The Big Bang Theory - Sheldon - how the .....

The four guys have lots of shared interests, comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, video games. They have fun together on Halo Night and playing Klingon Boggle. We just don’t see that on screen very much. Individually:

Leonard - He is often infuriated by Sheldon, but he has genuine protection feelings for this odd creature he lives with. It stems from his mother, who is similar to Sheldon in many respects. It’s like Leonard is Alfred to Sheldon’s Bruce Wayne. Sheldon actually has Leonard’s back, too.

Raj - A very lonely person, so appreciates having any kinds of friends. I think Raj really takes joy in occasionally out-smarting Sheldon. Beating him at MarioKart, getting that huge desk in the office, etc.

Howard - Obviously the most un-friends with Sheldon. Has admitted he’s only there for Leonard. Puts up with the constant belittling for the shared interests.

Penny - She and Sheldon are like siblings. Not only does she let the insults pass by, she’s usually able to outwit Sheldon. They turn to each other for comfort and advice. She’s protective of him like Leonard is.

Howard, Raj and Leonard like/ tolerate Sheldon because they’re about as socially awkward and emotionally damaged as he is. Nerds of a feather.

I think garygnu covered most of it: a combination of pity, entertainment value, shared interests and not having any better friend prospects.

I had my share of irritating friends in math grad school. Not quite as cartoony, but still…

No, you mean you think they were like Sheldon. I’ve seen that claimed leveled at people I’ve gone to college with (including me, I’ll admit), and it’s never been true, except in the general “these guys are nerds and like science and comics, so they must all be the same” sense.

Sheldon is the nerd equivalent of blackface comedy.

No, I mean they acted like Sheldon. I agree with you that The Big Bang Theory is a nerd minstrel show, but I really did interact with Sheldonic people in college.

I grew up like that - My daughters too - my youngest works in a comic book store (she’s 20 and all 3 have has been reading comics, Playing Fantasy Board/Table top/Video Games and watching Star Trek, B5, Red Dwarf & Firefly since they were 4 - only the youngest still is as enthusiastic as me)

It’s one thing to have shared interests but another to put up with crap just to put up with someone who has the same interests.

I remember time when I or other did not go to a DD game or PC Games feast or even a poker night because someone who I/they thought was obnoxious was there.

My Daughter and her friends are the same.

I’d be friends with Sheldon. Heck I already have two friends who are like Sheldon. Neither of them are physicists but they have similar behaviours and mannerisms.

I do like to joke “am I in your spot?”

Yeah…on an objective self analysis…

Not anywhere close to that smart, but almost as eccentric.

Which explains the comment once made by a coworker:

“If I have to work with that crazy little longhaired S.O.B again, I quit!”

Speaking as a nerd myself, yes, I find the character of Sheldon plausible, including the fact that there are some people who can be considered his friends. Yes, he’s exaggerated for comedic effect, but that’s only to be expected: All sitcom characters, on every sitcom ever, are exaggerated for comic effect. But unlike many sitcoms with exaggerated nerd characters, they exaggerated in the right direction.

Shouldn’t Leonard easily be able to afford his own place? I have a friend with almost exactly Leonard’s education and job, and I don’t know exactly how much he earns but it’s more than enough to support a family, a couple of cars, and two houses, in an area with a similar cost of living to Pasadena.

Not having a go at the show - Luv it… It is just a ‘Why The F$%# moment every time he opens his mouth’ would any of those guys put up with the crap

It’s compensation for Friends and every other sit-com where the protagonists are ridiculously over-housed.

We have had a thread on where the apartment is. As a former resident of Pasadena, I can tell you that if it is at the address that has been mentioned on the show, it is not at all near the school. Other locations that have been suggested (on evidence such as the view through their window) are a bit closer, but not really near. The evidence is inconsistent, but none of it places the apartment very close to Caltech.

Of course we have had yet another thread about what their jobs are. Again, the evidence is inconsistent, but own view is that it is quite plausible to think that Leonard, Raj and Sheldon are postdoctoral research fellows. I was one of these, in Pasadena, once too. You don’t make a lot of money, but I was able to rent my own place and buy and run an elderly second-hand car. (I did not eat out regularly at the Cheesecake Factory, as these guys do, though.) Certainly the pay it is little enough that sharing a place would have its attractions. (Raj, of course, does have his own place, and his living room, at least, seems to be much larger than mine was.)

Howard, as (presumably) a NASA staff engineer, would be making a good deal more than the other three, but he lives with his mother!

If your friend is supporting a family (with a non-working wife?) two cars and two houses on his salary, I think he must be higher up on the totem pole than a postdoc.

Well, as others have said, sitcoms don’t have to be realistic or even consistent.

I roomed with a guy in college who looked and acted like Sheldon. He’s now the normal one. But it is sometimes very useful to hang out with complete genius in your own field.

A bunch of my mates were physics students at Uni, they used to get drunk all of the time and rarely studied, not surprisingly all bar one flunked their degrees.

The one who passed, eventually went on to get his Phd but I wouldn’t have said he was a total nerd, though he did have nerdish interests, as do I.

Theirs was the last degree course in Physics at my local Uni., I can’t think why they dropped it from the syllabus, honest !

2 points.

1 - There is a big difference between “I personally wouldn’t be friends with that guy.” and “I have no idea how anyone would be friends with that guy.”

2 - Sheldon in all his pompousness and obnoxiousness doesn’t even rank close to the bottom half of the spectrum as far as tolerability goes. There are much weirder, more abrasive, and narcissistic people out there. People with STDs who go around mum, people who steal money from their friends, people who are legitimately racist/homophobic/sexist, etc. And those are “normal people” shortcomings.

Let’s lighten up on the hyperbole of reality and revel in the hyperbole of sitcom fantasy, eh?

That’s for psychological reasons, though, not financial.


I would like to see some of Sheldon’s rudeness toned down a bit. Heck, I could say the same for the title character on Bones, altho I find her much more obnoxious. Anyway, Sheldon has had several years of interacting and being friends with intelligent, but slightly more socially adept people. Is it likely that he’d continue to be as self-centered and clueless, especially when Penny is quick to call him on it? Would someone that intelligent really be that stupid?

Then again, as I think of it, one of the more intelligent people I know is chronically late, always making others wait (till we quit waiting on him) and he never seemed to learn. So maybe Sheldon is that hopeless…

I used to work with a group of serious physicists - some theoretical, one who claimed an “Engineering bent” which the others chuckled at. Honestly, TBBT crew reminds me of a younger version of them. These guys loved going to work each day because they could hold conversations without having to dumb them down. They hung out from breakfast to end of the day and worked through some truly incredible problems, once or twice they even did it quickly! Although the were also great ponderers, and all loved it when I nicknamed them “The Ents.”

They had worked together for decades, and wouldn’t give each other up for anything, and were variously socially, emotionally, and even hygiene challenged to such an extent that I was constantly amazed when they mentioned having wives and families. If they hadn’t had Government jobs I feel certain they’d all have been homeless. Or grumpy truck drivers with copies of 2600 hidden under the table at the truckstop.

I think your basic question falls down because it doesn’t take into account how truly brilliant and socially challenged the other guys are as well. Sheldon is a relief to them. When he’s around, they never have to be “The Smart Guy” or “The Weird Guy” because it’s him. And he just swims around in it like a warm bath, so, Yay! no guilt either.