Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons Talks Fighting For Mayim Bialik, And Why Adding Amy Was Such A Brilliant Move

Sheldon in kitchen on The Big Bang Theory
(Image credit: HBO Max)

When it comes to sitcom romances, there have been few delightfully nerdier couplings than The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler, whose romantic foibles culminated in matrimonial bliss, as officiated by Star Wars legend Mark Hamill. Such a positive fate was not immediately foreseen when Mayim Bialik was brought into the show, however, and for a short while, it seemed as if Amy wasn’t destined for virginity-taking. But star Jim Parsons sounds like he would never have let the creative team lose the character, and shared his thoughts on why he thinks adding Amy (and Bernadette) was one of the smartest decisions the writers ever made.

Hitting stores two and a half years after the CBS sitcom’s series finale, Glamour editor Jessica Radloff’s new behind-the-scenes oral history The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series delves into all the anecdotes and background info from the ever-popular comedy’s twelves years on the air. In an excerpt from the book focused on Amy’s future after the Season 3 finale (via EW), Mayim Bialik claimed she thought she wasn’t due for the long haul, given the one-episode-at-a-time booking structure, though former showrunner Steve Molaro said co-creator Chuck Lorre argued for keeping Bialik despite the “female Sheldon” comparison factors.

And there was apparently one point in the fourth season where Parsons decided he would step up to the plate when it came to keeping Mayim Bialik’s quirky physicist around. In his words:

I know at the audition they said they needed a female version of Sheldon, basically, but that's untenable long-term. There was no choice but to evolve the character. And at some point in season four—I don't know if something caused it or not—I remember saying to Todd, ‘I will not let this character go without a fight.’ That was notable for me, only in that I almost never disagreed with the writers. But at some point I felt a certain way about working with Mayim that I was like, ‘If for whatever reason we seemed to be weaning her off of this show as a character, I would go and talk to them.’

Now, it’s not clear exactly how hardcore Jim Parsons had to get by way of convincing the show’s creative team to keep Bialik around, but I like to picture him in ‘30s Hollywood gangster mode, walking around the offices and making casual threats. It almost definitely didn’t need to come to that, but it’s awesome to know that the Big Bang star was dedicated to keeping his newest co-star around. Which in some ways would foreshadow Parsons bringing the actress into the fold when putting together the post-BBT comedy Call Me Kat.

The future Hollywood star went on to say why he thought The Big Bang Theory adding Amy and Bernadette was so smart, specifically for the timing of it all. In his words:

I said this years ago, but I believe it even more now that one of the smartest things that the writers room ever did was introduce Bernadette and Amy at a point where, as far as interests and storylines go, we did not need them yet. The writers did not let the well run dry before they were like, Oh God, should we adopt a kid? Should we bring in a monkey? You know what I mean? They plugged these people in to see what was going to work and how it would work, and I thought it was genius.

All too often, TV shows introduce haphazard new ideas at times when the norm has become stale, but BBT brought in Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch at a time when things were already rolling along smoothly, which just made everything gel together that much better. 

For what it's worth, Bialik says while she wasn't confident she would be going forward with the show beyond the early days of Season 4, it was more a product of her own thought patterns, as opposed to anyone on the show making her feel unwelcome. Here's how she put it:

The week that I was offered a regular contract, I had told my manager, 'I think this is my last episode; I think they're done with me and have done all they want to do with my character.' And that made me really sad. I told my manager, and she called me back later that day and said, 'You're not going to believe what call I just got. They'd like to offer you a full position as a regular!' [Laughs] Like, no one was sending me covert messages; it was a completely self-generated fear that I wasn't fitting in or whatever it was. It was completely my own craziness.

I can't even imagine what The Big Bang Theory Season 10 would have looked like without Amy around. Or what it would be like to watch Young Sheldon without knowing that he ends up with someone just as spectrum-aligned. Thankfully, such imagining is entirely unnecessary.

The Big Bang Theory is available to stream with an HBO Max subscription, while Jessica Radloff’s new book is in stores everywhere (opens in new tab) October 11. Head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.