Kaley Cuoco got her start in Hollywood as a child, first in commercials and then as a TV actor. Over the years, she has had central roles in everything from “8 Simple Rules” to “The Flight Attendant” and “Harley Quinn.” Of course, Cuoco has become arguably most associated with her lead role in the long-running CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” in which she plays Penny, a woman who lives opposite and becomes intertwined in the lives of her fellow series leads, Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons).
Relative to Cuoco’s practically lifelong acting career, Parsons had something of a late start — he was cast in his first few notable roles all in his 30s, including a Quiznos commercial in 2003 that effectively introduced him to TV audiences. That said, he began to portray Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory” just four years after his notorious Quiznos commercial, quickly cementing himself as a TV mainstay and a household name.
With all this in mind, Variety published a profile of Cuoco in February of 2021 that includes various quotes from the actor about the time she spent filming the 12 seasons that comprise “The Big Bang Theory.” Among a number of other insights, Cuoco shared her perspective in the interview on what it was like to work opposite Parsons, characterizing her co-star as a considerable talent.
In a separate piece published in conjunction with the outlet’s profile of Kaley Cuoco, Variety writer Kate Arthur wrote that Cuoco “looks back on her 12 seasons on CBS’ ‘The Big Bang Theory’ with pride and affection — and admiration for her former co-star Jim Parsons.” Throughout the interview, Cuoco opened up a lot about how she came to terms with “The Big Bang Theory” ending and even talked about how she felt when she learned for the first time that the popular CBS sitcom’s 12th season would also be its last. Referring to her role on the show as a “great job,” Cuoco revealed that she and her “Big Bang” co-star, Johnny Galecki, were planning on continuing to star in the series when Parsons decided to leave it.
“Jim said, ‘I don’t think I can continue on.’ And I was so shocked that I was literally like, ‘Continue on with what?’ Like, I didn’t even know what he was talking about,” Cuoco admitted. The actor went on to reveal that “Big Bang Theory” co-creator Chuck Lorre took Parsons’ desire to leave as a sign that the show should come to an end, and recalled how Lorre told her and her fellow cast members, “We’re all for one, one for all. And we’re not going to do this without the whole team.” The future “Flight Attendant” star added that she didn’t disagree with Lorre’s decision, saying, “That was the one thing we all agreed on — we came in together, we go out together.”
Fortunately, Parsons’ decision to leave “The Big Bang Theory” doesn’t appear to have soured Cuoco’s view of him in the slightest. As a matter of fact, Cuoco makes a point in her Variety interview to be as complimentary as possible toward her former “Big Bang” co-star. While speaking with Variety, Kaley Cuoco described Jim Parsons as “100% the breakout” star of “The Big Bang Theory,” and recounted how “the stuff he did on that show was an out of body experience.”
She then went on to praise Parsons’ dynamic with Johnny Galecki in particular. While Parsons was cast to play the sitcom’s most eccentric central character and Galecki was meant to serve as his voice of reason, Cuoco argued that their dynamic, rather, became the show’s unusual element, while she counterbalanced their performances with a more grounded perspective. “That’s what ‘Big Bang’ was to me — I was almost the straight person in a weird way,” Cuoco said.
In short, then, Cuoco credits what sounds like a considerable portion of the success of “The Big Bang Theory” to Parsons’ acting ability. Of course, Cuoco is no slouch in the acting department herself. After all, “The Flight Attendant,” which is Cuoco’s most recent project, currently holds a 97% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes and will soon return for a second season. As for Parsons, his filmography has so far remained relatively sparse since the conclusion of “The Big Bang Theory,” save for his work narrating its spin-off series, “Young Sheldon” (via IMDb). Nevertheless, given his natural affinity for acting, which Cuoco recognized in her Variety interview, a Parsons renaissance may very well be on the horizon.