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The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik on Amy’s Wedding Dress, Season 13, and Understanding Boy Brains

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

They did it: Sheldon and Amy are married, and it only took eight seasons of The Big Bang Theory to get them to the altar.

Amy portrayer Mayim Bialik, the Blossom alum who’s also a neuroscientist and divorced mom of two sons, chatted with Vulture before the big prime-time nuptials about the complicated feelings her TV wedding (and her TV wedding dress) sparked for her, whether or not she wants to see TBBT season 13 happen, and how she’s using her science background to help boys and their parents (and girls) understand the inner workings of the male mind in her new book, Boying Up.

Congratulations, you’re a prime-time bride.
Yes, it’s happening!

There are lots of great little moments in the episode, but I think Sheldon and Amy’s vows are the best part. They’re incredibly sweet, but in ways that are specific and appropriate to who the characters are, and who they are as a couple. And the reactions of the other characters felt genuine.
That’s us. We’re a very close cast. For me, it felt a lot like a real wedding, all of us being there and preparing together.

Was it emotional for all of you? As you said, you’re all very close as a cast, but also, Sheldon and Amy were set up by Howard and Raj, and the other characters have been a big part of their relationship.
Yes. I think that there’s a lot of real aspects to the whole process … me and Melissa [Rauch] being added to the group on camera, but also off camera. We were added in the fourth season as regulars, so it has been a real journey in that sense. I can’t speak for everybody else, but what was the most special for me was being able to do all these things with Jim. Honestly, I respect him so much, and I really adore him as a person and as a castmate. But since he and I are not super mushy-gushy kind of people, it was really good to be able to go through this wedding experience with someone who has such a similar process of understanding acting, because it made it playful. I don’t know if that came across. I don’t watch the show, so I only know what it was like to perform it. But I wanted the vows to be sweet, but also playful. I think that took some of the heaviness off it. That’s what was really emotional for me, being able to be part of that process with Jim, the person that I know off camera.

Sheldon and Amy are both very career-minded, and are very confident in themselves professionally. They don’t dole out that respect for their fellow scientists so frequently, so when they work together on Sheldon’s “super asymmetry” idea — sparked by Amy — it was a really nice way to cement their mutual respect for each other. Especially going into a marriage that was a long time coming, and not without its challenges. 
It’s true. I think it’s a really interesting way for them to enter what otherwise could’ve been a very predictable wedding. Millions of people have been waiting for them to get married, so yes, I think it’s very sweet, and that’s to the credit of our writers.

Had you and Jim talked to the writers about what you thought was most important for the wedding episode?
Oh, no. That’s not how our job works. It was on the page.

Did you have in mind what you hoped it would be like?
Honestly, I don’t know. My wedding in real life was very unusual, because I’m an unusual person, so I’m actually not big on vows. I think if you want to say something intimate to your partner, just do it privately. The whole notion of vows to me was, in real life, I was like, “Ugh, who wants to say all those things in front of other people?” I think I felt the same kind of anxiety about it [as Amy], but I think the writers really parlayed it, and I was able to as an actor parlay it into nervous excitement.

You wrote on your website, Grok Nation, about your complicated feelings about Amy’s wedding dress, and trying on dresses, in relation to the fact that you’re divorced, and how it made you think about whether you might be trying on wedding dresses again in real life. How has that settled with you? Or has it?
I think it’s still awkward. I think that there’s still going to be a lot of comments about it once it airs, and not just from my mother — but she’ll probably be the first. There’ll be some follow-up stuff both on my YouTube channel and on Grok Nation … I’ve decided to write more about some of those more complicated feelings. It’s safe to say I’m glad it’s over, and I’m ready to move on into the next thing.

Did you like Amy’s wedding dress?
Would I choose that dress? No. For Amy, did I think it was appropriate? Yes. I think it was pretty much right on. I honestly would’ve liked a little bit more of my figure to show. That’s actually like three dresses together. There’s an under piece, and then there’s the cape over it. I would’ve taken off the cape, but the final decision was that they liked it with all the pieces on it. It felt like a little bit much to me, and it was very, very hot. But I think ultimately, it’s a very satisfying dress for the character.

It was three separate dresses that they merged together?
The actual dress is a strapless dress. The skirt is attached to a strapless bodice, then there’s a whole long-sleeve piece, which in theory would’ve been from another kind of dress. And then there’s two capes on top. And there’s a whole frame that I was wearing, a hoop frame, hard frame, underneath, and I couldn’t sit down. So by the time we were filming the wedding, I would have to sit on the stool that they would put under my dress. And then there were two decorative gem tiers that went on, one over my shoulder and one around the wrist.

It drew a nice response from Sheldon, both times he saw Amy in it.
I think his original line was that Amy looked like she was in a dress made of clouds, and they ended up changing it to a pile of swans. I like the cloud reference better, but I think it ended up being really sweet. Jim’s reaction when Sheldon says, “Wow” … that it’s really sweet, very sweet.

What was your favorite part of the season 11 finale?
Having Mark Hamill there was super exciting. Honestly, as an actor, the best part of the episode was when I was done wearing that gigantic, hot, poufy dress.

We didn’t get to see the wedding reception in the episode. Was that because of time limits?
Yes. I think they just wanted the finale to be that scene, the ceremony scene. Originally there was a different scene. I’m not sure actually how they ended up going, but yes, they wanted that to be the iconic moment.

Did you wonder what the reception would’ve been like, what science-fiction-icon shape the cake would have almost certainly taken?
I didn’t think about it. I really didn’t think about it, but for all I know, that will be the first episode of the next season. I have no idea. Literally, I have no idea.

Both Sheldon and Amy have changed a lot since meeting at the end of season three. What’s your favorite way that Amy has evolved throughout the seasons?
Gosh. That’s a good question. I think her love for Sheldon, and the way she communicates that, is really, really sweet. I think as Sheldon opens up more, it leaves more room for Amy to be receptive to that. I like those kind of scenes and those conversations.

What are you most excited to still explore with Amy, Shamy, and their friends?
Because our cast is so deep, there’s still so much room for all these great interactions we can all have together. I think there’s a lot more of the same and hopefully even better to come. Scenes with Jim are always so tender and he’s so talented, but I also love anything that I get to do with the other cast members. Simon Helberg, I’m his biggest fan. Everybody is so much fun.

We know that season 12 is a go. How do you feel about continuing beyond that? Do you want to? Do you think there are still enough stories to tell?
The way I put it, I have nowhere else I’d rather be than doing this job, for as long as they will have me. A lot of it is not up to me, but yes, I think we have a lot more stories to tell, and that’s really to the credit of our writers.

You also have a new book out this week, Boying Up: How to Be Brave, Bold, and Brilliant, a follow-up to last year’s Girling Up: How to be Strong, Smart, and Spectacular. Were your sons upset that you started with Girling Up?
No, no. It made a lot more sense to them that I did Girling Up, and I think this one hits a little too close to home for them. I think they’re a little bit in denial, but they were happy to be on the cover. They’re in little superhero masks and capes. They were happy to be part of it.

Did they have some input into the book?
Yes. Obviously, a lot of the book is based on my experience as a mom of boys, and as a scientist, but still, as my boys would tell it, I don’t know anything because I’m their mom. There are voices of actual boys and men throughout the book in little boxes called, “That’s what he said,” but yes, my boys are definitely part of the whole experience of me understanding things as a mom of boys.

This seems like a great series. What’s the next book?
I’m not allowed to say that! But I may have submitted a book proposal for it on the plane here.

What kind of feedback have you gotten about Girling Up?
Well, people loved it and used it as a little bit of a guidebook in conversations with their daughters, and girls also do enjoy reading it. Boys, it’s a little bit different. Boys in the 10-to-18 age phase sometimes don’t read the same way girls do, but I think Boying Up will appeal to moms and dads as well who are looking for ways to open up conversation about how boys like to communicate, their hero’s journey, and also important things like consent and online dating and all sorts of other things that we deal with with boys.

Sounds like a good read for girls, too.
Yes, absolutely. I’ve also pointed out that many of the things about boys and how their brains work are similar to how men work. I don’t mean to say that men are boys, but in the sense that grown-up women also behave sometimes the way young girls do, we see the same in boys. The fact that a lot of boys like to process emotions alone is true of men, as well.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik on Amy’s Wedding Dress