32 Little Known Facts about the Big Bang Theory.

April 7, 2017 | Carl Wyndham

32 Little Known Facts about the Big Bang Theory.

"The only way she'd be able to make a contribution to science is if they resume sending chimps into space." - Sheldon Cooper

With over 200 episodes in the bank, it’s still going pretty strong. Fans can't get enough of Sheldon Cooper and his gang of geeky pals.

Although brilliant physicists, the main characters of Big Bang Theory have the kind of beautiful minds that understand how the universe works, but none of that genius helps them interact with people, especially women. This all begins to change when a beauty named Penny moves in next door.

The Big Bang Theory is one of the most watched shows on television, and for good reason. Here are some of our favorite Big Bang Theory facts!

32. An untraditional pitch.

Instead of writing up a premise and pitching it to CBS, co-creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady revealed that they wrote a complete script, hired actors, and “put on a show” for CBS president Les Moonves. Lorre found the unconventional pitch experience to be “crazy,” but it obviously worked.

Big Bang Theory 1

31. Sometimes it takes a second take.

The show filmed two different pilots, because CBS didn't like the first one but felt the show had potential. The first pilot began with a different theme song and featured Sheldon, Leonard, and two female characters, including a different actress playing what would become the Penny role. Chuck Lorre thought the initial pilot “sucked” but is open to having the unaired pilot included as part of a DVD.

Double Take GIF

30. Wrong Chuck, Jim.

When Jim Parsons’s agent called and said Chuck Lorre wanted him to audition for a pilot, Parsons misunderstood. “I did not know Chuck Lorre at the time,” Parsons told David Letterman in 2014. “I thought he was talking about Chuck Woolery. I thought, why are they so excited about it? We should see what the man has to offer before we’re like, ‘It’s a new Chuck Woolery pilot!'"

Sheldon Diagnosis

29. Facing rejections bare naked.

As the story goes, Lorre and Prady went to a Barenaked Ladies concert and were impressed that lead singer Ed Robertson sang a song on cosmological theory, so they tapped him to write the series' theme song, called “The History of Everything." In 2013, Robertson told CBS News that he’d previously written some songs for TV and films only to have his work rejected, so he was initially reluctant to take on the project.

Big Bang Theme

28. Sheldon’s diagnosis.

Because of Sheldon’s anti-social nature, viewers have often assumed that Sheldon has Asperger's syndrome. But Prady has stated that, "We write the character as the character. A lot of people see various things in him and make the connections. Our feeling is that Sheldon's mother never got a diagnosis, so we don't have one.”

Soft Kitty

27. Well done, Jim.

Jim Parsons' audition for the role of Dr. Sheldon Cooper was so good that creator Chuck Lorre immediately asked Parsons to come in for a second one because Lorre wanted to be 100% sure Parsons was as brilliant as he seemed. After the 2nd audition, Lorre cast Parsons on the spot.

Sheldon GIF 1

26. It’s not all an act!

Mayim Bialik is the only cast member with an actual PhD: she has a PhD in neuroscience. “They didn’t have a profession for my character when I came on in the finale of season three,” she says. “In season four, Bill Prady said they’d make her what I am so I could fix things (in the script) if they were wrong. It’s neat to know what things mean. But most of the time, I don’t have to use it.”

Mayim Bialik

25. Casting tweets.

Wil Wheaton, who plays a “delightfully evil version” of himself on the show, tweeted about The Big Bang Theory. Wheaton told Larry King, “I was talking on Twitter about how much I loved the show and how I thought it was really funny.” One of the show’s executive producers, Steven Molaro, saw the tweet and told Wheaton to let him know if he wanted to come to a taping.

The Habitation Configuration

24. Keep it simple, keep them coming back.

In a 2014 interview with New York Magazine, Parsons gave his theory (if you will) on why The Big Bang Theory attracts more than 20 million viewers per week—a number unheard of since the Friends-era sitcom reign. “There’s not anything to keep up with,” he said. “You don’t go, ‘I didn’t see the first three seasons, and now they’re off with prostitutes, and they no longer work in the Mafia, and I don’t understand what happened.’ You can enjoy our show without a weekly appointment.”

Sheldon GIF 2

23. Big checks.

When Forbes released its annual list of the world's highest paid male TV actors, Jim Parsons landed on top with a gross of $29 million, having made that income from June 1, 2014-June 1, 2015. He gets about $1 million per episode and a cut of the show’s back-end profits. Not to be outdone, Kaley Cuoco tops Forbes's list of highest paid actresses, with a grand total of $28.5 million.

Actress Kaley Cuoco attends the 17th Annual Instyle and Warner Bros. Pictures Golden Globes After Party in Beverly Hills, California

22. No copy cats allowed.

During the third season, the producers became aware of a series called "The Theorists," produced and broadcast in the country of Belarus, that was a virtual copy of The Big Bang Theory (2007). Legal action over copyright infringement would have been futile, since the production company was pretty much owned by the Belarus government. However, a lawsuit turned out not to be necessary, because when word got out that the show was a rip-off, the actors quit and the show was immediately canceled.

The Theorists

21. We want more!

On 14 January 2011, CBS gave the series a rare vote of confidence when it issued a three-year renewal through the 2013-14 season. It then received another three-season renewal on March 12, 2014, meaning the show will run at least ten seasons. This marked the first time in modern television history a scripted television series received back-to-back three-season renewals.

Penny and Sheldon

20. Bazinga!

On January 3, 2013, a team of Brazilian biologists announced their name for a newly-discovered species of orchid bee: Euglossa bazinga. This was to honor the show and specifically Sheldon's mocking catchphrase "bazinga". Long mistaken for another bee, Euglossa ignita, the new species was deliberately tagged "bazinga" for its history of fooling entomologists.

Bazinga 2

19. The girl who played TV’s blossom.

During a first season episode, Raj, Leonard, and Howard are trying to find a fourth person to replace Sheldon on their Physics Bowl team. Raj suggests the actress Mayim Bialik, saying, "You know who's apparently very smart, is the girl who played TV's Blossom. She got a PhD in neuroscience or something." Leonard responds, "Raj, we're not getting TV's Blossom to join our physics bowl team." During Season 3, Bialik started playing the regular role of Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on the show.

Mayim and Sheldon

18. Next guest star… Pope Francis?

After featuring Leonard Nimoy and Stephen Hawking, the producers joked that their next dream guest star might be a bit too busy to make time for the CBS hit. "We've done some episodes about religion and science, and we thought Pope Francis might be good," Prady joked. "He's probably too busy now."

Pope Francis

17. Tricky sets.

Floors two, three, and four of Sheldon and Leonard's apartment building are the same set. They’re just re-dressed for each scene. Don’t believe us? Check out the scuff marks on the molding, which are identical on each level as they walk up the stairs.

Big Bang Set

16. Who Remembers Roseanne?

Roseanne meets The Big Bang Theory. Sara Gilbert (Leslie), who plays a former girlfriend of Leonard's, also played Johnny Galecki's girlfriend in Roseanne (1988). Laurie Metcalf, who plays Sheldon's mother, was also his co-star in Roseanne (1988).

Leaonard and Sara

15. The curious case of never-changing male attire.

Each of the male characters has a signature clothing article that is worn in virtually every episode: Sheldon: t-shirts worn over long-sleeve shirts; Leonard: hoodies worn over a T-shirt and under a jacket; Raj: sweater-vest worn over a shirt and usually under some type of outerwear; Howard: dickie worn under some type of outerwear. Howard usually has a pin on the left side of his dickie of the head of a space alien, and he wears large belt buckles.

Big Bang Guys

14. Howard’s tight, tight pants.

What has Helberg learned from playing the lovable but style-challenged Howard? "I've learned the smallest pants size I can squeeze into!" he joked of Howard's colorful skinny jeans. As for his favorite belt buckle, it's anything that isn't sharp in the southern section that won't stab him when he sits down. "Sitting down is painful!" he joked.

Howard GIF

13.Bernadette’s high-pitched voice.

Bernadette did not originally have such a high-pitched voice. When she first appeared, she had a rather normal voice, but as her character began to take shape, she adopted the quirky high pitched voice which Melissa Rauch says she based off her mother's voice "without the Jersey."

Bernadette Voice

12. The truth behind Sheldon’s “Soft Kitty” healing ritual.

Origins of "Soft Kitty" revealed! After struggling to find the perfect song for neurotic Sheldon's healing ritual, it was Prady who came up with the ditty. "It's from my daughter's preschool in Sherman Oaks," he revealed. "It was from Australia, and one of the teachers heard it there."


11. Parsons’ favorite scenes.

During his appearance on "Inside the Actor's Studio," Jim Parsons revealed his three favorite scenes: Sheldon receiving a gift from Penny - a napkin signed and used by Leonard Nimoy, Sheldon presenting Amy the relationship agreement, and Sheldon drinking Long Island Ice Tea for the first time.


10. All the power to woman superheroes!

All the figurines and posters in Howard's room (and later on in his house with Bernadette) are female superheroes or science fiction characters. The one non-female figurine, Jabba the Hutt, has Princess Leia (in her slave girl costume) sitting in front. Later on in the series, they accumulate a figurine of Bernadette after the episode where he and Raj got a 3D printer.


9. Ever wonder about Leonard’s last name?

Leonard's last name, Hofstadter, refers to two well-known scientists: Robert Hofstadter, the 1961 Nobel Laureate in Physics, and his son Douglas Hofstadter, who researches consciousness and cognition, and whose best-selling book about philosophy, mathematics, puzzles, art, and music, "Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid," was published in 1979 and won him the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.

Leonard GIF

8. A hidden tribute.

In tribute to Carol Ann Susi, the recently deceased actress who plays Howard’s mom, a small picture of her is on the side of Sheldon and Leonard's fridge. It’s a small square that can be seen in episodes after her death. The picture is so tiny that it can not be recognized, but in the behind-the-scenes DVD feature, they reveal that it’s her.

Howard's Mom

7. The elusive Howard’s mom.

Regardless of how loud she is, Howard's mother was almost never seen, only heard, despite often being as close as the next room. Conversely, via Skype, Raj's parents are quite often seen, despite being across the world in India, except when his father visited Pasadena.

Howard's Mom GIF

6. Does Sheldon have a brother?

In early episodes of Season One, Sheldon mentions having an older brother in addition to his twin sister, Missy. In one instance, he mentions being bullied by this older brother. However, while Missy has been seen on the show, the brother was never mentioned again, even when his mother visits. She only mentions Missy.

Sheldon Angry

5. They don’t actually eat while filming.

While having lunch at the University canteen or other eating scenes, characters don't actually eat most of the times. Howard only pretends to eat the food by moving his mouth like he is chewing it, Sheldon and Leonard just play with their food with fork. Amy and Penny are sometimes shown eating food actually. They only talk most of the time.

Big Bang Cafeteria

4. A little romantic foreshadowing…

In every one of the main female characters' first appearances on the show, the first person to speak to them is their future mate: in the pilot, when Penny is introduced, the first person to speak to her is Leonard, in "The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary" (S3.Ep5) when Bernadette is introduced, the first person to speak to her is Howard, and in "The Lunar Excitation" (S3.Ep23) when Amy is introduced, the first person to speak to her is Sheldon.

Leonard meets Penny

3. Couco’s Sister taught the flash mob.

Cuoco's sister, Bri, choreographed the cast's surprise flash mob to "Call Me Maybe" -- and it earned her a job on two of co-creator Chuck Lorre's shows. Bri Cuoco played the woman who earns a marriage proposal in the background of Big Bang's recent Valentine's Day episode and choreographed a scene with 50 dancers on Two and a Half Men.

Big Bang Flash Mob

2. Brown-nosing the boss.

Season 6 Episode 10: The Fish Guts Replacement. Sheldon reveals that his favorite cartoon theme song is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles..."turtle power!" The writers may have been sucking up to the boss a bit with this creative choice...the infectious 90's anthem was written by none other than Big Bang Theory showrunner Chuck Lorre.

Ninja Turtles

1. Leonard & Penny forever?

Penny and Leonard have had a crazy on-screen romance. But even in the real world, Kayley Cuoco revealed that she and her co-star had secretly once been dating. In 2010, she stated that her and Johnny Galecki had dated for two years, and had a wild ride, but are no longer together.

Leonard and Penny

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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