Within the first five minutes of tonight’s Big Bang Theory premiere, diehard Shamy fans got the answer they had been waiting all summer for when—spoiler!—Amy accepted Sheldon’s proposal. But that’s not all: Bernadette and Howard discovered they are going to be parents again (!!!), a mere nine months after the birth of baby Halley.
In fact, that scene—the one with Bernadette and Howard following her surprise pregnancy announcement—might be one of the show’s funniest and most iconic moments in its 10-year history. (Honorable mention to Penny and Leonard’s reaction to the Wolowitzes’ urging them to start their own family.) Perhaps the only downside was Sheldon being a complete ass later in the episode, when Amy was shown more attention by colleagues at a work dinner than him. But more on that next week…
Until then, we wanted answers on how that proposal scene came to be, the story behind Amy’s very forgiving reaction to the Nowitzki kiss, and whether or not Bernadette’s pregnancy will be different the second time around. Here, Big Bang‘s executive producer and show runner Steve Holland fills us in.
Sheldon’s proposal was so perfect, as well as how the entire scene unfolded. How long did it take to get that scene right, from the writers’ room to editing?
There was a version of it that went on a little bit longer. There were a few more flashbacks from Sheldon, but it started to feel less fun the longer we teased it out.
It was interesting that Amy didn’t really question why it took Sheldon’s kissing another girl to instigate the proposal. Was your perspective that she just understands him so well that this really wasn’t a big deal?
I think so, because we certainly talked about that. Early in discussions, there were talks about how upset she was going to be when she finds out this news. Ultimately, it felt like she knows Sheldon so well that we didn’t think sexual jealousy was really a thing she would feel. This is something she has wanted for so long, and it was such a surprise, that it was hard to imagine her response was ever going to be negative or jealous or upset or “I’m not going to say yes if that’s the only reason.”
I know you don’t plan too far in advance, so I’m not even going to ask when the wedding might be…
Thank you! [Laughs.]
But do you see this being a long engagement? It seems there’s a ton of story to play with.
There are a ton of stories. What’s made this show easier for us to write is that these characters have grown, so there are always new stories to tell. I don’t think they’re going to get married in episode five, but I think there are stories to be told, like how does this couple plan a wedding? How does Sheldon, who has ideas about everything and likes to control everything, what kind of groom is he going to be? There are a lot of interesting stories to mine there.
With Melissa’s pregnancy, I love how you decided to weave that into the story. Tell me about the back story there. What it was like watching Simon and Melissa do that scene?
[Laughs.] It was one of my favorite scenes to watch. It was fun to write, but it was super fun to watch just the “yes,” “no,” “yes,” back and forth. We talked to Melissa when she told us she was pregnant and were trying to figure out if we were just going to put her behind laundry baskets and hide her behind couches for a season—and then we thought, why not dig into it? It’s really unexpected to get pregnant again this quickly…that’s a shock for anybody when they have a nine-month-old, so it seemed like that would be a really fun curveball to throw them. I love both of their reactions. There’s sort of a little bit of horror and shock before acceptance, but that scene was great to play. We had scripted a bunch of the yeses and nos, and at some point we said, “Just play with it. If you want to keep going back and forth, see how it feels and how long we can keep this going.”
It was so authentic to see Bernadette’s struggle with becoming a mom last season, so will we see more of that in season 11?
Yeah, we got a lot of great feedback from that, which was comforting because we tried really hard to make that feel real. Certainly having a second baby this close together, a lot of that stuff will come up again. Bernadette has worked so hard to get to this place in her career, and now there’s a second baby. What does that mean? We definitely want to explore more of those issues and find ways to do them that are different than we did them last time.
There’s a theme in this episode about dealing with others’ success or big milestones. This isn’t the first time Big Bang has tackled the subject, but it’s a refreshing topic that you guys haven’t forgotten about.
Right, you’re happy for your friends—but at the same time, it makes you feel bad.
What was the motivation behind having Sheldon’s outburst or Raj opening up about his loneliness?
It seemed super interesting for Sheldon and Amy. You know, how does Sheldon deal with his fiancée’s success? He obviously loves her and is proud of her, but he’s so egocentric about physics and his place in it that it seemed really interesting to push him a little bit. And then some of those other stories just fed off of that; it seemed like it really worked thematically. As they get older and as people start moving forward in these new stages of their lives, how do your friends deal with those things? There’s a fine line between, Are you hiding your success, or are you trying not to rub it in your partner’s face? Where is that line, and what’s acceptable?