That’s funny. I said this at Paleyfest last year, but my theory was that in the finale Penny was going to wake up from a nightmare where in reality she’s the expert scientist and the guys were just dudes she knows.
Prady: Well, pragmatically Penny was always the smartest one. Look, one of the driving ideas in The Big Bang Theory is intelligence is not an asset in so many aspects of life.
So true. Let’s talk about the elevator working again. That payoff was amazing. How long did it take to come up with the reveal?
Holland: It’s interesting, because when we were breaking out the finale that moment was going to come much, much later in the episode. Then as we were breaking out the episode, it just felt right. It felt like Sheldon was dealing with so much change and was at his breaking point. It seemed like the one thing that could push him over the edge. Also, it coming so early in the finale felt like it would be a much bigger surprise because no one would be expecting it to happen that early.
Penny is the first to ride in the elevator, so with her in mind, had you guys discussed revealing her maiden name? Or having her return to her acting roots?
Molaro: Never discussed it. It still falls under the category of superstition for us. Even though we finished the series, we’re still somehow afraid revealing that will get us canceled. [Laughs]
Prady: It’s also one of those odd things where characters got last names when they needed them. Chuck likes names because of how they sound, while I’m a hunting-for-deep-meaning kind of guy. For example, in the original version of the pilot, Leonard and Sheldon found her on the street. In my mind, she was a lucky penny. And then Leonard and Sheldon’s names came from [producer/writer/actor] Sheldon Leonard.
Here’s another funny story: Stuart didn’t have a last name, but there were [audition] sides that went out and he was given a temporary last name of Bloom just for them. Fans got ahold of those sides because they go out on websites for actors to download, and so his last name appeared in an online database. I remember looking at it in the writers’ room, and we were like, “That’s his last name?!” We were all baffled by it. So we said, “OK, well, that’s it” and put it in. But the Penny thing definitely became a superstition.
Shamy fans were hoping that Amy would be pregnant in the finale, or they’d see them with kids in a flash forward. What was the reason not to show that, since we know they do become parents one day?
Prady: I think the feeling was because that’s a reveal on Young Sheldon, it had no weight as a Big Bang finale reveal. It winds up being an “Oh, by the way…” kind of thing.
The Nobel speech that Sheldon and Amy gave in Stockholm was perfection. How hard was that to get right?
Holland: That’s the piece of the finale we’ve probably known for the longest. Since we found out this was the last season we talked about where we wanted to land, and the Nobel prize ceremony was a thing we knew early on. That moment in that speech was a thing we knew we wanted to do, so that’s probably the piece we’ve been thinking about longer than any other part of the finale.
Molaro: We were all crying our eyes out in the writers’ room while we were writing it. Everybody. The speech was moving to begin with, but because we were getting close to typing the words “End of Series” on the screen it was a tough day.