Last week’s episode of “The Big Bang Theory” threw a surprise curve ball into the relationship between Jim Parson’s Sheldon and Mayim Bialik’s Amy, when Amy was offered and accepted a fellowship at Princeton. With Thursday night’s season finale thrusting Sheldon and Amy into the uncharted territory of a long-distance relationship, showrunner Steve Molaro spoke with Variety about the show’s past, its future, and what to expect of the season-ender.
How will Amy’s trip to Princeton impact her relationship with Sheldon?
We thought it would be interesting to let Sheldon be alone for a while. We’ve never really seen him live by himself. He’s now doing a long-distance relationship with Amy, who he has now come to realize he is quite dependent on.
How important has the Sheldon-Amy relationship been to keeping the show fresh?
I think we’ve gotten a lot of mileage about watching these two people. They met at the end of season three, when Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) thought it would be funny to sign Sheldon up for a dating site and were shocked when the dating site found a match. So that’s how Amy came into his life as a stranger, and it’s been an incredible ride watching these two adults really function as sort of teenagers having their first love. It’s been a terrific part of the show.
You just got the two-season renewal, and it looks like the show may wrap up at the end of that. Have you started thinking about how the show should end?
You daydream about stuff and wonder about an end place. But you may have heard, we’re really not ones to plan too far in advance. We try our best to let the characters grow organically and surprise us. A lot of moments in the show were not planned out far in advance — Bernadette being pregnant, Leonard and Penny proposing all those times or getting married, this finale. I’ll have some fleeting thoughts about it, but really, we tend to focus on what’s next and keep it fresh and fun.
What’s been your favorite moment from this season?
I was really happy with how the birth of Bernadette and Wolowitz’s baby turned out. I think that’s the kind of thing that could maybe not be the finest moment for a sitcom, and when people realized that she sounds like Mrs. Wolowitz and was going to remain offscreen, like Mrs. Wolowitz, it continued our little loving tribute to that character, Carol Ann Susi, who played her. I was really happy that we were able to find a path through pregnancy that was new and different, and only enhanced the show without dragging it down.
How is the show most different now from what it was in the early seasons?
I think the characters have just grown so much. The obvious answer is there are more wonderful actors playing more wonderful characters. In the beginning, we didn’t have Bernadette and Amy or Stuart or Bert the geologist, the parents, everybody’s moms. So the size of the world has clearly grown. But it’s been great to watch all seven of the main characters grow as people and watch real life happen to them, as it does over someone’s life.