If you haven't watched Big Bang Theory, well, I can't help you. It's a show about four guys that work at Caltech (the school is mentioned by name rarely on the show) and their neighbor Penny (a Nebraskan waitress), and the hijinx that ensue. It really is fantastic. And more entertainingly, I know at least one person that is exactly like each of the characters. The specific episode we actually got to see was Season 4 Episode 12: The Bus Pants Utilization.
So as a birthday present Timi got me a ticket to go see a filming of The Big Bang Theory along with her and a few friends. We all piled into a car and headed toward the Warner Bros studios. We left around 4pm, thinking that would be plenty of time to get in line before the event started at 6:30. We were so wrong. We got there and got in line, waiting for most of 2 hours. But as they finally starting filtering in audience members we got cut out, about 20 people short of actually getting in. We were heart broken. But for everyone in line who didn't get in, they gave us a special code that let us get AU tickets, which means we would be guaranteed entrance to the next filming we attended. As a consolation prize, we stopped at the Cheesecake Factory on our way back to Tech for dinner.
We rescheduled and booked a new set of tickets for a few weeks later. The day finally came, and we piled in the car at 4pm again since we were guaranteed entrance. We started driving, checking our printed directions as we went. But when we got to the end address, we realized something had gone very wrong. We had accidentally entered the address of the ticketing office, not the studios. Lucky for us, the studio was only a few miles away. But we were very close to being late for our guaranteed entrance.
We finally made it and ran up to the woman in charge of the line for the show. We showed her our AU tickets and she herded us into the front of a new line along with a bunch of people behind us and had us escorted to the entrance of the studio lot.
We got to the security check-in, and they asked to see our stamps. What stamps? We had no idea what they were asking about, and they immediately got very suspicious and wary of us. We asked everyone behind us, and they all had stamps. Apparently the lady who put us in line didn't have us check-in like she had with them. So we have a big issue and they have a security guard come escort us back to the check-in station.
We get there and are taken up to a very in-charge looking lady, who looks at us sterny and informs us that there is no more space for the show. WHAT?!?!!? We're all immediately heart-broken, and she realizes something is wrong. She asks us what show we were there for, and we tell her The Big Bang Theory. She had made a mistake, and thought we were there to see Ellen, and that we were fine. BIG sigh of relief. We get stamped and sent back through security without a hitch.
We're sitting in the audience now on a set of raised bleachers about 5 above floor level of the set. A man comes out on a microphone and explains what is going to happen. He is the hired entertainment by the audience recruiting service, and he's there to keep us entertained in between takes. First, they were going to give us a sneak peak of the episode before the one we would see filmed that day, and we were the first audience to see the actual video form of that episode. It was the episode about the New Years party where the group dressed up as the Justice League. Very good stuff, and it was cool to see it weeks before anyone else would.
After that they introduced the cast members and began working on filming the first scene. This is where we made our first mistake. The first scene has Leonard come into the cafeteria and talk to the rest of the group. He says something about Lapalce Transforms. All five us cheer wildly! The actor stops mid-line, turns around to stare at us and asks, "Really!!?!??" We apologize and try to be quiet for the rest of the shots for that scene.
As they transition to the next scene, the director comes up to the audience and asks who that was. We all get escorted down to the bottom of the audience and put on the microphone. We apologize and let them know we're from Caltech, and we actually know what they're talking about. So then they brought out their Chief Science Consultant who talked to us for a moment. Very cool.
They continued filming, and the entertainer continued doing silly things in between shots to keep us busy. There was dancing, magic tricks, singing contests, and more. In other words, I thought I would only be having fun at the filming because the show would be funny. But the entertainer managed to make the entire process fun.
The last big highlight I'll mention from the filiming was a fantastic ad-lib. By this point in the filming, the entire audience as well as most of the people on set knew who we were and where we were from. There comes a point in the episode where Sheldon is trying to convince Howard and Raj to join his team. He begins pulling out little bribes from the campus bookstore to offer them. Mugs, laser pointers. Then he offers them, in his words, "can cozies with our school mascot on them." We see the beaver on the cozie and immediately go wild, disturbing another take. We apologize again, but they don't seem to mind too much. They start the scene again and this time, Jim Parsons, the actor who plays Sheldon ad-libs on the line, saying "can cozies with our school mascot on them... Go Beavers!" We lost it on the spot, knowing he said that just for us. It made it to television too, which made us even happier.
The entire experience was amazing, and we were so excited, we decided we would go again. But this time we're taking a small army with us. I'll post about that too when the time comes.