Long a favorite of Comic-Con crowds, "The Big Bang Theory" made it to the big time last year, with a Hall H panel. On Friday, "TBBT" was back in Ballroom 20, which was probably a function of what was initially described as an actor-free Inside The Big Bang Theory Writers' Room panel.
 
As the start of an epic day of Ballroom 20 programming, even without the prospect of stars, "Big Bang Theory" produced a loud and enthusiastic room. And, of course, the panel wasn't truly star-free. Melissa Rauch did a fine job of moderating and she was joined by one of her fellow actors early in the panel. 
 
I didn't live-blog this one, but here are some things I learned:
 
*** Stephen Hawking will record your Comic-Con intro video if you ask nicely. Hawking, a former "Big Bang Theory" guest star and frequently name-checked icon, appeared via video and apologized, "Sorry I couldn't be there. I got a flat tire." He went on to explain the Big Bang Theory by reciting the show's theme song. 
 
*** The bounty hunter that Prince Leia disguises herself as at the beginning of "Return of the Jedi" is named "Boushh." I suspect I probably knew this 30 years ago, but I don't anymore. Boushh came into play when he came up to ask a question about how the actors are like their characters. After the writers agreed that Johnny Galecki is a handful, Boushh removed his mask to reveal... JOHNNY GALECKI! Shocking, right? The crowd was pleased, especially when Rauch asked for Boushh's real identity and he replied, appropriately, "Someone who loves you." [And yes, as Princess Leia-related costumes go, it's probably good that this is the one Galecki picked.]
 
*** There are two reasons why "The Big Bang Theory" has never shot on location at Comic-Con: "There are two problems: One we don't go into production until August... And then the other problem is that we shoot on a stage and we're just not very good at filming out in the real world," Bill Prady told a child named Jonah, who got one of the panel's most enthusiastic rounds of applause when he said this was his Make-a-Wish wish.
 
*** Eric Kaplan is my favorite "Big Bang Theory" writer now. Perhaps that shouldn't be a surprise, since Kaplan's credits include "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" and Futurama, but he definitely shined on the panel. I especially liked his hilarious sad monologue about being made fun of by the other writers. "This is a show that celebrates the outsider and criticizes the human propensity to shun or make fun of the outsider," he said,  before recounting his mockery for making what Prady calls "artisanal confetti" when he was cutting up paper as a nervous habit to avoid eating. "It has been compared by some -- me -- to being observed by a monster with 20 eyes."
 
*** But Eric Kaplan is a very ambitious D&D player. The extended D&D episode last year was inspired by a D&D campaign with the writing staff featuring Kaplan as a Dungeon Master who staged a multi-universe adventure which hinged on whether or not the players could remember their dreams. "It may be the first use of differential dream remembering as a mechanism in game-play and I'm very proud of that," he said. 
 
Many more learned things on Page 2...
 
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