Taping Date: January 8th, 2019
Air Date: January 17th, 2019
Where to get tickets: No longer in production
This may be a bit of a longer post, as it was a journey to get to The Big Bang Theory. For years, this was a show I would always watch with my parents. I believe we started watching in season 4, but with reruns in, we quickly caught up. Every thursday since, I would sit with my parents and enjoy the Big Bang Theory. I have a great relationship with my parents and it was nice to be able to sit and laugh together.
Getting the tickets
For years, I thought it would be an amazing experience to take my parents to Hollywood to see a taping of The Big Bang Theory. This show is one of the hardest to get into (except maybe Ellen) so I never gave it too much thought. However when they announced that season 12 would be the final year, I gave it some more thought. Knowing I had a week off in November, I decided to try and get tickets. Tickets were distributed by Audiences Unlimited, who handles a lot of tapings in Hollywood. As I was looking for three tickets, I assumed we would end up with standby tickets. Considering my parents are in their 70s, standing in line from 6am wasn’t ideal, but I figured I’d try and score the tickets, and then figure out if we would go.
As tickets were scheduled to be released at 11:30am (east coast time) I had the website open on 2 computers and my iPad. I kept refreshing with no luck, as they tickets hadn’t been released yet. About 20 minutes later, the tickets were finally loaded. I kept refreshing, only to constantly get an error message.
Ten minutes later, I finally got through and quickly entered my moms name. Instead of standby, I was shocked to see a confirmed ticket pop up. I hit the back button, and was taken back to the submission page. Quickly, I changed the name field to my dads name, and submitted again… another confirmed ticket! Ok, this seems good. One last time… the back button… change the name… resubmit… one more confirmed ticket! That was it, 3 tickets, all confirmed for the November 6, 2018 taping! I certainly wasn’t expecting it, but I was giddy with excitement!
Planning the Trip
That night I told my parents that we were going to LA, and going to see the Big Bang Theory! I also mentioned that I’d be taking care of the flights as a Christmas gift! Trips like this generally require some thought, so I expected them to need some time to think it over. Much to my surprise, they were all in. Perfect, time to plan the trip.
We made our arrangements for flights, car rental, airbnb, and a variety of activities. Thanks to dad’s suggestion, we added a week in Hawaii on after our time in LA. This was turning into quite the trip!
A Bump In The Road
Just 4 days before the trip, I was woken up early in the morning to take my dad to the hospital. He was having complications from a previous surgery. Without all the details, everything ended up being ok, but we had to cancel the trip. My dad felt like he caused us to miss the trip. Of course the trip and the Big Bang Theory were the last things on our minds. We just wanted him to get better. We assured him that we would figure something out once he was back on his feet.
The next day, I canceled the trip. Not a huge deal, most of our arrangements were refundable. Our Air Canada/United tickets would be kept as a travel credit and we had up to a year to use them.
I then emailed Audiences Unlimited. I let them know that we wouldn’t be able to use the 3 tickets the next week, as we wanted to make sure someone else could go. They were very kind, and responded with a note saying they were sorry to hear about the circumstances. They also said to let them know when we would like to go back to see the show. I was a bit floored to be honest. The Big Bang Theory is such a hard show to get in to, I figured we were out of luck. For this company to let us reschedule was a really kind gesture.
Planning The Trip, Take 2
As the next several weeks went by, my dad was feeling better, and let us know that he was feeling comfortable with traveling. Based on my work schedule, the only chance we had to do both LA and Hawaii was early January. I emailed Audiences Unlimited at they were able to confirm us for the taping on January 8, 2019. Yes!!! All good. We rebooked our flights, and rescheduled our hotels, car rentals, and activities. We weren’t able to get the same Airbnb but I found a cute 3 bedroom house in Burbank which ended up being perfect for us.
One change to our plans was that my cousin wanted to join us. This was no issue, as long as she was ok with tagging along with us. I’d already planned a day-to-day itinerary and she was fine with that. I explained that she would need to doing something on her own or relax at the house while we were at the Big Bang Theory. We didn’t tell her that I was able to score her a confirmed ticket as well! So while we drove to the airport, she asked what she could do with that evening, and I told her that she would be joining us!
The trip started well, except for my mom fighting a cold. On the morning of Jan 8th, she was feeling quite under the weather. That morning we had tickets to a taping of The Talk, but mom wasn’t up to going. I was quite worried that she may not be well enough to go to the Big Bang Theory that evening, but she assured us that she just needed some rest. My dad stayed with her and my cousin and I headed over to The Talk.
When we returned, mom seemed to be feeling quite a bit better. Her and dad had spent the morning relaxing and even went for a walk. While LA is considered chilly in January, coming from snowy Canada, it was still a nice break. Sometimes the best thing to feel better is a little sunshine. Mom was good to do, so we hopped in the car for the quick 10 minute drive to Warner Bros.
Arriving at Warner Bros.
We parked our car in the Warner Bros. parking lot at Gate 3, and headed down to check in. For shows at Warner Bros, the check-in and waiting area is actually the ground floor of the parking garage. There was two areas, one for confirmed audience, and another for stand-by. We were given numbers and sat on the benches. Our numbers were in the 60s, so we figured we were in good shape. I assumed the line would grow behind us, but very few people showed up. Considering these tickets were like winning the lottery, I don’t know why so many people would not be there. I would say only 80 confirmed ticketholders showed up.
Entering the Studio
When it was time to go to the studio, we lined up, crossed the street, and walked over to Stage 25. My parents had never been to Hollywood before, so this was their first time ever in a studio. It was very exciting to head inside, walk up the stairs, take our seats, and look at…. the black curtains. Yup, when you walk in, you can’t see the set, as there are giant curtains in front. I assume they do this to hide any surprises that may happen during the show. Having been in the studio previously, I knew that we were actually sitting right in front of Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment!
Once the warm-up comedian came out, he welcomed us and explained how the evening would work. They then showed us the previously filmed episode on the screens above us. This episode hadn’t aired yet so we were the first to see it.
The Live Big Bang Theory Taping
When they were ready, the cast was introduced and came out one by one to enormous applause. Then the episode began, opening with a scene in Sheldon and Amy’s apartment. It started with their online show Fun With Flags (or if you prefer, Dr. Sheldon Cooper and Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler Present Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s Fun With Flags).
The episode was a lot of fun, with several scenes being filmed in the apartment right in front of us. There was also a temporary restaurant set just to our right. One thing I found a little odd was the episode featured guest stars Sean Astin and Kal Penn, who had no introduction and no audience reaction. Am I the only one who knows how legendary these guys are?
There was also a couple scenes shot to the far left which we needed to watch on the screens. On the far left past the Sheldon and Amy’s apartment was the set of the University Cafeteria. And around the corner, out of view from the entire audience, was Dr. Seebert’s office. Fortunately, everything was shown on the screens above us. This meant no matter where you were in the audience, you could see what was happening.
As is standard for sitcoms, halfway through the taping they handed out tiny bottles of room temperature water and cold pizza slices. This is the standard snack served at almost all sitcom tapings. I can’t understand why they serve warm water and cold pizza, but considering the experience we were getting, I can’t complain!
A couple other cool notes from the taping, Kaley Cuoco’s father was in the audience. Apparently he has never missed a taping in the 12 years. Close to the end of the episode, Kaley and Johnny Galecki came up to the audience. They thanked us for coming and being part of the taping, and spoke about how much the show means to them. They were even getting emotional as they spoke about only having a few more episodes to film. It was really nice to see them speaking directly to us and how much personally invested in the show they are.
After the Big Bang Theory
As the show ended, the cast came out and took their final bows. After they stood around and spoke to crew while we exited the stage. We headed outside, claimed our phones, and walked back to the parking garage. As we walked back, my dad started talking to a woman walking in the same direction. It turned out to be a voice-over actress who was part of that episode. She was very nice and even signed our program from the show.
Overall, it was a really wonderful experience, and one that I was very happy to share with my parents. For a while it seemed like we may not make it, but sometimes the stars align and things work out. This was definitely one of those times.
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