POSTED BY JON WEISMAN
Chuck Lorre didn't even own a TV in the 1970s, so any similarities between his new CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" and the swinging late '70s icon "Three's Company" are completely coincidental. Really, Lorre insists.
Lorre, co-executive producer Bill Prady and the cast of "Big Bang" seemed a little taken aback to find themselves in the unexpected position of being asked to compare and contrast their program to that of Jack, Janet and Chrissy during the "Big Bang" TCA sesh on Wednesday.
Tops on the list: Three decades after Suzanne Somers redefined the role of the dumb blonde on "Three's," is it possible that Kaley Cuoco's Penny (pretty small-town gal befriended by two neighbors who are Caltech physicists) is ... dumberer? (Pictured from left, "Big Bang" stars Jim Parsons, Cuoco, Johnny Galecki)
No way, said Lorre.
"As we get more into developing the series and characters, we're going to learn that her character is extremely capable," said Lorre, who will be juggling this 8:30 p.m. Monday show with "Two and a Half Men," his 9 p.m. CBS hit.
"She grew up on a farm: She can fix a tractor, she can birth a cow.... She's capable in different ways," Lorre (pictured far right) assured.
Cuoco, a graduate of the ABC sitcom "8 Simple Rules" that starred the late "Three's" lead John Ritter, seemed even more uneasy with the Chrissy analogy.
"She's not a blonde bimbo, who can't live on her own and can't take care of herself," said Cuoco, who raved about what she learned from Ritter. "I don't really want to compare her with Chrissy Snow."
Maybe everyone's just selling Chrissy short, though. After all, it's not as if she couldn't navigate the untamed wilds of Larry and Mr. Roper.
In any case, Lorre and Prady emphasized that no character on the show has unassailable smarts - not even the brilliant Sheldon and Leonard (yes, the names are an homage to the legendary TV producer, who would have been 100 this year), played by Jim Parsons ("Garden State") and Johnny Galecki
("Roseanne," "My Boys").
"The comedy is in their inability to deal with everything we might take for granted," Lorre said. "People who can calculate pi to the 80th decimal but can't figure out the tip on a check because the quality of service has too many intangibles."
- Jon Weisman