THE BIG BANG THEORY: Bill Prady Teases the New Season - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE BIG BANG THEORY: Bill Prady Teases the New Season

August 18, 2011 by  

In a television environment where traditional sitcoms are often, um, uneven, there’s something remarkably wonderful about just how funny THE BIG BANG THEORY is every single week.

Give Me My Remote recently sat down with THE BIG BANG THEORY co-creator Bill Prady to talk about the recent pick up for 3 years, the fallout from Raj and Penny’s night together, giving Penny some female friends, Sheldon and his quirks and more…

With the recent three-year renewal, how has that impacted the way you tell stories on the show?
Bill Prady:
We’ve always told stories episode-to-episode. And here’s the thing – if you say, “Here’s a season arc,” then what happens is you’ll get a couple of episodes in and there’ll be something you want to try and you can’t because you say, “Well, we can’t do that with this character because we’re locked into this direction.”

An example that comes to mind is when Penny and Leonard broke up. In the writers’ room, we had been writing a bunch of jokes about how little Leonard and Penny have in common — like when it comes to practically dating that they don’t share movie interests and things like that. And you know, Leonard was asking Penny about some science-fiction movie and she says, “I never saw it.” And he says, “You saw it! You said you liked it!” And she says, “Oh, sweetie, I say a lot of things.” And at that point, someone said, “I think they’re breaking up.” And we said, “Oh my God, I think they’re breaking up!” And then we started following on that. Well, if we had been locked into some kind of arc for the season or we’re working toward an engagement or something like that, then at that point, the story starts to fight the characters, not to sound too writerly about it. So we don’t do that. So when we get into situations where people say, “Well, what is this season about?” And [we] say, “Well, it’s about this and that and the other thing,” and it sounds sort of disorganized, but it’s kind of really the way it has to be.

And that works for the show. This isn’t the type of show where you need to have an arc nailed down — it’s about people who hang out together, and we just happen to enjoy watching it.
BP: We also find episodes that are sometimes light on plot are our best episodes because they give you an opportunity — it’s the moment of sometimes it’s difficult to get Sheldon to put on his coat and leave. So, whereas some characters put on their coat and leave, sometimes for Sheldon, that’s four or five pages of script for him to go out. So sometimes less plot gives us the flexibility to do that.

Sometimes the most realistic situations are the most hilarious. For instance, the debate about what to get a friend who you know is also getting you a present was amazing. I think every person has had that debate at one point in their life.
BP: Are you talking about Leonard’s birthday?

No, I actually meant the Christmas episode where Sheldon bought all the gift baskets for Penny so he could give her a gift of equal value to the one she would give him…and then he ended up giving them all to her because she got him a signed napkin from Leonard Nimoy.
BP: Right, well the thing is that I personally loathe getting gifts because you wind up in this obligatory position. And we were talking about it and different positions people can have about that and the fun is to have characters who could have a contrary position on something as normal and as accepted as gift-giving. And to explain why — not to be bigoted — but I think his argument is logical and sound. So let’s all stop giving gifts.

That’s the headline – “Bill Prady: Let’s All Stop Giving Gifts”
BP: Let’s all stop. Enough already.

No more presents. Who needs them? Looking towards to the new season, what can you tease about what’s coming up? There’s going to be fallout from Penny and Raj’s night together, I’d imagine.
BP: There’s going to be fallout from Penny and Raj. It will get dealt with right away in a fashion that I believe the audience will find satisfying.

And you teased at Comic-Con that people who liked it and people who didn’t like it would be both satisfied with the outcome…
BP: That’s what we hope. That’s the intention.

So it’s not going to be a dream, right?
BP: No. Oh, no, no. No. The things that happened, happened.

You have me wondering how that is going to be possible! Will this impact the group dynamic going forward?
BP: I don’t think events like that can occur without an impact for people in general. They don’t in the real world.

I kind of want to see a Raj and Leonard fistfight.
BP: That is certainly among the possibilities of things that could happen.

Are you seeing Penny and Leonard as a destined couple? Is that a will they/won’t they couple you plan on playing out for the foreseeable future?
BP: Well, as I said before, the moment you tie yourself to inevitabilities, the moment you hamstring yourself in the storytelling. So I have a feeling toward Leonard and Penny, the same as I would have if I knew them in real life. Do they have the potential for being together? I would say absolutely. They certainly do.

They’re fascinating, because like so many of the potential couplings on TV, on paper, these two don’t seem like they should work out together. But somehow they do.
BP: Yeah, but I think one of the things is they met each other in the wrong time in each of their lives, in terms of emotional development. So I think they both have stuff to do with that. So we’ll see.

Last season, Amy, Priya and Bernadette were brought into the series in a significant way. Was there any debate for the writers about whether there should be more females added to the core group?
BP: No. Whenever we bring a character on, with the exception of those situations where you couldn’t see the character again because of the nature of the story, we always say, “That’s someone we could see again.” When we get that moment, a click, that there’s a written character, and their performance works well with it, we say, “That was a fun person. Let’s see them again.” Whether it’s Stuart in the comic book store or Penny’s ex-boyfriend, Zack, these are people who are in their world that show up.

One of the things that I liked was when Sheldon was trying to hang out with a different bunch of guys, who did he reach out to? Well, he doesn’t know a lot of people, so there’s Penny’s ex-boyfriend Zack.

Did you expect the fans to accept the girls’ dynamic as fast as they did? I don’t recall seeing many complaints about it, which is rare.
BP: Well, I think the natural thing that happens when there are more women in the show is there are those situations where you say, “Oh, Penny will talk to female friends, not male friends, here.” And so you’re always saying, who would this character talk to about that? And there will now be times where she has a new friend and she can now talk to her.

Are Sheldon and Amy going to continue their quasi-relationship this season?
BP: I think they continue to find each other oddly satisfying. Yes, it’s a very weird relationship isn’t it? It seems to work for them.

Yeah, it’s something I think a lot of viewers didn’t realize they wanted until it happened because Sheldon is always very much…Sheldon. He was never anyone I personally needed to see paired up with someone, and yet it works.
BP: I don’t think we’ve changed Sheldon, we’ve just found somebody he enjoys.

His female counterpart.
BP: There you go.

You’ve obviously had some big guest stars in the past. Is there anyone you have your eye on that you haven’t been able to get yet?
BP: These things sort of happen as they happen. I like when they’re quirky. But there’s no plan right now.

Is there any chance that Wil Wheaton will return in the first episodes back?
BP: We might see Wil. I think that’s a possibility.

Any ideas of what he would be doing?
BP: He would be evil, because he’s evil. But I don’t know. I think there’s a chance.

How far have you figured out into the season now?
BP: We’ve figured it out about a quarter of it.

Oh, wow, you’re pretty far along! Anything you’re particularly excited about?
BP: I love the way we start the season. There are a couple of things I think I’m looking forward to filming.

What hopes do you have for this season?
BP: I hope that everybody likes it a lot and the people that didn’t know about it find it and like it a lot and the people who liked it a lot, like it even more.

Well, the show is going into syndication this September…
BP: I hope those people like it a lot, too.

THE BIG BANG THEORY’s season premiere is September 22nd at 8 PM on CBS. Will you be tuning in?

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