Q&A: 'The Big Bang Theory's' Mayim Bialik
You know how there's that person you just know is smarter than you? Mayim Bialik is one of those people.
Yes, the actress plays a scientist on CBS' hit comedy The Big Bang Theory, but art imitates life: she also has her own Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCLA, and oh yeah, she's written a book, too. I'll admit that during our first interview last year I was actually a little intimidated. Mayim recently sat down with me again to discuss what's happening in season five of Big Bang and how she's flexing her real-life smarts.
We literally just started season five of Big Bang Theory. Can you talk a little bit about what's coming up for Amy? The description for tonight's episode ["The Pulled Groin Extrapolation"] says she's on her way to a wedding.
I don't really know. We don't get to know what the arc of the season is. We get the script week by week. It definitely makes for spontaneity. Based on the four or five episodes we've done, it's a lot more of the same, which is great. You'll get to see my character with characters you don't normally see her with, which is great. This week you'll see me with Johnny Galecki, which is great.
You've been in close to 30 episodes now, so you've had time to settle into her character. If you had creative control for the rest of season five, what would you like to see happen for her?
I honestly love the stuff with her and Sheldon (Jim Parsons). The romantic stuff has been interesting, but I love a lot of the cerebral conversations that they have. I'd let a lot more of that happen.
This is the biggest TV role you've had, in terms of number of episodes that you've appeared in, since Blossom ended in 1995. You've come a long way since then, so how's this new regular role been for you personally?
It's fantastic. To get to be on one television show is miraculous, so to get to do it again is a blessing. It is my first time doing this as an adult, so that's really different, but it's also really sweet the second time around. I have a very different worldview and a lot of perspective that I didn't have in my teen years.
I'm almost more intrigued by all the things you've accomplished off-screen. Last time we spoke, you mentioned that you were working on a book. What can you tell us about that?
The book's called Beyond The Sling. It comes out the first week of March. It's sort of a look at attachment parenting in our house. It's a lot of things that people think is kooky, like natural birth [and] extended breastfeeding. It happens to be the way we parent with our kids.
It seems every author has a different writing process. What was yours?
I write for a website called Kveller, and that's where I honed my voice. It really was where I learned how to write conversationally, walking that fine line between, "I'm going to talk and make it interesting and not judgmental." I don't know how to parent anyone else's kids; I know how to parent mine. I don't like to read parenting books where people tell me what to do.
You've developed this almost second career for yourself as a blogger and public speaker. What got you interested in pursuing that? Can you talk about some of your upcoming appearances?
There's been demand for it in my life, which I'm very grateful for. I'm kind of a normal person, and I think people like a speaker who's known but kind of a normal person. I do a lot of speaking for Jewish organizations. I'm the spokesperson for the Holistic Moms Network and I'm speaking at their conference next week. Really every hiatus week I book stuff up.
I just started working with this organization called Chai Lifeline, where they train you for marathons and you donate the proceeds to charity. I'm going to be at the Miami marathon with them, I'm going to be at the Las Vegas marathon - not running in the marathon, but I'm there to give support.
You're a series regular on a hit TV show, you've written a book, you have a public speaking career, plus you have a healthy marriage and a family to raise. How on earth do you manage all these demands on your time and sanity?
I definitely overextend myself. But I think I also really have cut back on fun social things, which, I'm not saying that's the solution, but for me, it works. If I was trying to have a social life it would be impossible. We juggle the kids, and we choose to home school them, and I write a lot when they're sleeping.
With all that on your plate, what's left? Any future ambitions, professional or personal?
I think we hit the main ones. There's other books that I'm interested in writing. Some people have suggested to me I should start a modest clothing line. My sons are three and almost six and life is kind of determined by what they're doing in their lives. I really want to be the best mom that I can be.
Recommend something to our readers.
There's a documentary called The Future of Food and there's one called Food, Inc. One is sort of more of a vegan-based documentary and the other is not; the other is about how food decisions are decided in this country and it really changed my outlook.
My thanks to Mayim Bialik for this interview! Catch her in tonight's all-new Big Bang Theory (season four is also now available on Blu-Ray and DVD), and keep an eye out on bookstore shelves for her book Beyond The Sling, due out in March 2012.