Pilot (The Big Bang Theory)
The pilot episode and series premiere of The Big Bang Theory originally aired on CBS in the United States on September 24, 2007. It was written by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, and directed by James Burrows. It marks the first appearance of all five main characters in the series, and also guest stars Vernée Watson as Althea and Brian Patrick Wade as Kurt.
|The Big Bang Theory episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||James Burrows|
|Written by||Chuck Lorre|
|Original air date||September 24, 2007|
Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper are two intelligent young physicists who have a combined IQ of 360 and claim to have "beautiful minds" that understand how the universe works. However, they are socially awkward, especially around women. After an unsuccessful visit to the high-IQ sperm bank, they return home and meet Penny, an aspiring actress who moves in next door. When Leonard and Sheldon meet Penny, Leonard is immediately infatuated and hopes to date her, which Sheldon finds unlikely to happen.
Sheldon is quite content spending his nights playing Klingon Boggle with their socially dysfunctional friends, fellow geeks Howard Wolowitz, a wannabe ladies man, and Rajesh Koothrappali, who has selective mutism, in particular when Penny is around. However, Leonard sees in Penny a whole new universe of possibilities. He is so infatuated with her that after letting her use their shower on account of hers being broken, he agrees to try to retrieve her TV from her ex-boyfriend, a tall kid aptly named Kurt. However, Kurt de-pants Leonard and Sheldon, and they are unable to retrieve the TV. Feeling bad, Penny offers to buy the guys dinner. Sheldon realizes Leonard will continue pursuing Penny when Leonard says "Our babies will be smart and beautiful" to which Sheldon adds, "Not to mention, imaginary."
An earlier pilot was produced which did not include Penny, Howard, or Raj. It instead included the characters Katie (Amanda Walsh) and Gilda (Iris Bahr). Katie, like Penny, is a street-smart foil to book-smart Leonard and Sheldon; however, she is meaner than Penny. She claimed to have slept with her stepfather before her mother married him. Moreover, in the original pilot the character of Sheldon is more sexual and libidinous. In fact, Sheldon is explicitly stated to have had sex with Gilda, his and Leonard's friend, at a Star Trek convention. CBS passed on the original pilot but liked the show enough to ask Lorre and Prady to produce a second one.
Jim Chamberlin of IGN praised the episode, calling it "a great start for the series", and stating that the writing was "some of the best we've seen in a standard sitcom in some time". Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe, however, gave a negative review, saying that the show is "one of those laugh-track sitcoms that has exactly one comedy routine and just keeps hammering it home". Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club was also very negative towards the episode, giving it a D+ rating and saying: "Really bad television shows tend to pander to the mean: In affirming the superiority of Joe and Jane Average, they mock both the egregiously stupid [...] and the hyper-intelligent, who are struck down for the arrogant, unpardonable sin of… um… knowing stuff. The new CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory is a broad example of this principle—really broad, like Amazon basin broad. It’s hard to believe that anyone’s even making a three-camera sitcom this mothballed; only an offhand mention of the word “blog” suggests that it takes place in the present-day."
- Cronin, Brian (20 November 2013). "TV Legends Revealed: Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Originally Had a Sex Drive". Spinoff Online. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
- "The Big Bang Theory: Pilot Review". IGN. September 28, 2007. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
- Gilbert, Matthew (September 24, 2007). "'Big Bang' collapses under weight of nerd jokes". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
- Tobias, Scott. "The Big Bang Theory: The Big Bang Theory". TV Club. Retrieved 2019-05-01.