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CBS’ The Big Bang Theory opened San Diego Comic-Con on Friday in Ballroom 20 — a downgrade from last year’s appearance in the cavernous Hall H — for what started as a cast-free peek behind the scenes of TV’s No. 1 comedy.
With most of the cast still on hiatus (newly minted Emmy nominees Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik were in New York and San Jose, Calif., respectively), the panel instead featured the comedy’s all-star writing team, including Steve Molaro — for whom season six marked his first year as showrunner. (In all, there were seven writers on the panel plus science adviser David Saltzberg.)
Thanks in part to syndicated repeats on TBS and the show’s resonance with male and female geeks alike, the series regularly hit 20 million viewers and topped Fox’s American Idol among the key adults 18-49 demographic.
The panel opened with a funny taped message literally explaining the big bang theory by reading the show’s theme song and a highlight reel from the series’ nerdiest moments and included a pretaped message from guest star Stephen Hawking explaining the theory by “singing” the show’s theme song.
The writers shared the inside stories behind some of the show’s most iconic moments. The episode when Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) comes back from space and wants to have sex with new wife Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) actually came from Molaro’s wedding night. The showrunner revealed that he was the one who was sick who, with sniffles, insisted, “We have to consummate the marriage” — the same line guest moderator Rauch delivered onscreen.
Co-creator Bill Prady revealed that one of the best moments last season came when he upset Molaro in the episode in which they debated whether to reveal the contents of the letter from Howard’s father.
As for the science, co-EP Steve Holland noted writers often come up with the ideas and leave space in the scripts for Saltzberg to fill in. “It’s not as exciting as a wedding night.”
“We work around the clock to bring you science facts,” Holland said, jokingly adding that spiders grow rubies on their underbellies.
Other tidbits included Prady squashing the idea of filming an episode at Comic-Con after the series briefly mentioned venturing to “Burbank Comic-Con.” The problems include the cast’s hiatus and unlikelihood of leaving the show’s Burbank soundstage.
Other surprises included co-star Johnny Galecki making an appearance on the panel after standing in line in full costume (as Princess Leia’s Bounty Hunter from Star Wars). “I couldn’t stay away!” he said after revealing himself among the fans seeking to ask a question.
As for what’s to come in season seven, Molaro revealed Leonard (Galecki) would be seen on the ship after setting sail on a research trip with Hawking, explore Raj’s (Kunal Nayyar) newfound ability to talk to women and see Bernadette and Amy (Bialik) take their first trip together.
“It’s a possibility,” Molaro said of whether Sheldon (Parsons) and Amy would ever really consummate their relationship following last season’s Dungeons & Dragons storyline. “Amy will continue trying to get her way.”
Added Prady: “It always baffles me how much Amy has gotten Sheldon to move. … With Sheldon, you have a character who comes from a place of ‘No, I’m not going to change.’ It’s a lot of interesting work in the room of, ‘What if Amy did this.’ “
“It moves at a geologic pace,” co-executive producer Eric Kaplan said of Sheldon and Amy’s storyline, drawing laughs after Prady playfully spilled that Sheldon picks on geologists because he feels the science “is really a hobby.”
Also a possibility for the show’s future: seeing Raj’s parents, who typically appear via Skype. “It’s entirely possible, we’ve definitely talked about it,” Molaro said of seeing the couple in the series’ Pasadena location.
Check out Hawking’s video message and the clip reel screened at Comic-Con, both below.
The Big Bang Theory returns Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. on CBS.
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