Television behind the scenes | EW.com

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Television behind the scenes

On the set of hot shows like ''Glee,'' ''Dollhouse,'' ''The Big Bang Theory,'' and more

The Kids From Glee Go to the Mattresses
Fox’s show-choir dramedy Glee has already given us some pretty hot performances, but this mattress-store-set number for a Dec. 2 episode can only be described as, well, scorching. ”What you don’t see in this shot is the 50 perspiring crew members, because I think it was 105 degrees,” says executive producer Dante Di Loreto. ”When our creators write a number [to be performed] on mattresses, we’re never quite sure how we’re gonna pull it off. But so far we’ve always managed. They’re a remarkable group of performers. They’re up for anything we can throw at them.”

Summer Glau Enters Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse
Cult auteur Whedon continues to make Fox’s Dollhouse — starring Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) — a refuge for his former stars: On Oct. 30, Firefly’s Glau joins Dushku as a computer whiz from a rival rent-a-human agency. ”They both have that make-your-eyes-pop factor,” says Whedon, adding that watching his past TV worlds collide trips him out. ”I just walk around completely confused all the time.”

The Big Bang Theory: Geek Chic
It’s more than a mere apartment that roommates Sheldon (Jim Parsons, left) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki, right) share on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory — it’s a full-on Nerd Lair! Set decorator Ann Shea takes us through some of the more ingenious elements of the living-room set.

1. Astronomical Globe
Just because Leonard is an experimental particle physicist doesn’t mean he’s not interested in the heavens. This clear sphere ”shows how the constellations relate to the earth,” says Shea of the prop she pilfered from a studio annex. Also collecting dust: old rocket parts from an L.A. aerospace junkyard.

2. DNA Sculpture
Six-foot-tall genetic sequences don’t come cheap: Shea had two mini-DNA strands welded together to form this unique piece of art. (Cost: $4,000.) It stands in front of a dry-erase board that’s updated by a physics consultant.

3. Vintage Gadgetry
Shea also uncovered the pressure gauge (top) and the handheld radiation detector (bottom) at the aerospace trash heap. ”I just picked out things that looked interesting,” she says. She sandwiched them between lots of science books found at a local props annex. ”So many of the titles were fascinating. Moscow Twilight sounded like something a man would read.”

4. Cereal Killers
Shea’s team figured that Leonard and Sheldon wouldn’t like the same cereal, so they tried to create an eclectic mix of generic eats for the kitchen shelf. Props like these don’t stay around for long. ”We do try to change them every week to make it seem like people are really living there,” says Shea.

5. Table Scraps
Leonard and Sheldon like to order takeout with their friends Raj and Howard, so ”we are constantly seeing them eat at this table,” Shea says. ”With the five of them there, either playing games or eating, it can get pretty messy.” As for the room’s understated decor, ”the guys wouldn’t spend a lot of money on good furniture, but on gaming and scientific equipment instead,” she insists.