Mayim Bialik: 4 Surprising Things About ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Turtle Episode

From time to time, I have written behind-the-scenes posts about special and monumental “The Big Bang Theory” episodes such as Tiara, Spanking, and Train Kiss.

This past week’s “Sheldon and Amy get a turtle” episode ended with a sweet hug and a lot of emotion so I think it’s worthy of a post!

Here are four things you wouldn’t have guessed about that episode.

1. Turtles are hard to work with.

The script actually was adjusted a few times to account for the “unpredictability” (also known as turtle-ness) of the turtles. There were turtles selected for their ability to “look half-dead” versus more active turtles, but sometimes they didn’t do what the script wanted them to. We had to work around them! So there you have it. Turtle variability.

2. Fighting is hard.

Amy and Sheldon have rarely had “fights” like we see in this episode. Amy’s feelings get hurt, and she doesn’t come right out and say it. It sort of festers and she doesn’t exactly know how to put her finger on it. Usually she can identify it right away. This was a more sophisticated fight, as it were.

Amy eventually reveals her vulnerability in the hallway after storming out, arguably the first time we see her do such a thing with such emotion. Our writers crafted this scene very carefully, adding her storming off and continuing the argument in the hallway and down the stairs. Originally the whole scene was in the guys’ living room, and it just felt stagnant–and like the actions needed to reflect the outrage and hurt she was feeling. So the exit and pursuit was added, which also ups the ante for Sheldon as a willing participant in the relationship.

The finesse involved in this sort of writing should not be underestimated. It’s risky to have two characters who people like so much in a fight, and it has to be handled delicately. Our writers are why most people like our show, even though they may not realize it!

3. Making up is hard.

The writing for this scene went a few ways throughout the rewrites of the week. Ultimately, Sheldon gets the hint that Amy is hurt and they gently find a way to work through it without having to slave away at hashing it out the way some “normal” couples might. Our writers went back and forth as to if Amy should bring it to the fore, or if Sheldon should “find” the reason she’s upset and the way to make it better. It’s a tricky mix!

4. Let’s get physical.

I made the decision to not pause at all before hugging Jim once it is clear that Sheldon understands and wants Amy as part of his life, because I wanted there to be that sense of how much on the verge of needing him she was. I wanted to convey that her affection and love for him was always just a breath away, and that she was waiting for him to meet her in the middle. I hope that’s what came across.

I’m glad people seemed pleased with that moment; I have seen many screen-images and such celebrating our embrace. That feels good.

As I have explained here before, I don’t think a lot about what the final product looks like as an actor. My job is to authentically create this character anew every week given the material our writers craft–without considering that it will be on a TV screen. I just make the character and let it be filmed.

There are times I don’t always agree with the words I’m given, and there are times our writers don’t always agree with our interpretations of their words! This episode is an example of how slight shifts in expectations and working together as a giant team made for some really sweet moments that felt right for all.

I call that a good week at work.

Watch the hug scene here:

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Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik blogs about parenting and Judaism on Kveller. She is best known for her current role as Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS' The Big Bang Theory, as well as her lead role in the 1990s NBC sitcom Blossom. She is the grandchild of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the mother of two young boys. She is the founder of GrokNation.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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