During its 12-season run, The Big Bang Theory became (and remained) the number one comedy on television. This was partially due to its dedicated fanbase. Since the series ended, Kaley Cuoco has moved on to other roles, but fans haven’t. She still gets asked about the gig, and recently the actor described a fan encounter on a flight that backfired for the fan.
The Big Bang Theory became ingrained in pop culture through its running gags, ubiquitous quotable moments and science humor. While some fans and critics questioned its choices in later seasons, the CBS sitcom remained a rating juggernaut due in part to the aforementioned elements. In a recent interview with USA TODAY, Cuoco spoke about an in-flight incident where a flight attendant took one of the show’s gags a little too far.
I was in my seat. I was really engrossed in this movie and out of nowhere – and I know the flight attendant thought this was very funny and in hindsight, maybe she now regrets it – she came up and she went 'Penny, Penny,' and she started knocking at me. And it was, like, terrifying. And I could tell (from) her face, she goes, 'I'm so sorry.' I'm like, 'That's OK, (but) why are you knocking?' It wasn't registering. And she was so sorry and I said it was very OK.
Unbeknownst to the actor, the flight attendant was referencing the running gag of Sheldon knocking on Penny’s apartment door in quirky (and sometimes, heated) moments. The incessant knocking was followed by Sheldon’s annoying phrase “Penny, Penny” before she would open the door – annoyed yet understanding. Even as a fan of the series, replicating that moment would be incredibly intrusive and – quite annoying – when you’re trying to relax.
Despite her shock after the incident, Cuoco has remained grateful for the sitcom’s dedicated fanbase. She mentioned acknowledging passengers watching the show on flights by waving at or nudging them as she walked the aisles. Her approach matches many of the fan and social media encounters from her we've heard about over the years.
The series has continued to remain popular even after signing off in 2019. It has continued to draw in decent ratings through syndication with many stations airing multiple times a day. When news of the series coming to HBO Max broke, it caused many fans to sign up for the streaming service to watch the sitcom – anywhere, anytime.
But the connection between HBO Max and Cuoco runs deeper than her time on the popular sitcom. She entered a two-year development deal with Warner Bros. Television (a partner of HBO), which yielded the HBO Max limited series The Flight Attendant. The actor has received some of the best reviews of her career for the limited series. You can catch The Flight Attendant is currently the first five episodes are streaming on HBO Max. While you’re there, check out and stream all 279 episodes of The Big Bang Theory on HBO Max.