THE BIG BANG THEORY EXCERPT

Introduction

HOW THE REUNION CAME TO BE

 

Two years. One hundred and twenty hours of brand- new interviews over ten months. Thousands of pages of transcripts. One hundred and fourteen pages of notes from rewatching 280 episodes (279 that aired, plus the original pilot that didn’t). I could keep going with statistics, though most likely that’s not why you picked up this book. But they do matter. Those staggering numbers only happened because the creators, cast, producers, writers, studio and network executives, guest stars, etc. of The Big Bang Theory put together a show of such brilliance and magnitude that anything less could not do it justice.

For hours on end, they all thoughtfully answered the longest list of questions they’ve ever been asked. They watched iconic moments with me, texted and emailed me an endless amount of photos (prop master Scott London

even dug up the Star Trek transporter room boxes and Penny’s old résumé and driver’s license during our Zoom), and dug up scripts and documents from that first, unaired pilot. And while there was plenty of laughter and joy and tears, no one shied away from going deep when it came to discussing the more difficult moments over the years, whether it be contract negotiations, pay cuts, divorce, miscarriage and loss, to the tumultuous few days when it was decided the show’s twelfth season would be its last. If you’re going to tell the full story of why The Big Bang Theory became one of the most successful, popular, and beloved shows of all time, then it has to be told from all angles and all perspectives. And it is. Thanks to them.

But perhaps even more remarkable was the time and access they gave of themselves to do that. It’s not like they weren’t busy with other projects; all of them have numerous TV shows or films going on, but it was continued proof just how important Big Bang was and is to their lives. Bill Prady got on Zoom for a follow‑up interview (after doing hours of interviews as it was) the day before leaving for his wedding in New York. Melissa Rauch and I did interviews often while she was doing the dishes at 11 p.m. after working on new scripts for Night Court and getting her kids to bed. Kaley Cuoco had me over to her home to go through pictures for this book, which just happened to be the same day she was nominated for her first Emmy award (you know, casual). Truthfully, I blame executive producer Steve Molaro for setting the tone when he did a nearly four- hour interview for our first session, which I ended only because I got hungry. And that’s just scratching the surface of what everyone from Chuck Lorre to Mark Hamill did to make this book come to life.

I’ll never forget what Jim Parsons said on the first of what would be over twenty hours of interviews: “I’m reading Mike Nichols’s biography right now and you just love to go back and hear the stories about how it was made, because you felt something for the work. It moved you. It changed you in some way. And that’s a real honor. It’s one of the reasons I was so glad to say we should do these conversations, however many we’re going to do, because if it’s worth looking into, it’s worth getting new and interesting facts out there. When stuff is good,  celebrates humanity, and I think that feeling is what’s hard to ignore and not be moved by.”

Here’s the thing: I was never going to be a scientist (full disclosure: I never wanted to), but The Big Bang Theory resonated with me as a viewer— and impacted me as a journalist— more than any other show I’ve covered.

As Glamour’s senior West Coast editor, I wrote more than 150 features / articles / think pieces on the series. I also met many of you throughout the years, whether through social media or in person, and have been forever touched by the stories of what Big Bang meant to you.

And I got it. As a kid and young adult who always felt different and socially behind— three learning “disabilities” will do that to you— I related to Amy’s desire for a best friend; I understood Sheldon’s habits, work ethic, and OCD; I got Raj’s desire to find the love of a lifetime— as well as his doubts about when or if it would ever happen. If my fantasy was to be just as cool as the characters I saw on Friends, the truth is that I— and I think most of us— relate a hell of a lot more to who we saw on The Big Bang Theory.

A show that started as four “nerds” and the hot but ditzy female neighbor became a smart, socially relevant blockbuster of a sitcom that tackled topics like intimacy, consent, motherhood, marriage, career, and money with humor, poignancy, and heart. And as a result, it became one of the greatest sitcoms of our time.