One of the greatest shows of our time has recently kicked off its milestone 10th season. I am talking about CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, which over the years has only gotten better and better. It has gone from an offbeat group of five main characters to an even more offbeat group of seven main characters, four of whom are married to each other. This 10th season premiere sees one of those couples, Penny and Leonard, getting married in front of their friends and families, which proves to be a pretty funny time. It only makes sense that the people who raised those two are quite quirky themselves. All together, the group of friends and the wedding guests definitely make the premiere a good laugh.
But as lighthearted as this show is, a lot of hard work goes into making it something we can all kick back and relax to, a show that has become as popular as Friends was 20 years ago for its own 10 seasons (I am thinking The Big Bang Theory will even go longer than that!). The cast, crew, and all of their time together behind the scenes make for some interesting trivia, if you love this show. I have found 12 fun facts I bet you didn’t know about this season premiere, which is possibly the most important one yet. I mean, Leonard and Penny are the two biggest characters of all, in a show made up primarily of only main characters. When they get hitched, that is big.
Want to know some of these fun facts about your favorite sitcom? Read on to find out what they are, and learn a little something you might not have known about The Big Bang Theory, the wedding, and your favorite band of lovable geeks.
12. The First-Ever Appearance Of Penny’s Mother and Brother
It may come as a bit of a shock, but in all 10 seasons, the 10th season premiere is the first and only time we have seen Penny’s mother and brother. I did not think that was true at first, but then I thought back and realized that yes, in fact, it is. It is strange how a staple of the show since day one, such as Penny, could even be on a show for 10 seasons without her family ever being seen. A person’s mother and siblings are part of who they are, and possibly the reason they are who they are. In these 10 seasons, we have met all of the original characters’ parents: Sheldon’s mother, Leonard’s mother, Raj’s parents when he Skypes with them, and even Howard’s mother. You can never see her, but she was a definite presence in several episodes, a presence no one will soon forget with that Boston-like accent always nagging Howard from the other room. Well, in this wedding episode, we finally get to meet Penny’s anxiety-ridden mother, played by Katey Sagal, and her druggie brother, played by 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer (whom I personally always remember first as the guy trying to avoid sex with his new wife in Forgetting Sarah Marshall).
11. 2nd Consecutive Season Beginning With Their Marriage
Both seasons nine and 10 have opened with Penny and Leonard getting married. In season nine, they eloped to Vegas, and by season 10, they were ready for a more formal ceremony and celebration, one that would include their family and friends. And I am glad they did, because what is better than a wedding episode? First it was Howard and Bernadette, then Penny and Leonard, and now Penny and Leonard again. And in my opinion, starting a season off with a wedding is much better than ending it with one, like some shows do. This is because it is a great, fun way to kick off the new season and gives opportunities to weave in storylines. But also, if you choose to end a season with the wedding of two major characters, it is a little too “clean” of an ending; viewers need more of a cliffhanger than a nicely tied-up ending, especially if the series is to continue for another season, which obviously, The Big Bang Theory will.
10. Connection To Breaking Bad
Who would have thought that a silly, fun sitcom like The Big Bang Theory could be connected in any way to a dark drama like Breaking Bad? But, oh it can! The connection lies with actor Dean Norris, who as we know played Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston’s) brother-in-law and DEA agent Hank Schrader on Breaking Bad. Well, now he is the intimidating Air Force Officer Captain Williams on The Big Bang Theory. Captain Williams is interested in acquiring Howard and Leonard’s quantum gyroscope for military purposes. I can totally see Dean Norris in a role like this, since he is known for portraying hard-headed, stubborn, strong male roles, such as his portrayal of Big Jim Rennie in Under the Dome. It has been confirmed that his Captain Williams character will have a multi-episode story arc in the current season of The Big Bang Theory.
9. The 2nd Series Katey & Kaley Play Mother & Daughter
The Big Bang Theory season 10 premiere is actually the second time that Katey Sagal will play Kaley Cuoco’s mother. The first time was in the show 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenaged Daughter (2002). And the two women do share a bond similar to one that a real-life mother and daughter would share, not only because of these two shows. Sadly, during 8 Simple Rules, the television family’s patriarch, John Ritter, passed away unexpectedly. Kaley says of her two-time television mom, “We went through a traumatic life change together. She was unbelievable.” The show continued on without John, and working on it together sans their TV dad and husband brought Katey and Kaley close. I must say, though, as cool as their real-life bond is, they sure do not look anything alike! Kaley admits she had never even thought of Katey possibly portraying Penny’s mother, but she is glad it worked out that way.
8. The Stars Have Been In A Collective 4,000 Episodes
The season 10 premiere has a crazy list of talented guest stars, including Laurie Metcalf, Katey Sagal, Jack McBrayer, Keith Carradine, Judd Hirsch, Christine Baranski, Dean Norris, etc. The list goes on. Showrunner Steve Molaro said of the premiere episode, “”The entire cast started to [calculate] the total number of TV episodes they have all been a part of, and it was over 4,000.” Wow, that is a ton! Melissa Rauch, who is not a guest star but a series regular who plays Howard’s pregnant wife Bernadette said, “Everywhere you look, it’s TV royalty.” I’ll say! Some of the collective 4,000 episodes they speak of belong to shows like The Middle, The Good Wife, The Goldbergs, Madam Secretary, Fargo, Roseanne, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Weeds, The Mentalist, Ugly Betty, and dozens more. It must be an honor for them all to work in such a big group of talent, and it is kind of cool that they all worked on an episode of such (relative) importance like Leonard and Penny’s wedding.
7. And That Cast Had A Blast
This cast is good at more than just acting, because several media outlets claimed that filming this premiere episode was tons of fun. I guess when you put a bunch of comedians and other actors used to doing comedy together, that makes sense. The Big Bang Theory regulars (which I number at seven, including the four nerds and their three lovely ladies) are of course experts at having a good time together, given the nature of the show and that they are all buddies having to work together so much of the time, and for so many years now. But throw in people like Jack McBrayer and Christine Baranski- now that’s sure to be a hell of a time. It would be like one big on-set party. Yes, it is work to them, but that is the kind of job I want! Steve Molaro (the showrunner) said that Johnny Galecki (who plays the groom, Leonard) texted him more than once to say what a blast they were all having together, and that they were “simply having the greatest time.” Now, I know it is not your typical nine-to-five type job, but that is one post-work happy hour I would love to join!
6. Penny Is Always Naked…
And what I mean by that is that, as of the wedding day, three of the four original nerds (Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj), have all seen Penny naked; the only exception is Howard. This is funny because Howard is the one constantly making sexual jokes with her and flirting with her, but he disgusts her and never gets anywhere. When Leonard and Penny get married, he has obviously seen her naked a multitude of times. Once way back when, Sheldon helped Penny to the hospital after she fell in the shower. And Raj? Well, remember a few seasons ago when he and Penny had that kind-of one-night stand? Yeah, so poor Penny practically lives with all these dudes who have seen her goods. Plus one dude who desperately wants to, and doesn’t bother to hide that fact. And for that matter, poor Leonard, whose friends have all seen his new wife naked (and/or slept with her).
5. The World’s Highest-Paid TV Actors
From 2014-2017, three of the main characters from The Big Bang Theory came out on top as the highest-paid actors on television. That is quite impressive, especially since they are all in one show. Can you guess who they are? If you guessed Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, and Kaley Cuoco, you would be correct. They each make one million dollars per episode. Not too far behind them are Kunal Nayyar (Raj) and Simon Helberg (Howard) at a cool $750,000 each, per episode. Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon Cooper, actually now outranks Ashton Kutcher, who had the number one spot for his work on Two and a Half Men. As far as the females go, Kaley Cuoco is tied for number one in the world with Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara. So while you were watching the cutesy, snarky little ceremony in what looked like some kind of botanical garden, most of those actors (well, the five from the original gang) were making the big bucks. Like insanely big bucks.
4. Penny Is Still Last-Nameless
After 10 damn seasons, you would think one of the main characters of the show would have a full name. After all, all the other characters do, even the newer ones, like Amy Farrah Fowler (played by Mayim Bialik). And I suppose now Penny does have a last name, Hofstadter, and has since she first married Leonard at the start of season nine. But her maiden name is still unknown, even after this wedding episode when we meet her kooky family. I wonder why the writers and producers chose to give full names to all the other characters and not her. Did they do it on purpose or did it just sort of happen that way and they decided to leave her nameless? Co-creator Bill Prady said her surname will be revealed eventually (but if not at her second wedding for goodness sake, then when?) but showrunner Steve Molaro said the opposite. She was Penny Johnson for a brief time while unknowingly married to her ex-boyfriend Zack Johnson, but that marriage was annulled. I guess someday we will find out the answer behind this mystery of sorts.
3. Another Potential Romance
Obviously, this episode is all about Penny and Leonard on their wedding day. But more is going on than meets the eye in this episode. The stage is being set for two of the guest stars to potentially fall in love down the line, as well. It is creating the opportunity for more storylines, and with that, of course, more snarky jokes and witty banter. In the future, the victims of said jokes and banter could be Alfred and Mary, who are Leonard’s father and Sheldon’s mother. The two left the pre-wedding dinner together at the end of season nine, and were assumed to be doing “unspeakable” (according to Sheldon) things that night. Laurie Metcalf, who plays Mary Cooper, says of the blossoming relationship, “I hope Alfred and I are able to continue to see each other. I think we’re the only ones who are pleased about that.” Sounds like maybe they get along quite well off-set, too!
In addition to that previous point, Steve Molaro also says that now that Penny’s family, namely her mother and brother (Katey Sagal and Jack McBrayer) are part of The Big Bang Theory family, they would love to have them back for another episode in the near future. Molaro hopes that will be a “less crowded” episode. He says, “Now that they are officially members of the Big Bang family, we would love to have them come back so we can service them with more time and energy than we could in the premiere.” But really, a wedding episode of any kind (unless the couple is eloping…) will require more guest stars to play the family, friends, and other guests at the ceremony. I for one am happy about this news, because those two are always funny, and especially so playing the wacko, so-called “white-trash” family of the sarcastic but lovable Penny. There are also plenty of other storylines that will unfold in season 10, particularly the arrival of Bernadette and Howard’s baby, so let’s all stay tuned!
1. Filming Was All Over The Place
This season things got off to a bit of a different kind of start than usual. When the cast and crew reunited for the start of production, they didn’t tape the season premiere first. “Because of scheduling issues with the many insanely wonderful actors in the premiere [episode], we ended up shooting the premiere in the third week of production,” reveals Molaro. So they shot what we see as chronological scenes out of order, and it sounds like the very first thing, the wedding, was shot very far into it! It must be difficult to coordinate schedules of not only the seven main characters, but all of those guest stars as well. Especially because they all have to be in the wedding scene together, so they all have to be there at the same time. Luckily, it seems as if everything worked out, and that many of those awesome guest stars will be back in future episodes (just not together).