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View Full Version : How Old Are The Character on "The Big Bang Theory" Suppose To Be?


Markxxx
01-20-2010, 03:44 PM
I know how old the actors that play the characters are:


Jim Parsons (1973) [Sheldon]
Johnny Galecki (1975) [Leonard]
Kaley Cuoco (1985) [Penny]
Kunal Nayyar (1981) [Raj]
Simon Helberg (1980) [Howard]


So how old are the characters supposed to be on the show. Or isn't it stated?

garygnu
01-20-2010, 04:05 PM
I don't think I've seen hard ages, but I'd hazard the guys are supposed to be in their late 20s to early 30s, with Penny a few years younger. Pretty much their real ages, more or less.

Chronos
01-20-2010, 04:25 PM
I haven't seen the third season... Is it anywhere stated what their academic titles are? I get the impression that Leonard and Sheldon are both tenure-track (both are in a position where they can take on graduate students) while Raj is probably a post-doc (he's a PhD, but doesn't seem to get much respect). Howard I can't say, not being familiar enough with how engineers organize themselves.

At any rate, that would be about consistent with the ages of the actors. Ten years is a pretty big age gap between Leonard and Penny, though.

JSexton
01-20-2010, 06:12 PM
I can't be certain, but somehow I get the impression that Howard may only have a Master's degree. ;)

Kolga
01-20-2010, 06:36 PM
Given that Sheldon claims to have graduated college when he was fourteen, I'm not sure if he's supposed to be the same age as the rest but having had his degree for longer, or if he's supposed to be in the same degree cohort and therefore younger in age.

Diz
01-20-2010, 06:49 PM
I don't remember which episode, but at some point Howard said he was 27 and in the season two Christmas episode Penny is said to be 22. I'm assuming the others are all about the same age as Howard...

Kolga
01-20-2010, 06:54 PM
I don't remember which episode, but at some point Howard said he was 27 and in the season two Christmas episode Penny is said to be 22. I'm assuming the others are all about the same age as Howard...

Oh, that's right, there are several times when Howard and his mother are screaming at each other (which cracks me up EVERY TIME), and she says something about his friends coming over to play, and he yells "I'm 27!"

Meeko
01-20-2010, 07:00 PM
I can't be certain, but somehow I get the impression that Howard may only have a Master's degree. ;)

Yeah I think they might have said that, once or twice.

garygnu
01-20-2010, 07:11 PM
...Howard may only have a Master's degree. ;)
Who doesn't? :rolleyes: :D

The Second Stone
01-20-2010, 08:42 PM
Howard has a Masters from MIT. That gets no respect from Sheldon. What I cannot figure is how he lived in Massachusetts the requisite time to get the degree and still came back to live with his mother.

TruCelt
01-20-2010, 09:26 PM
OM f'in G. Penny was born when I was starting my senior year of high school.

Where is my walker?!?

abbeytxs
01-20-2010, 09:36 PM
OM f'in G. Penny was born when I was starting my senior year of high school.

Where is my walker?!?

She was born when I was starting my senior year in college. No sympathy at all from me!!!! ;)

needscoffee
01-21-2010, 12:26 AM
Jim Parsons is old enough to be their grandfather.

DrCube
01-21-2010, 12:34 AM
Jim Parsons is old enough to be their grandfather.

It's funny, I would have guessed him to be the youngest actor on the show.

FriarTed
01-21-2010, 02:21 AM
Howard has a Masters from MIT. That gets no respect from Sheldon. What I cannot figure is how he lived in Massachusetts the requisite time to get the degree and still came back to live with his mother.

I bet he and his mother are FROM Massachusettes and he brought her to Pasadena when he got the University job.

njtt
01-21-2010, 03:00 AM
I am only an occasional viewer of the show, and when I first saw it I assumed these guys were supposed to be grad students, or even undergrads. I was quite shocked when it became apparent to me that Sheldon was supposed to be faculty, and even then I put it down to his being a prodigy, and continued to think of the rest as, at most, postdocs.

I actually was once a postdoc at Caltech, and knew, and visited the homes of various junior faculty. None of them lived or behaved in a way that remotely resembled the the lifestyle of the characters in Big Bang Theory. Furthermore, people actually smart enough to be Caltech faculty are generally also smart enough to be able to cover their underlying nerdiness with at least a veneer of social ease and worldliness. The guys in the show live and act like (the sitcom version of very smart and ultra-nerdy) students.

CalMeacham
01-21-2010, 07:06 AM
They're supposed to be faculty???!!!



Okay, I really haven't seen enough of this show.



Although, to be fair, I have known junior faculty who have a.) doubled up in apartments to save rent, and

b.) lived like grad students or post-docs

silenus
01-21-2010, 09:41 AM
She was born when I was starting my senior year in college. No sympathy at all from me!!!! ;)

Ditto. And I had dropped out for 7 years by then as well!

Chronos
01-21-2010, 02:23 PM
Yeah, I knew that Howard only has a Master's, but I don't know what his job title would be, or how prestigious he would be among engineers (most of whom also don't have PhDs). I get the impression that he's actually officially with JPL, not CalTech, though the lines can get a bit blurry there.

BubbaDog
01-21-2010, 03:24 PM
They're supposed to be faculty???!!!



Okay, I really haven't seen enough of this show.



Although, to be fair, I have known junior faculty who have a.) doubled up in apartments to save rent, and

b.) lived like grad students or post-docs

I was under the impression that they were "think tank" workers. I can't prove that but I also don't remember hearing any references to their workplace being a college or university. Is it possible that a university supports non-teaching faculty for research only?

It appears as if they share an apartment for benefits other than saving money - ie friendship, transportation etc.

Sampiro
01-21-2010, 04:07 PM
I was under the impression that they were "think tank" workers. I can't prove that but I also don't remember hearing any references to their workplace being a college or university. Is it possible that a university supports non-teaching faculty for research only?


I've wondered this. Apparently none of them have students. Leonard would probably be a decent professor, but Sheldon would be a daily recipient of death threats for being boring/belittling/obnoxious to them, Raj would be unable to communicate if his students weren't all male or unattractive females, and Howard would have been fired on his first day for offering "extra credit" to any she-student.

Chronos
01-21-2010, 06:31 PM
I've wondered this. Apparently none of them have students.There was one episode where Leonard and Sheldon are both speaking to a crop of incoming grad students trying to persuade them to pursue experimental/theoretical physics, and Sheldon does end up with one of the grads working for him. There's also a mention in one episode of a class taught by Sheldon, though it's considered an ordeal to take it (that's one way to get back into his good graces, if you somehow offend him).

That said, though, it's quite routine for a university to have some research faculty, who don't teach unless they really want to, and might not even have graduate students. This is a great deal for the university, because they're often completely supported by grants (rather than by a salary from the school), and the administration even takes a hefty cut off the top from all the grants. Basically, the school gives the professor office space and access to things like the library and the journal subscriptions, and the professor brings the school prestige and money.

Bryan Ekers
01-21-2010, 06:52 PM
Howard I can't say, not being familiar enough with how engineers organize themselves.

Optimally.


- hope to get my iron ring in 2011

amarinth
01-21-2010, 07:03 PM
Optimally.


- hope to get my iron ring in 2011:smack:
:)

njtt
01-21-2010, 09:23 PM
Caltech faculty have a very light teaching load compared to those at most universities, and a lot of the teaching they do do will be supervising grad students and postdocs. Caltech actually has more grad students and postdocs than undergrads. The focus is on research, not teaching. That said, it does not bother me too much that we do not see them teaching (or researching for that matter). The show is about their personal rather than their work lives. But, like I said, their personal lives are like those of students, not faculty.

Annie-Xmas
01-22-2010, 08:44 AM
Leonad once had a date and told Sheldon to "get scare." His reply was:

I'm a 25 year old published theoretical physicist with three Ph.D.'s. How much scarer could I be?

theophilusrex
01-26-2012, 03:21 AM
im a big BBT fan.
each season takes place in a year. in the first season howard announced he was 26, raj is also 26 and i'm gonna say that leonard and sheldon are the same age, either 26 or 27, sheldon's probably the oldest in terms of birthdays (his birthday is in either april, may or june).
penny is 5 years younger than any of the boys, she said she was 22 in the second season. bernadette, in the third season is about 22. amy's age is never mentioned, but i'd say she's older than penny but younger than sheldon, let's say 26-27 in the fourth season.
these are good guesses and i do have some evidence for them, i just cant bother writing it down.

Bryan Ekers
01-26-2012, 04:15 AM
Well, if you do, try using capital letters.

mr. jp
01-26-2012, 06:20 AM
Leonad once had a date and told Sheldon to "get scare." His reply was:

I'm a 25 year old published theoretical physicist with three Ph.D.'s. How much scarer could I be?

Scarce?

heathen earthling
01-26-2012, 06:57 AM
Well, I've recently come around to watching this show sometimes.

One episode that provides (confusing) evidence is "The Staircase Implementation" (season 3), which is set 7 years in the past, and the guys are still shown as faculty rather than undergraduate or graduate students. Penny says she was in high school 7 years ago, so at least that is consistent with the rest of the series.

Robot Arm
01-26-2012, 07:13 AM
these are good guesses and i do have some evidence for them, i just cant bother writing it down.You have an elegant proof, but this message board is too small to contain it?

Sister Vigilante
01-26-2012, 10:21 AM
You guys should watch the original pilot, where they aren't rich PhDs and Leonard and Sheldon sell their sperm for money, and Sheldon has actually had sex. And there's no Howard or Raj.

Jim Parsons is 38 in real life? I got the feeling that since he'd graduated college so early he would be the youngest character.

I've never seen them teach a class although Sheldon has given a lecture before. Leonard mentions that he pretty much sits and thinks about physics all day for grant money. That was in the most recent episode.

Raj is in a rat hole of an apartment and always talking about how awful it is to live in India but apparently he's actually quite rich and grew up in an affluent household.

johnpost
01-26-2012, 10:29 AM
shows often use stereotypes and get mushy on details to extend their appeal.

the apartment building of Penny, Sheldon, Leonard has units that can be rented on a cheese factory waitress salary. graduate or postdoc students might share a unit to meet that level of cost. faculty members would not have to split costs and could afford much better, unless their toy budget was large or they paid for some of their research costs with their salary.

the guys are nerdy, then both retro and cutting edge fixated. so they pursue things they liked as undergraduates (even high school) to current age. so their behavior spans undergraduate to early faculty and then appeals to those age groups.

sachertorte
01-26-2012, 10:43 AM
I always assumed they were non-faculty researchers. They never call each other or are referred to as "Professor," so they are clearly not faculty. It's always "Dr." this and "Dr." that, so a professor position is out. Whether or not CalTech actually has non-postdoc, non-faculty research positions, I don't know -- but other institutions do.

Sitnam
01-26-2012, 11:14 AM
Howard is 28, he's said so quite a few times. I think the rest are in their late 20's.

TriPolar
01-26-2012, 11:15 AM
I'd go with late 20s. They all have doctorates (except for that underachiever Wolowitz), and work in their fields, yet are still forming personal relationships. Since the shows been on a few years, they might be in their 30s now.

Barking Dog
01-26-2012, 11:17 AM
You guys should watch the original pilot, where they aren't rich PhDs and Leonard and Sheldon sell their sperm for money, and Sheldon has actually had sex. And there's no Howard or Raj.


Well, the pilot doesn't mention their jobs or education level, they decide to leave the sperm bank without donating, and Howard and Raj do show up. And there's no reference to suggest Sheldon has had sex, although there is a moment where he tries to impress Penny, which I interpreted as he was attracted to her. And he drinks a beer.

Wheelz
01-26-2012, 12:20 PM
the apartment building of Penny, Sheldon, Leonard has units that can be rented on a cheese factory waitress salary. graduate or postdoc students might share a unit to meet that level of cost. faculty members would not have to split costs and could afford much better, unless their toy budget was large or they paid for some of their research costs with their salary.
We don't know much about Leonard's financial situation, but Sheldon is definitely living below his means. There was a plot involving him giving a loan to Penny, and it was made clear that Sheldon has money but doesn't really care about money. It would certainly fit his character to eschew a more expensive apartment when his current dwelling is perfectly adequate for his needs.

And as someone else mentioned, they probably room together more for social than economic reasons.

JoelUpchurch
01-26-2012, 12:21 PM
At one point Sheldon refers to his job title as "Senior Theoretical Particle Physicist", which doesn't sound like a faculty position. Other people have commented that it doesn't look like Howard should be working at Cal-tech at all. He should be over at JPL.

It doesn't look like Raj has a faculty position either. In one episode it looked like his grant wasn't going to be renewed and he would have to move back to India. On the other hand, Sheldon made enough grant money to hire him as an assistant. It is pretty clear he doesn't spend most of his income.

JThunder
01-26-2012, 12:29 PM
That doesn't mean that Sheldon is paying Raj out of his own pocket, though. It most likely means that he has grant funding which can be earmarked for various purposes, including the hiring of personnel. In other words, this doesn't say anything about Sheldon's personal income.

Justin_Bailey
01-26-2012, 12:32 PM
At one point Sheldon refers to his job title as "Senior Theoretical Particle Physicist", which doesn't sound like a faculty position. Other people have commented that it doesn't look like Howard should be working at Cal-tech at all. He should be over at JPL.

Howard does work at JPL (he mentions it many times). But JPL is administered by Caltech, so it's not impossible that his office is near the other three.

JoelUpchurch
01-26-2012, 12:35 PM
That doesn't mean that Sheldon is paying Raj out of his own pocket, though. It most likely means that he has grant funding which can be earmarked for various purposes, including the hiring of personnel. In other words, this doesn't say anything about Sheldon's personal income.

In the episode where Sheldon lent Penny money, he stated he didn't spend a lot of his income.

JThunder
01-26-2012, 12:41 PM
True, but that's different from the point which I was addressing. I do agree that he has a lot of unspent income.

Sister Vigilante
01-26-2012, 01:11 PM
Well, the pilot doesn't mention their jobs or education level, they decide to leave the sperm bank without donating, and Howard and Raj do show up. And there's no reference to suggest Sheldon has had sex, although there is a moment where he tries to impress Penny, which I interpreted as he was attracted to her. And he drinks a beer.

That's not the original pilot. There is no Penny, Howard, or Raj in the original pilot. There is a slutty chick who needs a place to stay and they let her live in their third bedroom which is off to the left of the set, opposite their bedrooms. She is not played by the actress who plays Penny.

Leonard does donate to the sperm bank and the first scene is him waiting for Sheldon to finish (he didn't like the "motivational materials" I believe, so it took him longer). They are doing it so they can have money for dinner. And there is a nerd girl Sheldon had sex with while cosplaying as Spock undergoing Pon Farr.

It never aired but it's on youtube. Some of the dialogue is word for word but they changed a lot when they redid the pilot. The original is pretty cringe-worthy.

Barking Dog
01-26-2012, 01:36 PM
Indeed? I didn't realize. Well then, to Youtube!!! (cue dramatic music)

njtt
01-26-2012, 01:40 PM
Howard does work at JPL (he mentions it many times). But JPL is administered by Caltech, so it's not impossible that his office is near the other three.

JPL is administered by Caltech, but its campus is several miles away. (And considerably larger. Caltech is a tiny university.)

I think Sheldon, Leonard and Raj are probably all intended to be postdoctoral fellows (postdocs). Postdocs are actually the people who do most of the work of scientific research these days. They do not have much in the way of teaching duties, and are fairly poorly paid, but although they will be under the supervision of a faculty member (who will control their funding, and be responsible for getting the funding grants), in some cases they may have a fair amount of autonomy over the detailed direction of their research.

Howard is probably meant to be a JPL staff engineer.

Caltech is a very unusual university in that it has more Ph.D. students and postdocs than it does undergraduates. Research is the focus and undergrad teaching is almost an afterthought. What is unrealistic, however, is that Sheldon, Leonard and Raj do not seem to have to supervise, or even interact with, any Ph.D. students. In real life there would be quite a lot of them around, doing the grunt work of research and outnumbering the postdocs probably even at Caltech. (Somebody like Leonard would also almost certainly have a lab tech or two, and several Ph.D. students and other postdocs working with him, but when we see him in his lab he always seems to be alone. The same goes for Raj except that I do not think I have ever seen him at work, except when he was working with/for Sheldon.)

Kamino Neko
01-26-2012, 01:57 PM
I think Sheldon, Leonard and Raj are probably all intended to be postdoctoral fellows (postdocs). Postdocs are actually the people who do most of the work of scientific research these days. They do not have much in the way of teaching duties, and are fairly poorly paid, but although they will be under the supervision of a faculty member (who will control their funding, and be responsible for getting the funding grants), in some cases they may have a fair amount of autonomy over the detailed direction of their research.

That certainly sounds like the boys, yes. (Except the poorly paid part, for Sheldon - see the earlier reference to his uncashed pay cheques.)

To the OP's original question, despite the actors' ages, I think Sheldon's probably the youngest of the guys, probably closer to Penny's age - he's an insanely high level child prodigy, who seems to have gotten his PhD in his mid-teens, so about 10 years before the others, relatively speaking, but he doesn't seem to have been at the school for that much longer than them, so I'd say he's probably about 5 years younger. (Could go a bit older if his 'visiting faculty' travels went a good long while.)

Justin_Bailey
01-26-2012, 02:01 PM
JPL is administered by Caltech, but its campus is several miles away. (And considerably larger. Caltech is a tiny university.)

Right. But in the universe of The Big Bang Theory, it isn't a gigantic stretch to give Howard (a JPL employee) an office in Caltech.

They do not have much in the way of teaching duties, and are fairly poorly paid, but although they will be under the supervision of a faculty member (who will control their funding, and be responsible for getting the funding grants), in some cases they may have a fair amount of autonomy over the detailed direction of their research.

This is a pretty accurate description of their work life on the show, even including their supervisor Dr. Gablehauser.

Annie-Xmas
01-26-2012, 02:57 PM
Leonad once had a date and told Sheldon to "get scare." His reply was:

I'm a 25 year old published theoretical physicist with three Ph.D.'s. How much scarer could I be?

Scarce?

Only took two years to catch that one. SCARCE.

johnpost
01-26-2012, 03:01 PM
the show has a slim thread to reality with which to crack jokes and pick on some stereotypes. so not to take anything too seriously. they've spent more time in a cafeteria than i ever did post high school.

though it would be interesting to find the real math equations that appear in sequential episodes transcribed somewhere.

while they could be postdocs in The Benefactor Factor they are expected to be major actors in fund raising.

The Second Stone
01-26-2012, 03:36 PM
I actually was once a postdoc at Caltech, and knew...

That makes you the leading SDMB candidate to be Weird Al. :eek:

Chronos
01-26-2012, 10:10 PM
This is a pretty accurate description of their work life on the show, even including their supervisor Dr. Gablehauser. I think Dr. Gablehauser is the department chair, not a group supervisor.

etv78
01-26-2012, 10:44 PM
Indeed? I didn't realize. Well then, to Youtube!!! (cue dramatic music)

I read the end of that in Ranjit's (the chauffeur/cabbie on HIMYM) voice.

njtt
01-27-2012, 03:26 AM
That makes you the leading SDMB candidate to be Weird Al. :eek:
:confused:
Yankovic? He didn't go to Caltech, at least not according to his Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%22Weird_Al%22_Yankovic). Or is there some other Weird Al I don't know about.

Anyway, I may be weird, but I am not an Al.

Cayuga
01-27-2012, 08:30 AM
though it would be interesting to find the real math equations that appear in sequential episodes transcribed somewhere.

He's let it lapse recently, but the guy in charge of keeping the science on the show accurate (including putting all the writing on the whiteboards) used to have a blog here:

http://thebigblogtheory.wordpress.com/

Cayuga
01-27-2012, 08:32 AM
OM f'in G. Penny was born when I was starting my senior year of high school.

Where is my walker?!?

Hell, when Penny was born, I had finished college, had a job, been on unemployment, and gotten another job.

And no, you can't have your walker back.

longhair75
01-27-2012, 08:54 AM
I am getting ready to trace a circuit with a fluke meter that is older than Penny.

johnpost
01-27-2012, 10:45 AM
though it would be interesting to find the real math equations that appear in sequential episodes transcribed somewhere.

He's let it lapse recently, but the guy in charge of keeping the science on the show accurate (including putting all the writing on the whiteboards) used to have a blog here:

http://thebigblogtheory.wordpress.com/

i recently went (went back) there. the archives start with s02e23. it is a good site.

elsewhere i saw mention of the equation sequence starting in season 1. i don't find how long the step wise sequencing went or any info on seasons 1 and 2 equations.

pancakes3
01-27-2012, 12:15 PM
There's also a mention in one episode of a class taught by Sheldon, though it's considered an ordeal to take it (that's one way to get back into his good graces, if you somehow offend him).


i don't think this was meant to be a real academic class via the university but rather shelden has so many personal rules to abide by that if you make infractions, he has a home-made class complete with syllabus and lectures to educate you on the do's and don'ts of shelden cooper.

etv78
01-27-2012, 12:19 PM
:confused:
Yankovic? He didn't go to Caltech, at least not according to his Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%22Weird_Al%22_Yankovic). Or is there some other Weird Al I don't know about.

Anyway, I may be weird, but I am not an Al.

Seeing this I recognize a :smack: ( I didn't recognize the error last nite) I just remembered he went to Poly.

etv78
01-27-2012, 12:20 PM
In the episode where Sheldon lent Penny money, he stated he didn't spend a lot of his income.

He doesn't cash paychecks.

GreenElf
01-28-2012, 09:09 AM
Is Sheldon officially asperger's or just nerdy?

Justin_Bailey
01-28-2012, 10:52 AM
Is Sheldon officially asperger's or just nerdy?

Officially just nerdy.

mnemosyne
01-28-2012, 12:04 PM
- hope to get my iron ring in 2011

Hey, did you? I got mine in 2011 ;)


That certainly sounds like the boys, yes. (Except the poorly paid part, for Sheldon - see the earlier reference to his uncashed pay cheques.)

To the OP's original question, despite the actors' ages, I think Sheldon's probably the youngest of the guys, probably closer to Penny's age - he's an insanely high level child prodigy, who seems to have gotten his PhD in his mid-teens, so about 10 years before the others, relatively speaking, but he doesn't seem to have been at the school for that much longer than them, so I'd say he's probably about 5 years younger. (Could go a bit older if his 'visiting faculty' travels went a good long while.)

In the episode where Leonard is telling Penny about how he came to live with Sheldon, it seemed pretty clear to me that Sheldon was already fairly well established in his sparsely-furnished apartment. Did they refer to Sheldon's position at the school in that episode, or mention anything about how long he'd been there?

ftg
01-28-2012, 05:29 PM
I always assumed they were non-faculty researchers. They never call each other or are referred to as "Professor," so they are clearly not faculty. It's always "Dr." this and "Dr." that, so a professor position is out. Whether or not CalTech actually has non-postdoc, non-faculty research positions, I don't know -- but other institutions do.

A standard research university will have some faculty with research-only duties. Typical titles might be "Research Scientist" or some such. But it gets confusing. One department I worked at had several low level teaching-only flunkies with "Research Scientist" titles. This let the place pay them less, not worry about long term contracts (the money and thus the position could go away rather quickly) with no tenure prospects.

As to the Dr./Prof. nomenclature, it also varies. At my first position I was "Professor", at the next one sometimes "Professor" and sometimes "Doctor" and then at the last one just "Doctor". So I wouldn't go by any of the show's terminology. Especially since they have no idea as to how the real CalTech is run.

But if you're doing research, you will have grad students. They are a must.

BigT
01-28-2012, 05:56 PM
Leonard does donate to the sperm bank and the first scene is him waiting for Sheldon to finish (he didn't like the "motivational materials" I believe, so it took him longer). They are doing it so they can have money for dinner. And there is a nerd girl Sheldon had sex with while cosplaying as Spock undergoing Pon Farr.
Definitely not the pilot I saw when they sent me a video and a questionnaire. My parents, who watched it with me, would have freaked.

Did the first pilot even get it picked up? Starting off with frank masturbation jokes doesn't seem to be a winning formula for a sitcom, as they traditionally want a family audience.

etv78
01-28-2012, 06:05 PM
Is Sheldon officially asperger's or just nerdy?

IMO, the reason he's not cannonically asperger's is because th writers don't want to be accussed of "not doing the research".

Chronos
01-28-2012, 08:33 PM
A standard research university will have some faculty with research-only duties. Typical titles might be "Research Scientist" or some such. But it gets confusing. One department I worked at had several low level teaching-only flunkies with "Research Scientist" titles. This let the place pay them less, not worry about long term contracts (the money and thus the position could go away rather quickly) with no tenure prospects.Most universities will have people with this status, but the usual title for them is "adjunct" or "instructor". Sometimes an adjunct can (with luck) become tenure-track, sometimes they jump around from place to place every few years, and sometimes they just keep getting their contract renewed year after year for an entire career.

Wheelz
01-30-2012, 08:54 AM
IMO, the reason he's not cannonically asperger's is because th writers don't want to be accussed of "not doing the research".I think you're sort of right, but I'd come at it from another direction: If they officially gave Sheldon Asperger's, they'd be imposing restraints on their own writing. They're going to write the character in whatever way they think is funny or advances the story, and they sure don't need a bunch people saying "A person with Asperger's would never do that!!!!!1!!!11!!!"

I don't blame them.

Happy Lendervedder
01-30-2012, 09:37 AM
Definitely not the pilot I saw when they sent me a video and a questionnaire. My parents, who watched it with me, would have freaked.

Did the first pilot even get it picked up? Starting off with frank masturbation jokes doesn't seem to be a winning formula for a sitcom, as they traditionally want a family audience.

Huh? I know plenty of sitcoms that don't "want" a family audience.

Meeko
01-31-2012, 04:56 AM
Howard is 28, he's said so quite a few times. I think the rest are in their late 20's.

In a recent episode [This season, IIRC] , in the past two weeks or so, Leonerd comments to Howard: "You are 30 and you live with your Mom."

Cayuga
01-31-2012, 05:56 AM
IMO, the reason he's not cannonically asperger's is because th writers don't want to be accussed of "not doing the research".

I read an interview with one of the producers last year in which he said that Sheldon doesn't have Asperger's because if he did, they'd be making fun of a handicapped person every week.

Basically, it's OK to laugh at someone who's weird, but it's not OK to laugh at someone who suffers from a medical condition and can't help doing what he does.

Sister Vigilante
01-31-2012, 11:22 AM
Definitely not the pilot I saw when they sent me a video and a questionnaire. My parents, who watched it with me, would have freaked.

Did the first pilot even get it picked up? Starting off with frank masturbation jokes doesn't seem to be a winning formula for a sitcom, as they traditionally want a family audience.I don't think this is the one that got it picked up. As I said it was definitely cringeworthy. I think they revamped the whole thing and made a new pilot, which is what everyone remembers.

Chronos
01-31-2012, 02:19 PM
I read an interview with one of the producers last year in which he said that Sheldon doesn't have Asperger's because if he did, they'd be making fun of a handicapped person every week.

Basically, it's OK to laugh at someone who's weird, but it's not OK to laugh at someone who suffers from a medical condition and can't help doing what he does. I like the way his mom puts it-- That he's one of God's own special people. I mean, you can tell that she means that sincerely, not in the derogatory sense of "special", but that she also doesn't really have a clue what to do with him.

johnpost
01-31-2012, 05:37 PM
I like the way his mom puts it-- That he's one of God's own special people. I mean, you can tell that she means that sincerely, not in the derogatory sense of "special", but that she also doesn't really have a clue what to do with him.

she had him checked out by a shrink.

JRDelirious
01-31-2012, 06:45 PM
We don't know much about Leonard's financial situation, but Sheldon is definitely living below his means. There was a plot involving him giving a loan to Penny, and it was made clear that Sheldon has money but doesn't really care about money. It would certainly fit his character to eschew a more expensive apartment when his current dwelling is perfectly adequate for his needs.

And as someone else mentioned, they probably room together more for social than economic reasons.

Also there may be an element here of subverting the common sitcom trope of people living in a disproportionately high style, plus as a prior post mentioned, the writers probably use it as a way to telegraph "nerdy environment". Which as you mention plays well together with the type of character that would feel no rational need to go all GQ/AD on his home environment.

ftg
02-01-2012, 02:29 PM
The economic situation of Sheldon and Leonard is a mess. Sheldon has repeatedly said that if he could afford to live on his own (and drive) he wouldn't need Leonard.

Yet Sheldon refuses to cash his checks. Which would be more than enough to afford that apartment and other things.

And yet Sheldon does pay for his half of the apartment, going out, eating out, buying high tech toys, etc. Where does that money come from?

It's just a case of the writers don't care and make a joke for the sake of the now.

Justin_Bailey
02-01-2012, 03:19 PM
The economic situation of Sheldon and Leonard is a mess. Sheldon has repeatedly said that if he could afford to live on his own (and drive) he wouldn't need Leonard.

But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Sheldon can't drive, has no desire to drive, and has no desire to take public transportation. So he needs Leonard or he needs to hire a 24/7 car service. That's the part he can't afford.

JoelUpchurch
02-01-2012, 04:01 PM
But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Sheldon can't drive, has no desire to drive, and has no desire to take public transportation. So he needs Leonard or he needs to hire a 24/7 car service. That's the part he can't afford.

He would take public transportation, but they won't let him use bungee cords to fasten himself in the seat. I agree with Sheldon. If they require seat belts on air planes then they should require them on buses also.

Drunky Smurf
02-01-2012, 04:54 PM
In a recent episode [This season, IIRC] , in the past two weeks or so, Leonerd comments to Howard: "You are 30 and you live with your Mom."

I remember this too.

Tibby or Not Tibby
02-01-2012, 05:24 PM
OM f'in G. Penny was born when I was starting my senior year of high school.

Where is my walker?!?
OM f'in G. Penny was born 10 years after I started my senior year of high school.

Where is my Dr. Kevorkian?!?

kunilou
02-01-2012, 06:59 PM
In The Einstein Approximation (http://bigbangtrans.wordpress.com/series-3-episode-14-the-einstein-approximation/)Leonard says that Sheldon has been emotionally stuck for "about 29 years."

And everyone quit whining about Penny. My kids are older than Penny.

TriPolar
02-03-2012, 02:04 AM
Leonard said that Sheldon was 30 on tonight's show.

Hogfather65
02-13-2012, 10:17 AM
You guys should watch the original pilot, where they aren't rich PhDs and Leonard and Sheldon sell their sperm for money, and Sheldon has actually had sex. And there's no Howard or Raj.

Jim Parsons is 38 in real life? I got the feeling that since he'd graduated college so early he would be the youngest character.

I've never seen them teach a class although Sheldon has given a lecture before. Leonard mentions that he pretty much sits and thinks about physics all day for grant money. That was in the most recent episode.

Raj is in a rat hole of an apartment and always talking about how awful it is to live in India but apparently he's actually quite rich and grew up in an affluent household.

Saw the pilot - my daughter was disapointed at the thought of Sheldon as a 'Normal' person - she will not watch it because of it.:D

Hogfather65
02-13-2012, 10:20 AM
Well, the pilot doesn't mention their jobs or education level, they decide to leave the sperm bank without donating, and Howard and Raj do show up. And there's no reference to suggest Sheldon has had sex, although there is a moment where he tries to impress Penny, which I interpreted as he was attracted to her. And he drinks a beer.

there where 2 pilots....

jemima37
04-26-2012, 12:50 PM
Leonard said tonight "12 years since high school and I'm still sat at the nerd table" if you leave high school at 16 as we do in UK, then it makes him 28




Friends of mine recently called their baby Leonard Sheldon, big fans!

Kimballkid
04-26-2012, 01:03 PM
Most people in the United States leave high school around 18 so, by that statement, he would be 30. But if he were an exceptional student, he may have graduated earlier.

movingfinger
04-27-2012, 02:03 AM
Regarding Sheldon's money, there was a scene where Howard opens a drawer and finds numerous uncashed checks. When he asks Sheldon why he hasn't cashed them he is told that the things Sheldon would buy with them haven't been invented yet.

Folacin
04-27-2012, 07:59 AM
Sheldon presumably cashes a check when he needs the money for something (food, rent, comic books) - but his needs are less than his salary, so he's got a bunch of checks in the drawer.

I am surprised that he isn't using direct deposit, however. Although I guess that would be a change and he doesn't deal well with that. And we wouldn't have the paycheck joke.

Nava
04-27-2012, 08:06 AM
I always assumed they were non-faculty researchers. They never call each other or are referred to as "Professor," so they are clearly not faculty. It's always "Dr." this and "Dr." that, so a professor position is out. Whether or not CalTech actually has non-postdoc, non-faculty research positions, I don't know -- but other institutions do.

We never referred to my American university professors as "Professor whatever", it was always "Dr whatever" or by firstname. This applies to profs from the Colleges of Sciences and of Engineering. Other end of the country from CalTech.

PaulParkhead
04-27-2012, 10:05 AM
Leonard said tonight "12 years since high school and I'm still sat at the nerd table" if you leave high school at 16 as we do in UK, then it makes him 28




Friends of mine recently called their baby Leonard Sheldon, big fans!

Well, a person who has a PhD would not have left school at 16 - you need A-levels to go to college or uni.

The Devil's Grandmother
04-27-2012, 11:37 AM
In most American states it is possible for smart people to graduate early, like Doogie Houser. It's not unusual for very smart people to have (multiple) graduate degrees at the age of 20.

jerseymule
04-27-2012, 11:55 AM
I am getting ready to trace a circuit with a fluke meter that is older than Penny.

I still wear some shoes that are older than Penny.

kenetic
04-27-2012, 03:38 PM
In most American states it is possible for smart people to graduate early, like Doogie Houser. It's not unusual for very smart people to have (multiple) graduate degrees at the age of 20.

I'd disagree that it's "not unusual", but yes, it is possible to have a PhD (and therefore, a Master's) by 20.

Lust4Life
04-27-2012, 04:19 PM
When I look at Penny, I knoew exactly how Howard feels normally !

The Devil's Grandmother
04-27-2012, 04:22 PM
I'd disagree that it's "not unusual", but yes, it is possible to have a PhD (and therefore, a Master's) by 20.

I'll weasel on the fact that I said it's not unusual for "very smart" people. I've known 7 people who had college degrees before they were 20, and all of them are easily in the "very smart" category.

njtt
04-27-2012, 07:10 PM
We never referred to my American university professors as "Professor whatever", it was always "Dr whatever" or by firstname. This applies to profs from the Colleges of Sciences and of Engineering. Other end of the country from CalTech.
I was a "Postdoctoral Instructor" at Caltech, which meant I taught classes of my own, and my (undergrad) students, somewhat to my discomfiture, insisted on addressing me as "professor".* I did not feel entitled to it, especially as I had come from Britain where only the equivalent of American "full professors" get to be called professor. I would have been much more comfortable being called "Doctor" to which I was proud of being entitled. However, it was clearly not something you could fight. I have taught in other California universities and colleges too, and always been addressed as "Professor" by undergrads even though I was not truly of professorial rank.

In my experience, above the undergraduate (and maybe Master's degree) level things tend to be a lot less formal, and increasingly so as you go up the ranks. Even a doctoral student is likely to address a professor with whom he is acquainted by name, without any title. Only if someone is pretty much a stranger to you, or you are in a particularly formal situation, are you likely to call them Dr. something (or, even more rarely, Professor or Dean, or whatever), as you might call a virtual stranger Mr. something-or-other in other settings. (Although, with certain weird exceptions like British surgeons,** in an academic setting, someone entitled to be called Doctor might be a bit miffed to be called Mister or Ms. I would, in fact. I earned that Ph.D., dammit.)

So certainly in California, but I am fairly sure it is the same throughout the U.S., undergraduates will call any teacher above the rank of T.A. "Professor", but doctoral students on up will mostly use "Doctor," if they are being at all formal (which they often are not).

The fetish made in BBT of calling people Dr., is mainly just part of Sheldon's general weirdness and snobbery. It is not normal academic practice, and I do not think you are meant to think it is.


*Most postdocs are not "Postdoctoral Instructors" however, and I believe most do no teaching at all or only a little, on an occasional basis, helping out an actual professor. Their job is almost entirely research. They do not have undergrad courses of their own and probably will not be routinely called professor by anyone (nor are they entitled to be).

**In Britain, at least, an M.D. (or B.Med.) who qualifies as a surgeon reverts to being called Mister, again. (I am not sure how this works for female surgeons; probably she becomes Ms.) This is considered quite an honour, and a surgeon (surgeons being notoriously prickly) may well resent being addressed as Doctor, even though he is one.

kunilou
04-27-2012, 08:56 PM
I was a "Postdoctoral Instructor" at Caltech, which meant I taught classes of my own, and my (undergrad) students, somewhat to my discomfiture, insisted on addressing me as "professor".* I did not feel entitled to it, especially as I had come from Britain where only the equivalent of American "full professors" get to be called professor. I would have been much more comfortable being called "Doctor" to which I was proud of being entitled. However, it was clearly not something you could fight. I have taught in other California universities and colleges too, and always been addressed as "Professor" by undergrads even though I was not truly of professorial rank.

YMMV. When I was an undergrad, the PhD's were called "Doctor" and everyone else was Mr./Ms., regardless of their place on the faculty hierarchy. Maybe they called each other something else behind closed doors.

dropzone
04-27-2012, 10:42 PM
Friends of mine recently called their baby Leonard Sheldon, big fans!:smack: Just figured out where Lorre got their names, from sitcom god Sheldon Leonard! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheldon_Leonard)

njtt
04-28-2012, 08:35 AM
YMMV. When I was an undergrad, the PhD's were called "Doctor" and everyone else was Mr./Ms., regardless of their place on the faculty hierarchy. Maybe they called each other something else behind closed doors.

Well, where were you? I am talking specifically about Caltech, which is where BBT is set, and, as I say, undergraduates insisted on using "Professor" even when technically inappropriate. It was a couple of decades ago when I was there, but can vouch for the fact that the same applied at other So Cal institutions, for instance, Cal State L.A., quite recently.

Very few members of the "faculty hierarchy" at any university level institution, will not be Ph.D.s (or some other type of "doctor"), so I am not really sure what you are talking about there. T.A's are not faculty. Arguably, neither are postdoc's.

Justin_Bailey
04-28-2012, 09:15 AM
I was a "Postdoctoral Instructor" at Caltech, which meant I taught classes of my own, and my (undergrad) students, somewhat to my discomfiture, insisted on addressing me as "professor".* I did not feel entitled to it, especially as I had come from Britain where only the equivalent of American "full professors" get to be called professor. I would have been much more comfortable being called "Doctor" to which I was proud of being entitled. However, it was clearly not something you could fight. I have taught in other California universities and colleges too, and always been addressed as "Professor" by undergrads even though I was not truly of professorial rank.

This may be a British vs American thing. In my American college days, everyone was "Professor," regardless of where they were in their tenure track and even most of the Doctors were referred to as "Professor."

This was at RIT in the early 2000s.