Aug. 8, 2012 at 7:02 PM ET
Bernadette may have her work cut out for her when new husband Howard returns to Earth on the upcoming sixth season of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory," while Penny also spend time mulling just what her relationship with Leonard represents.
Following a Season 5 finale that saw Wolowitz tie the knot and blast off to space, with Amy and Sheldon making one giant leap toward coupledom with a very poignant hand-holding scene, the boys of "The Big Bang Theory" will boldly go where they've only dreamed of before: adulthood.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with "Big Bang" executive producer Steve Molaro to check in with what's ahead for the geeky gang and got the scoop on where the writers are after penning five episodes. Here are 10 things to look forward to in Season 6.
1. The season picks up not long after the earth-shattering season finale, with Howard (Simon Helberg) still in space with his new bride Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) mulling whether they're going to continue to shack up with Mrs. Wolowitz or venture out. One thing is certain, Bernadette would like to venture outside of the Wolowitz estate, currently home to Howard's creepy leopard print bedroom set. "She'd like to be a normal adult and maybe have a life with her husband, but he's very attached to his mom," Molaro says.
2. Howard won't be back home (wherever that may be) immediately. "He'll be up there for a few episodes and then he's back," Molaro warns. And while he may be on the most epic of road trips ever, his world will won't be that far away as his rough-voiced mother really is only a phone call away. Can you imagine: "Hooooooward, don't forget your Fruit Loops!" on speakerphone in front of two fellow astronauts?
3. Speaking of Mrs. Wolowitz, don't expect to actually see any of Howard's portly mother after the rare peek at the woman in pink from the sky in the season finale. "The glimpse on the rooftop is all you're going to get for now!" Molaro says with a laugh. "Isn't she better left to the imagination? There are no plans to actually see her on camera and I think it's probably better that way." But do, however, plan to hear a lot from her. Let's also hope Rauch's spot-on impersonation also shows up this season.
4. Bernadette's ex-military father (played by Casey Sander) will be back at some point. The tough yet stern guy could likely show up again after Wolowitz returns comes back to Earth, Molaro says. Note to producers: If Howard and Bernadette do get a place of their own, there's comedic gold waiting in both a Nerd Moving Day and a housewarming party where Mr. Rostenkowski sees just how big Howard's geek flag really is.
5. Amy (Mayim Bialik) has a long-term plan for nurturing Sheldon (Jim Parsons) out of his anti-relationship mindset. "I don't know if it'll work but she has a five-year plan in her head to keep him moving forward on some track," Molaro says of the couple who continue to challenge the depiction of romance on TV. "She has her sights set way down the line and knows she needs to pace herself. If reaching for Amy's hand took two years and reduced audiences to tears (Molaro professes the scene made him weepy from the writers room all the way through the editing process) the couple's baby steps will continue to be monumental. "It's the weirdest boyfriend-girlfriend story on TV," he says.
6. Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) will start the season as a couple after his botched marriage proposal (talk about timing issues!) but she'll be the one who begins to think things through more. "Leonard doesn't want to rock the boat and is psyched to have a beautiful girlfriend," Molaro says. "Penny is trying to figure out where they are; she knows he's great and she knows she loves him and would never want to hurt him but [thinking], 'What are we doing?' That's what a lot of Season 6 will hold for them."
7. As Penny continues to mature and seek deeper meaning from her relationship with Leonard, she'll continue to lean on both Amy and Bernadette, with Molaro noting that the possibility always exists that an outside force could factor in to her romantic relationship again (looking at you, Wil Wheaton!). "That could happen but we have no concrete plans as of yet," he warns. That's a big "yet"!
8. While still sorting out her personal life, Penny's outside world could also expand this season as she's been plugging away with her acting career -- and as a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory -- to lackluster results. "She's an aspiring actress and she's been here for four or five years now and got that one commercial but nothing huge happened," Molaro says. "We would like to see more for Penny and I think that's something where we're all thinking about and discussing, whether it's on the acting side or some other avenue. We definitely would like to expand Penny's life."
9. The lonely and eternally heartbreaking Raj (Kunal Nayyar) will explore what Molaro dubs his "large hole of loneliness" that gets even bigger after his best friend gets married. "Love interest is a strong word but he will continue to try and plug that hole -- though not necessarily romantically," he says of the character who romanced his iPhone's Siri last season and continues to need booze to engage with the opposite sex.
10. After Leonard Nimoy and Stephen Hawking guest starred last season, the producers are keeping mum on the "couple ideas" they have in mind, stressing only that story will continue to come first. Our suggestion: William Shatner.
"The Big Bang Theory" returns Thursday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. on CBS.
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