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“What if they always had to walk up the stairs?”: The Big Bang Theory’s Reason Behind the Broken Elevator is Why We Got Those Legendary Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons Scenes

The Big Bang Theory has been hailed as one of the best sitcoms ever by TV show enthusiasts. The consistent smart humor, accompanied by the iconic pop culture references makes its moments so memorable for the fans. However, another primary element of the show that was consistent to the end was the broken elevator.

The broken elevator shown in the CBS sitcom became a significant subplot for TBBT‘s story that went on till the end of the show.

The broken elevator was an important element in The Big Bang Theory
The Broken Elevator in The Big Bang Theory | Warner Bros. Television

Interestingly, according to the makers of The Big Bang Theory, the broken elevator was a clever move to emphasize more personal moments between the iconic nerd squad. They stated that it was the reason why we had some of the most memorable conversations in the show.

The broken elevator played an important purpose in The Big Bang Theory

The broken elevator was a prominent plot device in TBBT
The scene showing how the elevator got broken in The Big Bang Theory | Warner Bros. Television

Since the very first episode of The Big Bang Theory, the fans observed a caution tape on the elevator in Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter’s building. It is not until Season 3 Episode 22 of the show, The Staircase Implementation that we got to know about a failed experiment by the group 4 years before the events of Season 1 that led the elevator to face such a fate.

While the broken elevator was a fun element to the fans, it served a very important purpose to the show for the makers. The broken elevator always led the group to take the stairs to get to the fourth floor. This long journey also gave us many memorable chit-chats and brief conversations between the group that contributed significantly to the interpersonal dynamics in the show.

When the show’s co-creator Bill Prady spoke at the WonderCon, he revealed that when he worked alongside Chuck Lorre on Dharma and Greg, there was a street set that provided a space for the characters to hold a conversation. The staircase in TBBT served the same purpose and became one of the prime reasons behind some iconic moments with Kaley Cuoco or Jim Parsons.

So, one of the things you need is a place for characters to walk and talk. When Chuck Lorre and I had worked on Dharma and Greg we had this outside street set where characters could have a conversation. And we had it because it was an unused stage at 20th Century Fox where we shot Dharma. We tried to do that at Big Bang and it was just too much real estate and we started talking about, ‘What if they always had to walk up the stairs?’

The makers wittily resolved the elevator in the penultimate episode of Season 12 before the show finally ended. Showrunner Steve Holland shared with Entertainment Weekly, that the revelation of the fixed elevator was such an iconic moment that the live audience took 42 seconds to stop cheering before Kaley Cuoco could finally see her lines. It also proved that it was one of the most significant elements during the show’s run.

What did Kunal Nayyar say about the staircase?

Kunal Nayyar revealed hidden details about the broken elevator in TBBT
Raj and Howard in The Big Bang Theory | Warner Bros. Television

The staircase has always been a memorable place for TBBT fans who have had many brief but impactful moments between the characters there. However, when the Raj Koothrappali actor Kunal Nayyar spoke about the staircase in an interview with the UK’s Channel 4 Sunday Brunch show (via The Independent), he explained that it was very arduous to film those scenes.

Contrary to what we see in the TV show, it was not shot in a real building but a set. So to film the staircase scenes, the cast had to go up and then again come down and then repeat the cycle numerous times as canonically they had to travel to the fourth floor.

The way it works is, you go down the stairs, and then they yell, ‘Hold.’ They change the scenery from like if the apartment says 1a it suddenly says 2a or 3. They change the set so it looks exactly like another floor. You run back up the stairs, that go nowhere, and then you walk back down as if it’s a new floor.

As confusing and tiresome as it sounds, it also shows how the makers carefully blend those scenes to realistically show those staircase moments. It can never be denied that the staircase along with the broken elevator was an underrated aspect of The Big Bang Theory, that made it more unique to the other traditional sitcoms.

The Big Bang Theory can be streamed on Max. 

This post belongs to FandomWire and first appeared on FandomWire

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