Be gone with your bazingas, because this is the real deal, folks: CBS’ The Big Bang Theory has collected its first-ever Golden Globe nomination in the Best Comedy category. (Cast member Jim Parsons also earned a nod, for Best Comedy Actor.) To mark this occasion, I spoke with Big Bang co-creator Chuck Lorre about how the fourth-year comedy endured a very scary real-life drama to serve up one of its best seasons to date.
The sitcom king also weighs in on two other Best Comedy nominees, and teases what’s to come on Two and a Half Men (which he created) and Mike & Molly (where he serves as an exec producer).
How does it feel to have Big Bang Theory finally and deservedly land in a major awards show’s Best Comedy race?
It’s very gratifying. It’s wonderful to get acknowledged for doing good work. We’ve been trying our damnedest!
Is it extra meaningful coming in a season when some were afraid the show might get a bit “lost” in its new time slot?
I don’t know that we were frightened about the time slot. What was frightening this year was Kaley [Cuoco] having her leg shattered by a horse. That was scary, that’s real stuff. She’s back with us 100-percent now, having missed only two episodes, and that’s a miracle. That’s what I’m really grateful for.
With the addition of Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik (as Bernadette and Amy), would you say the show is more well-rounded?
There’s no question that Melissa and Mayim bring colors to the palette that we didn’t have and I think make the show have a little more depth. And they are extremely funny, gifted actresses. It really feels like the ensemble is complete.
Among the characters, you now have three romantic relationships in three very different places. What’s ahead for each of them?
It’s the nature of a sitcom to challenge relationships. The relationship between Penny and Leonard is always on the bubble; the attraction they feel to each other is always going to cause a strain. Sheldon and Amy Farrah Fowler are so new to everything, to any kind of an intimate relationship — even a platonic one — but it does bode for more intimacy than they’re comfortable with, so hopefully we can tell stories about that. Wolowitz is deeply flawed and insecure, so his relationship with Bernadette will be tricky. We’re shooting an episode this week with [NBA star] Rick Fox playing the former lover of Bernadette, and that causes Howard extreme paranoia and security — as it would any man, really.
Was Rick Fox part of package deal with recent guest star Eliza Dushku?
No, but he did come to the show when we were shooting the episode with Eliza. It seemed to be a natural outgrowth of hanging with him that we thought it would be hilarious if he had dated Bernadette. Just knowing that she had been with a man who’s 6-foot-7 and perhaps one of the more handsome human beings in the world — what that might do for Howard?
Does TV’s hottest comedy have all of its contract drama now behind it? Did you close the cast’s last deal, with Kunal Nayar?
I don’t know if that’s finished or not yet. I hope so. I hope it’s closed.
Any specific thoughts on any of your competition in the Golden Globes’ Best Comedy race? [The other contenders are Modern Family, Glee, 30 Rock, Nurse Jackie and The Big C.]
The only thought I have is, “Damn, we’re up against some really good shows!” Modern Family is hilarious. Glee, I don’t even know how they stage a musical comedy every week. You have no idea the technical undertaking, and yet the productions values are phenomenal. Did you see Jane Lynch [on Two and a Half Men] last night?
I did. And I liked Charlie’s comment at the end while watching Glee with Alan, about the “tall blonde in the track suit.”
That was our way of saying thank you. We were so grateful to get Jane back to explore Charlie’s psyche [as his therapist].
Speaking of that, what sort of path will Charlie Harper be on now, having reached a bit of an epiphany?
[ Laughs ] I think were going to let that character spin out for a while. That’s a character who’s going to be looking for answers, but he’s at that point in his life where it no longer works to be the decadent playboy. He has to find a new path — and hopefully it will be funny. Hopefully he won’t be good at it!
And as I watched Mike & Molly’s Christmas episode, I wondered: Is this series going to be about a couple that’s always together? Or might there be break-ups along the way?
Like any relationship, there will be times when it comes apart, no question about it. Relationships are hard, and these two are novices without a lot of experience. Not that experience means a damn, but… your perception is right; you can expect to see them have terrible falling-outs as we develop the series and those relationships.
This story originally appeared on Movieline.com.