, as opposites attract each other, Sheldon neurotic and robotic personality with the easygoing and social nature of Penny, would be a bittersweet mix. We may even see Sheldon doing some stupid thing for love.

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  22. bob hart says:

    Hi Bill I live in Newfoundland Canada just 100 miles from where the Titanic.
    Thought you would like to know that the CTV network in Canada have ruined your masterpiecde. They are running 18 commercials of various lenghth in the 1/2 hour show. I verified this on three occasions.
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    To me it indicates corporate GREED at the CTV network. We get you feed from CTV in Halifax Nova Scotia.
    I would really like your opinion on this matter.
    I am 69 years old and it is the best tv I have ever seen.
    Keep up the good work, you are a creative genius.
    Thank you Bob

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  30. Chaim Paddaman says:

    The flagship Hollywood motion picture film studios have in the past produced many entertaining movies based on nerd and geek characters. I had no problem with that, infact I support good comedy. However, my gripe with the Big Bang Theory on (CBS) was “Paris Hilton impersonator” Kaley Cuoco’s attitude and behaviour at the 2009 Comic Con. The stunt she pulled “flirting with the fan” This was an attempt to give reassurance to her hard core male fan base that she had no interest in nerds or geeks. Kaley Cuoco cannot have her cake and eat it. It is obvious that she will feel more in her comfort zone working with the likes of Nick Carter or Russell Brand. I had been the shows biggest supporter up to that point. I was naive to have believed Bill Prady’s press statements that the purpose and premise of BBT was to celebrate those nerds and not to mock them. It became apparent to me that Prady’s statements were based on studio spin. It is common knowledge that when launching or promoting a brand, most public relation experts will advise you to be cautious not to contradict your brand, as you will leave yourself wide open to public scruitiny and ridicule.
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  31. Spyda says:

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  33. Donald Fox says:

    To the production staff, cast and crew of The Big Bang Theory
    ,Let me just say , that You all have a smash hit on your hands.Allow me , My name is Don Fox, and have been a TV watcher since circa 1951. I have viewed thousands of hours of Tv over the last several decades , and pretty much know when any Tv show has got it or not. Yours definately does!
    Being a Trekki, I find Sheldon’s character to be hillarious and fascinating at the same time.When Sheldon and Wil Wheaton get together it’s pure comedy at it’s finest.I then wondered about who Sheldon’s Father could be? Almost instantly , I knew who could play him, and then where and when they could meet. At a Trekki convention. Thanks for your time, Sincerely Don Fox

  34. It is good to see the humour in situations with people who are bright and in some cases go on to be very very wealthy! There is hope for the characters too!

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  36. Edd says:

    Penny and Sheldon would be perfect together, as opposites attract each other, Sheldon neurotic and robotic personality with the easygoing and social nature of Penny, would be a bittersweet mix. We may even see Sheldon doing some stupid thing for love.

  37. jonet says:

    i love penny and sheldon!

  38. Anna says:

    I don’t feel that Raj and Howard bracket Leonard and Sheldon in that way. I would say that Sheldon is further from reality than Raj. I think the layout is as it is in that photo above of the four of them with Stephanie. Howard is the closest to the real live woman, then Leonard, Raj, Sheldon. Raj may not be able to speak to women. but he is interested in them. And I thought the strength of the connection to reality was reflected in their jobs, the engineer is the closest to everyday life (none of the others build toilets) then the experimental physicist, the astrophysicist has his head in the clouds, and as for Sheldon, it’s all theoretical.

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