GUEST LIST PACKS ‘BIG BANG’

The (sit­com) stars align as fam­i­lies gather for Penny and Leonard’s wed­ding

USA TODAY US Edition - - LIFE - Bill Keveney

BUR­BANK, CALIF. When TV’s most-watched com­edy throws a wed­ding, it only makes sense to have a glit­tery guest list, in­clud­ing stars from Roseanne, Taxi, Cy­bill, Mar­ried ... With Chil­dren, 30 Rock and other past hits.

Four­teen ac­tors — eight se­ries reg­u­lars and six guest stars — crowd a set made to look like an ar­bore­tum, as cer­e­mo­nial vows are ex­changed for al­ready mar­ried Penny (Ka­ley Cuoco) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) in The

Big Bang The­ory’s 10th-sea­son pre­miere, air­ing Mon­day (8 ET/ PT) on CBS.

Love even­tu­ally tri­umphs, but not with­out some awk­ward asides, cour­tesy of Shel­don (Jim Par­sons); Leonard’s an­tag­o­nis­tic, divorced par­ents (Chris­tine Baran­ski and Judd Hirsch); and Penny’s ner­vous, in­se­cure mother (Katey Sa­gal) and ex-jail­bird brother (Jack McBrayer). No- non­sense of­fi­ciant Ber­nadette (Melissa Rauch) barks at the mis­cre­ants to keep the cer­e­mony from dis­in­te­grat­ing.

On set, how­ever, the mood is any­thing but tense, as the cast jokes and laughs be­tween takes. McBrayer has cast­mates in stitches.

“Jack’s hi­lar­i­ous,” Cuoco says dur­ing a shoot­ing break. “He thinks we have it too easy here.”

Bang reg­u­lars are im­pressed with their guests, whose shows have been sta­ples of com­edy for years. (One rough stu­dio es­ti­mate has cast and writ­ers’ cred­its top­ping 4,000 episodes.) “Ev­ery­where you look, it’s TV roy­alty,” Rauch says.

The sit­com’s ex­tended fam­ily has grown over the years. Baran­ski, as cold psy­chol­o­gist Bev­erly, and Lau­rie Met­calf, who plays Shel­don’s Bi­ble-quot­ing mother, Mary, have made sev­eral ap­pear­ances; Hirsch’s first visit as Al­fred came in May’s sea­son fi­nale.

“Meet­ing a char­ac­ter’s par­ents is like meet­ing a friend’s par­ents. You learn a lot about that friend when you meet their fam­ily. ‘Oh, that makes sense now,’ ” Galecki says.

As Penny and Leonard make their vows, the pre­miere also builds on the po­ten­tial ro­mance be­tween Al­fred and Mary, who left the pre-cer­e­mony fam­ily din­ner to­gether in May, wor­ry­ing their sons.

“I hope Al­fred and I are able to con­tinue to see each other,” Met­calf says of the char­ac­ters. “I think we’re the only ones who are pleased about that.”

The opener fea­tures the first ap­pear­ance of Sa­gal’s Su­san and McBrayer’s eter­nally cheer­ful meth sales­man, Ran­dall, along with the re­turn of Keith Car­ra­dine as Penny’s dad, Wy­att.

Penny’s ru­ral-Ne­braska fam­ily feels out of its el­e­ment. “These are in­tel­lec­tu­als and sci­en­tists. We come into it with some­thing of an in­fe­ri­or­ity com­plex,” Car­ra­dine says.

And Penny’s mom, Su­san, is mor­ti­fied about Ran­dall’s drug con­vic­tion.

“I’m hu­mil­i­ated that Penny has im­plied that she’s told ev­ery­body that her brother has been in jail,” Sa­gal says. “So, I’m ner­vous to meet them all.”

Cuoco is happy fans will meet Penny’s fam­ily, and “ec­static” Sa­gal will again play her mom, echo­ing their re­la­tion­ship on ABC’s 8

Sim­ple Rules. The pair be­came es­pe­cially close af­ter the sud­den death of se­ries star John Ritter.

“We went through a trau­matic life change to­gether. She was un­be­liev­able,” Cuoco says. Nev­er­the­less, “I had never even thought of Katey (for the Big

Bang role). Maybe it’s be­cause when one thing is done, you move onto some­thing else. When they named her, I al­most thought it was too wild of an idea. It ended up be­ing per­fect.”

PHO­TOS BY MONTY BRIN­TON, CBS

The Big Bang The­ory.

Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Ka­ley Cuoco) ex­change vows be­fore friends and fam­ily in the Sea­son 10 pre­miere of

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