More Bang For the Buck With Chuck

by Angel Cohn September 18, 2008
The Chuck Lorre Interview

TWoP: You have a science expert on staff to come help you with that?

CL: We have an astrophysicist at UCLA who is a consultant on the show who we are in constant contact with who helps us get the science right. We made it a point, [co-creator] Bill [Prady] and I, since the pilot to get the science right. So we're not guessing. And he'll tell us, you know. We shoot the show live in front of an audience. While we're shooting we may change a line in front of the audience. If we change a line and we're tampering with the science, some of the dialogue... we are told by David Salzberg, our astrophysicist, that "No, no, no, that's not correct anymore." And we change the line so that he's happy. We don't want to get a bad grade.

TWoP: Yeah, I'd be afraid.

CL: Then the blogosphere goes crazy if we make a mistake so we work really hard to try and get it right. It's fun too. The challenge is to have these characters speak in their own language and for sort of the rest of us, the civilians, of which I am one, for us to still get the intent and comic intent of what's going on. Even if we don't get the minutia of the math. You don't need to understand the math to get the intent.

TWoP: Well I kind of like how sometimes you have Sheldon or Leonard explaining things to Penny and I'm like 'Oh. Right. Now I understand what Schrödinger's Cat is.' I've heard it before but never understood it.

CL: Right. Right.

TWoP: I'm sort of on the Penny science level.

CL: You know, I'm right there with ya. I mean, I'm fascinated by it and since we started working on the pilot, I've been trying to catch up on the great gaps in my education by reading popular books about quantum physics, but I much more identify with Penny.

TWoP: If it hasn't happened on a science fiction TV show then it's beyond my science knowledge. Do you feel like you related to Leonard or Sheldon when you were creating these characters? Is there a little bit of you in either of them?

CL: I think the part of me that I find my entry into these characters personally is, and I assume it's a universal feeling that rulebooks were issued to walk through this world and you didn't get one. You know that feeling like you know you're just a step behind everybody else and you don't quite understand what's going on? And when it comes to romantic relationships and personal relationships that you're just not understanding and you know you're in the dark and everybody else gets it but you? I think that's what I more closely identify with these two characters. I'm an old guitar player who has fallen into television and is so happy he did. I don't have the background that these characters do, but I get feeling left out. I believe that a lot of the audience connects with them in that they're sort of estranged from the mainstream and Leonard wants very much to be part of it. Sheldon has no interest whatsoever. Howard Walowitz thinks he is in the mainstream...

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