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Friday, December 09, 2011

TGIF: Dr. Sheldon Cooper From The Big Bang Theory

Have you ever had the feeling that when you watch a certain character on television, you're absolutely surprised at how much they have in common with you?

I mean, seriously, think about it. Imagine you're tuning into your favourite television program, and suddenly a character pops up, and you go 'hey, that's ME!'

Has this ever happened to you?

Well, it happened to me. Only I didn't realize it. In all actuality, I find that I'm probably more like another character from this show as far as where I am in my life right now...but looking at the subject of today's blog, I'm finding that I have a lot more in common with this guy than I originally thought.

And today's show is one that I didn't get into until recently.

Unless you work in a place where taking breaks and lunches are absolutely frowned upon (and if you currently are at that place, might I suggest you quit your job and find somewhere else to work that will allow you to actually eat), most workplaces have some sort of employee lounge inside of it. My workplace is no exception.

Approximately six months ago, a television set was installed in the lounge as well as a DVD player. The store I work at provided us with a variety of television show box-sets for us to watch while we ate our lunches or took our 15-minute breaks. It was a really nice thing to have, and it provided some form of entertainment for us on long work days.

For the most part, a lot of the DVD packages were shows that I had seen a few episodes of. The first season of Glee, season one of Happy Days, season five of Friends...all shows I was familiar with, and at least for the final two, shows I really liked.

But there was also one box set that was there that was for a show that I had never seen before. I knew it was wildly popular and that people really got into the show, but for whatever reason, I kept missing the show. Maybe it was because I worked most nights that it was on.

That set was the first season of The Big Bang Theory.

And once I started watching the show, I absolutely fell in love with it. The writing is intelligent, the chemistry between the actors and actresses on the show is nothing short of perfection, and the character development for all the characters is among some of the best I've seen in recent sitcom history.

Eventually, the fourth season set was added to our DVD collection at work, and over time, The Big Bang Theory soon became one of my favourite TV shows.

And why did I end up becoming a fan of this program? Well, it's because of this guy.

Dr. Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons.

Now Jim Parsons wasn't originally producer Chuck Lorre's first choice to play Sheldon. Surprisingly enough, Lorre wanted Johnny Galecki to play the role instead. But when Galecki had doubts about playing the role, and expressed interest in playing the role of Dr. Leonard Hofstadter instead, Parsons got the role after auditioning twice for the role (Lorre did this as a sort of insurance policy to make sure that Parsons' first audition wasn't a fluke performance).

And to say that Jim Parsons has had great success in playing Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory is a bit of an understatement. With one Golden Globe Award and two back-to-back Emmy Awards in 2010 and 2011, it's likely that Parsons will continue his success well into 2012.

But this blog entry isn't about Jim Parsons. It's about the wonderful character that he plays. This is a character sketch on Dr. Sheldon Cooper.

It's also sort of a character sketch on myself in a weird way, because after watching several episodes of the show at work, I'm finding that I am a lot more like Sheldon than I initially thought.

Not one hundred per cent mind you. Sheldon's a rather quirky, unique individual, and I doubt that ANYONE could be just like him. If anything, as I said before, I'm more like another character from the Big Bang Theory, and if I were to point out a character that I'm most like in my current status, I'd be more like Howard (Simon Helberg), with maybe a smidgen of Raj (Kunal Nayyal). Hell, maybe there's even a bit of Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) inside of me somewhere.

But, Sheldon and I share a lot in common.

Before we get into that though, let's talk about obvious differences. Sheldon's got an IQ of approximately 187. Mine is about 50-60 points LOWER. Sheldon likes to dress in superhero T-shirts all the time, while I own maybe one shirt with some sort of logo on it. Sheldon seems unable to use and/or detect sarcasm, while sarcasm can be one of the many languages that I'm fluent in (along with gibberish, poppycock, and English). Sheldon has a Southern accent. I don't. Sheldon's family is extremely religious. I don't think any of my relatives have set foot inside a church in at least a decade. Sheldon graduated from college at fourteen and received his first Ph.D when he was sixteen. Looking back on it, I wish I could have done the same, for I could have skipped high school altogether!

So yeah, clearly, Sheldon and I aren't COMPLETELY alike. But there's lots of things that make us the same. Let's dissect Dr. Cooper, and in the process we'll dissect this pop culture addict at the same time.


Though there's a bit of a difference in between the both of us. Yes, I'm openly admitting that my love life is pretty much non-existent as of now. In Sheldon's case, this much is true as well. In fact, many fans of the show have stated that they have thought Sheldon to be asexual. To this day, nobody really knows what Sheldon's sexual preferences are. Sheldon's sex life probably has more questions than a standard Jeopardy quiz show board. Though during season four, Sheldon has been seeing a young woman named Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik), who ends up being his exact double in personality.

But here's where Sheldon and I seem to have a bit of difference. Sheldon's a bit...shall we say...lacking in his desire to physically touch someone. I'm not quite as bad as he is, I'll tell you that much. It's true that I have struggled with the idea of love and affection, but in my case, I strike that to being extremely guarded. I'm slowly working towards letting that guard down, but it's been a challenge. In Sheldon's case, he genuinely doesn't know how to act in a relationship at all. And, in that sense, it sort of brings me to my second comparison.


Well, okay, maybe that's not a fair description, but it's sort of similar. I'll admit to being the wallflower in most social situations. It takes me a long time to size up someone and openly interact with them in social settings. I've always been that way as far back as I can remember. Again, maybe that stems from me being guarded towards people as I talked about in bullet point number one, but whatever the case, I am working at trying to come out of my shell.

Sheldon on the other hand is socially inept. He almost seems incapable of behaving normally in social situations, as he has little quirks that he has to exhibit. He has his own spot reserved on a sofa in the apartment that he shares with Leonard, and if anyone other than Sheldon sits down, his agitation levels go through the roof. He has trouble displaying emotional empathy towards people, he has a difficult time showing his emotions, and he sometimes almost always comes across as a know-it-all who takes great pride in pointing out everyone else's mistakes and blunders in the most obnoxious way possible. But, I guess we can't expect any other reaction, as Sheldon seems incapable of sparing someone else's feelings.

I guess we'll sort of call that a similar circumstance, though I did stretch it a bit.

Ah, here's number 3...


This is a big one, for both myself and for Sheldon.

We'll start with myself. I like to know what I am doing at all times, and I like to have control over what I want to do. That's not to say that I'm completely against changing my plans at the last minute provided that there's a good reason for it. Not at all. But when I come up with a decision that I feel is best for me, and then have someone else try to make another decision behind my back when I have things planned out, it really does frustrate me. As someone who has wanted to assert himself for a long time, it really bothers me when people take it upon themselves to make decisions for me rather than letting me do it myself. I'm getting a little better at developing my backbone though, so at least I have that going for me.

Sheldon seems to have too MUCH backbone in that regard. In many ways, although he's unaware of it, he seems to pitch fits whenever he doesn't get his own way. His abrasive nature in getting challenged by his friends and co-workers has made him a rather difficult person to get along with. His belief that he knows everything about everything has gotten Sheldon in quite a few mishaps, even getting fired from his job as a result of it.


I have a learner's permit to drive, but I don't have a full license because of the fact that I have a fear of driving that I am trying to get over. Sheldon has a learner's permit to drive, but he doesn't have a full license, because when he tried driving on a similator, he failed miserably. Of course, Sheldon has said that he doesn't need to drive because he's simply 'too evolved' to drive.

At least I'M honest with myself on that one.


Which I suppose leads to number six, which is...


As far as I'm concerned, I've seen enough people drink themselves to death in my lifetime to want to partake in binge drinking. I got it out of my system by the time I was 22. That's not to say that I don't enjoy going out for a beer every now and again, I just have left those binge drinking days behind. Of course, I did attend a friend's wedding about three months ago, and the only way that I got my booty on that dance floor was after downing a couple of glasses of liquid courage, so to speak.

Surprisingly enough, Sheldon very rarely drinks alcohol at all, so when Penny (Kaley Cuoco) decided to spike his virgin drink with alcohol, this is what happens.


I'm far from being the most religious person myself. I actually identify myself as being an agnostic. Of course, as I said before, my family's not much into attending church on Sundays. Sheldon's the same way as me in that he doesn't see religion as being a big part of his life. In his case though, his family WAS religious, and in Sheldon's case, his scientific beliefs often clash with his mother's spiritual beliefs. Still, he does attempt to satisfy his mother by attending church at least once a year.

And's the big one. The main thing that links Sheldon Cooper to myself.


First, we'll talk about Sheldon in this case. This statement probably describes the interaction that he has with Penny, the neighbour who lives across the hall.  When the show first began, it became pretty obvious that Sheldon and Penny would have sort of a love-hate relationship. Penny seems annoyed by Sheldon's idiosyncrasies, and she's usually the first one to make insulting remarks towards Sheldon, or is the first one who tunes out. But then again, Sheldon has a rather unusual way of getting Penny's attention.

But as much as they seem to get off on annoying each other...the truth is, Sheldon really does care a lot for Penny, even if it doesn't show up. And I think a part of it is the fact that Penny has sort of stepped in as a sort of motherly figure to him. As odd as it may sound, Penny and Sheldon do share a rather unique bond.

When Sheldon got sick one episode, and Penny offered to take care of him, Sheldon practically forced her to sing the lullaby type song that Sheldon's mother used to sing to him.

'Soft Kitty' has since appeared in at least one episode for the first four seasons.

Sheldon's also been helpful towards Penny right back. When Penny was low on cash, Sheldon let Penny borrow some money from his personal savings stash. Even better for Penny, Sheldon seemed as if he didn't care if he ever got the money back...a move Leonard described as 'one of the few idiosyncrasies that doesn't make you want to, you know, kill him.'

Perhaps the best example I can come up with to fully exhibit the bond between Sheldon and Penny is during the Christmas themed season two episode called 'The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis'. Sheldon wants to get Penny a gift that is exactly the same price as the one that she's getting him. He ends up purchasing about a dozen baskets, and when he gets her gift, he'll decide what one he feels matches the value of Penny's gift best.

And then a Christmas miracle happened. Watch this. you see, even someone as socially awkward as Sheldon can be moved to going out of his comfort zone to show how much he cares.

Now what if I told you that I sometimes feel like Sheldon in that case? What if I admitted that I find it hard to show affection at times?

Granted, I'm very good at saying please and thank you. That's nothing new. And, of course, I'm very sympathetic and willing to lend an ear to anyone who needs it, so I'm not nearly as bad as Sheldon. And I certainly don't need anyone singing 'Soft Kitty' inside my ear.

But I've always had a hard time expressing to people how I really feel about them...especially in person. If I can write my feelings down on paper and have them read it, then that's perfect for me...but trying to come out and say that I really like people...well, I don't know, I find it difficult.

I guess maybe it all has to do with something that I've mentioned a couple of times up above. I'm quite a guarded person in my daily life, and I've been betrayed by people who I deemed very close friends before. It's a bit hard for me to open up to people as a result. When I first started my job, it took me about three months before I even started opening up to people. I didn't even say hello. Yesterday, I celebrated my seventh year of service with the company I work for, and I'm finding that I'm a lot more open and chatty. I guess in my case, time healing those wounds, allowing me to tear down those walls did well as a lot of patient co-workers on their part. When I had to undergo emergency surgery earlier in the year, I was amazed at the amount of support that I got from all of my co-workers.

I'll never forget the time that I received a get well soon card from my workplace signed by at least 125 people from the store. Some of the people who signed it were people I had only bumped into maybe once or twice. Even a few of the overnight workers signed the card, and I know that a few of them I didn't even know! It was really a touching gesture on their part, and I really can't thank them enough for their love and support.

In a way, it was that love and support that helped me recover, and really allowed me to pierce some holes in that stupid wall that I built around myself. There's still some bricks that I have to smash into dust yet, but I am on the right track. Looking back, I could see how my personality (or lack thereof when I first began my job) could have turned people off...but it's to the credit of my co-workers who demonstrated extreme patience.

And you know, Leonard, Penny, Raj, Howard, Bernadette, and Amy...they're kind of like those co-workers. They may not understand Sheldon very much, and they may not quite understand who he is...but in the end, they're still his friends...well, most of the time, anyway. And all of them (Penny especially) have contributed to helping Sheldon open up and become a less cartoonish and more realistic person.

And that's worth every BAZINGA in the world to him...and to me, for that matter.

On that final note...

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