Leonard (Johnny Galecki) has been missing in action for three months when “The Big Bang Theory” returns for its seventh season with two back-to-back episodes on Thursday, Sept. 26 — and — get this — as hard as it is to believe, Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) have turned to each other to during his absence.
“The Penny and Sheldon bonding while missing Leonard was just truly sweet,” executive producer/showrunner Steve Molaro told xfinityTV in an exclusive interview. “Them sitting down and talking and getting to know each another better and exchanging a couple of secrets about themselves, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.”
Want more dish? Molaro answered all the burning questions we posed going into the new season of “The Big Bang Theory.”
Will Sheldon and Amy (Mayim Bialik) ever have sex?
It is constantly coming up. We went at it pretty hard in the Dungeons & Dragons episode [titled "The Love Spell Potential"], which was the next to the last episode for Season 6, where they essentially had simulated sex in the realm of Dungeons & Dragons. I think that was a pretty bold step in that direction. As for doing it physically, at this point all I can tell you in the words of Sheldon himself: “It is a possibility.”
When will Leonard return?
We will see Leonard on the boat for the first of the two episodes and then he will be coming back home in the second episode.
It is a huge deal that both Leonard and Penny have said the L word. What happens next?
I think we left Season 6 with Penny and Leonard in the best place relationship-wise they have ever been, which was why Leonard was concerned to go away for three or four months on this boat, but Penny was supportive of it. I think it was something we all knew he needed to do because it was a great opportunity. She is waiting for her boyfriend, who she now officially loves, to come home. It allows for a good amount of Leonard-Penny time.
Mayim mentioned Amy and Sheldon have no scenes together in the premiere episode. What’s up with that?
She and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) are going away to a science conference and we get to see them be alone without Penny pretty much for the first time. This is their first time experiencing a night out in a bar without Penny and what she brings to it.
Will we find out which of the guys gets tenure? Does it have to be Sheldon? Now that Leonard has had this opportunity, it should boost his status.
It is still up in the air. It will probably be addressed again at some point. There are lots of people who are eligible. In that episode, we had played it between Raj (Kunal Nayyar), Leonard and Sheldon.
Might you introduce a new character who is eligible?
I guess it is possible that someone who happens to not be one of our three guys could get it. I don’t know. We haven’t really talked about it that much this season but somebody like Kripke (John Ross Bowie) could end up getting it.
Have you made any progress on a guest spot for Zachary Quinto?
We know from the show that Sheldon loves Zachary Quinto. There are no set plans at this time, but Zachary has publicly said that he would like to do it. We have said we would love to have him on, so at this point, all we can do is cross our fingers and hope that before the season is over that can work out.
What can you share about Bob Newhart’s return as Professor Proton. Is it in the two-hour premiere?
That will be sometime further down in Season 7. We are kicking around a few ideas but nothing set in stone yet.
Raj had a breakthrough and will be talking to women more this season. Also, Kate Micucci is coming back. Is that as a date for him?
It is too soon for us to say. Right now, we are just enjoying the fact that we have one nerd that is not in a relationship. I think on a show like this that is a good thing to have. Really, right now Raj is just exploring this new world for him. He can speak to women without the aid of alcohol, and finding out that he is not necessarily very good at it.
What about a visit from his parents?
There is always a possibility to see them. They are fun guys and we love to have them around. Nothing set yet, but I wouldn’t rule anything out.
Fans really want to meet Howard’s (Simon Helberg) mother. Any chance of that?
We have built a certain mystique around her. You get to hear her. I feel like we have met her. Do you meant they physically want to see her?
We have a little bit. The first time we ever did it was at the end of Season 5 when Howard and Bernadette got married on the roof. When the camera pulls back in the Google satellite shot, you can see about a 400-pound pink blob in a dress on the roof if you want to bother to go back and freeze frame that. Also, there was an episode in Season 6, where there was an image of her quickly and blurrily walk past the kitchen door a couple of times, almost like Big Foot or Yeti. That may be as far as we are willing to go right now, but I wouldn’t be shocked if we do a little bit more. That is something we like having fun with.
Regina King is back. Does that mean Sheldon is in trouble with human resources again?
She is in the first episode back. Then we will see how it goes from there. We love Regina and we love having her on.
How will Howard and Bernadette’s relationship play out? Are they still having newlywed problems?
Everybody has their problems. They will have theirs. You also have this continuing frustration always lurking in the background of Howard having an attachment to his mom.
“The Big Bang Theory” premieres its seventh season with back-to-back episodes beginning at 8/7c on Thursday, Sept. 26 on CBS.