Who thought a sitcom about four nerdy, socially awkward scientists could become a major comedic hit? These are some of the secrets even the biggest fans of "The Big Bang Theory" may not know about the show.
TV Show Fan
It's no secret that Dr. Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons, is a huge "Star Trek" fan. He often refers to the legendary science fiction program on the show. In real life, however, Parsons has never seen a single episode. Parsons has never seen "Dr. Who," either, which is another of Sheldon's favorite television programs.
Actress Mayim Bialik mentioned in an interview that the school where the major characters work is based on the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). As a matter of fact, real-life Caltech students and staff are often in attendance when the cast and crew films the show.
When actor Wil Wheaton appeared on the show, he sneaked a picture of one of the most infamous props on the show: the coffee table in Leonard and Sheldon's apartment. He posted the photo on his blog and pointed out that set designers paid close attention to detail when constructing the atmosphere. Magazines, such as Mental Floss, and several snacks, including Red Vines licorice, cover the table's surface.
Mayim Bialik joined the show during season three, but was that was always in the works? During the first season, Raj foreshadows her appearance by saying, "You know who's apparently very smart is the girl who played TV's 'Blossom.' She got a Ph.D. in neuroscience or something." Bialik did actually earn the degree in 2008 and is the only actor with such an advanced degree.
Some of the show's leading ladies suffered through some real-life injuries while filming, but fans never knew it. Kaley Cuoco, who plays Penny, broke her leg while horseback riding during season four. After missing a few episodes, she performed her scenes while standing behind a counter. After a car accident during season six, Mayim Bialik had to hide her injured right hand while filming.
Kaley Cuoco's Penny and Johnny Galecki's Leonard become a couple on the show, but in a 2010 interview, Cuoco revealed that the two actually dated in real life during the first few seasons. Unfortunately, they split after two years. Ironically, Galecki also dated Sara Gilbert, his co-star and onscreen girlfriend on the last show he starred in, "Roseanne".
Penny is a fan favorite, but she almost did not become part of the show. Penny was supposed to be part of another sitcom. Her name was "Katie" at the time, and Amanda Walsh signed on for the role, and the character worked at a makeup salon. While that sitcom never made it on the air, the character moved to "The Big Bang Theory," helping to make the show a success.
Locating Apartment 4A
Leonard and Sheldon's apartment 4A is one of the most iconic sets on television. The two residents mention that it is located in Pasadena at 2311 Los Robles, across the street from the Colorado Avenue Chevron station. While these streets and places do exist, the exact location is not a real one.
Meaning Behind the Names
If you have ever wondered where the show's creators got the characters' names, wonder no more. Many of them are based on other people. Howard Wolowitz is someone the creator once worked on computers with. Leonard and Sheldon are named for legendary television producer Sheldon Leonard. Leonard's last name comes from two well-known scientists, Douglas and Robert Hofstadter.
With a show as popular as "The Big Bang Theory," you can bet other studios wanted to capitalize on the thunder. In 2010, a show called "The Theorists" aired in Belarus, and producers discovered that it was very similar to the program. Before anyone could figure out how to handle it, the actors on "The Theorists" quit because they found out their own producers stole the idea for the show from the American version.