Everything That Happened Behind the Scenes at The Big Bang Theory's 200th Episode
It’s rare for a sitcom to run for 100 episodes. Even rarer is one that crosses the 200 mark. But to reach 200 episodes and still be at the top of its game creatively? That’s essentially the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack. And yet, The Big Bang Theory has done just that, while drawing upwards of 20 million viewers each week.
At the Emmy-nominated series’ 200th celebration over the weekend, it could not have been more obvious how appreciative the cast is of the show’s success and their mutual respect for one another. Though they often commented on how it felt like no time had passed since the pilot, they all agreed on one major difference from day one (aside from their salaries): How well-oiled of a machine the series has become. Most sitcoms take at least five or six hours to film on tape night; The Big Bang Theory often finishes in three. Scenes are rarely done more than twice, and the actors seldom mess up their lines. The writing is so sharp that aside from the occasional tweak of a joke, what is on the page ends up on the screen.
Still, there are plenty of behind-the-scenes antics that we’re all unaware of (who knew that Jim Parsons can quote Friends‘ Phoebe Buffay’s most famous lines?), which is why we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play trivia and superlatives when we got them all together. And after all these years, there are still plenty of surprises, like… you know… the answer to which Big Bang character the cast would most like to have a one-night stand with. Take a look!
Pretty hysterical, right? And, we’re not done! We were also at the series’ 200th episode tape night a few weeks back and documented everything that happened over the course of the evening. Congratulations, you guys, and here’s to at least 100 more!
200th Episode Tape Night: February 9, 2016
6:30 P.M. After the cast was introduced, everyone embraced each other with hugs before taping began. Some scenes were filmed the night before, but the bulk of the episode was shot on this particular evening.
6:31 P.M. The on-set makeup team applied powder to Jim Parson’s forehead, while Mayim Bialik got her hair styled one last time before the camera rolled.
6:34 P.M. Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, and Mayim Bialik shot the opening scene on the stairs, and their characters suggest dining at the Cheesecake Factory. The first scene was done in two takes before the hallway was re-dressed to show the third floor from the fourth.
6:39 P.M. The audience burst into laughter when Sheldon runs away when Amy mentions celebrating his birthday. Spotted off to the side of the apartment: all of Sheldon’s birthday gifts, expertly wrapped.
6:45 P.M. The gang walked back into Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment hoping to find Sheldon—the audience freaked when Jim Parsons leapt up from behind the couch.
6:46 P.M. Jim Parsons missed a line while talking birthday parties and said, “Nope, [that’s not it]. Help me!”
6:49 P.M. During a break in the action, music played throughout the studio and Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco jumped up and down.
6:53 P.M. Producers discussed which lines in the script to cut, while Jim Parsons paced as he went over his own.
7:00 P.M. Director Mark Cendrowski gave notes to Parsons, Galecki, Cuoco, and Bialik. Cendrowski is not only directing the 200th, but he also directed the premiere episode of Fuller House, which debuts on Netflix at midnight!
7:01 P.M. Kaley Cuoco applied lipgloss during a break in the action and tousled her hair before the scene started shooting.
7:03 P.M. Writers played around with lines related to Sheldon’s porcelain skin. One audience member is overhead saying, “I liked the other line better.”
7:07 P.M. The scene was completed, and production moved to the comic book store.
7:10 P.M. We paid a visit to crafts services, which has a Mardi Gras theme going on. Sara Gilbert spotted us backstage and let us in on the fact that she shot the bulk of her scenes the night before, so this night was a relatively easy workday. Kaley Cuoco and WIl Wheaton were also spotted backstage, where there were jumbo shrimp, oysters, and plenty of coffee to keep everyone energized.
7:26 P.M. Parenthood‘s Jason Ritter was spotted backstage watching filming.
7:36 P.M. As the audience watched a scene that was filmed the night before, Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik chatted as they headed back to their dressing rooms on the second floor level of Stage 26. Rauch later told us that her husband comes to every taping and hangs out in her dressing room (where they have tupperware parties!).
7:55 P.M. The audience got its first glimpse of Adam West playing himself in the car scenes that taped the night before.
8:07 P.M. Mayim Bialik spotted us by the director’s chair and rushed over for a quick hug before her next scene.
8:11 P.M. Sheldon asked Amy if she’s having a stroke, and the audience howled with laugher. When Cendrowski yelled cut, Parsons let out a charismatic, “Ahhh!”
8:17 P.M. The audience loved it when Adam West said, “Happy Birthday, Sherman!”
8:27 P.M. West was introduced on stage for the first time and the audience erupted into massive applause.
8:32 P.M. Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco greeted the audience. Cuoco’s voice broke as she admitted that she’s “been on the verge of tears all night.” She reiterated to the audience how much doing The Big Bang Theory means to her: “We want to be here for many more seasons.”
8:37 P.M. Adam West sat next to us backstage as he watched the scene with Penny and Sheldon in the bathroom. He later cracked up when Sheldon said, “Everyone will think I’m weird,” while talking to Penny on the edge of the bathtub.
8:51 P.M. John Ross Bowie (Kripke) and Wil Wheaton watched the toast scene from the monitors backstage. Upon hearing the line, “There’s a cougar on the loose,” Wheaton looked up to Bowie and started to crack up.
8:53 P.M. The audience gasped as Stephen Hawking appeared on Amy’s computer screen to wish Sheldon a happy birthday. It was one of the biggest secrets of the night, and a bit of guest-casting that wasn’t previously announced.
8:58 P.M. Kunal Nayyar waved to Mayim Bialik’s guests sitting in the audience.
8:59 P.M. Audience members were overhead talking about how much The Big Bang Theory has meant to them.
9:02 P.M. Spotted backstage: Four versions of Sheldon’s birthday cake, all frosted in pink.
9:04 P.M. The cast huddled as executive producer Steve Molaro and director Mark Cendrowski gave notes on the last scene.
9:05 P.M. Kaley Cuoco embraced Jim Parsons to practice how they’ll do the hugging scene between Penny and Sheldon. It was a sweet moment between the two actors.
9:15 P.M. That’s a wrap! Hugs and high-fives lasted a little longer this time as opposed to other episodes, and a champagne toast was immediately called for.
9:20 P.M. Melissa Rauch’s adorable parents visited their daughter on stage and couldn’t have been more excited to celebrate with her. Later, Kunal Nayyar came over to chat with them.
9:25 P.M. The cast and crew posed with the 200th clapper in Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment.
9:30 P.M. Kaley Cuoco celebrated with friends on set, while Chuck Lorre chatted with guests. When we later meet up with the creator, he admitted that the original pilot of Big Bang was a much darker comedy than what it obviously ended up being.
9:40 P.M. The on-set celebration was still going strong, as everyone marveled at the amazing achievement that 200 episodes is.
Coming tomorrow, the executive producers of The Big Bang Theory will answer your most burning questions, including whether we can ever expect to find out Penny’s maiden name!
Photos: Jessica Radloff; Monty Brinton/CBS