Jim Parsons, Mayim Bialik and Kevin Sussman
It's the second Tuesday in November, and The Big Bang Theory cast descends on Stage 25 of the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif., for a live taping of the episode "The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition," which will air just nine days later on Thursday, Nov. 17 (8/7c on CBS). "There's no time anymore," executive producer Chuck Lorre notes of the quick turnaround. A lot goes into filming Bang on such short notice, so TVGuide.com hit the set to gather behind-the-scenes intel on one of the geekiest shows on TV:
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Pre-show rituals: For Jim Parsons, it's eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, for Johnny Galecki, it's enunciation exercises, for Kunal Nayyar, it's taking a 15-minute nap, and for Simon Helberg, it's "prancing around in my dressing room in very little clothes yelling and making tribal noises." Quips Nayyar: "That's my alarm clock for my nap."
First-take jitters: Even though the actors are seasoned vets at this point — Bang is approaching 100 episodes — Nayyar says, "It's always that first take of the day that you want to nail and not mess up." For this episode, the first take features the guys' weekly trip to the comic book store where Sheldon has brought Amy (Mayim Bialik) along, much to her chagrin. "She does not like it, and I'm kind of disappointed," Bialik admits. "It's going against my personality type. Of anyone on this cast, I'm the comic book nerd!"
Comics galore: The comic book store set is frequently refreshed with the latest comic paraphernalia, from DC's new 52 comics to Walking Dead t-shirts adorning the walls. Diehard fans who keep their eyes peeled and their trigger fingers on the pause button may just spot an Easter egg near the counter that will take their Bang experience to the next level.
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Humor-inducing huddles: Between takes, producers Bill Prady, Steve Molaro and Lorre are often seen with a few writers conferencing with the actors to make a changes to the script. Molaro compares it to a sports team, "where you huddle to figure out how to win," he says. Two particular confabs afforded the group another shot at Amy's distaste of big-bosomed female superheroes, along with two new versions of Sheldon's infamous "Penny" knock.
X-rated Bang: Audiences are almost treated to a different kind of Bang when filming a Twister scene takes a less-than-PG turn. "I was flashing the entire crew every time I got down into Twister position," says Melissa Rauch, who portrays Bernadette. "Luckily there was an audience barrier, and thank goodness I had tights on. Jim was behind me and getting a full backside view. The show may have needed to go to cable if I didn't have the wardrobe team to cover up Bernadette's business."
The big man on campus: After the year he's had, Lorre is as big a presence on the WB lot as any of the stars on all the posters. After the show, fans wait excitedly in the audience to snag an autograph from the Bang creator, who chuckles while signing a Soft Kitty t-shirt. Aww! You won't see something that heartwarming on a Vanity Card!
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Happily ever hungover: Coming down from filming an episode can be like a high, many of the cast members note, which is why they'll often hang around on set afterward to unwind. "Tuesday nights it's hard to go to bed because you have so much adrenaline," Nayyar says. "The next morning, you feel like you've been hit by a train. Seriously, you feel hungover without doing anything."
The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8/7c on CBS.