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TBBT's Space Scenes Left Simon Helberg Numb

While entertainment is always the goal in the film and TV industry, it's done through the use of artful lying. Using Illusions, film can skillfully fool audiences into believing what's fake is real, regardless of how unlikely the scenario may be. Imagine watching a man floating in a space station orbiting the Earth. While it's certainly possible to bring a camera to film people's lives aboard a space station, it's highly unlikely that a television show has the budget and time to send an actor out into space to shoot multiple scenes on a space station. So the next best thing is to fake it. At least that was the case with CBS's "The Big Bang Theory."

Appearing on a panel with the cast of "The Big Bang Theory," Simon Helberg, who played Howard Wolowitz, explained the behind-the-scenes magic used to create scenes in space. According to the actor, he was strapped to something resembling a bicycle seat, attached to a seesaw-like contraption operated by two men on each side. This device was used to create the illusion that Howard was floating in space.

"I was sitting on basically like a bicycle seat. Really, I feel for the cyclists out there, yet I don't feel because it really numbed me below the waist at a certain point," Helberg quipped. "And then there were some teamster guys — it was like a seesaw — who are lifting me and pulling me. The rest of it was just the body movements of floating."

A strange contraption and good acting were used to create the illusion

Simon Helberg later clarified that the scenes utilized some special camera movements to further sell the appearance of floating in space and, of course, the seesaw and the men operating it were removed later in postproduction. And while Helberg was quick to joke about how the experience left him numb, he never gave his performance as much credit for the scenes, which co-star Jim Parsons, who played Sheldon Cooper, was quick to rectify. "Everything about his 'antigravity movement', if that's what it's called, was completely him. Absolutely astounding," Parsons extolled, with many of the cast members voicing their enthusiastic agreement.

It's fascinating to hear about all the work that's put in and the painstaking discomfort that our favorite actors go through to create an illusion that most audiences wouldn't think twice about. After all, when recreating antigravity conditions on a space station, it'd hardly be thought that an actor would be strapped to a rig pulled by two different people.

Though he is the butt of most of the jokes on "The Big Bang Theory," Howard Wolowitz gets his due in Season 6 when NASA selects his telescope to be installed on the International Space Station with him as the payload specialist to install it, which means Howard gets the incredible opportunity to train to become an astronaut and go to space. Not bad for a so-called oompa-loompa of science.

Nicknamed Froot Loops by his peers, Howard launches into space and spends three weeks on the International Space Station. And it's during these scenes on the space station that audiences saw the well-executed illusion of a man floating in space.