Cybill. Dharma & Greg. Two and a Half Men. Mike & Molly. Mom. Big Bang Theory. You might not know his name but all of these shows bares the bold stamp of Chuck Lorre: an American TV writer‚ producer‚ composer and creator. Basically‚ a god in Hollywood.
Yeah‚ the #GuptaEmails are depressing us like nothing before. And ja‚ we have a tension headache from Brian Molefe’s career yo-yo. But chatting to the comedy behemoth who co-created the theme song to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Yes‚ really) and our beloved BBT gang Sheldon‚ Leonard‚ Raj‚ Howard‚ Amy and Penny‚ makes 2017 better.
* Insert actual stomach flips as we wait for Chuck (Yup‚ first name basis‚ fam)
BBT is in season 10 now. Is there a sense of pressure to beat records or be the No 1 show with each new season?
Chuck Lorre: Oh‚ I don’t think we think in terms of what number we are. We do put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make each episode the best episode we can. Everybody involved in the show – the cast‚ the crew‚ writers and producers – all care deeply about the show and maintaining the quality. That creates its own pressure. And obviously‚ it gets harder the longer we do it because over a great deal of time someone will think of a good story and the answer is “it is good because we did it seven years ago”. It becomes a little harder to find new material and we are pretty determined not to repeat ourselves and to keep the show fresh and alive.
- You’re the co-creator‚ serve as one of the head writers and a producer. Is there anything you’ve wanted to do but get vetoed?
CL: It’s really a collaborative effort. I don’t ever want to do something where I’m trying to enforce my will. The show is successful‚ I think‚ because it’s a collaborative effort on the part of great writing staff. We don’t take a vote necessarily on what to do or how to do it. Having many voices contribute to the show and is part of what makes the show successful.
- In an interview about the show Mom you said you can relate because a lot of the theme must do with mending oneself… which character do you believe hasn’t been able to do that on Big Bang Theory?
CL: It’s interesting… A character like Sheldon for instance is very self-assured and determined about his own likeness and his thinking being correct. I think it’s part of the comedy that the character must carry. He often learns that he in fact wrong. His understanding of situations is not correct. Leonard is interesting as well because that’s a character that is filled with self-doubt‚ despite how intelligent he is. He is filled with self-doubt on how to proceed with relationships. Wolowitz (Howard) has always been filled with a little bit of arrogance and certainty but I think marriage and fatherhood is changing that for him. All of these characters are very much in transition. They are not set in their ways.
- There’s a fan theory that Leonard and Penny may be in some deep relationship trouble. Is a split is on the cards?
CL: Not at the moment‚ no. It’s very clear that they are very very different people. Their backgrounds‚ their view of life… they’re extremely different so their relationship is fraught with difficulties in that they see the world very differently. As writers‚ we believe they love each other dearly‚ but their difficulties in their relationship‚ I think will continue.
- The show is based on a bunch of geniuses. Do you get complaints from physicists about the content being far-fetched?
CL: We mostly hear wonderful things from scientists and mathematicians. Particularly because we’ve been very determined to keep the science as accurate as possible. We have an astro-physicist consultant‚ a Professor at UCLA. We don’t put any science on the show that hasn’t been vetted by Dr Saltzberg. If anybody wants to argue about the math‚ they argue with Dr Saltzberg‚ not with us.
- There’s a spin-off in the form of Young Sheldon. Is this going to be difficult to put together?
CL: Probably. But what an extraordinary opportunity to tell the story of a little boy who is brilliant beyond anyone’s conception‚ growing up in Texas‚ in just an average family with a deeply religious mother and football coach father. A twin sister who is just an average nine-year-old girl. An older teenage brother who is just all about football. And in this family‚ comes this brilliant, brilliant little boy. And how do they adapt to him. How do they maintain their family with this extraordinary presence in the middle of them? It will be difficult‚ perhaps‚ but that generally means you’re in the right area.
- A lot of critics say that you are the voice of comedy on CBS (The US network Big Bang Theory is aired on, like our Mzansi Magic) How important is it for someone like you to groom young talent?
CL: (Laughs) I disagree with the first part of that. Uhm…the voice of comedy. That seems a bit much. What I do really love to do at this point in my career is I love working with writers. That’s really exciting for me. To help them execute their vision‚ which is what Disjointed is all about‚ the show I’m doing on Netflix with David Javerbaum and Kathy Bates. David is a great comedy writer who I think will shake things up a lot. I don’t think I’m grooming him but I do believe I’m trying to be as helpful as I can to allow him to realise his vision for a half hour comedy. I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people. It’s extraordinarily funny. – TshisaLIVE