Now You Can Geek Out On 'The Big Bang Theory's' Actual Sets In Burbank
The Big Bang Theory was one of the biggest TV shows of all time — it was the highest rated show since Friends and ended with more episodes than Cheers. Now you can travel to the show's exotic locale of Pasadena, or at least to their sets.
Warner Bros. has added some of the show's most iconic locations to the Stage 48 interactive soundstage portion of their studio tour. You can visit the main apartment, their hallway with the forever broken elevator, and the Caltech Physics Lab Cafeteria.
These are the original sets, but they're dressed to allow you to interact with them without feeling like you're about to ruin television history. So go ahead and sit in Sheldon's sacred spot or knock on the door insistently repeating "Penny, Penny, Penny."
"For the last 12 years, when we've had guests come to see tapings of the show and brought them down afterwards to show them around, I got pretty good at being a tour guide," Big Bang Theory Executive Producer Steve Holland told reporters. "Everyone gets so excited to sit in Sheldon's spot — and everyone's like, 'Is it OK? Will he be mad if I sit here?'"
We were bummed out not to see the show's comic book store location, but they do have comics laid out for your perusal/photo opportunities on the apartment coffee table.
There are bits where you'll see the limitations of the authenticity — the refrigerator is just a flat photo — but there are still plenty of little details to see if you take a close look. Holland also told a story about another detail that didn't quite make the jump.
"In the hallway where the elevator is at the bottom of those stairs, all the actors would stick their gum before [the scenes] would start," Holland said. "It was wads of gum stuck to the back of the wall."
Some of our favorite easter eggs that you can see:
- Whiteboards around the room with formulas we don't have enough degrees to decipher
- The local restaurant menus on that faux fridge
- The abundance of superhero figures all over the apartment
- Spotting where the physics of this apartment don't quite line up with the show, or the real world (we're looking at you, refrigerator on a thin flat wall)
There's also a point in the hallway stairwell where the stairs turn into a photo halfway up, so be careful.
"They go into a fantastic scenic backing, and I'm waiting for somebody to think they're the real stairs that go up — and they're gonna walk right into a wall," Warner Bros. tour guide John Kourounis said.
The exhibit features the costumes each of the show's stars were best known for — they're nerds, they don't get that adventurous.
The show started more than a decade ago. Pop culture was still in a different place, with the show making fun of its nerdy leads. But as nerds took over pop culture, the Big Bang Theory embraced its characters, as did tens of millions of viewers.
"There is nothing like being in the very spot that legendary film and TV shows were created and seeing authentic sets up close and personal," Studio Tour Director of Marketing Gary Soloff said in a press release. "It's a truly emotional experience."
If you haven't done the Warner Bros. Studio Tour before, it's a more grounded tour than doing the Universal Studios backlot tour — that is, closer to what an actual studio is like and less about King Kong and/or Jaws maybe about to attack you. There's more time checking out actual sets, going through prop houses, and more. But Studio 48 is the closest they get to theme park magic, and you can also visit the Central Perk coffee shop from Friends, check out the coolest movie Batmobiles, and more.
And if the sets don't give you quite enough Big Bang magic, the stage the show shot on is officially the Big Bang Theory Stage now. Keep an eye out for the plaque, right next to one for one of Chuck Lorre's other huge hit shows — Stage 26 is the Two And A Half Men Stage.
The exterior of the Big Bang Theory apartment is also part of the backlot sets, though it's no longer set up to look the way it did on the show. The studio's legacy is evident if you go check it out — it's right next to the last standing set from Casablanca.
Take the official virtual video tour of the Big Bang Theory sets right here: