It’s rare to star in one massively successful sitcom — and even more to have appeared in two. That’s the case for Mayim Bialik, who is leading Fox’s Call Me Kat, a sitcom about a 39-year-old woman who chooses to quit her job and invest her savings in a cat cafe.
While Bialik, 45, is a cat-lover — and has three at home — that wasn’t actually the reason she was attracted to the project. Jim Parsons, who played Bialik’s character’s husband on The Big Bang Theory, brought her the script he was looking to produce, for a U.S. version of the hit British sitcom Miranda, and she couldn’t say no.
“When Jim brought it to me, I thought he was just asking my opinion because we were friends and we have a lot of similar tastes,” she revealed during Us Weekly‘s “Watch With Us” podcast on Tuesday, January 5. “I was like, ‘That sounds great. I totally think that’s a great idea!’ He was like, ‘No, Mayim. I’m telling you about this because I want you to play her.’ I was totally shocked that Jim Parsons wanted to still work with me. I think I’m very annoying, but he apparently thinks I’m not as annoying as I think I am, because he wanted to work with me!”
She added that “it was not easy” to get the show off the ground, and many people told them not to do it — then four networks all bid on the show based on the pitch.
In addition to Parsons, 47, putting his trust in her, the Blossom alum also was drawn to the part because of the character.
“I love the opportunity to play a real woman. I love the opportunity to not be told, like, ‘Can you lose 20 pounds and just be like a better, skinnier version of yourself?’ I like just being myself,” she said. “I don’t wear Spanx. I’ve never had plastic surgery. I don’t dye my grays, like, this is a show about a woman who I hope other women and men will look at this and say like, ‘Oh, there’s women like that, and they can be funny, can be quirky.’ Also, I get to play a woman who’s, like, occasionally vulgar and socially anxious and awkward, clumsy and fun. A multifaceted women.”
The neuroscientist added that even her mom asked why she’s not wearing more makeup on the show, but she explained that that’s not who Kat is.
“There were a lot of ridiculous conversations with executives, like, ‘Should she wear cardigans? Cardigans look a little old lady-ish,'” Bialik said. “I’m like, ‘I wear cardigans!’ [They said,] ‘No, they look too old lady-ish on TV.’ OK, so we will not wear a cardigan — conversations like that, but I think it matters.”
When taking on a new role, the Girling Up author noted that, of course, she feels pressure after so many successful roles — and is still living “in a perpetual state of shock and gratitude” every day.
“My grandparents were immigrants to this country. My family story is really like a lot of people’s — it’s a story of survival,” she told Us. “Everything is unbelievable to me that I get to experience. That being said, yeah, I was terrified to do anything after Big Bang Theory, and I still am. And the fact that I get to, like, hold Jim Parsons’ hand, I’ll be it through the internet, that’s my comfort zone. I’m not a confident person. The fact that I could go into this with Jim and know that I had his company behind me and my company behind me, and that we had a friendship and a business partnership that was going to get through all the negotiations and all the things that you have to decide … it made it really appealing to me. I’m a creature of habit. And I had a job for nine years. That’s a long time in any field to have a job. So going out into the world is scary.”
For more from Bialik, listen to the full interview above and subscribe to our “Watch With Us” podcast for more exclusive TV news and interviews.
Call Me Kat airs on Fox Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.