The Big Bang Theory is a sitcom that has won awards, laughs and the hearts of fans around the world, as well as providing a go-to solution for the Nine Network when it comes to scheduling.
While Jim Parsons, who plays the people-skills-free physicist Sheldon has won many plaudits for his efforts on the show, Johnny Galecki, is equally loved as the other atom required to make up this odd couple scientist molecule. Galecki is used to playing the straight man in comedy, having done so since he first came to prominence as Chevy Chase's son in 1989's National Lampoon Christmas Vacation.
How do you feel now that you are more recognisable all over the world?
Yeah, it is a little daunting, but everyone is so nice, all the fans are so nice and I think there is a vulnerability to these characters that makes people almost want to protect us, and we are greeted on the street with such sweetness, it really makes people be much sweeter to us, much more so than we probably deserve as people.
Have you ever been in some strange place where someone has recognised you?
Oh yeah, sure. I mean, I travel a lot and I am always surprised by that and how big the show is in Australia, for example, and Brazil, because I think we have all approached the working on the show much like a play, you know, we rehearse for a week and then the live audience comes in and watches a 22-minute mini-play, that’s our goal. And I know it sounds very, very naïve, but I don’t really think beyond the 400 audience members in that room at the end of that week when we are doing it.
Are you enjoying the new dynamic of the group of girls on the show?
Oh yeah, I love girls’ nights on the show, I love it! I think they are so funny together and that kind of chemistry you can’t fake – there are no ingredients for it, it either happens or it doesn’t, and the fact that we had it in the first five of us was incredible, then add the two girls to it and it works equally well, if not even better, it is exciting and it will open up things story-wise for us too.
Do you have any ideas about what might be happening next season?
I have no idea and I love that. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Literally, we have our live audience taping on Tuesday nights, we come out and take our bow when we’re done in front of the crowd, and they hand us our warm manila envelope for the next morning, it’s crazy.
You have created a new style of a family show, I think, because I think these people are like a new kind of family to each other, really.
I love what you said. I think with these characters there is a certain longing there. It reminded me, when I first read the script, that this could be a little bit like what Taxi was, these kind of lost characters and there was a kind of sadness underlying it that I felt.
Are you still friends with Chevy Chase because we loved you in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?
No, I haven’t seen him since. Oh, I take that back – the only time I’ve seen him since that movie, which was 21 years ago I think, is when he presented us with our People’s Choice award, so that was really neat. If you’re going to run into Chevy again it may as well be as he’s giving you an award.
Would you like to see Leonard and Penny end up together, happily ever after, at the end of the day?
Yeah, I would. I mean, as an actor, those are my favourite scenes to play and exploring that dynamic was new to me when I started the show. I love working with Kaley, and I think they are the loves of each others’ lives, they just have a lot to learn and hopefully we will be around long enough for them to mature and for them to get it together.
Is it hard to kind of play the straight man to Sheldon sometimes when you have to act exasperated with him? Is it hard to not crack up laughing?
It’s a lot of fun. Somebody smarter than me said comedy is a lot like hockey in a certain way – you get a lot of credit for assists – and I think this ensemble proves that in many ways.
The Big Bang Theory Season 5 is available now on Warner Bros. Blu-ray, DVD and to Download.