Bazinga! Sheldon Cooper's most memorable slip-ups

02 Sep 2016

Everybody loves Sheldon Cooper, with the possible exception of people who know him.

He’s got more brains than those around him put together and likes few things more than pointing out that fact. Still, no amount of brains can prevent this scientist from putting his foot in it occasionally. He might understand the inner workings of subatomic particles in the quantum realm, but he never really got the hang of people.

Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory

To celebrate the release of The Big Bang Theory’s ninth season, here are three of our favourite Sheldon Cooper slip-ups.

Menial Work

In The Einstein Approximation Sheldon is driven to distraction trying to work out why electrons behave as if they have no mass when travelling through a grapheme sheet. He tries various ways to view the problem from a new angle, ranging from constructing the particles out of peas and lima beans to viewing his whiteboard using only his peripheral vision.

Eventually Sheldon decides that, just as Albert Einstein did his best work while he was a patent clerk, he must find a dull, boring job to distract himself from the problem in order to crack it. His subsequent trip to the job centre and leads him to ask the career’s advisor for “A menial job. Like yours.”

From there, the conversation quickly leads to Sheldon being escorted out of the building by security.

A Real Scientist

Sheldon has very little time for anyone less smart than himself and believes that specific list includes just about everyone, including his own boss. In The Luminous Fish Effect, Sheldon’s department gets a new head in the form of Dr Gablehauser, a scientist who’s built his career on writing pop-science books. There’s certainly a debate as to the value of possibly dumbed down educational books for the mass market versus denser, more academic research, but whatever you’re opinion, Sheldon probably shouldn’t have introduced himself to his new boss as “an actual, real scientist”. It’s no surprise this lead to Sheldon’s first experience of the world of unemployment.

Sheldon does Stand-up

Given Sheldon’s love of talking at length to anyone who’ll listen, it might come as a surprise to know that our favourite physicist is prone to stage fright. In The Pants Alternative, Sheldon is presented with an award and swiftly tries all kinds of methods to prepare him for his moment in the spotlight. Tactics include buying him a new outfit, practicing meditation, the works. In the end it turns out the answer is wine - and lots of it.

Sheldon goes on to perform a stand-up routine that include jokes such as "Why did the chicken cross the Mobius strip? To get to the same side, bazinga!" and “I kid the geologists, of course, but it’s only ’cause I have no respect for the field.” The routine climaxes with the scene that gives The Pants Alternative its name…

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