Co-creator Chuck Lorre was right to cut a Sheldon scene on The Big Bang Theory re-runs. While the nerd-centric sitcom was technically an ensemble show, the socially-inept genius was its true lead. Many of the show’s plot lines, including the central arc of The Big Bang Theory finale revolved around him. Even when he wasn’t at the center of the storytelling, he remained pivotal to the overall narrative. Given his importance to the sitcom, it’s difficult to imagine what The Big Bang Theory would be without Sheldon; removing any of his scenes wouldn’t feel right — except for one moment. Lorre decided to take the bit out of the series’ reruns and even Jim Parsons agreed with the decision to cut it from syndication.
Per the book The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series, Lorre cut Sheldon and Leonard’s scene visiting a high IQ sperm bank in The Big Bang Theory pilot removed because “the scene was so wrong.” In hindsight, this actually makes sense; while it may have worked back then, it feels out of place overall. For starters, Sheldon sharing his DNA this way didn’t match his overall personality as someone who was extremely protective of his potential lineage as a genius. Secondly, the excursion was supposedly in the hopes of earning extra money to pay for Apartment 4A’s Internet upgrade, but as The Big Bang Theory went on, it was established that Sheldon was secretly rich. He had wads of cash stashed around the house. He even lent Penny money when she was tight with cash and didn’t care whether she paid him. If he had extra money to help a friend, then he could have easily paid for faster WiFi.
The Big Bang Theory’s Cut Sheldon Scene Fits Better In The Unaired Pilot
Before its official version, The Big Bang Theory had an original pilot that had to be reworked at the request of CBS executives. The high-IQ sperm bank scene with Sheldon and Leonard was the only bit that made it to the revamped version that was broadcasted. Since a lot was changed beyond that, including Sheldon’s personality, it just didn’t fit with the iteration that added Penny, Howard, and Raj. For context, The Big Bang Theory’s original pilot featured a more sexually-adept Sheldon, which is in line with his decision to suggest the trip to the sperm bank to earn extra money. Since this iteration is more open about his sexuality, it’s understandable that he barely had reservations about donating his DNA. Since Parsons’ eventual version of the character was nothing like this, it’s almost impossible to think that he will even be open to the idea.
Big Bang Theory’s Pilot Perfectly Set Up Sheldon’s Character (Without This Scene)
Aside from The Big Bang Theory season 12’s payoff which featured Leonard potentially donating sperm to Penny’s ex-boyfriend, Zack, and his wife, the aforementioned Sheldon scene doesn’t really have any impact on the series. In fact, it was never brought up again on the series, proving just how inconsequential it was to its overall story. Instead, Lorre’s proposed official The Big Bang Theory opening scene already perfectly introduced Sheldon as he pulled Leonard away from Penny after he was clearly smitten by her from the get-go. The trio’s meeting was eventually followed by Sheldon’s iconic spot speech which further informed viewers what kind of character he is. Despite several minor continuities, the character maintained his personality throughout the show bar some actual personality improvements.
At the end of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon and Leonard’s sperm bank trip isn’t so memorable that getting rid of it significantly changes their relationship. Not only is the scene forgettable and out of place, but it definitely contrasts with the characterization of Sheldon. It’s probably why there’s no massive reaction to it being cut from the show’s reruns; it’s dubious if any even noticed until Chuck Lorre talked about it in the book.
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