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The Big Bang Theory Reruns Cut A Pilot Scene & Made Leonard & Penny's Ending Worse
2023/07/07

Cutting a The Big Bang Theory scene from the pilot makes Penny and Leonard's divisive season 12 arc much worse. After 12 seasons on the air, the CBS sitcom finally wrapped up with an emotionally-satisfying finale. Despite The Big Bang Theory's continued popularity and the network's intention to keep it on the air for a couple of more years, its end stemmed from Jim Parsons' decision to leave the series. While his exit wasn't meant to mark the end of the sitcom, everyone else in the case realized that it wasn't worth continuing without Sheldon, considering how integral he was in its overall storytelling.

The Big Bang Theory is one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. While it was a top-rated show for CBS, it had a problematic brand of humor. This was especially the case in its earlier years. Sheldon and his friends often justified being rude, misogynistic, and inappropriate as lacking social awareness. Looking back at it, even co-creator Chuck Lorre admits to some of their unwise creative choices. While he can't walk back on their questionable decisions, the decision to cut a scene from The Big Bang Theory pilot in reruns is his way to make amends.

Why Big Bang Theory Cut Leonard & Sheldon's Sperm Donation Scene In Reruns

In the book The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series, Lorre revealed that he had Sheldon and Leonard's sperm bank scene in The Big Bang Theory pilot removed because "the scene was so wrong." In it, the roommates and best friends visit a high-IQ sperm bank to donate in exchange for money for a faster internet connection in their apartment. The whole scene isn't that long. It involved the pair having an interaction with the nurse manning the desk and then having a conversation about what they are planning to do. In the end, they decide to walk back on their plan.

Lorre isn't the only one who feels uncomfortable with the said The Big Bang Theory scene.

Parsons actually agrees that cutting it from reruns is for the best, considering how icky it is. In hindsight, the scene didn't really add anything to the pilot. After Leonard and Sheldon left the sperm bank, the idea was never brought up again aside from when they were discussing what just happened. Beyond that, the concept never really impacted the foundations of The Big Bang Theory, so it's quite easy to take it out.

Why Leonard & Penny's The Big Bang Theory Finale Story Is So Divisive

Why The Big Bang Theory was essentially an ensemble series, Sheldon was arguably its true protagonist, hence why its last few seasons, including its last one, were mostly focused on him and his story.

After the socially-inept genius, however, The Big Bang Theory's next leads were Penny and Leonard. As the show's original romantic pairing, it was clear from the get-go that they were supposed to be endgame. The couple was at the center of many narratives during the earlier years of The Big Bang Theory. After they got married, however, they were seemingly cast to the side, only to be remembered in season 12.

In an effort to make up for sidelining the Hofstadters, The Big Bang Theory gave the couple their own multi-episode arc in season 12. It revolved around their opposing stance on having kids.

The concept was actually very interesting, especially considering the pair's respective arcs. Sadly, CBS fumbled the execution of the story. It wasn't fully fleshed out. Once it was introduced, The Big Bang Theory either just ran it in circles or ignored it altogether. Despite Penny being adamant about not wanting to be pregnant, she suddenly got a change of heart in the end with no explanation whatsoever.

How The Cut Big Bang Theory Pilot Scene Connects To Leonard's Finale Arc

Despite barely having any impact on The Big Bang Theory pilot, removing the aforementioned scene is detrimental to the show more than a decade later.

One of the unexpected complications from Leonard and Penny's child conflict in season 12 came when her ex-boyfriend, Zack, returned. Already married, Zack attempted to reconnect with Penny but not because he wanted to restart a relationship. Instead, he wanted Leonard's help by being his and his wife's sperm donor. Knowing how smart Leonard was, Zack came up with the idea, and somehow, Penny's husband was open to it.

Understandably, Penny was flabbergasted that Leonard was even considering doing it. That being said, for long-time followers of The Big Bang Theory who saw the opening scene of the sitcom, Leonard's stance on the matter made sense.

From the get-go, it was established that Leonard was willing to go through the process, although for an entirely different reason from when the opportunity was presented again to him more than a decade later. The first The Big Bang Theory scene effectively provides an explanation of why Leonard wasn't appalled when he was propositioned by Zack.

For context, it was Sheldon who backed out from donating in the pilot, Leonard remained open to the possibility, even if it was only for monetary reasons. It made sense that he remained willing to go through with it for the sake of reproducing considering his eagerness of passing his genes even in an unconventional way.

It also showed how strong the need was in Leonard to continue his lineage and that he was open to doing it in the most unconventional way. He was ready to accept that Penny would want to be child-free forever, but he also wanted to meet that need inside of him to reproduce.

Why Cutting Sperm Donating Scene Makes Leonard & Penny's Season 12 Arc Worse

Not having the sperm donation scene in the pilot is detrimental to Leonard and Penny's already divisive arc in The Big Bang Theory pilot. For starters, it takes away the additional context behind Leonard's decision to go through with Zack's proposition.

While it doesn't resolve the many issues with how CBS handled the storyline, at least long-time fans of the show can somehow understand Leonard in this regard. Since The Big Bang Theory barely explored his and Penny's opposing perspectives, this is actually significant.

Secondly, it also removes one of the few full-circle moments in The Big Bang Theory's final year. Since the show started as an ensemble and ended with Sheldon clearly becoming its true lead, CBS didn't have many opportunities to reference the pilot. However, between this and Penny's shirt from her debut scene making a comeback, it emphasizes that throughout the years, she and Leonard had been foundational characters of the series.

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