The Big Bang Theory: What there is to know about the cast

The small screen is filled with shows that are binge-worthy. However, seldom do shows last as long or have such a following as The Big Bang Theory. The show has become a practical cult television classic at this point. During the show’s 12 seasons on the air, the world has gotten to know the characters as if they were their best friends (or mortal enemies, depending on your vibe). The stars of the show have gone from relative anonymity to full-blown celebrity, raking in a seriously high payday per episode. The show even sparked a spinoff thanks for the incredibly addictive character of Sheldon Cooper. The show is taped in front of a live studio audience like many sitcoms are; but what makes The Big Bang Theory different is the cast’s interaction with the audience when the cameras are not rolling. We thought we would do the world a service and gather some unknown facts about the cast of this epic show.

Producers wanted Johnny to play Sheldon

At the time of the show’s start, Johnny Galecki was the most well-known castmate. As a result, producers wanted Johnny to play the role of Sheldon Cooper. When Galecki read the script, however, he knew he would be better suited to play the role of the other roommate, Leonard, leaving the role of Sheldon open for grabs.

Enter Jim Parsons and his incredible, award-winning portrayal of Sheldon Cooper. The world would have been a far different place if those characters were switched.

Penny was an afterthought

The original pilot of The Big Bang Theory told a completely different story than what we ended up getting. The first pilot of the show had Sheldon and Leonard being introduced to a girl named Katie who landed on their doorstep after being thrown out by her boyfriend, leaving her homeless.

Audiences did not like how Katie was treating the guys, so the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, used his personal funds to pay for a second pilot, introducing the adorable neighbor, Penny. The rest, as they say, is history! We could not be more relieved that this is the path the show took.

Raj was totally different

Much like Penny almost not making it onto the show, Raj and Howard were also not in the original pilot that thankfully never ended up being a part of the show. Originally, Sheldon and Leonard had a female friend named Gilda as their third sidekick. When that was scratched, two new characters were born – Howard and Rajesh.

Due to the fact that the creators were not rushed in the development of these two, they decided to write into the show Kunal Nayyar’s origins, making Raj from India rather than an Indian-American born man. Kunal as Raj was a stroke of genius.

Simon almost didn’t play Howard

Simon Helberg, who played the role of Howard Wolowitz, did not originally want to play the role of Howard. Simon had played nerd roles in the past and did not want to be thought of as only capable of such feats and he thought about this opportunity until friends of his told him he had to take the role.

His own nearest and dearest had a feeling about this show as a whole and this character in particular, they knew it was going to change his life, and it absolutely did. Can you imagine The Big Bang Theory without Howard? We sure cannot.

Mayim Bialik is an actual Neuroscientist

Mayim plays the role of Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler, also known as Sheldon Cooper’s eventual romantic endeavor. What most people don’t know is that while Mayim plays a neuroscientist on the show, she is actually one in real life too! The actress holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and uses her knowledge for the show which makes it that much more authentic.

Her background was also featured on the show ‘Til Death, where she plays a therapist trying to help the main character overcome his delusions.

Bernadette almost didn’t do the voice

Actress Melissa Rauch, who played the role of Bernadette, initially used her regular voice on the show. Bernadette was introduced during the third season of the show and was only meant to be a guest appearance.

During her guest appearance, Rauch used her normal voice, but when producers wanted her back and a regular, she decided to use her over the top squicky voice for the duration. The voice is a spin of her mother’s Jersey high pitched vocals.

Jim Parsons hates being driven

For those of you who have watched the show, you know that Sheldon Cooper needs to be driven around anywhere he wants to venture to as he does not drive and refuses to. In real life, however, actor Jim Parsons does not allow anyone else but him to drive as he suffers from severe motion sickness in vehicles.

Being the driver prevents Parsons from getting nauseated as he is focusing on the road and that seems to help.

Mayim and Johnny go way back

Many years before The Big Bang Theory, Mayim Bialik and Johnny Galecki were on their own respected shows – Blossom and Roseanne, respectively. However, what many people miss is that Johnny was actually also on Blossom! Johnny played the role of Jason, which was a love interest of Mayim’s during the episode.

It was during that episode that the two shared an on-screen kiss – the very first one for both of them on air. Talk about a small world.

Penny hid a broken leg by being a bartender

Remember when Penny got a job at the Cheesecake Factory and essentially stood behind the bar for an entire season? The reason for that was to hide actress Kaley Cuoco’s very real broken leg. Cuoco is an avid horseback rider when not playing Penny.

During one of her jaunts with her horse, she was thrown to the ground, breaking her leg as a result. There was no real way to write that into the show, so it was just hidden.

Simon is far more athletic off the show

Howard Wolowitz is the farthest thing from athletic that the show could muster. However, Simon Helberg is far more athletic than Howard. When Simon was just 10 years old he earned a black belt in karate!

The closest we saw to an athletic Howard was when he was about to throw down with Raj in a wrestling competition, only to pull muscles and run away in defeat. Howard did grow into more of a man on the show, but never an athlete.

Sara Gilbert found her truth while dating Johnny

Sara Gilbert played the role of fellow scientist and love interest of Leonard’s, Leslie Winkle back in season two. While the two actors were also on the show Roseanne together, playing a romantic couple, it was when the two were on The Big Bang Theory that they also got together in real life.

It was during the time that they were dating that Sara discovered that she was part of the LGBTQ community. Johnny was, of course, supportive as ever.

Stuart and his real-life comic store

Actor Kevin Sussman who played the role of strange yet lovable Stuart joined the show in season 2. He was a recurring guest until season 6 when he became an official cast member.

What’s really interesting is that prior to working full-time on the show, he actually worked at a comic store for several years. This is another case of how the characters and their real-life counterparts share more than a storyline – what a world.

Jim and Johnny’s shared tragedies

Jim and Johnny share more than their lives on the show as Sheldon and Leonard – their pasts are eerily similar in one specific way. The two men both lost their respective fathers to automotive accidents.

Jim lost his dad, who owned a plumbing supply business, in a car accident a couple of years prior to landing his role as Sheldon. Johnny lost his dad, who was an Officer for the United States Air Force when he was just 16 years of age.

Johnny isn’t wearing lenses in his glasses

Johnny Galecki’s “costume” for playing Leonard is his thick-framed glasses. However, while you may not have noticed, the lenses are missing from the glasses.

The reason for the lenses being taken out has more to do with logistics during filming and because Leonard was looking at a much taller Sheldon, the camera would be visible in his lense, essentially ruining the experience for the audience at home. So, there are glasses but there are no lenses within.

Penny and Kaley have different careers

On the show, Penny is an aspiring actress who has a hard time landing gigs so she works the odd job to make money. In real life, Kaley has been a full-time actress for many years. Kaley started her career in a commercial when she was just five.

She continued acting thereafter in shows like 8 Simple Rules, and Charmed. She has been in television roles, as well as films, such as The Wedding Ringer, and Burning Bodhi.

Emily the Dermatologist and Laura Spencer share a tattoo

In season 9, Raj finally landed himself a girlfriend in Dermatologist Emily, played by Laura Spencer. Emily had an obsession and fascination with all things horror and terrifying (much to Raj’s dismay).

The real life connection here lies in the fact that Emily on the show had a tattoo of the ragdoll from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Laura then followed that up with a photo on Twitter showing off the tattoo in her downtime. Did she really have the tattoo too?

Honoring Carol Ann Susi (AKA Mrs. Wolowitz)

Actress Carol Ann Susi was on the show in a different way. She played the voice of Mrs. Wolowitz. We always heard her yet never saw her. In 2014, Carol passed away after a battle with cancer.

As a result, the creators wrote her off the show as Mrs. Wolowitz also passing away and honored her memory by having an image of her placed on Sheldon and Leonard’s fridge in their apartment. That was one of the more somber episodes on the show.