Sometimes, a show is tightly scripted from the very beginning. Some creators approach their craft with a well-honed vision that requires precision and care to pull off. Other times, the writers are going with the flow and willing to adjust based on audience response and actor chemistry. This is more often the case in television where there’s time between episodes to see how things develop.
Real-life events can shift the writing on a TV series. Zoey Deschanel’s real-life pregnancy sent her New Girl character into on-screen “jury duty,” and Dr. Preston Burke left Dr. Cristina Yang at the altar in Grey’s Anatomy because the real-life actor portraying Burke had been fired for using a homophobic slur on set.
Other times, shows make a side character much more important when an actor steals the show, or they push two characters into a relationship because fans respond to their chemistry. In The Big Bang Theory, the tension between Amy and Sheldon was so real that even writers didn’t know how it would resolve.
‘The Big Bang Theory’ was an immensely popular sitcom
Premiering in 2007, The Big Bang Theory was a CBS sitcom that proved to be extremely successful. The show followed the lives of Leonard and Sheldon, two brilliant but awkward physicists who live across the hall from Penny, a pretty and much more conventional woman who acts as a foil to the duo’s geeky vibes.
The series ran for 12 seasons before wrapping up in 2019, and its highly anticipated conclusion came after years of laughs over Sheldon’s rigidness and the ups and downs of the love lives explored on the show. The finale was watched by more than 20 million viewers and worked hard to tie up the series’ loose ends.
Amy and Sheldon had an intense relationship on ‘The Big Bang Theory’
Early on, it was clear that Sheldon (Jim Parsons) had no interest in romantic relationships. He expressed aversion to the idea, and it seemed to be a part of his identity.
Some fans even speculated that Sheldon was an asexual character. Some were excited to see this diversity on screen while others — like Kay-Ann Henry writing for The Miami Hurricane — found the show to do “a terrible job at portraying his identity.”
Henry did praise the portrayal of Sheldon’s eventual relationship with Amy (Mayim Bialik), calling it “a breath of fresh air.” Henry notes that “[b]ecause Sheldon is ace [asexual], their relationship is sexless, though Fowler desires a physical relationship. However, they bond through their social awkwardness, pride for their scientific endeavors and love for each other.”
Once the show makes it clear that Sheldon and Amy will have “coitus” — as Sheldon calls it with visible disdain — the creators once again leaned into stereotypes that confound asexual representation.
Amy and Sheldon’s future was a mystery to all
In the Season 10 finale, Sheldon took a major step when he asked Amy to marry him. The show — cruelly, many fans might argue — left it on a cliffhanger. Fans had to wait until Season 11 to find out how Amy would respond.
Bialik made it clear that she did not know the outcome. As Business Insider reports, she said, “One thing about me is that I actually don’t lie. It’s just a feature of my personality. So, no. If I would’ve known, I would’ve told you, ‘I know, but I’m not telling you.’”
In fact, it would have been impossible for Bialik to know what was in the script because it wasn’t written yet! Even the writers were unsure of how Amy would respond, and they worked on the resolution in between the seasons.
“To be honest, I’m sure that our writers got to sort of talk it out,” Bialik said. “We have such an amazing group of writers and I was close with several of them and actually kind of talked to them in the off season – and not influence them in any way.”
“They didn’t even necessarily have a unanimous agreement on what should happen,” Bialik added. “It’s something that they had to decide as a show, ‘What are we going to do?’”
Eventually, Amy said yes, and the two were wed at the end of Season 11.