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  • It takes a show a while to get the kinks out, and The Big Bang Theory is no exception. Here

  • are all the weird things you might not have realized about the first episode of The Big

  • Bang Theory.

  • The first scene of the first episode of The Big Bang Theory begins with a setting never

  • seen on the series again and broaching a topic never that's never explored further. Concerned

  • about growing old before passing on their science genius genes, Sheldon and Leonard

  • visit a sperm bank, one that only accepts the genetic material of the highly intelligent

  • and exceptional. While that's very much in character with Sheldon's outspoken vanity

  • and pride in his superior intellect, it clashes mightily with how he's depicted for most of

  • the rest of the series, which is someone averse to any and all kinds of sexual and physical

  • behavior. It's a little weird to see the almost always libido-free Sheldon openly talk about

  • and be open to providing a sample at a sperm bank. It's even stranger later in the episode,

  • when the famously awkward Sheldon considers the possibility of coupling up with Penny.

  • In the same way that Sheldon is more of a red-blooded sexual being than he'd wind up

  • being for most of The Big Bang Theory, Penny isn't quite right at the beginning of the

  • show. She moves in across the hall from Leonard and Sheldon, and the former is smitten with

  • her after their first meeting. Sure, she's conventionally attractive, but Penny is also

  • very likable. She's friendly, she's bubbly, and she's curious about her new building-mates.

  • This isn't the Penny that Kaley Cuoco would play later on. Before long, Penny would get

  • a lot less lively and a lot more cynical. Perhaps hanging out with all those fussy,

  • exhausting, high-maintenance nerds day in and day out killed her spirit, along with

  • that tiring job as a chain restaurant waitress and a demoralizing, ultimately failed career

  • as an actress.

  • Plus, Penny defies the stereotypical dumb blonde archetype she's supposed to embody

  • by revealing in the pilot that she's written a screenplay. The idea of Penny's potential

  • double-threat as a performer and a writer is never mentioned again, and her screenwriting

  • talents were quickly abandoned.

  • Maybe the most noticeable thing about the first episode of The Big Bang Theory isn't

  • what's there but what isn't there...or rather who isn't. Nearly half of the show's core,

  • long-term cast members weren't yet a part of the series. Kevin Sussman didn't make his

  • first appearance as sad-sack comic store owner Stuart until the end of season two, Melissa

  • Rauch didn't join the series as microbiologist Bernadette Rostenkowski until the start of

  • season three, and Mayim Bialik didn't portray neurologist Amy Farrah Fowler until the end

  • of season three. That means none of them show up or even merit a mention in the first episode

  • of The Big Bang Theory.

  • That gives the episode a sparse feel. It's just really quiet and simple with only five

  • main characters. Plus, after so many episodes about romantic entanglements, Sheldon and

  • Amy, Howard and Bernadette, Leonard and Penny, it's the rare episode of The Big Bang Theory

  • that isn't entirely about a couple.

  • The Big Bang Theory could be characterized as a quick-moving, rapid-fire show. The setups

  • and punchlines come at the viewer fast, as do scene changes with that distinctive transitional

  • graphic of an atomic model accompanied by a "whoosh" sound effect. Plus, the average

  • Big Bang episode incorporates a lot of scenes at several locations, generally including

  • the main apartment set, the one across the hall, some CalTech offices, the cafeteria,

  • Howard and Bernadette's house, and a few other spots.

  • However, that format and its fast flow weren't in place in the first episode. The pilot feels

  • more like a play, clearly separated into three acts and only a handful of scenes, and they're

  • all about as long as a scene can be in a half-hour sitcom. The episode begins with a pre-theme

  • song "cold open" that stretches to a whopping six-minute scene. After that, it's on to the

  • guys' apartment, where the vast majority of the episode takes place.

  • Based on his behavior in the first episode of The Big Bang Theory, it's hard to get a

  • handle on Raj Koothrappali. No trace of his future character arcs are present, not his

  • desire for a grand and epic romance, nor his slow acceptance of his own fate and his move

  • away from dependence on his wealthy parents. That's because Raj, a main character in most

  • episodes of The Big Bang Theory, has about two lines in the show's pilot episode.

  • "Wait'll you see this."

  • "It's fantastic, unbelievable!"

  • This is explained away with his early quirk of being too shy to talk to women without

  • the aid of alcoholic beverages, but still, it's odd and surprising that he barely talks.

  • Raj even dresses differently, wearing a baseball cap with his regular nerdy outfit.

  • Although many ingredients that would make The Big Bang Theory such a resounding, long-running

  • success weren't yet present in the show's first episode, the writers did show some foresight.

  • Like other situation comedies about groups of young friends, The Big Bang Theory is about

  • a social group that forms a de facto family, and it evoked that idea week after week by

  • having the whole gang gathering to eat together, like a family dinner. It was a powerful statement,

  • and the cast eating takeout with one another became one of the definitive, enduring images

  • of The Big Bang Theory over the years. It was also the very last scene of the very last

  • episode of the series, creating a parallel with the first episode, where Sheldon and

  • Leonard invited Penny into their family by asking her to eat with them.

  • "Oh, you're inviting me over to eat?"

  • "Uh, yes."

  • "Oh, that's so nice! I'd love to."

  • Plus, in the pilot episode, Leonard watches Penny walk away, and then he proclaims they

  • will one day have babies that, quote, "will be smart and beautiful" thanks to their meshed

  • genes. In the finale, married Penny and Leonard learn they've got a baby on the way. Though

  • Sheldon mocked Leonard for this declaration in the pilot, he uses his Nobel Prize acceptance

  • speech in the finale to note that his friend was right.

  • "He said to me that their babies would be smart and beautiful. And now that they're

  • expecting, I have no doubt that that will be the case."

  • Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite

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  • miss a single one.

It takes a show a while to get the kinks out, and The Big Bang Theory is no exception. Here

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Things You Never Noticed In The Pilot Of The Big Bang Theory

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    Julianne Sung posted on 2021/08/19
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