I know, I know: I just wrote a TBBT behind-the-scenes post about last week’s “almost married” City Hall episode! But last night’s “almost coitus” episode was too much fun for me to not write about! Our writers are producing terrific material this season, and I could not resist! Here are my favorite things about last night’s episode.
- Experiencing Sheldon’s romantic side. The birthday dinner Sheldon plans for Amy is so adorable. His attention to detail and the whole theme of it and the execution is really delightful. And Amy’s “squealing and clapping” reaction (which is what the stage direction indicated was Amy’s reaction) felt so real. It was easy for me to picture myself as Amy and shape how her squealing and clapping reaction would look; it flowed sincerely and genuinely!
- Portraying a visibly sick Amy. I am told that when people on set saw the make-up and hair and clothing I wore for the “sick in bed” scenes, someone said out loud, “There’s an actress with no vanity.” I take this as a compliment, for it is not so much that I am so supremely confident in my attractiveness that I don’t mind looking horrendous. It’s that how I look in terms of attractiveness is not critical when I play Amy. In real life, I fixate and obsess and worry and consider all sorts of things that so many other women consider to look younger/better/sexier. But when I play Amy, I look at every script as an opportunity to convey her as realistically as possible. And that’s what Amy sick looked like. (My younger son saw those scenes and said, “Mama, you look dead.”) And yes: it totally helps to ‘look’ the part when you have to play sick, although it’s not necessary – the acting comes from inside, not outside. When I looked in the mirror before we filmed those scenes, I actually didn’t think I looked that bad, but seeing the camera playback with my sons made me catch my breath because I looked so sick: leave it to the professionals (i.e. make-up artist Linda Cowan) to apply make-up that looks so much “worse” on camera than when I looked in the mirror!
- Getting a perception check. When I put on those slouchy sweats to wear as Amy when she is sick, I felt like maybe I looked a little bit cute. Like, you know when you feel like, “Oh my gosh, these sweats are SO HUGE I must look super tiny and svelte by comparison to these HUGE clothes!” and then I saw myself on TV. Lying on that bed like the sick person I was pretending to be. And I laughed out loud. Because I most certainly did not look like those Victoria’s Secret models in their slouchy PJ’s in the Christmas catalogue. I looked like those sweats fit me. And it’s fine. I don’t know if any of you have had similar experiences of self-perception that were shattered because of how you look on camera. That moment made me realize that my body is my body, and reminded me that the camera adds some pounds. But in reflection, I found it funny how ‘off’ my perception was.
- The joy of Shamy, and especially Amy. Sheldon and Amy have been interrupted from their annualcoitus before; it’s a running gag now that I really think is funny. Sex – and relationships for that matter – rarely turn out how you plan them to. No situation is ever ideal, especially when you are handling intimacy and the negotiation of physical and intimate space. I love how our writers find the comedy and the humanity in this Amy and Sheldon relationship time and time again. And to see them so excited to jump in that bounce house as a sort of playful foreplay is really sweet. And it’s what makes playing Amy so much fun week after week; year after year.
I have loved the development of my character so much; but this episode really highlighted the complex interaction between me as an actor and me as a character. I get to push through my own insecurities to be authentic when I am Amy. I get to learn from her mistakes and from her successes. I get to play out so many scenarios as Amy that I never considered in my life as Mayim.
So many things are revealed when we let them be. I can’t wait to see what Amy shows me next.