Post Mortems

Big Bang EP Talks Baby-Name Debate, Dismisses Penny Pregnancy Buzz

Big Bang Recap Season 11

And baby makes four! On Thursday’s Big Bang Theory, Howard and Bernadette welcomed their second child, son Neil Michael, in an episode that seemed to foreshadow future stork-related surprises for Penny/Leonard and Amy/Sheldon. (Judging by TVLine’s mailbag, fans are especially keen to see Penny and Leonard to start a family.)

But while “The Neonatal Nomenclature” found both couples discussing their own parental aspirations, showrunner Steve Holland tells TVLine it’s unlikely the series will deliver another baby plot anytime soon. “It’s too early to talk about what happens next season,” he says, “but we’ve now done two seasons of pregnancy stories and, for me, that’s probably enough.”

As it is, Holland acknowledges that, with Neil’s arrival coming so soon after Halley’s, it was “definitely a challenge” to find a fresh spin on Baby No. 2 — and that includes selecting the little guy’s out-of-this-world name. “We spent a lot of time in the room talking about what the [first] name should be,” notes the EP. “We [were set on] Michael as good middle name, so it was really just about finding the first name. In the first draft of the script there was another first name and we weren’t that happy with it. It didn’t feel quite right. But someone brought up Neil and it just seemed to check off all the boxes in a really fun way for us.”

While the writers didn’t have a problem with Michael as the middle name, Howard sure did. An earlier version of the script actually dug deeper into Howard’s issues with naming his son after Bernadette’s father. (We would’ve learned, for instance, that his Michael-related anxiety had as much to do with his troubled relationship with his own dad as it did with his tense dynamic with his father-in-law.)

“It was about his relationship with his own father, but it was also that he didn’t have the closest relationship with Bernadette’s father,” Holland notes. “He never really felt like Bernadette’s father liked him that much. They sort of patched [things up] over the years, but their relationship was a little prickly.”