‘The Big Bang Theory’ Interviews at Paleyfest 2016

Big Bang Theory - Paleyfest 2016

Lots of laughter filled the Dolby Theater in Hollywood on Wednesday, March 17th, as the cast and executive producers from The Big Bang Theory gathered for a panel as part of Paleyfest LA. Actors Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, and Mayim Bialik were all present (Melissa Rauch was in New York promoting her new film The Bronze), as well as executive producers Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady, and Steven Molaro.

Before the panel itself, we were able to catch some quick words with some of the cast and producers on the red carpet. Just last month The Big Bang Theory aired their 200th episode, and EP/showrunner Molaro revealed that less than a week before the table read, the writers room was still at a blank for how to mark the milestone.

“We had none storylines, and at the very last minute, we knew it was the 200th, and we were even thinking – do we really have to do anything special? Do we really have to do anything different?” said Molaro. Finally, one of the writers remembered that it had been exactly a year since Sheldon admitted it was his birthday, “and as soon as we heard it, we knew that was going to grow into the perfect 200th episode. And it very quickly fell into place.”

When asked about Raj’s current relationship dilemmas, and if he had any advice for his character, Nayyar joked, “I’d be like, dude, you couldn’t talk to women without alcohol, and now you’re getting to date two? Have as much fun as you want.” He followed it up by acknowledging that Raj is in over his head right now, and it will catch up to him eventually.

Galecki gave his perspective on Leonard’s cheating that was revealed at the end of last season, and his protectiveness over the characters and the Leonard/Penny relationship, while Mayim talked about Amy meeting Meemaw and the engagement ring Amy now knows about. EP/co-creator Prady shared why the scavenger hunt episode in season seven is one of his favorites. And EP/co-creator Lorre talked about the many ways we’ve seen the characters grow throughout the years, crediting it to the courage of the writing staff: “The characters have evolved in ways that I find wonderful, because I didn’t see it coming either. But it just kind of happened.”

Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki

Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki

The panel itself was light on new information, but heavy on the laughs as the cast continually teased, interrupted, and poked fun at each other. Early in the panel, after moderator Alie Ward asked Nayyar about how his hair is straightened for the show, nearly the whole cast chimed in to help him answer – Parsons clarified that Nayyar doesn’t ask for it to be straightened, and Helberg added, “The voices in his head ask for it.”

Once the hair discussion settled down, Ward asked why they thought the show was so successful, and Cuoco replied, “I think you’re seeing it right now.” Crediting both how close the cast is with each other off-camera, and the strength of the writers, she continued, “This is who we are. And we give each other a hard time, we love each other, but it’s completely as real as it is on camera.”

One exciting reveal from the panel is the news that we will be meeting Leonard’s father in an episode later this season, who will be played by Judd Hirsch. Galecki met Hirsch recently while filming the tribute to James Burrows, and after talking to him about how he was inspired by Hirsch’s Taxi character while preparing to film The Big Bang Theory’s pilot, Galecki asked Hirsch if he’d be interested in playing Leonard’s dad on the show (even though nothing had yet been written for the part). Hirsch said yes, and Galecki sent a text to the writers the next morning.

Many milestone from this season were discussed, with the cast sharing their reactions and memories. Bialik revealed that she cried when she met Adam West during the taping of the 200th episode, calling him the Batman of her youth. She and Parsons talked about Shamy finally taking the step to consummate their relationship; Parsons said that he never thought Sheldon would end up having sex on the show, but the writers have made it all feel organic. And Helberg talked about Howard’s upcoming fatherhood, though the only fatherly advice he had to offer was “don’t shake the baby.”

Although the season 18 the cast joked about during the panel is unlikely to come to fruition, given the current ratings it’s almost given that The Big Bang Theory will continue past next year’s season 10, and it’s obvious that the cast is still having a blast both on and off set with each other.

You can watch our full red carpet interviews below, and check out The Big Bang Buzz for more discussion of the panel and general Big Bang Theory news.

Photos courtesy of The Paley Center for Media.