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Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik on Her Emmy Nomination and Why She May Feel Awkward at the Ceremony

Mayim Bialik.

Mayim Bialik never expected to be nominated for an Emmy. As the teenage star of nineties sitcom Blossom, she was well aware that the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences wasn’t tuning in. The Big Bang Theory is a different story. Playing socially maladjusted neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler for the past two seasons, Bialik has captured a new fan base — and now, her first Emmy nod, for supporting comedy actress. (Of course, given that she has already had a Ph.D. and a best-selling guide to attachment parenting, she wasn’t exactly short on accomplishments.) Vulture spoke to Bialik a few hours after the nominations were announced to find out how she celebrated, talk about Amy’s future with Sheldon, and discuss the “interesting social experiment” that is the red carpet.  

Do I hear kids?      
Yes, but I’m trying to get away from them for a few minutes. [Laughs.]

Is now a good time?
It’s the only time, yes.

Well, congratulations!
Thank you so much.

So, where were you when you found out? Can you set the scene for me?
I’m currently in Atlanta staying with my best friend — she just had her second son, so we’ve got a newborn in the house and my two boys and her older son, and I was so sure I was not getting nominated that I was on the phone doing an interview with about breastfeeding. And I got off and realized, Oh, they must have announced, let me see if Kristen Wiig got nominated. And as I went to turn on the Internet on my phone, the call came in from my publicist.

And what did you say?
I couldn’t believe it. My best friend who’s here said that she thought, god forbid, somebody died from the look on my face. [Laughs.]

Meanwhile, you’re watching the kids …
Oh, I was literally in the middle of making a bowl of cereal for my almost-4-year-old. Small people don’t care what’s going on, except that they needed more cereal.

Did you try to explain it to them?
Oh no, the 4-year-old isn’t even feigning interest in what’s going on. My almost-7-year-old, I told him, “Just like President Obama had to be nominated before he won to be president, I got nominated for something.” And he said, “Like the Grammys?” I said, “Yes, like the Grammys but for actors.”

When did you find out that Jim Parsons was nominated too?
Honestly, I was assuming he would be; for me it’s such a no-brainer. But that’s what my publicist said, she said not only were me and Jim nominated, but also our show, which is really great — it’s our second year of being nominated.

Did you and your cast mates all throw yourselves a little text message party, since you’re all in different parts of the country?
Well, Jim and I are in the same time zone, so yeah, I heard from Jim … I think Kunal [Nayyar] tweeted at me. I don’t know how to read tweets, but I’ll have to figure that out later.

This is your first Emmy nomination. Since you started in the business at such a young age, was this a goal of yours at any point?
No, I don’t even think it was on the radar concretely, especially because Blossom never got any critical acclaim. It got a lot of fan acclaim, but we were never nominated for anything, we were never mentioned as even worthy of that. In that era, Roseanne was really the only critically acclaimed family show, obviously the Cosby Show and things like that — but, no, this was not at all on the radar.

With Amy and Sheldon, you’ve got the ultimate will-they-or-won’t-they romance going on. It progresses so slowly that it’s almost frozen in time.
I think we really brought the art of courtship back with this relationship. I think it’s really sweet. I think it’s only by modern Western standards that there’s something wrong with this relationship. [Laughs.] I think it’s perfect for their personalities and their pacing, and I think that Amy really wants Sheldon exactly how he is — with subtle modifications, obviously, as we all do to partners. But she understands this is part of the deal, and I think he gets that this is part of the deal with her, too. I don’t know what season six is going to look like; season five ended with Sheldon taking Amy’s hand, so I don’t know what’s going to happen next.

You’ll be doing the red carpet this fall. How are you with awards ceremonies?
Yeah, it’s hard for me. I write for this website, and I did a four-part series last year just about the anxiety surrounding finding a dress for the Emmys. I do my best, I have amazing people on my side who tell me what to wear and literally how to stand and which arm to put on my hip and how to turn my chin. I am incredibly grateful to my hair and makeup artists, because I feel like you need someone to basically make you look the way people do on the red carpet. But no, social stuff like that’s hard for me. I don’t even do well at cocktail parties.

Mayim Bialik May Feel Awkward at the Emmys