Fridge: The Big Bang Theory

Fridge Brilliance
  • In a certain episode of the show Sheldon has Will Wheaton appear on his show "Fun with Flags." At first it seems odd as Amy, who's behind the camera, would comment that Will Wheaton is a horrible actor especially as he is being compared to Sheldon who is stif and boring but then again think about it. What does Amy hate more than Sheldon ignoring her? Sheldon ignoring her for something Sci-fi related that she absolutely hates. In fact it may explain why she also called Levar Burton a bad actor as well. You could even say that Amy is trying to convince Sheldon that Star Trek is a bad series and so he would pay more attention to her.
  • In the early episodes, the show established a Running Gag in which Rajesh Koothrapali was too socially awkward to speak in the presence of females. However, as the show’s cast was broadened to feature more female characters, this device became unwieldy as it prevented Raj from being able to participate normally in mixed-gender scenes. A solution was offered by the realisation (revealed in "The Grasshopper Experiment") that Raj could overcome his phobia when under the influence of alcohol. Initially, this effect was only facilitated by strong spirits, and would often result in Raj becoming over-intoxicated and breaching social boundaries (particularly with females). In later seasons, Raj appears able to speak normally with female characters, provided that he holds a beer bottle in his hand, indicating that he is drinking in the scene. However, at no point in these scenes does he act in any way intoxicated, or display the amorous tendencies that were shown to be the consequence of his intoxication in the first seasons. Moreover, although he often appears with alcohol when others are not drinking, there is never any mention or concern that he might have an alcohol problem. At the end of Season 6, after a bad breakup with a girl, Raj is revealed to be "cured" of his mutism. In retrospect, it appears that the show's writers had initially saddled Raj with a character trait that, while broadly funny, soon became regrettable. This prompted the writers to enact a clumsy (and socially irresponsible) attempt to circumvent its effects, until finally an instance of character development allowed them to dispose of it altogether. HOWEVER, since Raj’s condition is psychological, it is perfectly plausible to suppose that, after an initial period of experimentation with the effects of alcohol, the presence of an alcoholic drink would act as a placebo, even to the point where he need not drink it at all; simply holding the bottle is enough. It is inevitable that Raj would eventually forget about his phobia altogether and find himself talking normally to a female, WITHOUT the placebo, as happens at the end of Season 6. The only aspect of this theory that remains implausible is the complete surprise with which Penny greets this realisation. As one of his closest friends, she would surely have realised that this was what was happening (although in fairness, Penny is not renowned for her intellect).
  • How could Leonard put up with Sheldon's antics? Because he's lived with somebody worse: His mother. This also puts a rather Freudian spin on Leonard and Sheldon's relationship. Leonard moved away from his mother, only to move in with his mother.
  • Upon first glance, it may seem odd that Sheldon, who is asexual and seemingly aromantic, would give better dating advice than Leonard, who is often successful with women. However, it makes sense since Sheldon's work is Theoretical and Leonard's is Experimental. Much like in physics, Sheldon creates the theory, and Leonard proves it.
  • Where did Sheldon pick up his complete insensitivity on race issues? His mother. And both are mostly innocent about how offensive they're being.
  • Sheldon telling that FBI agent about Howard crashing the Mars rover in "The Apology Insufficiently" wasn't a complete accident and was perhaps a subconscious attempt to sabotage him as Sheldon doesn't like anyone overshadowing him. Sheldon exclaiming that didn't involve him, unlike his other gripes about Howard such as Howard damaging his Lord of the Rings Blu-Ray case, supports this.
  • Leonard does an awkward thing where he tilts his head back a bit and looks up when talking to people. But Leonard has always been shorter than most other people, so he probably had to spend a lot of time looking up to talk to them. It would only make sense that it became a habit, and still does it even when talking to people who aren't much taller than him.
  • After Sheldon forms his own team for the Physics Bowl, the other guys try to find a replacement. A rather inane conversation about replacing her with the "chick who played Blossom" ensues. After the idea is rejected, Winnie from The Wonder Years is suggested in a throw-away reference. The joke is that Danica McKellar (aka Winnie) is now a mathematician and Mayim Bialik (aka Blossom) has a PhD in neurobiology. Oh, and to make this even better? Both actresses show up in incredibly geeky guest parts in the third season — with Bialik having an even more permanent role in the fourth.
  • The reason Amy's more blunt and socially awkward than Sheldon? It's shown that until Penny, she never had a "Leonard" to help with socialising.
  • In the second season finale Penny appears to get unusually emotional with the prospect of Leonard leaving for a whole summer, which Leonard picks up on and (for whatever reason) asks Sheldon for his thoughts on the matter. Leonard was worrying that if he did leave, Penny would eventually get over him and find someone else while at that moment he might have a chance with renewing their relationship. Sheldon says that if those feelings are happening because of the simple prospect of him leaving then he must go because truthfully nothing has actually happened yet (Basically, Leonards impressions are simple theory and Sheldon is suggesting the most effective method of experimentation). When he does return she practically throws herself at him, having the summer to muse about their relationship. Considering it was his advice that got them there, Sheldon is indirectly responsible for Leonard and Penny finally hooking up. Made nicely ironic that in their professions it's Leonard who experiments and Sheldon who theorizes.
  • In the episode where the gang are playing World of Warcraft, Sheldon does not help the raid obtain the "Sword of Azeroth", instead grabbing the sword and fleeing, to sell it on eBay, resulting in the other three's characters having to fight a desperate battle (until Howard buys the sword). At first, Sheldon just comes off as a Jerk Ass, betraying the others for money. But consider: Sheldon does not need money. He is contemptuous of attempts to obtain it. He has several thousand dollars worth of un-cashed paychecks in his drawer, and lends freely and without interest. Then consider his justification: "I'm a rogue Night Elf". Sheldon wasn't screwing the others over for money, he was simply (in his eyes) conforming to character descriptions and adding to the game dynamic. It's not uncommon for RPG players to use this as an excuse—but Sheldon is so Literal-Minded it wasn't just an excuse for him.
  • In "The Justice League Recombination", the superheroes the gang end up dressing as actually represent the dynamic within the group.
    • Sheldon is the Flash, who is Green Lantern's best friend and is 'faster' than all the rest (in Sheldon's case being mentally). Leonard is the Green Lantern who's the Flash's best friend and often acts without thinking (if you take Green Lantern as Hal Jordan). Howard comes as Batman, who has parent-related issues, and while part of the group is still an outsider (Howard's Masters degree). Raj comes as Aquaman who's the token foreigner.
    • Add in the fact that Raj would be more powerful in India like Aquaman in the water and the Penny and Zach (Wonder Woman and Superman); The group's beefy amazon and the alien, respectivly.
    • Parallels can be drawn to the boys' lines of work as well:
      • Raj is a particle astrophysicist — the sea can be likened to space.
      • Howard is an engineer and the only one of them without a doctorate. Batman is the only of the superheroes who doesn't have access to actual superpowers.
      • Sheldon is a theoretical physicist, which has a lot to do with both light and speed.
      • Leonard is an experimental physicist, and tries out ideas and theories in "reality".
  • It makes total sense that Sheldon would be a big fan of Wil Wheaton's character Wesley. They both excel in whatever science they apply themselves to. This also because Hilarious in Hindsight, as, in Sheldon's fan-script for the Original Star Trek series, would probably become a Creator's Pet if he were an actual character (Spock comments on how much of a genius he is, totally adored by his mother, yadda yadda). There is also the fact that Sheldon felt a connection to Wesley. Saying that how much Wesley was smart for a kid and growing up around adults. Like how Sheldon felt growing around older kids for skipping grades.
  • Leonard stands up Raj's sister Priya to go on a World of Warcraft mission. He asks Raj (who's against the relationship) to cover for him. Raj tells Priya she'll "have to accept whatever cockamamie excuse that white devil tries to give you." It comes off as Raj just trying to sabotage the relationship, but consider: Priya is a very smart woman. If Raj suddenly started covering for Leonard, she'd know something was up. What Raj said was the best possible way to throw off suspicion. Leonard does owe him one.
  • Howard has revealed that he is a student of "The Mystery Method", a guide to pulling women, when he shows off his eyepatch, a technique called "peacocking". One of his frequent cringeworthy ways of trying to succeed with women seen throughout the show is the use of magic—such as having several hankies up his sleeve. This seems like one of his awful ideas, but the author of said book, "Mystery", is a professional magician who gives several tips for using magic to get girls.
  • One episode has Sheldon state that he has a fear of nets. This seems like a pretty silly fear, but then you remember the electricuted net that fell on him when they tried to give their apartment a security system.
  • Sheldon's manners:
    • Sheldon's mother drilled manners into him, including the fact that you always give up your bed for a guest if there isn't a spare. Hence why he offered his bed in The Psychic Vortex, and assumed that Penny would give up hers for him in The Bozeman Reaction.
    • Which is consistent with Sheldon's broader character. He comes off as incredibly rude simply because normal rules for social interaction don't occur to him naturally. When a social convention is explained to him, he almost always follows it... and expects others to do the same.
    • Backed up by the episode where Howard tells Penny to explain gift-giving to Sheldon as "a non-optional social obligation". Sheldon immediately answers "Fair enough". This likely fits into his idea of logic... if he can argue logically about something he will, but if it fits into the "illogical" nature of social interaction he understands that it simply has to be acquiesced to.
    • "It's a non-optional social obligation" is likely what someone once told Sheldon about offering people hot beverages when they're feeling bad. (This may be how Howard learned that trick.) Whenever he offers tea and is politely declined, he replies "Sorry, it's not optional."
    • Social interaction is to him, as to many people with autism/Aspergers, impenetrable. But being a theoretical physicist, once he understands the rules, he can make sense of how things work, even if he doesn't understand why they work that way.
  • Trains:
    • In "The Shiny Trinket Maneuver", Sheldon reveals that he has a Mexican peso in his skull, and that it takes him 45 minutes to get though airport security... would explain why he prefers trains.
    • Or another theory: Sheldon claims that growing up in rural Texas was "hell." Seeing as he seemed to live in a relative backwater, presumably there were no or few airports nearby, but, probably, some rail links. Therefore, trains, to Sheldon, represent an escape from the hidebound and humdrum days of his childhood.
    • Sheldon may be Ambiguous Disorder, but a train obsession is pretty stereotypical of Asperger Syndrome.
  • Hot chocolate:
    • In "The Lunar Excitation", Raj and Howard are trying to set Sheldon on what will be his first "date" with Amy Farrah Fowler. Howard suggests that Sheldon take Amy out for coffee (which Sheldon doesn't drink) then hot chocolate. Sheldon informs Howard that he only drinks hot cocoa in months that have an 'r' in them, because "What's life without whimsy?". By limiting himself to drinking hot chocolate in months with an 'r', it means that the only months where he abstains from hot chocolate are May, June, July, and August. (i.e. late Spring and all of Summer).
    • It's a safeguard against being forced to drink hot chocolate during warm months. Social protocol dictates that a hot beverage be offered to anyone who enters a home, which Sheldon himself has called "not optional". It follows that accepting the beverage is mandatory as well. Sheldon does not want to drink a hot beverage during warm months, and as he already does not drink coffee, that leaves only hot chocolate and tea. Sheldon likes tea enough to drink it during the summer, but the same cannot be said for hot chocolate. His limit on hot chocolate means that only tea will be offered and accepted during the summer months.
  • As Amy's character develops, we see that, unlike Sheldon, she has at least a normal sex drive and her aversion to both sex and romantic love are a result of years of repression and poor socialization (implied to result from her upbringing). Their whole relationship follows the same pattern. Where Sheldon is literally unable to understand normal interactions, Amy actively wants a normal social life and is just scared off by bad experiences and undeveloped social skills. Hence she understands Sheldon because her personality is similar to his, but she's better able to understand "normal" people. She's not just his first girlfriend, she's his Rosetta stone for understanding the rest of humanity.
  • As Amy socializes with Penny and Bernadette, she more or less goes through normal social development stages: she's like a little child in her first season, then a "tween," then a teen, then a twentysomething. Maybe she will eventually catch up.
  • Why does Sheldon have nightmares about Goofy but is fine with Pluto? Sheldon shows an aversion to inconsistency, and even small Continuity Snarls and Logic Bombs can greatly upset him. Pluto is a dog who acts more or less like a regular dog. Goofy, however, has a dog-like appearance but acts like a normal person. The Furry Confusion is too much for his logical mind to handle! He may not exhibit this problem with other Disney characters (Mickey, Donald, etc.) because they are less egregious examples within the Disney canon ("normal" mice and ducks appear far less regularly, and certainly not in as important a role, as Pluto).
  • In "The Precious Fragmentation," all four men are torn between the One Ring, but at the end, it is Leonard who successfully keeps the Ring for himself (Until Sheldon snoops around). The brilliance comes in when you remember what he dressed as in Season 1 for Penny's Halloween party, not to mention that he is the most Hobbit-like of the four.
  • In the beginning of Season 6, Stuart fills in for Howard while the latter is in space, even becoming nicknamed "fake Wolowitz" by Sheldon. Stuart's actor, Kevin Sussman, was actually a runner-up for the role of Howard in the first place.
  • Sheldon's favoritism towards the Flash was jokingly explained by the writers that since Sheldon ran away from bullies, chickens, and dogs in his childhood, he'd identify with the Flash, the fastest man alive, easily. Another way to look at it is that the Flash is the only Justice League member that cannot fly (Superman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter), does not operate underwater (Aquaman), nor does he use height as an advantage (Batman), which fits Sheldon because he has a fear of heights and water.
  • Wheaton:
    • It doesn't make sense at first that Wil Wheaton would do a 180 in personality when inviting Sheldon to his party and giving him the action figure he wanted, until you realize that all of the antagonism in previous episodes happened after Sheldon instigated it.
    • This is supported in the episode where he stars on Fun with Flags, as he was perfectly reasonable until Amy began pushing his buttons, and then he snapped and fought back. Maybe Wil Wheaton is just a nice guy who snaps a little to easily to evil whenever people make fun of him?
    • The above theory is more or less proven in The Discovery Dissipation when he reveals to Sheldon how depressed he was over being utterly reviled for playing Wesley Crusher. Considering how hard it would have been to be hated by so many people at such a young age, it wouldn't be too unbelievable to be a little testy about people being mean to you for irrational reasons.
  • Bernadette's insistence on being Cinderella when she, Amy and Penny went to Disneyland? Imagine a girl that had to basically be a mother to many younger siblings, do all the cooking and cleaning and you can see why.
  • Sheldon's secret in the Season 7 premiere, about YouTube's rating system, may seem odd at first, especially how much it affected Sheldon. But remember that the smallest change can affect Sheldon greatly, and that keeping secrets is incredibly difficult for him, it makes a lot more sense.
  • Only a fridge thing because it wasn't spelled out on the show, but the "leave no stone unturned" clue in the scavenger hunt was solved by Penny... she looked under the Rolling STONES poster.
  • When Lucy returns, she's improved emotionally since her breakup with Raj, and is confident enough to request a different waitress when Penny harasses her about how she broke up with Raj. Later, when Raj talks to her, she mentions she's seeing someone. Now, assuming she didn't make him up (which is quite possible), her improved behaviour makes sense. The reason she broke up with Raj was because he was pushing her too quickly for her to handle, because Raj was too desperate for romance. Assuming her new boyfriend didn't have Raj's issues, and pushed her at a healthier pace, she'd be able to deal with her issues much easier and thus, her improved behaviour. Alternatively, she could've been talking bout a therapist rather than a boyfriend.
  • In "The Agreement Dissection", the episode when Priya uses her legal acumen to pick apart the roommate agreement, the boys employ a loophole to order Greek takeout on pizza night. They order Sheldon the lamb kebab, which he tries valiantly to eat but ultimately fails, describing it as "little cubes of charred meat that taste like sweat". On the face of it this seems like a simple Take That at Greek food. But the thing is, a kebab is meant to be eaten on the spot right after it's pulled off the grill, and if you let them cool down they lose their flavor and texture. Given that the boys specifically went out for Greek food to annoy Sheldon, it's possible, nay, probable, that they intentionally got him the lamb kebab and let it cool off so it would taste bad to him.
  • In "The 21-Second Excitation" Penny prank calls Sheldon. I always wondered why he didn't know it was her since they were both on cell phones and he would have seen her name/number. Then I noticed that after the call Penny tosses the phone to Bernadette, the one person in the group Sheldon might have listed in his phone.
  • The obvious main reason why Penny doesn't like Priya is jealousy over Leonard, but it runs deeper than that. Priya is, in many ways, her complete opposite: she's highly educated and very intelligent, she comes from a rich academic family, and because she's Raj's sister and Leonard's girlfriend, she was immediately welcomed into the group while Penny had to get to know them all over a long time. That's reason enough for her to be insecure, but pay attention to how Priya actually treats Leonard: she doesn't let him hang out with Penny, she buys him clothes to match her level of sophistication, she criticizes his nerdy paraphernalia, and when pressed, she throws him under the bus to keep her parents from finding out about them. Priya wasn't just dating Leonard, she was trying to change him. Either she really did plan to introduce him to her parents and wanted him to make a good impression, or she just plain didn't think he was good enough for her and set out to improve him. And to top it all off, she ended up cheating on him anyway! Penny, on the other hand, may have cracked jokes like everybody else, but she never tried to stop any of the boys from being their terminally-nerdy selves. Penny loves Leonard just the way he is, and more importantly, she's extremely protective of them, especially where it concerns beautiful women who use sex to manipulate men.
  • In the Season Eight finale, when Sheldon asks Amy if he should watch The Flash. It seems like he's just being his usual nerdy self, but he's leading to a bigger question by starting with something small. Well done, writers, not just in the noted Bait and Switch but in having Sheldon do things "his way" all the time!
  • The Intimacy Acceleration showcases Sheldon and Penny undertaking a psychology experiment to determine if they will fall hopelessly in love from asking each other a series of questions, and gazing into each others eyes. They do it, and it's proven false. Or is it? One would think that the experiment refers to romantic love, and they'd be right, but there's actually more than one kind of love. So in all honesty, as they reflect on their friendship over the past eight years, the experiment DID actually cause them to fall in love... Storge/Philia style.

Fridge Horror
  • Supervillain:
    • In the episode where Sheldon becomes enemies with Leslie Winkle, Sheldon comments "Yes, the Dr. Doom to my Mr. Fantastic. The Dr. Octopus to my Spider-Man. The Dr. Sivana to my Captain Marvel... You know, it's amazing how many supervillains have advanced degrees. Graduate schools should do a better job of screening those people out." It's a funny one off line, but later when he's playing Mario he says "Oh, Mario. If only I could control the rest of the world like I control you. Hop, you little plumber! Hop! Hop!" Basically, he's one radiation accident away from becoming a supervillain.
    • In one episode Leonard actually said "Sheldon is one lab accident away from being a supervillain".
    • And in another, Sheldon admits that if he had a Death Ray, he wouldn't be living in an apartment, he'd be living in his lair enjoying the money the people of Earth gave him for not using his Death Ray.
  • Bernadette seems to have taken part in many bio-terrorism activities she just splurts out in conversation.
  • When Sheldon, down in the dumps after Kwipke humiliates him, briefly considers stealing neurotoxins and murdering him. The second is, after Wolowitz drives the Mars Rover into a ditch, the gang are able to destroy all evidence of their being there, to the point that the Government's investigators are totally baffled. Both incidents are played for laughs, until one realizes that the Bang gang would be scarily good terrorists/murderers if they applied their skills elsewhere.
  • When Howard mentions that his ancestors were once neighbours with Bernadette's ancestors back in Europe. Considering that his family fled during the War, Leonard's reaction to the news shows he's clearly wondering if they might have sold them out.
  • Leonard's mother picks on him about "going left" during breastfeeding to the point that she ended up lopsided, but normally, a baby breastfeeds on whichever side they're facing when their mother holds them. She was so adverse to holding Leonard and compromising her research that she refused to pick him up even to feed him. It might be even more callous. Beverley obviously knows that breast feeding is best for the baby, but always puts him to her left breast - leaving her right hand free to manipulate her mouse or type on her keyboard.

Fridge Logic

On the headscratchers page.