If you could ask the cast and creators of Big Bang Theory anything, what would it be?

This Friday, I'm moderating the Big Bang Theory panel at Comic-con. The entire cast will be in attendance, as well as series creators Bill Prady and Chuck Lorre. We only have an hour, which always goes by faster than we think, so I'm going to start out with a handful of my own questions before I invite questions from the audience.

While preparing my questions, I've talked to some friends of mine who are fans of the show, and I also thought that I had a unique opportunity to reach out to a larger audience, right here on my blog.

So: If you could ask the cast and creators of The Big Bang Theory something about the show, what would it be? What are you interested in knowing from them?

Ask your question in a comment here, and I'll take some of them with me to the panel this Friday.

Edited at 8:52am 7/22: Wow, over 200 questions and comments! Awesome. I used your questions to get some idea of what fans of the show (well, this is a small sample size, but you're the ones who responded, so you get to speak for the entire audience) wanted to know. I picked out a couple of specific questions from some of you, too.

You can keep commenting here, but any questions you ask I won't be able to use, because I have to get on the road in about 15 minutes, and my questions are now chosen and locked in. But, sincerely, thank you for taking the time to contribute here; I feel more confident and secure about moderating this panel now than I did 24 hours ago.

230 thoughts on “If you could ask the cast and creators of Big Bang Theory anything, what would it be?”

  1. Will the writers ever delve into Sheldon’s obvious Autism Spectrum disorder – Aspergers – to give creedence to what I tell parents every day – ‘Your child Can grow up to have a real job, friends, and a home of his own’ – even if he can’t figure out the social rules for the world.

  2. I do little mini-physics demos for my gradeschool kids’ classes, and my favorite TBBT episode openings are the ones in which Penny walks in on the gang doing something incredibly goofy (which may or may not be related to the rest of the episode) like driving battlebots or sending signals around the earth to turn on their lights or making oobleck dance on stereo speakers. Please keep doing these! Vibration resonance, crazy magnetism, superconductivity, liquid nitrogen, go nuts!
    My question: Does any of the gang own a slide rule?
    Nowadays when the latest digital gizmo is always lusted for, it’s hard to remember that slipsticks were once a badge of high-tech braininess. I could easily see one of the gang bringing out a particular model to show off, only to start a one-upmanship thread that would run through an entire episode. Maybe Raj receives his father’s cheap Indian plastic Deeva Polytek in the mail. Leonard would tease that even his Post Versalog has more scales. Howard would brag that his Faber-Castell 2/83N is bigger. Sheldon would produce a Pickett N600-T that actually went to the moon in the pocket of an Apollo astronaut. And so on.
    Of course, at the end of the episode we would find out that the slide rule Penny picked up with a box of other junk at a Nebraska yardsale years ago is really a priceless collectors-item museum-quality mint-in-box-with-manual K&E Analon (only 600 were ever made). Or maybe everything in the box would be rare/valuable old math/engineer gear, like never-opened packages with an Otis King, a low-serial-number Curta and an original Paragon planimeter. Maybe she could pay her rent for the year by eBaying the works. To the great dismay of Leonard/Sheldon/Howard/Raj who couldn’t afford the auctions.
    Just a thought. Have a great panel! Wish I could be there.

  3. Will the writers ever delve into Sheldon’s obvious Autism Spectrum disorder – Aspergers – to give creedence to what I tell parents every day – ‘Your child Can grow up to have a real job, friends, and a home of his own’ – even if he can’t figure out the social rules for the world.

  4. How do they make the show’s geeky references and humor accessible to a broad audience – both geeks and non-geeks alike?
    The Big Bang Theory has a HUGE following at NASA (or at least among the folks in the Astrophysics Division) – we were so excited to see our WMAP data beach ball on a show last season! It’s refreshing to see a show that doesn’t annoy the tech-savvy audience with mistakes, and keeps the level high for those viewers… but is also clearly enjoyable by people who don’t have their own whiteboard of equations.
    And just as we’d like to interview you on NASA Blueshift (not sure if my emails have been getting through) – we’d also love to talk to Bill Prady or some of the folks who work on BBT and help keep that amazing balance of audiences.

  5. you're definitely right that there's a discrepancy.
    While we're on the subject of the apartment building, we've never seen any of the upstairs or downstairs neighbours, either (except the actress who moved in upstairs in one of the Season 2 episodes).

  6. this was actually in this week’s TV Guide…apparently Comicon now merits it’s own ‘Special TV Guide Issue!’ They actually hired a physicist to decorate the apartment, which I think is keen.

  7. If they could have anyone they would like as a guest, who would it be and playing what part ?
    Personally, I’m lobbying for Patrick Stewart as Sheldon’s pe-paw opposite evil @wilw

  8. Two questions – somewhat related:
    1- I know the show is done before a live studio audience. That’s fine for scens in Lenord and Sheldon’s apartment. How do they deal with scenes at the university lunchroom/labs, Howard’s house/room, Penny’s apartment, and street scenes, etc.? Are they filmed beforehand and inserted so the live audience can see them?
    2- Are there any plans to do episodes “on the road”? I would love to see them do a road trip across country to some far off SF con or science destination such as an observatory or the Smithsonian museum. (memories of a very geeky roadtrip from Vancouver Canada to Denver, CO for Denvention Worldcon in 1980 or ’81 with 6 people in one car! and only 3 were invited.)
    Bonus question: Where is my “Happy Birthday” tweet?
    Love the show!

  9. Would like to know what the cast members’ favorite piece(s) of memorabilia on the set are. Same question of you too, though perhaps you’ve already mentioned it somewhere.

  10. Having seen the video of the questions they got at one SDCC and the blank reactions they gave to some of them, how do the main cast feel about some fans’ inability to distinguish them from their characters and who presume that they (the actors) are science geeks or s.f./comics fans themselves?

  11. For Kaley Cuoco – what are the major (and minor) differences between working on a predominantly male show (The Big Bang Theory) vs. working on a predominantly female show (Charmed)?

  12. Has there ever been an offscreen involvement between Kaley Cuoco and Jim Parsons? They were looking somewhere between chummy and downright smitten at their SDCC panel back in 08.

  13. I really don’t know if Wil will be okay with this (Although, considering how careful he is to not put copyrighted music in Radio Free Burrito, I don’t think he’ll be happy about it). But I’m really curious about the mindset that assumes that posting a link to something illegal is okay, without checking first? To me, that’s the kind of thing you assume is NOT alright, unless told otherwise. But, I’m sure Wil appreciates your permission to delete it if he doesn’t like it…

  14. It was the highest rated scripted show on TV last season… I know that everyone thinks the Networks cut all the good shows, but the reality is that they cut the low-rated shows. Even if you think that the CBS moving BBT to Thursday is going to reduce its ratings (It won’t, at least not initially. Viewers follow shows this popular), it would have to lose more than half it’s viewers from last year (Which would be phenomenal in itself), and even then probably wouldn’t get cut, since CBS would keep it around for at least another year in hopes it would get back to its lofty ratings.

  15. Are there any storylines or topics any of the primary cast really would love to be a part of or see done on the show, but think are unlikely (and why)? Or ones they’re pushing really hard to get to happen?

  16. Are the writers considering (could they consider) a storyline incorporating the current trend of defining “quantum” as pretty much “all the stuff we don’t understand or have discovered yet” used as “intention” and have it work and not work comedically?

  17. You seem to be of the opinion that the only “real” geeks are computer geeks. Considering none of the 4 work directly with computers, I don’t think their level of computer geekiness is out of line. They’re just much more of the Science/Comic Book/Video Game geek persuasion.

  18. It seems Leonard and Sheldon were closer in Seasons 1&2. Even though Leonard was often annoyed with his friend, they still had friendly conversations; Leonard asked Sheldon for advice; Sheldon would stand up for Leonard etc. Now they seem to be moving away from that friendly vibe, and Leonard seems annoyed with Sheldon more. Is the show moving away from their friendship? Could they be heading toward their own “breakup”? Or will they go back to being buddies?

  19. In episode 2F09, when Itchy plays Scratchy’s skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is some sort of a… (sniggering) magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

  20. Have any of them noticed the resemblance between Jim Parsons and Gary Oldman? And if so, have they considered giving Sheldon an “Uncle Gary?”

  21. Three items, so three posts:
    1 of 3: This is not so much a question as a cross-cultural wish: I would love to see the tune “Mathematics”, by Little Boots, adopted as a theme for Penny and Leonard. The lyrics are such a good fit for them and the show, and make me think of BBT every time I hear the tune.
    [email protected]

  22. Three items, so three posts:
    2 of 3:
    With reference to another commenter who asked if other PnP RPGs could be worked in besides DnD: Yes please!
    This is equally valid for the older mainstays (Fantasy RPGs like Palladium; the table-ridden MERPs / ICE / Rolemaster rules and milieu; Battletech and similar games that cater to those with a sci-fi oriented builder-fetish [Traveller ship and vehicle design is guilty here too])
    …but also for the niche games that were conceptually brilliant but failed to capture the ‘mass’ PnP RPG market’s attention (Nephilim, where you’re an immortal magic using spirit; Nobilis, where you play a *concept*; All Flesh Must Be Eaten, with its zombie-goodness);
    …and for later generations’ more mainstream PnP / tabletop games (systems such as Warhammer, Hero System, Unknown Armies, GURPs)
    …Niche Fantasy (Earthdawn, Harnmaster, Skyrealms of Jorune, Talislanta)
    …Scifi/Techno (Cyberpunk, Fading Suns, Shadowrun, Traveller)
    …Anime / Hong Kong (BESM, Legend of the Five Rings)
    …Niche (Paranoia, Toon, oodles of Indie games)
    …Occult (Ars Magica, Call of Cthulhu, In Nomine, Mage, Nephilim, Nobilis)
    …Alternate 1800s incl Steampunk / Westpunk (Space 1889, Steampunk Bonanza, Seventh Sea)
    …A: the B titles from the 1990s (Vampire the Masquerade, WoD (World of Darkness), Wraith the Oblivion)
    …and even the Somewhat Maligned titles (Lejendary Journeys, Macho Women With Guns, etc).
    This is such a rich seam of material that I’m surprised more of it hasn’t been mined and allowed to seep into the show’s dialogue. It’d be great to see a few of the more obscure PnP RPG references (like THAC0, netrunner and any mention of alignments) tossed into the dialogue.
    Even though I myself haven’t actively PnP gamed in over 20 years, *I* still use expressions like these to help make sense of the real world at times. Active geeks like those in the show (and perhaps their supervisors at the University where some of the characters work) should certainly be using them from time to time!
    [email protected]

  23. Three items, so three posts:
    3 of 3:
    Oh yeah, and how about a light sprinkling of other cameos from the larger confines of modern geekdom? You and Stan Lee have had a turn, WIl; where are the likes of Neil Gaiman, Grant Imahara, Marian Call…? Just sayin’.
    Anyway, those are just a few ideas…
    [email protected]

  24. Sure they can do that, if they want three people to tune in regularly.
    It is a mainstream network, so popular culture references are going to be preferable over Linux jokes. Everyone knows what Star Trek and Star Wars is, no matter how much of a geek they are(or not).

  25. So very +1 on this!
    CraigyFerg is stand-out stuff when he breaks the mould / 4th wall, which is often (such as the Stephen Fry sans-audience interview).
    Scenario: The main cast is set to visit a studio taping of part of some edgy new scifi TV show they’ve caught wind of (the latest “Joss Whedon” venture perhaps), but get lost and wander by accident onto Craigyferg’s set during his “tweets & emails” piece; they all stay in character (one taking an interest in Jeff the robot skeleton) during the interruption, wander offstage *AND* when that episode of the Late Late Show airs (in real life), we find that Craig F *USES* that footage in the actual aired episode of his show!!
    Hmm?
    Agarthan

  26. What do most fans ask you when they run into you on the streets? Do they ever ask you to ‘talk nerdy’ to them?
    We’ve been introduced to parts of Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard’s family, any chance we’ll meet Penny’s family from Nebraska? Or Leonard’s more successful brother and sister?

  27. The lyrics, to save anyone needing to look em up:
    Mathematics is a difficult thing
    I never understood what was the missing link
    And by the time I calculated the correct solution
    The question had escaped me and so did the conclusion
    [Chorus:]
    So tell me everything must always equal two
    Or nothing else is true
    And I’ll believe you coz your X is equal to my Y
    But equations pass me by
    ||
    So will you take just a little of my mind
    And subtract it from my soul
    Add a fraction of your half
    And you’ll see it makes me whole
    Multiply it by the times we’ve never been apart
    You’ll see nothing can divide a heart plus a heart
    Don’t know my Fibonacci or Pythagoras
    But the only formula I know will work for us is that
    When we’re together in the sum of our parts
    It’s far greater than what we added up to at the start..
    [Chorus, repeated with variations]

  28. Why are all your female characters EITHER smart OR pretty, socially normal, etc. YOu are a talented enough writer not to need to fall back on cliches like the ugly brilliant female or the beautiful idiot.
    Also…
    When are you going to start posting actual, PhD-level science on Sheldon’s board?

  29. Frustration is funnier than success. Will the show revert to focusing on sexual and romantic frustration, instead of Season 3’s sexual and romantic success?

  30. I also like the hidden maths in here:
    If nothing can divide a heart plus a heart, than that value must be zero. If a heart plus a heart equals zero, than the two hearts must be perfectly complementary, i.e. each other’s opposite or mirror-universe equivalent (+1 versus -1).
    It just seems kinda neat, considering their characters :)
    Agarthan

  31. I like Tom Gardiner’s question. BBT is tied to such a tight demographic I thought it’d be cut. Are there REALLY that many of us geek/nerds around?! What challenges have they faced staying true to their demographic? (Also, they need an episode where Sheldon “saves the day” for the others to remind us why they still put up with him!)

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