The Big Bang Theory: Behind The Scenes SecretsPublished on February 7, 2017. Updated May 7, 2020
The Big Bang Theory has now been going strong for 10 seasons, and it has been easy to see that the cast chemistry is just as great off-screen as it is on-screen. Through its many years, the cast and crew of the hit series have been very open about what it is like working on TV’s most successful sitcom, and have spilled some secrets about what goes into making the show along the way. Here are 10 of the best behind the scenes secrets from The Big Bang Theory:
10. Filming Highs and Lows
Although many of the stars have now been playing the same characters for almost 10 complete seasons, some of the same nerves and feelings never go away. “It’s always the first take of the day that you want to nail and not mess up,” Kunal Nayyar revealed of first take jitters. He also explained that filming an entire episode creates a high which means for a very drastic low sometimes. “Tuesday night it’s so hard to go to bed because you have so much adrenaline. The next morning, you feel like you’ve been hit by a train. Seriously, you feel hungover without doing anything.”
9. The Cushion
As fans of The Big Bang Theory are well aware, there is a special seat that is for Sheldon Cooper, and Sheldon Cooper only, but as it turns out, when the cameras aren’t rolling, the seat is still very special. According to stars Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik, the seat cushion almost actually got ruined in real life, and they were so concerned about it getting ruined, they made a whole other cushion. “We rehearse with this one so that we don’t ruin the other one,” Parsons revealed of the special treatment the cushion now gets.
8. Melissa Rauch’s Strange Audition
Many fans are relieved, yet sort of surprised to learn that the voice Melissa Rauch uses for Bernadette isn’t her real voice. In fact she bases it off of her own mother’s voice, but for her callback audition she put another interesting twist on her voice altogether. “I had to say the word about, but I kept pronouncing it a-boot. This was actually during my callback, and Chuck Lorre said to me, ‘Are you from Canada?’ I said ‘No, I’m so sorry!’ He asked me to do it again. I did, but I pronounced it the same way! I said, ‘I’m really sorry! I don’t know why I’m playing this Canadian!'” Luckily, even with her Canadian twist, Rauch still earned the role and has now become one of the best additions to the core cast.
7. Getting Scripts
Actress Mayim Bialik, who of course portrays Amy Farrah Fowler, has revealed different things about working on The Big Bang Theory on her blog kveller.com. Bialik has revealed that the cast does not get the scripts in advance. “It takes five days to do one episode, and we get scripts on Day One and we film on Day Five. We have no idea the “arc” of the season or what’s going to happen next week, and I like it like that. It’s sort of like life: no one gives you much of a heads up day-to-day about random stuff that’s going to happen, right!?”
6. Getting Ready For Filming
Every actor and actress have their own way to prepare for filming, and when working on the same series for many years, routine becomes key. Kunal Nayyar has revealed that he has a schedule, including naps, for every half hour. “I eat at 4 p.m., and then I take a 30-minute nap from 4:30 to 5 p.m. We have touch-ups at 5:30, a read through at 6 p.m., and we tape at 6:30 p.m.” Meanwhile Simon Helberg’s former pre-filming ritual was a little different. “I always use to eat a tuna melt before tape night. I did that for five seasons. Now I stretch, relax, make a lot of noise and bother Kunal.” Meanwhile Jim Parsons’ routine is to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and Johnny Galecki works on his enunciation exercises.
5. Creating a Moment
Over the years, the show’s executive producers Chucke Lorre, Bill Prady and Steven Molaro, have spoken out about the show’s more romantic moments and how the writers have been just as surprised by them as everyone else. “These things always come out organically. I think that one of the things that makes The Big Bang Theory couples work is that, from a writing point of view, it’s not written with the results first,” Prady said. “We’ll have an idea that’s what we’re aiming for, but how it’s going to be executed and how the final words come out and it’s usually a surprise. It was very last minute when we figured out that Leonard had the ring in his wallet,” Molaro explained of Leonard’s romantic proposal to Penny. “We’re just so lucky that we have these seven actors who are so incredibly talented and there’s so much actual love between them that you can feel it. And they’re able to take these scenes that we write and make them real and make them better.”
4. The Studio Audience
Unlike a lot of sitcoms that gave up on actually filming in front of a live audience and only put in a laugh track now, The Big Bang Theory still films with a live audience. “We are a dying breed,” Bialik stated, and added they do more than most realize. “People underestimate the power of a studio audience. And we add no canned laughter. If something isn’t funny to our audience (even if our writers think it is), it gets changed until the audience joins us. Laughs sometimes sound “canned” on TV because they need to be cut off and edited so the show fits into the 22 minute format. Some laughs in the studio go on longer because of reaction shots that never survive the cutting room floor, so laughs have to be edited too. We don’t add any laughter. That’s not what we do. If it’s not funny, it gets fixed until it is. Which is why our tapings sometimes go until 10:30 p.m.!”
3. Working as a Group
Just like the characters they portray on the series, the main actors and actresses have all become really good friends, and when the cameras aren’t rolling, it pretty much stays the same. ” Just like in any group of seven people, we have little jokes and things we like to talk about with each other. A lot of people at work talk about reality TV (which I don’t watch), but we also talk amongst ourselves and with our crew and staff about sports, other shows, comedians we like, movies, and such. It’s a workplace and we have fun at our job. There is also sometimes ping-pong,” Bialik wrote on her blog. She added that working with friends and on a fun series doesn’t mean it is always easy. ” Making comedy is serious work. We may not work 14-hour days (some days we have!), but we work hard to make things not only funny, but logical, and coherent. Our scripts get tweaked all week long by our excellent writers, and there are always places to improve, relearn lines, and try out different things. Some days are harder than others, and working hard to make things funny when you can’t get the delivery of a line right can be very frustrating, especially if you are a Type A perfectionist who is very hard on yourself.”
2. Working With The Writers
As the executive producers have stated, a lot of the time what the writers put in the script and what the actors add to it don’t exactly match up, but it always works out for the better, and Mayim Bialik admitted that there usually has to be a compromise. “There are times I don’t always agree with the words I’m given, and there are times our writers don’t always agree with our interpretations of their words!” She added that “slight shifts in expectations and working together as a giant team” has made for some really special moments in a lot of episodes.
As the show has gotten bigger and bigger, fans have of course tried to discover the actual places that the main characters frequent, most often Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment. The two characters have mentioned that their apartment is located in Pasadena at 2311 Los Robles, but since the series is actually filmed on the CBS lot studio, the apartment is not actually at that location. Similarily, while many would love if Stuart Bloom’s comic book shop were real, it is also just a set although producers go all out to ensure it is authentic. All the comics are often replaced with the newest comic books, and the paraphernalia is also often refreshed to keep everything as up to date as possible.