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Character analysis of Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory

Due to my infatuation with The Big Bang Theory, a sitcom created and produced by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady i will analyse the character of Dr. Sheldon Cooper.  Executive producers Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady and Steven Molaro are also head writers of the screen play.

Steven Molaro is an American television producer and writer who has worked on numerous high grossing productions including The Class, The Amanda Show and All That. Bill Prady, real name William Scott Prady, is an American television writer and producer who has produced Dream On, Star Trek: Voyager and Gilmore Girls among others. Chuck Lorre, born Charles Michael Levine is an American television writer, producer and composer who has created and produced a number of successful sitcoms such as Grace Under Fire, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men, and Mom. All the men possess extensive theatrical knowledge and are profoundly respected in the industry.

The show is centered on five characters living in California: Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper, both physicists at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), who share an apartment; Penny, a waitress and aspiring actress who lives across the hall; and Aerospace Engineer Howard Wolowitz and Astrophysicist Raj Koothrappali. The play includes supporting characters such as Leslie Winkle, a physicist who dated Leonard and Howard; Neuroscientist Amy Fowler who later becomes Sheldon’s girlfriend; Bernadette Rostenkowski, Howard’s girlfriend who becomes his wife, a Microbiologist and former part-time waitress alongside Penny; Stuart Bloom, the owner of the comic book store the characters often visit; and Emily Sweeney, a Dermatologist who dated Raj.

This essay will analyze the character of an American Theoretical Physicist, Dr Sheldon Lee Cooper, who was born on 26 February in 1980 in East Texas with an IQ of 187. Sheldon is Agnostic and Atheist, a holder of Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Science. He started college at the age of 11, receiving his first Ph.D. at the age of 16 and was involved in numerous experiments as a young person including his plan to provide free electricity for his hometown by building a nuclear reactor – a plan stopped by government agents claiming it’s illegal to store uranium in a garden shed. Sheldon claim to be a perfect human species though he has his faults. He is characterized by a strict adherence to routine and hygiene; an overly intellectual personality; a tenuous understanding of irony, sarcasm and humor; and a general lack of humility or empathy, the former of which is demonstrated in the fact that he has no problem voicing to his peers his admiration for his superior intellect. These qualities, along with his penchant for pranks, are his character’s main source of humor.

Sheldon was born in Galveston, Texas to George Cooper Sr. and Mary Cooper, and was officiated at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital, although he actually “fell out” of Mary at a shop. He has a twin sister named Missy and an older brother named George Jr., both of whom are described by their mother as dumb as soup. Sheldon was raised according to his mother’s Evangelical Christian and was forced to watch football by his father. He was bullied during his childhood because of intellectual superiority to his peers. The play continues to show that. Sheldon even tells his girlfriend Amy that his childhood was “hell”.

Sheldon started college when he was eleven after completing the fifth grade. When Sheldon was thirteen, he attempted to build a nuclear reactor in order to provide free electricity for his town, but it failed after a government agent informed him that it was illegal to store Yellowcake uranium in a shed; he then had a big tantrum as a result. During that same year, he walked in on his father having sex with a women who was not his wife, and he never said anything about it to Sheldon, and Sheldon decided to start knocking three times to prevent walking in on anything like this again. When Sheldon was fourteen years old, he graduated college summa cum laude, began graduate school, and was the youngest person at the time to receive the Stevenson Award at fourteen. He received his first doctorate at the age of sixteen and he then spent four years on his second dissertation, before obtaining his current position.

Sheldon formerly loathed birthday parties because he shared his birthday with his twin sister. None of his guests would come and the girls would torture him. On his sixth birthday, they told him that Batman was coming and he waited the whole afternoon at the door and all that came was a robin that flew in the window.

Dr. Sheldon Cooper is a former senior theoretical particle physicist at the California Institute of Technology, focusing on string theory. He held this position for three-and-a-half years at the outset of the show and up until the eighth season. As he was being paid under a grant to specifically research string theory, he is then promoted to junior professor in order to change his field of study to dark matter, with the stipulation that he teach a graduate-level class on analytical mechanics. His work on string theory is concentrated in several different directions. With Rajesh Koothrappali, he explored the string theory implications of gamma rays from dark matter and considered methods of optimizing a particle detector to this end. Sheldon is invited to numerous conferences to speak or present on string theory and that offers him the opportunity to meet, mix and mingle with great minds in Physics such as Stephen Hawking.

Aside from his characteristic idiosyncrasies, obsessive–compulsive disorder, obsessions, and extreme admiration for self, Sheldon does not understand why humans are illogical and tries to be logical himself. Interestingly Sheldon is more illogical than most people in so many ways; fear of change, fear of birds, expecting others to change for him, throwing childish tantrums and being immature. He possesses a sharp memory and an IQ of 187, which he claims, cannot be accurately measured by normal tests. Sheldon has an overly extensive general knowledge, such as shown by his comments regarding various details of anecdotal knowledge. Sheldon also has qualities associated with being a sharp intellect such as an inflated ego, social ineptitude, and an inability to relate emotionally with other people. Despite his intelligence, he has a distinct lack of emotional maturity and is often baffled by even the most common social interactions. He fails to understand the simplest sarcastic jokes made by his friends and their sadness over problems with blatant confusion.

Sheldon is extremely arrogant, narcissistic, selfish and utterly self-righteous, the traits he takes after his grandfather, known for being a stubborn and egotistical man according to his grandma.  While tussling for the “Lord of the Rings” prop ring, Sheldon laments, ‘I don’t understand why, in this group, I never get my way!’ As a matter of fact he always gets his way – through coercion, bullying or genuinely interfering with or ruining other people’s lives until he gets his way. Sheldon will try and achieve, retrieve or maintain anything if it meant that he would seem fictionally or genuinely superior to everybody else.

He adheres to the roommate agreement constantly when things do not go his way and, interestingly, Sheldon has styled the roommate agreement so that everything goes his way. Sheldon does not see fault in absolutely anything he does in his life, to such an extent that he doesn’t think that, when he commits a serious crime, he is doing anything wrong. He, at one point, insulted a judge whilst in court, simply because of his belief that his job and status was superior to the judge’s, which landed him in prison in the first place.

Despite his strange behavior, Sheldon had, at times, demonstrated a much softer side to himself. He does seem to be a quite heartwarming character; however, these moments are rather rare, and usually only reserved for those closest to him, such as his mother, grandma, Amy and his friends.

In contrast to his profoundly religious mother and devout Christian upbringing, Sheldon has no interest in religion – he tends to ignore or express dislike for religious celebrations such as Christmas, and wastes no time in bringing up the Pagan origins to each festival. Additionally, his scientific beliefs often come into conflict with the spiritual beliefs of his mother, Mary. His attitude towards God has been hinted at being of an Agnostic nature, when in one episode he says “Why hast thou forsaken me deity whose existence I doubt…”

Sheldon is the best friend of Leonard, as they live together and are accustomed to tolerating each other’s quirks ever since Sheldon put out an ad for a roommate with a list of criteria to follow. Amy, once a friend, is his girl friend, the only person he has showed a slight romantic liking towards. Other guys like Raj’s, Howard, Penny and Bernadette are his close friends while Wil Wheaton is a sworn enemy.

Of all the main characters of the show, Sheldon is presumed to be asexual and has displayed absolutely no interest in pursuing a sexual relationship with anyone. The introduction of Amy Farrah Fowler into the show has changed this aspect of him, at least slightly. Even though Amy used to be a girl, who was his friend, but not his girlfriend, and now is his girlfriend, she is the closest person who may be romantically linked to Sheldon. Though, their relationship used to be nothing more than that of friends, or, as Sheldon put it, “a relationship of the minds”. Sheldon went on a date with Lalita and Ramona and as usual showed no romantic interest but instead he stirs the discussions towards intellectual talk.

As a scientific genius, Sheldon is very particular about his technological devices. He uses a customized Dell XPS laptop, later on an Alienware red laptop that runs Windows 7. He does not like Windows 7 because it is more user-friendly than Windows Vista. Sheldon’s favorite Linux-based operating system is Ubuntu. Sheldon has an iPhone 4 and a Macbook Pro, with a red case, when video chatting with Amy. He is a gamer too and a frequenter of the comic book store owned by Stewart.

The character of Dr. Sheldon Cooper is a dynamic character with all emotions, tastes and whose behavior is in sync with the text in question. Most interestingly Jim Parsons who played Sheldon cooper is gay and not a teenager but in his late 40s yet in the play he gets into the character and fulfills Stanislavsky’s theory perfectly.

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