Family members from The Big Bang Theory
Mary (née Tucker) Cooper
Sheldon's mother, she's a very devout Evangelical Christian (whom Sheldon invariably describes as a religious fanatic) who, despite their differences, is very close to Sheldon emotionally. She is generally warm and friendly and with a southern charm that draws everyone else to love her immensely. Although not book-smart, she is extremely wise. In a comparison to Beverly Hofstader, she is essentially the mother Leonard wished he had.
- Almighty Mom: She's the only person who can put Sheldon in his place and deal with him whenever he gets too difficult for the others to handle. As such she's labeled "Sheldon's kryptonite".
- Brutal Honesty: Not the same as Sheldon, but very blunt all in all. This seems to run in Sheldon's family.
- Celebrity Paradox: Laurie Metcalf appeared on the first three Toy Story movies (Toy Story has been mentioned many times on The Big Bang Theory). In fact, on all those movies she appeared with Wallace Shawn (who is Dr. John Sturgis on Young Sheldon, and some of his more famous roles are on Toy Story) and with Annie Potts (Meemaw on Young Sheldon) on two of them.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially towards her son. Her reaction when he tells her about his engagement:Mary: I am so happy for you two, but I'm not surprised. I've been praying for this.Sheldon: Well, God had nothing to do with it. It happened because I was kissing another woman, and it made me realize I wanted to be with Amy.Mary: More than one woman was interested in you? I might have prayed a little too hard.
- Foil: To Beverly, Leonard's mother.
- Former Teen Rebel: Penny refers to her as a Born-Again Christian, seemingly backed up by Mary's comments that when she was younger, she'd put out for a car ride and a bottle of strawberry wine.
- The Fundamentalist: Is a strict Christian, but of the friendly variety. Her religious assumptions can be Innocently Insensitive, but she seems genuinely kind to almost everyone she meets.
- Good Parents: Again, a contrast to Beverly Hofstadter.
- Hollywood Old: Defied. Her age is never mentioned but she looks like she gracefully aged into her mid 50s.
- Hypocrite: Mary often defends Christian beliefs, but when she ends up contradicting them she comes off as this. Meemaw called her this before in Young Sheldon's "A Potato Salad".
- She's quick to refer to premarital sex as "sin" when she first learns of Sheldon and Amy's relationship but later carries on a sexual relationship with a man from her church, and Young Sheldon revealed that George Jr. was conceived out-of-wedlock. She also encouraged Pastor Jeff to pursue a relationship with Officer Robin before his divorce was final, while also dissuading him from having sex with her out-of-wedlock.
- Another example of Mary being a hypocrite is when she reprimands Beverly for her bad parenting towards Leonard when Mary herself doted on Sheldon and mostly neglected George Jr. and Missy and obviously being the reason Sheldon is the way he is.
- Mary claims everyone should respect each other's beliefs and ideologies, but she has no qualms questioning to attacking Sheldon's atheism and occasionally trying to convert him to Christianity.
- Innocent Bigot: Will often say unintentionally racist comments, is frequently lampshaded.
- Innocently Insensitive: For one example, she mentions her minister could try to perform an exorcism on Raj to rid him of "foreign devils" that inhibit his ability to talk to women.
- Morality Pet: For Sheldon. He may be a jerk in lots of situations, but he sure loves his mommy.
- Nice Girl: By far the nicest of the main characters' mothers.
- Not So Different: With Beverly, shockingly. Despite the two ladies' different beliefs, personalities and parenting styles, Mary and Beverly share the habit of having a favorite child who is very successful (Mary for Sheldon and Beverly for Leonard's brother and sister) and dismissing the others (Mary for Georgie and Missy and Beverly for Leonard). As a result, it turns out that Mary is not entirely the best type of mother, dismissing her daughter and being ungrateful and dismissive towards Georgie even when he has looked after her and Missy, made all those sacrifices and even becoming a successful businessman. In the Young Sheldon episode "An 8-Bit Princess and a Flat Tire Genius", Mary is not appreciative towards Georgie's new job with tires, instead focusing more on academics, which is what makes her and Beverly similar.
- Parental Favoritism: While she claims to not have favorites, it's pretty clear she focuses more on Sheldon than her other two kids, almost to the point of Parental Neglect. An adult Georgie tells Leonard that out of all her children, she is the most proud of Sheldon and his accomplishments.
- Parental Substitute: She tends to be this for Leonard; for all that she tends to be The Fundamentalist and is not particularly well-educated, she is nonetheless a much more loving and sympathetic figure than Leonard's own mother, who treats Leonard as an errant test subject.
- Purity Sue: Has a few traits of this, largely in that everyone loves her. She has a bit of "righteous condemnation" attitude but admitted to Penny that at her age any guy could have her with a car and a bottle of strawberry wine.
- Shipper on Deck: She is accepting of Amy as her son's girlfriend and is happy about them being a couple. She is also this for Leonard and Penny.
- Street Smart: She's a lot like Penny. She doesn't have a lot of book smarts, but she knows how to deal with the real world.
- Team Mom: She often plays mom to the entire troupe when she shows up and is especially fond of cooking large family-style meals for them.
- Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Her meeting with Beverly Hofstadter is this back in Season 8, with her being the inmovable object. The two women spar verbally and despite Beverly's efforts, she could not get Mary to budge on her religion and actually causes Beverly to try and act more motherly to Leonard. Given how she acts like an older and female version of Sheldon, little surprise Mary Cooper knew how to handle her.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: The embedded joke. Her name is Mary. She fondly calls her unworldly son Shelley. Sheldon can be a monster sometimes; at all times he has difficulty making sense of the world. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote a novel about the creation of an Ur-Example monster. Mary Cooper gave birth to "Shelley"... her own Frankenstein creation.
- Widow Woman: Her husband George passed away and is only shown in the prequel and in one TBBT episode through a videotape.
- Women Are Wiser: Out of all the cast she's undoubtedly among the most sensible, mature and down to earth.
- You Are a Credit to Your Race: She makes blindly racist jokes that are not really meant in an offensive manner, since she's just an old-school conservative.
George Cooper, Sr.
Sheldon's deceased father.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After George Sr. cheated on his wife, she kicked him to the curb, and George later died due in part to a negligent attitude toward his health after a scare with a near-fatal heart attack.
- One-Shot Character: His self from Young Sheldon appears through a videotape in "The VCR Illumination" and is the only time he has ever been seen on TBBT.
- Posthumous Character: He died when Sheldon was 14.
- Straw Misogynist: He once told Sheldon that a woman's sexual appeal and fertility last as long as an egg salad sandwich on a hot day.
- Unseen No More: Mentioned often but unseen for the most part because he's a Posthumous Character. He finally appears in a videotape in a season 12 episode.
- Your Cheating Heart: Sheldon later explains the reason he knocks three times is because he caught his dad in bed with another woman when he unwittingly opened the door to the bedroom.
George "Georgie" Cooper, Jr.
Sheldon's older brother. A chronic lamebrain destined to be a bum, but somehow muddled his way to success. He became a tire salesman (more correctly, the owner of a tire store chain called Dr. Tire).
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: When Sheldon tries to invite him to his wedding with Amy, Georgie at first refuses to go, since Sheldon is only inviting him to get their mom to come. Although, after talking with each other and revealing how hard things were for Georgie and the rest of the family after their father died, the two brothers reconcile and Georgie accepts coming to Sheldon's wedding.
- Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Dumb Jock Georgie is the brawn to Sheldon's brains (Insufferable Genius) and Missy's beauty.
- Big Brother Bully: According to Sheldon, Georgie has bullied him when he was a child.
- Big Brother Instinct: It is revealed that he had to grow up fast because of the death of his father, and Sheldon's needs put the family in financial straits from sending him to college and later Germany, sacrificing some easy money that could have benefited his store. And while Sheldon thought he was being cruel by throwing out his scientist Halloween costume, he threw it away because he was going to dress as Madame Curie that would get him beaten up by the other kids.
- Disappointing Older Sibling: Sheldon despised him and they spent LONG periods of time not talking to each other. But amusingly, much like with Mary, Leonard comes to like George and sees him as a big brother substitute.
- Dumbass No More: As a teenager he was very slow on a lot of things, as well as immature and a jerk to everyone, even his own family. As an adult though, he now runs a successful chain of tire stores and manages to personally make a successful sale over the phone professionally. He also reveals that after his dad died and Sheldon went to college, he was the one who stepped up to take care of the family and eventually worked hard enough to get his tire business off the ground.
- The Dutiful Son: When their father died, he had to take the helm because their mother was still recovering, Missy was irresponsible and Sheldon wasn't told of Georgie's sacrifices.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Foolish (along with Missy) to Sheldon's Responsible. Sheldon was always an extremely smart goody two shoes while both his siblings are Book Dumb and careless. He eventually revealed that he had to step up and become the responsible sibling because the family had broken down after their father died. Missy was a foolish teenager and Sheldon was kept in the dark about Georgie's sacrifices.
- Hairstyle Inertia: Still has a mullet in the 2010s. Though it's thinner and straighter.
- Hidden Depths: He runs a successful tire business by his own bootstraps and turned out to be the one supporting his family after his father died.
- Nice Guy: He is a very nice person when he is first seen and nothing is negative as described by Sheldon and Mary.
- Not So Different: With Leonard. Despite one being a big athletic Dumb Jock and the other a short nerdy Extreme Doormat, they both go out of their way look out for Sheldon and protect him from himself and in return are constantly belittled and talked down to and still lose out to him in Parental Favoritism. This leads to their Odd Friendship.
- Outgrowing the Childish Name: After his father died, he started to go by George rather than Georgie. Sheldon, of course, can't break the habit of calling him Georgie.
- Rags to Riches: Went from being an apparently dumb teen with no discernible skills or any apparent kind of smarts to a successful owner of tire chain store Dr. Tire.
- Self-Made Man: Built up his tire business all on his own 'cause all of the family's money was going to Sheldon.
- Serial Spouse: Sheldon mentioned that George has been married and divorced twice, with him marrying his first wife at age 19.
- Smarter Than You Look: His mother dismisses him as "dumb as soup" but he possesses a lot of emotional intelligence and financial acumen, all helping him be the successful businessman he is as an adult and he supported his family while he was still a young man.
- The Un-Favourite: After building his own tire store franchise from the ground up, he bemoans to Leonard that their mom is still most proud of what Sheldon has accomplished.
- Unseen No More: Mentioned often but unseen for the most part, until he appears in season 11.
Melissa "Missy" Cooper
Sheldon's fraternal twin sister and his polar opposite. Despite this, she is actually very proud of him, and claims that she never stops bragging at home about how her brother is a "rocket scientist."
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Though they don't have much in common, and Sheldon's tendencies often lead to arguments, they're still siblings, and they do love each other. She regularly brags about her brother being a genius even if she doesn't understand what he does for a living.
- Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: She is the beauty (Ms. Fanservice) to Georgie's brawn (Dumb Jock) and Sheldon's brains (Insufferable Genius).
- Book Dumb: According to Sheldon, it took Missy six years to graduate high school.
- Brutal Honesty: One of the only qualities she shares with her fraternal twin. When Leonard asks her out...Missy: Aw, that's so sweet! But no thanks.
Leonard: ...Oh. You have other plans...?
- Burger Fool: Sheldon in the pilot episode claims he's ashamed to have a sister who hostesses at Fuddrucker's.
- Deadpan Snarker: This appears to be Missy's preferred method of dealing with her brother and flirtatious suitors. When asked by Leonard, Howard, and Raj about how she knows Sheldon (they don't know she's his sister yet), her response is:Missy: Oh, he once spent nine months with my legs wrapped around his head.
- Dude Magnet: She immediately attracts the attention of all of Sheldon's friends, but the only one she seems remotely interested in is Raj.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Foolish (along with Georgie) to Sheldon's Responsible. Sheldon was always an extremely smart goody two shoes while both his siblings are Book Dumb and careless.
- Future Loser: Young Sheldon shows that Missy was very popular, sociable and the only girl on her school's baseball team. In Big Bang, she's a restaurant hostess and separated from her husband while pregnant with her second child. Though it was perhaps inevitable seeing as how she was a slacker when it came to her studies.
- Groin Attack: Her preferred way of dealing with Sheldon.
- Held Back in School: Sheldon mentions that it took six years for Missy to complete high school.
- Informed Flaw: Her mother, Mary, says her two children other than Sheldon are "dumb as soup." Missy, while certainly not as intelligent as Sheldon, doesn't seem to be dumb by any stretch of the imagination. Young Sheldon does show her to be a slacker when it comes to academics, though.
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: She takes care of Sheldon while wearing a dress and heels.
- Ms. Fanservice: Compared to Sheldon, she definitely knows how attractive she is and wears nice dresses and heels during her brief appearances.
- Nice Girl: She is a very sweet, charming and friendly lady, including to Sheldon, as well as to Leonard, Howard, Raj and Penny.
- One-Shot Character: She showed up once early in the series, and it's even stated that she and Sheldon are not that close and it may be a long time before she visits again. But given their history is a major element of Sheldon's character, she has been mentioned repeatedly by Sheldon and Mary. Sheldon's more likely to talk about Missy than their older brother, George. She does appear in Young Sheldon, however. She ends up reappearing in the eleventh season finale (Sheldon and Amy's wedding), more than ten years after her first appearance.
- Polar Opposite Twins: With Sheldon. Sheldon is wildly egocentric, only interacts with others when forced to and tends to look down on anyone who isn't as smart as he perceives himself to be. Missy is outgoing, friendly, level-headed and sociable.
- Ship Tease: Of the main cast, the only one she expressed any interest in was Raj. This comes immediately as his anti-anxiety medication was wearing off, and he wasn't able to capitalize on it.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Aside from their similar physical features, they are literally polar opposites in personality and behavior. However, Sheldon is excited by the prospect that Missy may carry the genes to produce another "him", or Sheldon 2.0.
- So Proud of You: Probably one of the sweetest moments between Sheldon and any of his family is when Missy prepares to leave and tells Sheldon that she's always bragging to anyone who'll listen about her brother "the rocket scientist". Of course, Sheldon takes offense to being called anything except a theoretical physicist, but it's the overall thought that counts and it shows that Missy is very proud of her brother's academic accomplishments.
- Southern Belle: She wears nice clothes, speaks with a thick Southern accent, and behaves in a much more mature and mellow manner than her brother.
- Statuesque Stunner: Like her twin brother, Missy towers over Penny and the other three guys.
Sheldon's oft-referred to Grandmother, who refers to him as "Moon Pie". First appears in the Season 9 episode "The Meemaw Materialization".
- The Alcoholic: Alluded to. Sheldon serves her whisky as she likes it, "A lot in a glass."
- Doting Grandparent: She dotes on Sheldon and is also close to her other grandchildren.
- Formerly Fit: She's quite attractive and in good shape in Young Sheldon, but old age made her pack on some pounds by the time period covered by Big Bang.
- Granny Classic: By the time she's in her late eighties in The Big Bang Theory, at least. Though Sheldon seems to believe she was always this way, the prequel series Young Sheldon (which shows the character in her mid sixties) tells a different story...
- Mama Bear: She's extremely protective of Sheldon, to the point she was extremely cold to Amy for having previously broken up with him and breaking his heart. She doesn't actually dislike Amy, she just makes it clear she wants to be sure Sheldon won't get hurt again. She also has her moments in Young Sheldon.
- Morality Pet: To Sheldon who is genuinely devoted to her. Along with his mother, she's one of the few people Sheldon is nice to.
- Not So Different: She is an older Amy. Same frumpy clothes, glasses, and she was married to an egotistical genius whom she helped become a more tolerable and improved person. Ironically, in Young Sheldon she more or less acts like Penny.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: In one episode, to Amy, testing her and making remarks and she finally tells Amy that she didn't forgive her for hurting Sheldon.
- One-Shot Character: Played With. She's mentioned often but only makes one on-screen appearance in BBT (in Season 9). However, she's a main character (played by a different actor) in Young Sheldon, appearing in nearly every episode.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Even though it's not said out loud, based on the diagram of Sheldon's family tree in the second episode,of the fourth season, it shows that her son Carl is dead and she is stil alive.
- Unseen No More: Mentioned often but unseen for the most part, until she appears in season 9.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: She is conspicuously absent from Sheldon and Amy's wedding in the Season 11 finale without explanation, despite throw-away mentions in Season 12 suggesting that she's still alive and doing well for her age.
Leonard's mother, she's emotionally distant and entirely cold to him and has been his entire life, but those same qualities lets her find a kinship in Sheldon. She has a double specialty of Neurobiology and Psychiatry, specifically that of childhood development. In a comparison to Mary Cooper, she is basically the mother Sheldon wished he had.
- Abusive Mom: She tortured Leonard both mentally and emotionally his entire life. Made worse by the fact that whatever damage was done was seemingly unintentional. Some of her dialogue suggests that some of it may have been intentional, testing various theories on Leonard, his brother, and his sister. She used most of Leonard's childhood as the subject for at least two of her books, Needy Baby, Greedy Baby and The Disappointing Child.
- All Psychology Is Freudian: Played with. Despite being a trained psychiatrist and acknowledging that Freud's theories are outdated, she still invokes this to manipulate Penny to the point of tears.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: She published a paper on Leonard's father and her sex life, complete with powerpoint presentation.
- Ambiguous Disorder: While very intelligent her social skills and empathy are non existent and she seems to have a need to control and regulate everything around her. Her characterization basically seems to flip flop between a high functioning example of either someone on the autistic spectrum or The Sociopath.
- Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Without even a hint of shame, at that. Almost her Catchphrase:Beverly: I have to urinate.
- The Comically Serious: She's so serious about humorous or mundane topics that it's hilarious.
- Covert Pervert: Alcohol brings it out.
- Did You Think I Can't Feel?: She comes across as very uncaring of Leonard and emotionless in general, but she has sometimes shown signs that she is hurt about how Leonard feels about her. It blows open entirely when she visits for the first time after Leonard and Penny got married, as she confessed outright that she was insulted that she couldn't attend their wedding.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Sheldon, before Amy was introduced. Ironically, she serves as a Shadow Archetype to Amy in this way — while Amy has developed into a more "normal" character, Beverly needs alcohol before even a hint of human emotion begins to seep through, making her an extreme counterpart to Sheldon's eccentricities while Amy is a counterpart to his more caring and human side.
- Emotionless Girl: Shows very little emotion at the best of times.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite her coldness and Lack of Empathy, she is very fond of Sheldon and Penny.Leonard: My mom loves Penny, which is weird, because I never knew she could love.
- Foil: To Mary, Sheldon's mother. Which makes it interesting when they finally meet.
- Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: In the final season, Leonard realizes that while she probably doesn't actually deserve his forgiveness, holding a grudge isn't good for his own personal well-being. So, despite fully acknowledging how awful his mother is, Leonard chooses to forgive her, and admits it feels good to do so.
- Hard on Soft Science: According to her, she and her husband (an anthropologist) wrote a paper on the same subject (that they deliberately had sex only for procreation). Hers was "the only one worth reading, of course." Hypocritical, because psychology is an extremely soft science, and she uses it, mainly as a weapon.
- Hollywood Atheist: Is confirmed to be an atheist in the season 9 finale and she certainly fits many of the characteristics associated with this trope. Cold, condescending, dedicated to science and mocks Mary Cooper's Christian faith.
- Hypocrite: In season 9 she was apparently insulted that she wasn't invited to her son's wedding. In another early episode of the same season, it's revealed that she didn't invite her son Leonard to her birthday.Leonard: So, Mother, Im surprised you came all this way for Sheldons birthday.Beverly: Oh, I was happy to. He did come to my 60th.Leonard: Oh. You had a party for your 60th?Beverly: Oh, I wouldnt call it a party. Just a few close friends. And your sister and brother.
- Innocent Innuendo: Once had a memorable conversation with Sheldon that initially came across to the audience as the two of them contemplating having sexual intercourse... only for it to be revealed that they were actually talking about a karaoke duet.
- Insufferable Genius: She's very intelligent, but also condescending, has no tact, no empathy, no social skills, and acts almost exactly like Sheldon in every way, except even more insufferable. Compare her to her ex-husband, who is just as brilliant but also friendly and well-adjusted.
- It's All About Me: Her book Needy Baby, Greedy Baby accuses Leonard of this...yet she wouldn't let him have a birthday party, because giving birth to him was her acomplishment and not his.
- Jerkass: She's incredibly cold and impersonal, and not only psychologically rips apart anyone she meets, but seems to enjoy doing it so she can analyze them, and regularly talks down to people. Leonard's anecdotes about her are almost universally about how cold and unloving she was and how much she favored his brother and sister over him. The only hints of normalcy in her come up when she's drunk, but most of the time she never shows any redeeming qualities at all.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Leonard struggles interacting with his mother because of her general apathy and Brutal Honesty, but especially because she knows exactly how to peer into someone's psyche and punch a sore spot, indicating that there is some truth to whatever she digs up. Leonard had to admit this when she points out how quickly he and Penny end up finding new roommates, implying they have subconscious issues being alone together without a buffer.
- Karma Houdini: Like Sheldon, her condescension and parental abuse are Played for Laughs, though unlike Sheldon she never seems to suffer even minor consequences for it.
- Kubrick Stare: Whenever she is about to indulge in some psychiatry, she looks over her glasses and gives an evil smile.
- Lack of Empathy: To the point she makes Sheldon look like a model of empathy.
- For a good example, take note of the quote.
- Another example is her incredibly blunt manner when informing Leonard that his Uncle Floyd, the only family member he got along with, had recently died. Made far worse since it's entirely possible he could have been one of her siblings.
- Mind Rape:
- The resident mistress of this. For reference: She meets Penny for the very first time on the first floor of Penny's apartment, and after asking what Beverly does, they're on the third floor. By the time they get to Leonard's apartment (fourth floor), she has reduced Penny to tears.
- Subverted when against Mary Cooper. Beverly was unable to get anything on Mary Cooper.
- Narcissist: Played with. She like to show off her intelligence and was bothered by her husband's affair despite clearly not caring for the man, and was apparently unhappy about not being invited to her son's wedding despite showing no interest in his life (and not inviting him to her 60th birthday), implying an unhealthy ego and sense of self importance. However she takes no pride or pleasure in her children's accomplishments and apparently doesn't believe in people flattering her.
- Not So Different: With Mary, shockingly. Despite the two ladies' different beliefs, personalities and parenting styles, Mary shares with Beverly the habit of having a favorite child (Mary for Sheldon and Beverly for Leonard's brother and sister) and if they're successful. In the Young Sheldon episode "An 8-Bit Princess and a Flat Tire Genius", Mary is not appreciative towards Georgie's new job with tires, instead focusing more on academics, which is what makes her and Beverly similar.
- Not So Stoic:
- She's actually a fun drunk. A fun, loud drunk.
- When Leonard tells her he forgives her for the horrible way she treated him growing up, she actually seems to be on the verge of tears, despite not understanding why he feels a need to forgive her.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Zig-Zagged and later averted. She was apathetic about Penny when first meeting her, seeing her as another test subject like she does with Leonard. In her second appearance Leonard hadn't told her that he and Penny were dating, and Beverly seemed dismissive of her as an uneducated waitress, but Penny took her drinking and she grew to like her "homegirl." In season 9 Penny tries to bond with Beverly as they were now officially in-laws but was met with indifference and sometimes sarcasm, discovering that Beverly was actually offended at not being able to attend their wedding and they schedule a second wedding. In season 11 episode Penny and Beverly develop a close bond because Beverly likes her warm demeanor and friendly attitude, admitting that she actually prefers Penny over her other children's spouses.
- Parental Favoritism:
- She favours Leonard's brother and sister over him. Leonard's brother is a tenured law professor at Harvard University. Leonard's sister is a cutting-edge medical researcher, working with gibbons to cure diabetes. They are more successful in their chosen fields, so their mother considers Leonard her disappointing child. She also invited them to her 60th birthday, but not Leonard.
- In an odd twist, she favors Penny, not just over Leonard, but over her children's other spouses, too. The first time she ever tells Leonard she's proud of him is when she's commending him for marrying her.
- Parental Substitute: Sheldon sees her this way, as the two of them have much more in common with each other than with Leonard.
- Psycho Psychologist: It's doubtful that her interest in her field was to help others. Mostly, she seems to treat everyone as lab rats.
- Running Gag: She likes to give people cat scans.
- Shipper on Deck: She apparently ships Howard/Raj in one of the early episodes. Surprisingly she's currently one for Leonard and Penny.
- Slasher Smile: If she smiles at you, run. If it is coupled with her Kubrick Stare, run faster. She is about to destroy your childhood memories.
- The Sociopath: She may not be a villain, she meets many of the requirements for a high-functioning example. She views people around her, even her children, as test rats instead of people, seems to enjoy psychoanalyzing people to the point they are in tears, doesn't care what her own children do even if some them are very successful because they are not her accomplishments, has a high opinion of herself, and unlike Sheldon, she seems fully aware that the things she says and does offend and can even hurt people, but doesn't care.
- Took a Level in Kindness: As difficult as she can be, and certainly responsible for a good amount of Leonard's neuroses, she still has emotions and has come to recognize, in small part, that she should be more aware of Leonard's feelings. She has also grown quite fond of Penny, happy that she makes Leonard happy and that Penny herself is a friendly person she can chat with. That has gone a long way to softening her relationship with Leonard, in fact telling Leonard that Penny is her favorite of her children's spouses. But it seems she has somehow been demoted from this when she says that not everything is about Leonard when he and Penny wonder what Sheldon could do stop grieving over his disproven theory and when it is shown that if he needs her professional advice, she'd rather have another time but when it's Sheldon who needs it, she immediately jumps in.
- Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Her meeting with Mary Cooper is this back in Season 8, with her being the unstoppable force. The two women spar verbally and despite Beverly's efforts, she could not get Mary to budge on her religion and actually causes Beverly to try and act more motherly to Leonard. Given how she acts like an older and female version of Sheldon, little surprise Mary Cooper knew how to handle her. She also gained a respect for Mary.
- Why Are You Not My Son?: For all the concern her son shows to her, she couldn't care less. Most notable is when she thanks Sheldon for picking her up at the airport even though it's Leonard who's in the driver's seat. And then again for dropping her off at the airport even though Sheldon is doing nothing but sitting on his ass while Leonard drives, in Leonard's car, powered by gas that Leonard paid for.
An archeological anthropologist and Leonard's father.
- Awful Wedded Life: His marriage to Beverly was nothing but loveless and distant. He stayed unhappily married to her for many years and he never divorced her back when his children were kids.
- Butt-Monkey: He's always under attack by Beverly, even more so than Leonard.
- Hollywood Atheist: Averted. He's an agnostic who doesn't judge or condescend to people of faith and even expresses intellectual interest in religion.
- Mother Nature, Father Science: Inverted, as Mrs. Hofstadter is the more analytical of the two.
- Nice Guy: He's actually a really nice, gentle and caring person and rather gentlemanly. Unlike his mother, Leonard's father is reasonable with him and is proud of him when he is about to be married.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He seems to be this on the Hofstader family, having a much better relationship with Leonard than his ex wife.
- Ship Tease: Seems to be hitting it off with Mary Cooper really well, much to Leonard and Sheldon's dismay.
- Sympathetic Adulterer: Given his wife is at best a cold hearted bitch and at worst a high functioning sociopath. As illustrated in his first episode:Beverly: You do understand our marriage ended because he had an affair.
Leonard: I know, and there- there's no excuse for that.
Beverly: He claimed I was cold, emasculating and hadn't shown him any physical affection for years.
Leonard: [mutters] Well, I was wrong; there's three excuses for that.
- Unseen No More: Mentioned often but unseen for the most part, until he appears in season 9.
Mrs. Deborah "Debbie" Melvina Wolowitz
Howard's overbearing mother whom he insists lives with him, rather than he with her. During the show, she has never actually been seen on screen, only yelling from off it. According to Howard, she is very large in figure and sports facial hair. Has a tendency to treat Howard as if he is still a child, which he is often annoyed by and simultaneously enjoys on some level, and she also requires (or at least likes to have) Howard to help her with necessary tasks in daily life such as shopping and transport to/from fitness class and beauty clinics.
Sadly, her actress died in November of 2014 and The Character Died With Her.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parent: To the point you can't help but feel genuinely bad for Howard! She treats him like a little kid and is too much to take.Howard: You make me want to KILL MYSELF!
- Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: She is incredibly...well, open about being in the bathroom, and sometimes even the details of it. Especially with Howard.
- The Cameo: Her voice is heard in the season 2 finale of Young Sheldon talking to a young Howard.
- D-Cup Distress: She has a "tricky figure" and compares herself to Bernadette.Mrs. Walowitz: She's short and stacked, like me.
Howard: Not like you, Ma, she never steps on hers!
- Formerly Fit: She's implied to be hideously obese and in one episode she loudly laments that she was so good-looking as a young woman that hopeful young men would queue up to give her chocolates. ("Oh, why did I eat it all?").
- Hidden Depths: Shes extremely good at guessing Wheel of Fortune puzzles.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Underneath the arguing she does actually care about the well being of Howard and the others. When she got food poisoning, the first thing she wanted to do was see if Bernadette was all right, because she went to the same restaurant with her.
- I Want Grandkids: Was disappointed when she found out that Bernadette didn't want kids; otherwise, this is one of the FEW things she didn't nag them about.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Once said so in Season 6, when she went buying some clothes with Sheldon, going as far as stating she shouldn't eat all the chocolates her suitors gave her. Additionally, it's implied several times that menopause has been really hard on her (hence the facial hair, and one episode has her using estrogen cream).
- Jewish Mother: Brooklyn accent, gives Howard a hard time about not becoming a doctor, cooks a lot of delicious food, demanded Howard marry a Jewish girl, nags, guilts, etc.
- Jews Love to Argue: Half of her lines are regarding some disagreement with Howard. He, of course, pays it right back.
- My Beloved Smother: She's overbearing and cares too much, considering her son is an adult. If she was seen at any point, she'd be the page image, no doubt. There is the fact that half the time, Howard not only lets her, but seems to enjoy it to an extent. Like begging her to make him lamb stew or give him cherry popsicles. Or letting her cut up his food and acting put out if he has to do it himself.
- No Indoor Voice: Whenever heard, she is almost always yelling. Usually justified since she's usually heard calling to Howard from the bottom of the stairs. While he's on the International Space Station, Howard jokes that that she doesn't need to yell down the phone, because he can hear her even in space! On one occasion, she speaks a single line in a normal tone of voice.
- No Name Given: For most of the show's run her first name has been unknown. It's finally revealed as Debbie at the end of Season 7.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Subverted with Bernadette. Howard believes his dating and later marrying a catholic girl would kill his mother, but she genuinely seems to like Bernadette and is never shown to take any serious issue with her not being Jewish. While she was upset about Howard moving in with Bernie after their marriage it's more because she expected them both to live with her.
- Passed in Their Sleep: Dies at Howard's Aunt Gladys while she was sleeping.
- She Who Must Not Be Seen: The vast majority of the time she is off screen with frequent screaming conversations with Howard, sometimes she is literally on the other side of the door and other times in a different part of the house altogether. "The Spoiler Alert Segmentation" is notable in that she can be briefly seen in the background from behind as she shuffles around the kitchen, and we see her hands grab Raj and pull him back inside (to prevent him from escaping the house). When Howard and Bernadette get married, an Orbital Shot shows the group together and it's assumed the figure in red sitting alone off to the side was Debbie Wolowitz too.
- Shout-Out: To Maris Crane of Frasier fame.
- Supreme Chef: Zigzagged. According to Leonard, her brisket just melts in the mouth. However, her Thanksgiving specialty "tur-briske-fil" (turkey stuffed with brisket stuffed with gefilte fish) has to be swallowed like pills. When her freezer lost power and they had to finish off the last of her food lest it spoil, they state that the food was delicious, but it gave them all heartburn.
- Team Mom: Serves this role when Mary Cooper isn't around. She comforts, feeds, and smothers the gang (like Raj) and when she died, the gang remembered that she was a kind person that opened her heart and home to them and treated them like family.Leonard: To Mrs. Wolowitz, a loving mother... to all of us.
- Unnamed Parent: Her first name went unknown for a good while since the first season. It's only revealed to be Debbie for the first time in the Season 7 finale.
- The Voice: She makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance in Unreveal Angle in Season 6, though they don't show her face.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: Her speech is peppered with Yiddish terms. "YOU KNOW I CAN'T TURN ON THAT VERKAKTE COMPUTER!!!"
Howard's second cousin to whom he lost his virginity to when he was 15.
Howard's half-brother via his father.
- Long-Lost Relative: Howard finds out about Josh's existence after Josh arrives at Howard's deceased mother's house.
- Not So Different: He has a personality similarly warped to Howard before he met Bernadette.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: He hasn't been seen or mentioned after his first appearance in Season 8.
Howard's cousin who is a lawyer and lives in Florida.
- One-Shot Character: He has appeared only once in the series.
Bernadette's father and later Howard's father-in-law, a retired cop and a man of few words.
- Berserk Button: Make that several buttons, according to Bernadette: In order, Jimmy Carter, gardeners, foreign people, homosexuals, Sean Penn, the Second Vatican Council, gun control, organic food, the designated hitter rule, recycling, and his daughter marrying a Jew.
- Death Glare: He really, really seems to enjoy giving these to Howard.
- Henpecked Husband: He may be a retired cop, but his wife has him where she wants. He actually bonds with Howard with this.
- Heteronormative Crusader: Implied: "homosexuals" are in the list of things he doesn't like.
- Hypocrite: Bernadette's description of him implies he is a very conservative Catholic (he disagrees with Vatican II... which happened in 1965.) but he later encourages her to get a pre-nuptial agreement note .
- I Want Grandkids: Bernadette lied and told him that Howard didn't want kids and he tries to talk Howard into converting his mother's den into a nursery, when he finds out he's been deceived, he tells Bernadette that being a father was something he was proud of.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's usually rude and unsympathetic towards Howard, but genuinely loves his daughter, and appreciates all of the efforts Howard makes to become a good husband to her.
- Not So Different:
- Both he and Howard get pushed around by their wives to spend time with each other, which they ironically bond over.
- He left most of the household duties to his wife, like Howard does with Bernadette.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Played with, he barely hides his contempt for Howard as a person, but has expressed some admiration for Howard's accomplishments.
- Odd Friendship: With Sheldon, of all people. The two of them bond during Thanksgiving over Sheldon's knowledge of football.
- Pet the Dog: When he and Howard find out neither of them wanted to go on a fishing trip their wives forced on them, he offers to take Howard to a casino and teach him to shoot craps. This is also where he tells Howard to start calling him Mike instead of "sir".
- Retired Badass: We knew he was a retired cop, but his introductory scene had him cracking walnuts with one hand. His primary characteristic is just how intimidating he is.
Bernadette's mother and later Howard's mother-in-law.
- The Cameo: Once at her daughter's wedding in the last episode 5 and then in Season 6, she makes her first physical appearance with her face seen and speaking for the first time.
- My Beloved Smother: This is one of the things Bernadette first bonds with Howard over. Her mother calls her at work every day to see if Bernadette had a healthy lunch. She also lays out Bernadette's clothing for her every morning. And they don't even live in the same house.
- Unnamed Parent: Her first name is never revealed.
- Workaholic: She worked full-time which is why Bernadette had to take care of her siblings.
Dr. V. M. Koothrappali and Mrs. Koothrappali
Dr. Koothrappali: Now, hold on. If she is dating an American, that's not a bad way to go. He's Jewish. Those chaps are very successful, and they don't drink a lot.
Raj's parents who live in India, they hope their son will settle down with a nice (Indian) girl someday and are very willing to set him up with people. They never appear in-person but instead talk to Raj and Priya via video-chat. They divorce in Season 8.
- A Day in the Limelight: Both characters appear for only a few minutes per episode, speaking via video-chat. Dr. V. M. Koothrappali had a more substantial role in "The Clean Room Infiltration" (Season 8, episode 11), where he visits his son. He appears in the B plot, interacting with Penny and Amy.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: They are constantly trying to set Raj up with a nice (Indian) girl, and they have no problem using a formerly overweight girl's low self-esteem to their son's marital advantage. And they verbally wonder if Sheldon and Leonard are a gay couple as well. Right in front of them.
- Arranged Marriage: Despite believing in this tradition, they actually married for love.Dr. Koothrappali: And it's been wonderful...
- Deadpan Snarker: Both of them can slip into sarcasm when talking with their son.
- Gentleman Snarker: "We are very rich in a very poor country, so, all in all, can't complain."
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Invoked, as Doogie Howser, M.D. is apparently their favourite show;Mrs. Koothrappali: Grandma, wake up, it's Doogie-time!
- Fiction 500: According to Raj they are extremely wealthy.
- Meddling Parents: They try to arrange Raj's life and meddle in his affairs. That they are able to do so from the other side of the planet is amazing.
- Open-Minded Parent: Often suspect that Raj might be calling to give them the "gay talk" and show acceptance to the idea, despite Raj repeatedly protesting that he's straight, albeit somewhat metrosexual.
- Parental Favoritism: Somewhat towards Priya. How they are with their other four children is unknown, but Raj's comments make them sound like very loving parents overall.
- Phrase Catcher: Raj's father has one associated with him, whenever Raj claims to have grown up poor. "Your father's a gynecologist. He drives a Bentley!"
- Unnamed Parent: Their first names are never revealed.
- You Got Spunk: Dr. Koothrappali is quite impressed when Penny states that they'd be lucky to have her as a daughter-in-law.
Raj's sister and Leonard's love interest for a good part of Season 4.
- Always Someone Better: Penny sees her this way (with some prodding from Amy), in regards to her career and education level.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's not a bad person, but not as nice as she's fond of acting like.
- Brainy Brunette: She's a lawyer (licensed to practice in the United States, India, and the UK) who graduated at the top of her class at Cambridge.
- Cultural Rebel: A little. She apparently, according to Sheldon, "enjoyed the sweet taste of Hindu rebellion in the form of a Bob's Big Mac cheeseburger". She also doesn't have much problem dating Leonard against her parents' wishes and directly against her brother's orders (which the Hindu Code of Manu explicitly forbids).
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Her parents wanted her to date an Indian.
- Foreign People Are Sexy: According to Amy, anyway. Leonard seems to feel the same, and even wanted to try out positions in the Kama Sutra with her.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: To Penny, Amy, and Bernadette, who hated her when she was dating Leonard. Sheldon didn't like her either, unsurprisingly. However she's seen getting along with Penny in one of her later appearances.
- Hypocrite: She guilt-trips Leonard into cutting platonic ties with Penny, his ex-girlfriend, then cheats on him with her ex-boyfriend after she and Leonard made their relationship long-distance.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: Made Leonard dress cooler/ditch his trade mark hoody and insisted he get contacts. This was actually treated as a bad thing because minor changes in his wardobe led to her making bigger demands like pushing Penny out of their social group (nevermind that there are three other people including her brother who are friends with her in said group).
- Long-Distance Relationship: She and Leonard tried. It didn't work.
- Remember the New Guy?: She is introduced in this way.
- Romantic False Lead: Pretty much a textbook case.
- Rules Lawyer: Literally in one episode, where she picks apart the roommate agreement which Sheldon has written and allows Leonard to exploit every loophole in it.
- Your Cheating Heart: After coming back to India, still in a relationship with Leonard, she cheats on him with her ex-boyfriend. In the following episode it's implied that she and Leonard have broken up.
Raj's cousin who is a lawyer in India.
- One-Shot Character: He has appeared only once in the series.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: He is quite open about Penny's past boyfriends and her activities when she was younger, much to her chagrin.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: It's stated several times that Wyatt wanted his youngest daughter to be a boy, which messed with Penny's head when she was growing up. However, it's later revealed that Penny's brother came along a few years later, but her statements about him being a methhead and fleeing for the Mexican border doesn't make her father's granted wish oh-so great anymore.
- The Bus Came Back: He first appeared in Season 4 and then returned in Season 9.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: He's aware of this trope and tries yelling at Leonard to make him more appealing to Penny. Played straight with many or all of her previous boyfriends.
- Down on the Farm: He has a very similar mid-west "down to earth" personality to Penny.
- Nice Guy: He is a very nice, friendly and caring person and loves his whole family.
- Only One Name: Like Penny, his last name hasn't been revealed.
- Only Sane Man: When the family visits for Leonard and Penny's wedding. Her mother is a basket case about how Leonard's family would view them and her brother tends to inappropriately bring up his drug and prison history.
- Overprotective Dad: Invoked and subverted. He hated all of Penny's previous boyfriends and wanted Leonard and Penny to end up together for a long time. When they fake a relationship to placate him, he realizes that she'll never date a guy he likes, so he puts on a big show of yelling at Leonard. As soon as Penny is out of the room he begs Leonard to keep trying.
- Papa Wolf: In "The Hesitation Ramification", Penny got a small part in an NCIS episode. After it was cut, there's a scene with her talking to Wyatt on the phone, assuring Wyatt that no, he doesn't need to fly down and kick Mark Harmon's ass.
- Shipper on Deck: For Penny and Leonard. He wants his grandkids to grow up in a house without wheels.
- Why Couldn't You Be Different?: He wanted Penny to be a boy. Wyatt finally got his coveted son, Randall, a few years later, but that didn't go the way Wyatt planned either, considering he cooks meth.
Penny's mother who is first seen in the Season 10 opener.
- Formerly Fat: If Sheldon is to be believed, Susan was once overweight, here she is portrayed by the slim and shapely Katey Sagal.
- Nervous Wreck: She was very nervous which came from a stressed-out life of dealing with Randall, a troubled son. She was also very worried about meeting Leonard's parents because she feared she might think of the family as white trash.
- Only One Name: As part of Penny's family, she has no known last name.
- Unseen No More: Mentioned often but unseen for the most part, until she appears in season 10.
Penny's brother who is first seen in the Season 10 opener.
- Brutal Honesty: Randall has no qualms about discussing his criminal background, much to the discomfort of Susan.
- Nice Guy: Randall is sweet and cheery, if not rather dim, as you'd expect from a Jack McBrayer character. You might have trouble believing that he's the brother who went to prison for selling homemade crystal meth Penny talks about.
- Only One Name: As part of Penny's family, he has no known last name.
- Retcon: Early seasons had a few mentions made of Penny having at least one nephew, but Randall doesn't appear to have any children and no other siblings are mentioned. Wyatt also makes mention of wanting grandkids before he dies. Penny does have a sister, who hasn't been seen yet, she could possibly be the mother of the unseen nephew.
- Unseen No More: Mentioned often but unseen for the most part, until he appears in season 9.
- Actor Swap: In her first appearance in Season 4, she was played by Annie O'Donnell, but when she reappeared in Season 11, she had a new actress: Kathy Bates
- The Bus Came Back: She appeared only once in the series in Season 4, over Skype, before making her second appearance and first physical appearance for Amys wedding in the Season 11 finale.
- The Fundamentalist: Hinted at in both appearances.
- My Beloved Smother: She is intensely involved with Amy's life, interestingly it switched directions as she grew up. Most of the stories of her childhood involve her mother being very protective and sheltering her from bad influences. Most of the stories of her adulthood involve her mother pressuring her to be MORE social and have a dating life. Traits of the old protectiveness show, however, in the Season 11 finale, when she expresses fear that Internet users will exploit her daughter and Sheldons vexillology videos, and, in disbelief at the couples tardiness, attempts to rush out of Amys wedding, proclaiming distrust in Sheldon.
- Unnamed Parent: Her first name is never revealed.
Mrs. Fowlers husband and Amys father.
- Awful Wedded Life: His marriage to his wife is mostly loveless.
- Henpecked Husband: His wife almost always does the talking, though see below.
- The Voiceless: He could hardly get a word in edgewise in his debut episode. Subverted, when Penny admonishes Mrs. Fowler for attempting to leave Amys wedding: He says, Thank you. From that point forwards, he speaks more frequently when his wife isn't around.
- Unseen No More: Mentioned once in season 10 and twice in season 11 until he appears in the finale of the latter season.
Howard and Bernadette's daughter. Essentially the Spiritual Successor to Mrs. Wolowitz's role.
- Cute, but Cacophonic: Once she is born, none of the cast can tell where she is in the nursery... until she emits a hoarse, croaking, and very annoying cry that immediately signals that's her. The closed captions even note it as a "cry sounding like Mrs. Wolowitz".
- Family Theme Naming: Just like her brother, her name is associated with space (Edmund Halley, the comet). However, she's named after the comet because her godfather Raj is an astrophysicist while her brother is named after Neil Armstrong because his father was an astronaut. So it wasn't an intentional theme.
- Named After Somebody Famous: After Edmund Halley, of the comet.
- No Indoor Voice: Her post-birth cries are really loud. Probably inherited from her late grandmother, who was also known for this trait.
- She Who Must Not Be Seen: Again, also something she shares with her late grandmother.
- Unseen No More: Often discussed but never seen until the final episode of the series.
- Vocal Dissonance: It's odd that a tiny baby would have such a deep crying voice.
Howard and Bernadette's son and younger brother of Halley.
- Family Theme Naming: Just like his sister, his name is associated with space (Neil Armstrong, the astronaut). However, he's named after an astronaut because his father was an astronaut while his sister is named after Edmund Halley, the comet because her godfather Raj is an astrophysicist. So it wasn't an intentional theme.
- Middle Name Basis: Bernadette has already begun demanding that he'll be called by his middle name.
- Named After Somebody Famous: After Neil Armstrong, Neil Gaiman, and Neil Diamond.
- Unseen No More: Often discussed but never seen until the final episode of the series.