Jessica Radloff on her new Big Bang Theory book discussing the success behind the show
Take me back to the work you did at Glamor as an editor. What was it like walking this parallel path between being an editor and “The Big Bang Theory”? What initially caught your attention as someone working in the journalism industry?
I wish I could say that I started watching “The Big Bang Theory” regularly from 2007 onwards, but that wouldn’t be the truth – so I’ll be very honest about it. I remember watching the show in 2007, the first episodes when it came, and that was before I started Glamour. I remember thinking the pilot was a fun show, but I didn’t watch it. I gave up after the first episodes. A lot of that was because back then you had different interests and different things, and there was only one female character, and I wasn’t very interested in what the guys were doing originally.
When I joined Glamor in 2011, I started interviewing the actors at the various award shows because they had been nominated at that time. It was season 4 – so the SAG Awards, the Golden Globes, the Emmys. I got to know them as people first off the show… Later that holiday season, I was home in St. Louis with a bad stomach flu. I remember I was lying on the couch and my mom said to me, “Your dad and I started watching the funniest show on TV.” “Guys, what is this? I’m ready to die on the couch.” They are like “The Big Bang Theory”. I’m like, “Good. Put it on. I don’t care. I’ll watch anything.” They put it on and my mom explained those quirks and traits and who they were.
By the time I got over that stomach flu, I was a die-hard “Big Bang Theory” fan. I couldn’t wait until the next time I saw the cast to start telling them, “Guys, I started watching the show now, and I love it so much.” I went back and started watching it, and at that point we realized that our Glamor readership was interested in the show because they brought Melissa [Rauch] and Mayim [Bialik], which changed the dynamic and opened up so many different stories. We realized, “There’s an interest here. This isn’t a show just for men or people who are obsessed with comics or science. It’s universal.” That’s when we started realizing, “We might be onto something here in our coverage.”
I watched it every week and wrote about it – not just recaps, but real reflections where you dig deeper into what was going on with the characters and why it mattered. This is where it all began. It really started, though, with knowing these actors and producers as people first, rather than stories, which kind of helped me because I was more interested in them than the show. . Then I got it, and I was like, “Okay. I see what this is about.”
It’s such a character-driven show. I don’t think this is the kind of show where you can jump in the middle and say, “I get it.” A lot of people do that and [are] like “I don’t understand”. You have to see where these characters come from, and it’s at the intersection of why it worked so well between Glamor readership and what we saw on screen. It was about who these people are, why we see them on TV, what was different from so many other characters we’ve seen, and why they resonated.