‘The Big Bang Theory’ was not supposed to be as we know it today? Confused? Well, Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady came up with a different pilot episode for the show initially.
However, it was left unaired. Digging deep into the hows and whys of the same, we’ve uncovered the story behind the unaired pilot of ‘The Big Bang Theory’.
- The unaired pilot of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ exposed.
- Imagining the show without Penny.
- Good riddance to the initial plans.
‘The Big Bang Theory’ revolves around the story of five characters who, by fate, become a gang of nerds, and the rest is history: Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Raj (Kunal Nayyar), Howard (Simon Helberg), and Leonard (Johnny Galecki). The guys are unapologetically geeky and nerd it out on science like it’s the end of the world.
Penny, on the other hand, is an aspiring actress and a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory. The gang is later joined by Melissa Rauch’s Bernadette and Mayim Bialik’s Amy in the fourth season.
Coming back to its pilot episode, what we saw was Kaley Cuoco being introduced to the boys as Penny, the next-door neighbour. However, the original pilot episode was a tad bit different. Had it been successful, we wouldn’t have even met Penny. Yes, you heard right.
Lorre explained, “[It] was just a mess. Not because of the actors, but because we didn’t really understand the characters yet. We had to go through that failure to understand that if a woman was going to be in [Leonard and Sheldon’s] ecosystem, she had to be gentle with them because they were really vulnerable”.
The unaired pilot of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ couldn’t originally find a broadcasting station in 2006. The episode was very much anticipated by the fans of Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. Furthermore, the cast was limited at that time. The pilot only had Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki as the protagonists, while Amanda Walsh and Iris Bahr played Katie and Gilda respectively.
And … Action!
The unaired pilot of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ opens with Sheldon and Leonard deciding to donate their sperms at a high IQ sperm bank only to find Katie sitting there on the sidewalk. Much to Sheldon’s annoyance, Leonard approaches her and offers to help. She later tells them about the break up with her boyfriend and a mother who wouldn’t allow her back home. This makes Leonard offer her to stay the night at their apartment.
Gilda is the research partner and is unlike Katie in every sense. While the episode focuses on Katie’s sexuality and the boys’ interest in her, it is nothing like the pilot episode that successfully aired. Katie was originally intended to be “the Penny” of the show.
She was smart, sexy, and was literally unaffected by the boys’ intelligence. Basically, she was a dark, unhappy woman. Unlike Penny, who’s sweet enough to show them regard and befriend them genuinely. Gilda, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have the kind of chemistry with the guys that Amy from the show has.
So yeah, out went Katie and Gilda from the show. Good Riddance!
New characters … Who dis?
This paved way for Howard and Raj to enter the scene. CBS chairman Nina Tassler didn’t find the unaired pilot of the show good enough. She felt it was a mix of things that were good and bad. So, she made Katie and Gilda to be written out of the show. Furthermore, the theme song of the show was also changed from Thomas Dolby’s hit “She Blinded Me with Science” to “The Big Bang Theory” by Barenaked Ladies.
Imagining ‘The Big Bang Theory’ without Kaley Cuoco’s Penny isn’t possible. The chemistry that she had with Leonard and Sheldon is unparalleled. The character brought freshness in the mundanity of the show that otherwise went overboard with references from the world of science.
What do you think? Was it a good decision to change the pilot? Would have wanted to see Gilda and Katie in the show? Share your views with us in the comments box below.