Lenny, Penny and Kenny.
In addition to his work on Dharma and Greg and Gilmore Girls, co-creator and former computer programmer Bill Prady got his start with Jim Henson Productions and is in love with many of the geeky properties celebrated on the show. The show's original working title was Lenny, Penny and Kenny. CBS rejected the original pilot, featuring a rude Penny, but saw enough potential to commission a second pilot.
She blinded me with science.
Yes, there were two pilots made for The Big Bang Theory. Before the Barenaked Ladies were involved, producers chose the Thomas Dolby hit "She Blinded Me with Science" as the show's theme music. In addition to penning the '80s hit, Dolby worked on records by Foreigner and Def Leppard and the Howard the Duck movie.
'The History of Everything' was almost acoustic.
Impressed by a Barenaked Ladies song about cosmological theory, The Big Bang Theory producers approached lead singer Ed Robertson about writing the show's theme. "The History of Everything" was originally twice as long. The show was ready to roll with the original acoustic version Robertson delivered, but the singer insisted on including the rest of his band. Producers liked the electric version even more.
The Andy Griffith Connection.
The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Andy Griffith Show are not only two of the most important shows ever on television. They also shared an Executive Producer. His name? Sheldon Leonard. That's right, two of the main characters on The Big Bang Theory were named in tribute to the legendary writer, director, actor, and producer.
The Roseanne connection.
When The Big Bang Theory premiered in September 2007, most viewers instantly recognized Johnny Galecki from the massively popular sitcom Roseanne, which ended its original nine season run a decade before. The Big Bang Theory co-creator Chuck Lorre was a writer and producer on Roseanne in the early '90s. He cast Roseanne vets Laurie Metcalf and Sara Gilbert on The Big Bang Theory and brought some behind-the-scenes people along as well, including costume designer Mary T. Quigley.
In the first season of The Big Bang Theory, as the guys talk about potential replacements for Sheldon, Raj says, "You know who's apparently very smart is the girl who played TV's Blossom. She got a PhD in neuroscience or something." As most fans know, Mayim Bialik does, in fact, have a PhD in neuroscience, just like the character that was eventually created for her. What a lot of fans may not know, however, is that MY-UM and Johnny Galecki shared their first ever stage kiss, when they were 14 years old, on an episode of Blossom. In a 2016 Conan appearance with the Big Bang Theory cast, Mayim said it may have even been her first kiss, period. After some prodding from their friends, the pair kissed again right there.
Shedlon's mood rings.
Sheldon often represents for DC Comics heroes like the Flash and Green Lantern. The CW's Arrowverse has returned the favor, with Cisco from The Flash sometimes demonstrating his love of The Big Bang Theory. There's an even deeper layer of fandom going on with Sheldon's Green Lantern shirts. In the comics, different emotions are represented by the different colors of lanterns and their corresponding rings. Red represents rage, blue means hope, and so forth. Sheldon's different Green Lantern t-shirts often correspond with the character's mood.
Jim Parsons doesn't know Doctor Who.
Yeah, that Green Lantern stuff may be some deep Comic Con type knowledge, but if you run into Jim Parsons, don't expect him to opine at length about different fandoms, anymore than he would kick the science about, you know, science. As he confessed to Time Magazine: "I've never seen Star Trek. I don't know Doctor Who."
Bazinga the Bee.
Scientists have named new discoveries after Sheldon's favorite word more than once. Our favorite here at TVweb is the euglossa Bazinga, a bee researchers say "tricked" them for some time with its similarity to another bee species. Hence, naming it after Sheldon's favorite thing to say seemed appropriate. The pharse originated with onset prankster and writer Stephen Engel, as a substitute for "gotcha."
We can thank Twitter for Evil Will Wheaton.
As much as we all complain about the perils of Twitter, it certainly isn't all bad. In fact, we can thank the micro-blogging social media platform for the invention of Evil Wil Wheaton. It was the actor, comedian, and real-life fan's tweets in support of The Big Bang Theory that caught the show's attention. Soon, Wheaton was on the show as an evil version of himself, rival, frenemy, and ally to Sheldon. Wil's house number in show, 1701, is a reference to the USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D, the 24th-century starship of Star Trek: The Next Generation often occupied by Ensign Wesley Crusher.