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The stars of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory returned to Comic-Con on Friday with a light-hearted panel looking back at the game-changing events of season 10, while bypassing any hints about what could be coming in the final 44 episodes in TV’s No. 1 comedy.
Returning to the San Diego stage for the show’s 10th anniversary panel were Johnny Galecki (Leonard), Kaley Cuoco (Penny), Kunal Nayaar (Raj) and Kevin Sussman (Stuart). They were joined by creator Bill Prady and Steve Molaro, as well as members of the show’s writing staff for a panel moderated by recurring guest stars Riki Lindhome (Ramona) and John Ross Bowie (Kripke).
Given Big Bang Theory‘s atypical writing approach — storylines are not broken in advance as producers take the creative on a week by week basis — the panel was light on details about season 11 and what would come of Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) surprise marriage proposal to Amy.
Instead, the cast and creators looked back on 10 seasons of memories and untold stories and capped the panel with what Molaro said was an “alternate” version of the show’s famous song “Soft Kitty” that was cut from season 10 when Amy was supposed to sing the full version to Sheldon. They include “Soft bunny, warm bunny, floppy ears on top/happy bunny, sleepy bunny/hop, hop hop” and “hard turtle, wet turtle, where did your head go/happy turtle, sleepy turtle/slow, slow, slow.”
— Lesley Goldberg (@Snoodit) July 21, 2017
Here are some other fun highlights from the panel:
• Cuoco recalled the mood on the set during Sheldon’s proposal to Amy. She noted that everyone was crowded in watching the scene — “and everyone was behind the camera, crying, during the proposal scene. To see that be this pinnacle of this season … we were all kind of crying.
• Yes, the cast changes costumes in front of each other. Nayaar noted that he’s seen Helberg squeeze into Howard’s famously tight pants more times than he’d like to admit. “He’s got a great bottom!” he joked as the cast noted that 10 seasons later, he still fits into the same skinny jeans.
• As has become common at Big Bang Comic-Con panels, Cuoco fielded this year’s question about Penny’s mysterious last name: “I have it in my head what I think that it is but now I’m Penny Hofstadter so it doesn’t matter,” she quipped. “She’s Penny, like Cher, she doesn’t need a last name.”
• Cuoco and Galecki revealed a practical joke gone bad during season six’s Valentine’s Day episode. She and Galecki planned to make it appear as if he hit Cuoco and the stunt went bad when Cuoco knocked her head on a chair after “falling” out of it. She wound up needing stitches after sitting back up and having blood gushing out from above her eyebrow. “We’re not allowed to do those jokes anymore!” she said.
• Molaro noted that his favorite guest star on the show was the late and great Adam West, who guest starred in the 200th episode. West, who died earlier this year, had a question after the table read and asked Molaro if his Big Bang version of himself could have a tougher dog as the line in the script was him telling Leonard and Raj not to ring his doorbell or his poodles will go crazy. “I said you could but I don’t think it’s as funny and he said, ‘Well, I have poodles in real life so I think it’s fine.'”
• Writer Steve Holland revealed that he was star struck by James Earl Jones and Carrie Fisher’s guest turn on the series. He noted that the duo had oddly never met in real life. “She came out and [saw him] and said, ‘Dad’!”
• Asked who they’d swap characters with, Cuoco said she’d swap with Raj’s dog, Cinnamon. “She’s spoiled!” Joked Nayyar — almost as his character — back to Cuoco: “You always get the cutest outfits!” Sussman wants to take over as Wolowitz: “I’m tired of being a third wheel!” Added Galecki: “I always thought Kevin would make a good Leonard.” Prady revealed that Lorre originally approached Galecki — with whom he worked on Roseanne — to take on the role of Sheldon but he preferred Leonard. “I wanted to be part of the Leonard and Penny love story — even before Penny was cast,” Galecki said.
Entering its 11th season, Big Bang Theory remains a ratings powerhouse, ranking as TV’s No. 1 scripted comedy in the key adults 18-49 demographic. The original stars — Galecki, Cuoco, Parsons, Nayaar and Simon Helberg (Howard) — took pay cuts to see co-stars Bialik and Melissa Rauch earn salary parity in an impressive show of support. All told, the cast still earns $900,000 an episode. CBS renewed the show for two additional seasons— 44 total episodes — in which sources say is likely to be the show’s endgame. (No formal announcement has been made.) CBS next will look to Lorre and Molaro to launch 1980s-set spinoff Young Sheldon, starring Iain Armitage as the 9-year-old genius. Parsons narrates the comedy and exec produces as well. In another example of the close-knit kinship of the Big Bang family, Zoe Perry takes on the role of Sheldon’s mother, stepping into the part originated by her mother and Big Bang Emmy winner Laurie Metcalfe. The spinoff recently booked Annie Potts as a series regular, taking on the role of Sheldon’s beloved Meemaw.
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