‘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.

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.

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.