Johnny Galecki and Patrick Walsh know they’re walking into a minefield by tackling religion on a network sitcom. “There are no shows like this on TV,” said Walsh, who serves as executive producer and showrunner of CBS’ new half-hour “Living Biblically.” “There’s no precedent for it. The shows that have dealt with religion are a ‘7th Heaven’ or a ‘Touched by an Angel,’ where they’re going for a very different audience. Those shows are very pious and preachy to an audience that isn’t religious. This show isn’t that at all.”
Added Galecki: “If there is an agenda that we have and some sort of message, it’s that trying to be a better person is a good thing.”
Galecki and Walsh stopped by IndieWire to discuss how they approached creating a comedy about religion — including bringing in religious groups to watch the tapings. “They were invested, they were the more raucous groups,” Galecki said.
Also during the interview, Galecki talked about his on-camera work, including how surreal it was to return to “Roseanne” after all these years, and how “Big Bang” really is coming in for a landing. Listen below!
“Living Biblically” is inspired by the 2007 book “The Year of Living Biblically,” which chronicled author AJ Jacobs’ experiment to follow the rules and guidelines found in the bible, as literally as possible. “The Big Bang Theory” star Johnny Galecki optioned the book to develop as a comedy and brought on Walsh, whose credits include “2 Broke Girls” and “Crashing.”
The show stars Jay R. Ferguson as Chip Curry, a New York newspaper writer who decides to live strictly in accordance with the Bible — much to the chagrin of his atheist wife Leslie, played by Lindsey Kraft. For advice, Chip turns to his “God Squad” – Father Gene (Ian Gomez) and Rabbi Gil (David Krumholtz). Camryn Manheim and Tony Rock).
“The best way to approach these topics that everyone is afraid of is through comedy,” said Galecki. “The danger is people see the word ‘comedy’ and the word ‘bible’ in the title and think this is going to be an attack on peoples’ beliefs. But that’s not the agenda whatsoever. I welcome that incorrect presumption too.”
Galecki has been pals with Ferguson since they were child actors and worked on the same lot. Another pal from his days on “Roseanne,” Sara Gilbert, also recurs on the show.
Speaking of “Roseanne,” Galecki admitted it was “surreal” to return to the set to appear on the show’s revival.
“I don’t think what any of us had emotionally prepared for was being on that set again,” he said. “They’ve recreated it to a T. That was very surreal. It’s the little things, like the knob of the stove, that just throws you back 20 years before. I didn’t realize any memory of that was still deep in the inner folds of my psyche. I’ve never done an hallucinogens but I don’t think I need to now.”
As for the future of “The Big Bang Theory,” Galecki reiterated his past comments that the show will likely wrap after Season 12. “The only discussions we have amongst the cast is we’ll be sad that day,” he said. “Chuck [Lorre] said a few years ago to Kaley [Cuoco] and I as we were having dinner that ‘I always had the number 12 in my head for this one.’ It will be a sad day, certainly.”
“Living Biblically” airs Mondays at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
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