The Big Bang Theory‘s Amy Farrah Fowler actress Mayim Bialik was referenced in the show long before her character debuted. Initially featuring only five main characters – Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Howard (Simon Helberg), and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) – the cast of The Big Bang Theory expanded by season 4 with the addition of Amy and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch). Despite joining late, Bialik became an integral part of the show, especially in Sheldon’s persona arc as they ended up getting married.
In its first three years, the CBS sitcom only had Penny as its female lead, and followed her burgeoning love affair with Leonard. Things changed when The Big Bang Theory decided to give the other boys their own love interests to diversify the show’s story. Introduced as a potential love interest for Sheldon in the season 3 finale, Amy was positioned as the female version of the socially-inept genius. The pair met via a blind date set up by Howard and Raj. Surprisingly, they hit it off right away as they bonded over their shared quirks. Their friendship turned into romance, resulting in an oddly romantic engagement, an emotional wedding, and a Nobel Prize in Physics.
That being said, Amy’s introduction to The Big Bang Theory wasn’t Bialik’s first contact with the show. Almost two seasons before she was cast to play Amy Farrah Fowler, the actress was already referenced in the sitcom. In season 1, episode 13, “The Bat Jar Conjecture,” the boys form a group for the annual Physics Bowl. Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj even tap the help of Penny to prepare for the academic event. Unfortunately, due to Sheldon’s obnoxious controlling of the team, the others decide to kick him out. While brainstorming who should they recruit to be the fourth member of their team, Raj suggests that “the actress who played TV’s Blossom” should take the spot since she’s smart with “a Ph.D. in neuroscience or something” – referring to Bialik, who played the titular role in the NBC sitcom Blossom from 1991 to 1995. Before Raj gets wrapped up in the idea, Leonard says that there’s no chance that they can get said actress for their Physics Bowl. In the end, the three tap Leslie Winkle (Sara Gilbert) to join them.
As fans know, Bialik, like her The Big Bang Theory character, is a neuroscientist – making her the only member of the show’s cast to have a scientific background. The one-time child actress earned her Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience in 2000, with minors in Hebrew and Jewish studies from UCLA. Following her brief acting come back in 2005, she pursued her doctorate in neuroscience, earning her Ph.D. degree in neuroscience in 2007 which is the same year The Big Bang Theory debuted.
Considering the timeline of events, it’s understandable that the writers of the sitcom wanted to incorporate timely conversations among the show’s characters, hence the reference to Bialik’s academic achievements. What makes the aforementioned scene more interesting is that Galecki was once a guest in Blossom. He played Jason – a random guy at a party whom Blossom makes out with in season 1, episode 6 titled “Sex, Lies and Teenagers.”
Perhaps part of the reason The Big Bang Theory creatives wanted Bialik for the role of Amy was because of her real-life Ph.D. The actress has been vocal about not knowing what the show was when she first landed the gig, assuming it was a game show given its name – in fact, Bialik, apparently, still hasn’t seen a full episode of the sitcom despite it wrapping up last year. In hindsight, everything turned out for the better as her chemistry with Parsons is one of the main reasons why Sheldon and Amy’s romance worked.