On September 24, 2007, CBS aired the first episode of a little show entitled The Big Bang Theory. The show became a huge success and millions of people love watching the show each and every week. The show is currently on its ninth season and a tenth season is already a sure thing. Viewers have grown to love the self-centered and almost sexless Sheldon, the sweet but sarcastic Penny, the sociable but socially awkward Leonard. Fans have also grown to love Howard, Raj, Bernadette and Amy and their quirky personalities as well.
Now, can you imagine CBS’ smash hit show with a hiney-obsessed Sheldon, a mean-spirited Penny and none of the supporting cast we all know and love? Well, this was almost The Big Bang Theory we were going to get way back in 2007! It’s pretty hard to find but they actually filmed a pilot as I just mentioned. But I’ll go save you the trouble! You can follow this link to watch The Big Bang Theory’s unaired pilot.
Even though this is pretty old and, even though it’s not supposed to be available anywhere, I’m assuming Big Bang Theory fans have already watched it already, I’m going to put up a SPOILER WARNING just in case.
The unaired pilot of The Big Bang Theory widely differs from the version we got. The biggest and most obvious difference between the unaired pilot and the one we did get is that Penny’s missing. Instead we have Katie, a rather street tough and abrasive girl. Sheldon and Leonard find her crying on the street after leaving her boyfriend. Now, what can I say about Katie? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that I don’t really like her all that much.
I would say the biggest issue I have with Katie is that, well, she’s mean. Although Penny can be nasty towards Leonard and Sheldon at times, Katie just appears to behave nastily towards them. Oh, I’m sure she has her reasons and her backstory may have been fleshed out in later episodes if CBS decided to pick up the show in that state. But she didn’t endear herself to me and just came off as unlikable. It just looked like she was trying to take advantage of a couple of good samaritans. I mean, erasing Leonard’s board just to explain herself is just awful!
Another thing different in the unaired pilot is the lack of Howard and Raj. Instead, we have Gilda, a female scientist who is infatuated with Leonard. Imagine a more perky yet more socially awkward Leslie Winkle from Seasons 1 and 2 of the show and you’ll get a good idea of what they were going for Gilda.
I didn’t really have a problem with Gilda; I actually thought it would’ve been a good idea to have a nerdy female friend from the start. She could’ve added a totally new dynamic to the entire show. But, in hindsight, I think it was a good idea to cut out Gilda in favor of adding Howard and Raj. The problem with Gilda was that she was just another nerd/geek who just so happened to be of the female persuasion. She acted like Sheldon and Leonard and didn’t add anything new besides being a girl. With Howard and Raj, The Big Bang Theory added two totally different personalities. The former is a cocky geek who fancies himself a ladies man while the latter is so shy, he can’t even bring himself to talk to a girl. Howard and Raj added more diversity in personality which made the show better.
I also have to comment on the state of the apartment and the apparent financial woes Leonard and Sheldon had in the unaired pilot. Now, the first scene of the unaired pilot is very similar to the “official” version we did get. The show starts off in a sperm bank where Leonard and Sheldon are giving a “donation” to earn money… with one important difference. In the aired pilot, Leonard and Sheldon needed the money to upgrade their internet bandwidth. In the unaired pilot, the duo needed the money for… food.
So, essentially, Leonard and Sheldon are nerds who are in so dire financial straits that they had to donate their semen to eat. That’s just sad! It only gets more depressing when you see the state of the apartment they live in! Their apartment is a shambles, with books strewn all over the place and not a computer in sight. Essentially, in the unaired pilot, Leonard and Sheldon were not only nerds, they were losers as well. It’s a little depressing to watch, in all honesty.
Another thing I didn’t like about the unaired pilot was Sheldon. Or, to be more specific, Sheldon’s personality; he was just another sex obsessed nerd in the unaired pilot. He did possess some of the quirks that made Sheldon the breakout character is currently is, such as wanting a specific spot in a restaurant. However, all the idiosyncrasies were downplayed for more “traditional” nerd traits, such as obsessing of women’s butts. It’s really odd and I don’t think Sheldon would be iconic character he currently is if the unaired pilot version pushed through.
But the biggest problem I have with the unaired pilot is its overall tone. The unaired pilot seemed like they were making fun of nerds all the time. It’s like we were supposed to laugh at Leonard, Sheldon and Gilda. While the official version of The Big Bang Theory would make fun of nerds and geeks at times, it was never as mean spirited as the unaired pilot version. The official version also took the time to celebrate being a nerd and a geek which only made it a better show.
If I’m sounding incredibly harsh towards The Big Bang Theory’s unaired pilot, maybe I am. It’s hard to see how the show would evolve from just one episode. Maybe in later episodes, Katie would’ve mellowed out or Sheldon would’ve become more like the Sheldon we know. It’s also not as terrible as I make it out to be. It’s just not as good as the monster hit CBS has now.
It’s much better than the Belarus Big Bang Theory ripoff, The Theorists, at least!
Have you seen The Big Bang Theory’s unaired pilot? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!