Supporting Characters from The Big Bang Theory
The owner of the comic book store the guys frequent, he is one of the few geeky individuals on the show who is otherwise not a supergenius like the others.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Stuart is a comic book storeowner.
- Ambiguously Bi: In Season 6, Stuart has apparently been without a date for so long that after an awkward moment with Raj, who later asks him if he wants to hang out sometime, Stuart comments to himself that he could do worse. He also admits that Thor is "hot".
- Ascended Extra: He has been hanging around the group since Season 2, showing up a couple of times a year but never really significant. Season 6 practically upgrades him to main cast, at the least supported by Word of God that he will have an expanded role. While he didn't stay in the main cast listings for long, unlike Leslie Winkle he still shows up more often than before and usually with a significant role involved. He was eventually put back in the main cast listings in Season 8, and has remained there since.
- Butt-Monkey: A very overplayed gag, where every second sentence is him stating how depressing and unfortunate his life is. His idea of being "cocky" is to claim that he's "unobjectionable." He can be stood up by a stray cat.
- Characterization Marches On: In earlier episodes, he was a Cool Loser contrast to the group, but was able to successfully flirt with and ask Penny out, and in his first appearance even Sheldon thought Stuart was cooler than Leonard ("Stuart is taller, artistic, self-employed and, most significantly, he gets 45 percent off comic books"). Over time he becomes a Straw Loser who is even more pathetic and helpless than the main guys, to point he lives in the store due to financial problems and his poverty and depression becoming a Running Gag. At least some of this could be described as a falling out over how his relationship with Penny ended and a series of soul-crushing problems that killed his self-esteem. His social skills fluctuate depending on the episode, among the main characters he's fairly pathetic but in the real world he's slightly better.
- The Chew Toy: His life is essentially one misfortune after another.
- The Eeyore: Often comments on how pathetic his life is.
- Flanderization: He was originally just a very normal guy who successfully asked Penny out. It was a key plot point that in terms of being a decent, normal guy he was virtually identical to Leonard. While he remained a friendly guy he later gained some neurotic ticks, low self-esteem and has a lot more trouble talking to women than before. From a writing standpoint, the original characterization doesn't stand apart from Leonard. In the show itself it's implied he hit a string of bad relationships (including getting crushed by Penny) in addition to financial problems and health issues. The season nine episode "The Perspiration Implementation" has him admit that as he goes on longer without a relationship (and can't hold on to pets due to them committing suicide), makes him become more desperate.
- Grew a Spine: In "The Fetal Kick Catalyst," perennial doormat Stuart finally tells Sheldon that he's tired of being treated like a second-class friend. A hilarious (and very drunken) exchange of compliments follows.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Interesting in that one of the goals of Season 6 was to have him develop this relationship with Raj, after Howard getting married he could no longer be Raj's "wingman." They are almost never seen separate from each other and there is plenty of Homoerotic Subtext going around.
- Hidden Depths: He is a pretty talented artist.
- Season 2's episode "The Hofstader Isotope" has him come out on top in a discussion with Sheldon over logistics:Sheldon: "Wrong is an absolute state and not subject to gradiation."Stuart: "Of course it is; it's a little wrong to say a tomato is a vegetable, it's very wrong to say it's a suspension bridge."
- Season 2's episode "The Hofstader Isotope" has him come out on top in a discussion with Sheldon over logistics:
- Ironic Name: "Bloom" is not the surname you'd expect from a perpetually unlucky and depressed guy.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: Given the treatment he gets in later series, the trope might as well be called "My friends... and Stuart".
- Nice Guy: Despite his oddities, Stuart is a very friendly guy and is always willing to help someone out, be it with selecting a comic book or needing a little bit of an emotional boost. He also feeds stray cats, which is quite heartwarming when you consider his financial situation.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: He actually went to the Rhode Island School of Design, a fairly prestigious school and he thus has some genuine skills in art (the average of students accepted into RSID is a B+). But he hangs around Sheldon, who dismisses it as equally ridiculous as Howard's Masters degree from MIT.
- Perpetual Poverty: How little profit the comic book store makes has become Stuart's Running Gag. Among other things, he's mentioned having to sleep in the store, going without meat, and having to shower at Leonard and Sheldon's apartment. It's also been stated that online retailers such as Amazon are killing Stuart's business, as even Leonard prefers buying collector figurines from Amazon instead of Stuart's store.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Not so much "opening titles" as "list of names", but Kevin Sussman, who plays Stuart, is given this treatment over the series' run, as detailed below under Recurring Character.
- Recurring Character: One of the most frequent recurring characters in Seasons 2-5. In Season 6, he was promoted to series regular, only to be "demoted" back to a frequently recurring character, and then ended up re-promoted to series regular in Season 8. He's stayed as part of the main cast since, and more often than not in any given episode.
- Replacement Goldfish: Raj basically befriends him to fill the void left by Howard being in space. See Suspiciously Similar Substitute.
- Romantic False Lead: Dates Penny and Amy for one episode each, both of which force Leonard and Sheldon to reconsider their relationship with those girls.
- Shipper on Deck: In "The Mother Observation", he admits to shipping Leonard and Penny, saying that each has made the other a better person, and calling them "the best couple I know." (To which Amy and Bernadette react indignantly.)
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Serves to fill Howard's spot while he's in space. Sheldon even calls him, "Fake Wolowitz" at one point.
- Starving Artist: Stuart is a graduate of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design and is a talented illustrator, considering the quite stunning sketch of Penny he did back in season one. However, he does not make any money from his artwork, the comic book store being his primary source of income (even if the store is losing money rather than gaining it).
- Throw the Dog a Bone:
- Kind of a meta-example, ever since Season 3 most of his humor comes from his low self-esteem, poverty, neurosis, medical issues, and even feeling a little lonely despite seeing him with anonymous, nameless friends. While most of that is still his main comedic thrust, as he has become a more prominent character in Season 6, this results in the audience seeing him as having a tight group of friends (the main characters) that invite him to activities and treat him well, Sheldon's Jerkass nature notwithstanding.
- At the end of Season 7, after his comic shop is burned down, Howard offers him a job at taking care of his mother. To everyone's surprise, Stuart likes it. He also manages to get his comic shop reopened during Season 8, due to the combination of the money he saved up from his caretaker job and furniture donated by Howard's mother.
- Near the end of Season 11, after Neil Gaiman drops by his store and tweets about it, more people visit his store, resulting in his business revenue picking up so much that he feels financially secure enough to hire an assistant. His expressions also become more cheerful and upbeat, something the guys notice fairly quickly.
- Unlucky Everydude: Compared to the other characters, Stuart seems to have very bad luck. As noted above, his financial situation is almost always precarious at best and the burning down of his beloved comic book store nearly breaks the poor guy. It isn't until he starts caring for Mrs. Wolowitz, a fairly well-paying job Stuart actually enjoys, that his luck finally appears to be turning around.
A brief boyfriend of Penny's who becomes friends with the guys. Hopelessly stupid, thinking that bouncing a laser off the moon would be a danger to the moon, he is otherwise a decent guy.
- Amicable Exes: He has no ill will towards Penny, and is still friendly towards her and Leonard.
- Ascended Extra: He had a minor role in the third season finale as Penny's first boyfriend after breaking up with Leonard, mostly a Romantic False Lead to instigate awkwardness between her and Leonard. His enthusiasm, coupled with his Kindhearted Simpleton personality, endeared him to fans and brought him back for several episodes, as he became friends with the guys beyond just dating Penny.
- Brainless Beauty: Male version, he's outright described as being very handsome by everyone, and is as thick as two short planks.
- Characterization Marches On: In his first episode, he was kind of an obnoxious jerk and an idiot, although offset by his genuine interest in the guys' laser experiment. In later appearances, he's a total sweetie... and an idiot.
- Chick Magnet: Played with. Besides Penny, even Amy was attracted to him in one episode and Bernadette described him as "sweet, tall, and handsome" but his stupidity is too much of a turnoff for them to actually date him, even for Penny.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Asks Leonard and Howard if they should be worried about the military applications of their project. They were, but had brushed aside the complaints until he reminded them.
- Dumb Is Good: Incredibly dense, but is very open and friendly with the guys.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Both Raj and Leonard commented on how good looking he is.
- He's sometimes compared to Leonard, as Penny's love interests that are opposites. Zack is a dimwitted but confident and Tall, Dark, and Handsome guy, while Leonard is smart, short, and awkward.
- He's sort of a Good Counterpart to Kurt, Penny's ex-boyfriend. Both are tall and muscular but not very bright jock-boyfriends, but Kurt is an aggressive bully and a jerk to Leonard while Zack is a friendly Nice Guy who genuinely likes Leonard and his friends.
- Hidden Depths: While he is hopelessly unable to grasp the actual science, he still shows an interest in what the guys are doing and apparently watches the Discovery Channel from time to time. He is also very knowledgeable about the designing and creation of restaurant menus.
- Kindhearted Simpleton: Simple-minded in nearly every regard, Zack is arguably the nicest person in the series and never once acts malicious or rude towards Penny or the guys. Even Sheldon starts to restrain himself when Zack makes dense comments, simply because the guy is just too nice and friendly to be mean or blatantly condescending to.
- Literal-Minded: When having gotten in a fight, he knocks on her door...Zack: Come on babe, open up.
Penny: I'm not talking to you!
Zack: [genuinely confused] Then who are you talking to? ... babe?
- Nice Guy: Got upset when he realized the others were mocking him, but quickly forgave them when offered some Milk Duds. It's one of the main reasons the guys don't mind having Zack around, and he's incredibly earnest when it comes to their similar nerdy interests.
- No Sparks: While Penny thinks Zack is hot, she doesn't really click with him, despite him being an incredibly nice guy. This is mostly due to the fact that he's a moron.
- Not So Different: Raj bonds with him after realizing that Zack is a comic book aficionado (Archie Comics, but still).
- Odd Friendship: While the guys initially made fun of his stupidity, they quickly ended up befriending him due to their love of comic books. They continued to hang out even after Penny had broken up with him.
- Pair the Dumb Ones: When Zack returns in Season 12, he's married to a woman who is just as much an airhead as him.
- Romantic False Lead: A rather triumphant example, as he slowly bonded with the rest of the main characters despite largely being there to provoke some awkwardness between Leonard and Penny. He avoids the traps of being either too obnoxious (wondering why Penny is bothering with him) or being too decent of a guy (making him seem too appealing) by making it so that he and Penny did not have a whole lot of chemistry, so the focus was on the awkwardness and not worrying about hurting his feelings. Unlike many other examples of this trope, he still shows up in later seasons as a recurring character and friend of the group.
- Sarcasm-Blind: To the point that Sheldon seems like an expert.
- Shipper on Deck: He has admitted several times that he actually liked Leonard and Penny together, despite the fact he is the other guy. It goes back to just how nice and genuine he is.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He's Exactly What It Says on the Tin, played by the tall, dark-haired Brian Smith and considered very good-looking in-universe.
A witty, sweet doctor (surgical resident) Howard managed to pick up at a bar in Season 2 by saying she could drive the Mars Land Rover when his eyepatch tactic failed. She ends up dating Leonard instead almost immediately afterwards and the two seem to have a really stable relationship (even Sheldon likes her).She disappears from the series after only three episodes with no resolution.
- Big Beautiful Woman: Slight example, compared to Penny, Priah, and the other women Leonard has dated, she's a bit shorter and stouter, but both Leonard and Howard found her attractive.
- Deconstruction: The few episodes she's in are one to most relationship tropes. She doesn't break up with Leonard over a reasonable issue he was having with her moving in, for example.
- Deadpan Snarker: Very witty, when Sheldon insists there is something wrong with himself medically, and she cannot find anything, she gives him a schoolyard cootie shot before moving on to get to work.
- Hidden Depths: Through her dialog, she reveals she has some low self-esteem issues because of previous break-ups, similar to Leonard.
- Manipulative Bitch: Subverted, When Leonard tries to bring up her moving out and taking their relationship slower, she begins to start crying, which makes him veer off the subject and have sex with her. It looks like she's just manipulating him into complacency at a glance, especially when it stated to have been happening repeatedly. But then he texts her what he thinks should happen for their relationship to stay healthy, and she continues to date him.
- Nice Girl: She's pretty understanding and knows how to handle Sheldon, which is no mean feat; and is more understanding and reasonable when it comes to Not What It Looks Like situations (Penny walking into the apartment looking for coffee and in her underpants) as well as critiques to the relationship she's in (like taking things more slowly).
- What Happened to the Mouse?: She leaves just as quickly as she came in, with the next episode returning Leonard pining for Penny and being ignored for David Underhill.
A timid girl Raj met at a "Lonely Hearts" valentines party. She is painfully awkward and shy but tries to get through her neurosis by going outside her comfort zone.
- Adorkable: In a way only Kate Micucci can pull off. She's extremely shy and awkward, but Raj genuinely likes her looks and personality. They spend one date night just texting, and both love it.
- Broken Bird: After some prodding she confessed she was broken and simply not comfortable around people.
- The Bus Came Back: In a season 10 episode ("The Emotion Detection Automation") where Raj has a reunion with all his ex-girlfriends.
- Kick the Dog: One of the first things she does is bail out of her first coffee date with Raj, which sends him into depression. She later tracks him down to apologize and explains that she has trouble talking with people. In the Season 6 finale, she breaks up with him via a text message.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: She receives a brutal one from Penny, who calls out her habit for bailing too quickly in her relationship with Raj. Penny even flat-out calls her "a bad person."
- She gives one to Raj, along with other from his other exes, about how she resented him for pushing her to socialize when she already made it clear it made her uncomfortable.
- Shrinking Violet: To the point where it destroys her relationship with Raj. Her anxiety is so terrible that she literally can't handle being around more than one person at a time and panics every time Raj attempts something outside of her comfort zone.
- Wham Episode: The Season 6 finale, when she breaks up with Raj, curing him of his selective mutism.
Raj's longest lasting love interest, in Season 7, 8, and 9.
- Betty and Veronica: In season 9 she becomes the Betty in a Love Triangle with Raj and his new potential girlfriend, Claire.
- The Bus Came Back: In a season 10 episode ("The Emotion Detection Automation") where Raj has a reunion with all his ex-girlfriends.
- Cute But Psycho: She's very lovely, but has a rather disturbing side as well. She once remarked she became a dermatologist because it's a line of work where she's allowed to cut people. It could have been a morbid sense of humour, but it's a bit scary. She has a tattoo of Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas on her shoulder blade because she likes the fact she's covered in scars and can pull her own limbs off and sew them back on.
- Forgotten First Meeting: She and Howard first met on a blind date. Apparently, Howard had a stomach problem that ended in her toilet being clogged, and him sneaking out the bathroom window in embarrassment. Thus, he was nicknamed "Clogzilla".
- Freaky Is Cool: She likes watching horror movies because watching people get cut up turns her on. It's also the reason why she's a dermatologist, as that's the only job which she can legally cut people up.
- Hospital Hottie: She's a Dermatologist and very attractive, though we mostly see her outside of the workforce so her primped appearance is justified.
- Ivy League for Everyone: She went to Harvard.
- Love Interest: She contacted Raj over online dating site and he immediately developed a crush on her.
- Meaningful Name: Let's see. She likes to cut people up, and her name is Sweeney.
- Nice Girl: She appears to be a nice lady, acting very friendly and accepting towards Raj and the others.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Has confessed that gory movies turn her on.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Is the tomboy to Bernadette's girly girl in one episode. Emily has a morbid sense of humour. In fact that she became a dermatologist because it's a line of work where she's allowed to cut people. Needless to say, Bernadette was a little creeped out when Emily shared this with her.
- On the flip side, Emily is the girly girl to Penny's tomboy. In one episode after she and Raj break up, Raj receives a call from Emily while the other three girls listen. Emily drops Raj some sad and heart-breaking if mushy lines in the phone call. While her words reach the hearts of Bernadette and Amy, Penny is visibly disgusted by her sappy lines, and finds it too mushy and cheesy for her liking.
Another potential love interest for Raj, introduced in season 9.
- The Bartender: She works as a bartender, but she's also a screenwriter.
- Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Emily's Betty for Raj's Archie.
- The Bus Came Back: In a season 10 episode ("The Emotion Detection Automation") where Raj has a reunion with all his ex-girlfriends.
- Celebrity Paradox: Alessandra Torresani previously starred in Caprica, which the show established the gang as being fans of.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: Raj is immediately attracted to her. He even describes her as "the strong, sexy angel I cant stop thinking about". Also Zack's reaction the first time he meets her is "Youre hot. You seeing anybody?"
- Take That!: She thinks Frozen sucks and gets more credit than it deserves.
A deaf girl who dates Raj in season 5, but only for his money. When he tells her that he has to stop buying her expensive stuff, she breaks up with him.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She first appears to be a nice girlfriend before Raj's friends make him realize that she's a Gold Digger who is taking advantage of him.
- Cute Mute: She is a deaf and mute girl who is also very pretty. On the outside, anyway.
- Gold Digger: She proves to be this when Raj buys her stuff and she knows he has a lot of money.
The British man Amy had three dates with in season nine after she broke up with Sheldon. Dreams of being a math teacher.
Amy: If you don't mind me asking, why did you and your wife split up?Dave: You know how it is, we wanted different things. I want children and she wanted a pastery chef named Jean-Philippe.
- Divorced his ex-wife after discovering she cheated on him with a French pastery chef.
Dave: I doubt it was like this one [the date]. I mean, he's a genius [i.e. Sheldon]... I wasn't even smart enough to know why my wife was smelling like croissants!
Amy: When you were married, did your wife cook?Dave: Uhh, not at first. But when she started cheating on me with the French chef she became quite the whiz of the kitchen.
Dave: What a great evening!
- Later, at his third date, Sheldon ends up kissing Amy. Last thing he says:
- Connected All Along: During his second date, discovers that Amy and his favourite scientist Sheldon dated once, and that she and Leonard know each other.
- Extreme Doormat: Gives us the idea that his wife dumped him because of this, and this also shows in his third date, after Sheldon shows up (granted, Dave's a fan of him, but...).
- Fanboy: Sadly for poor Amy, of Sheldon and his job.Dave: So, you've never been married?Amy: No. To be completely honest, I've only been in one long-term relationship.Dave: What happened with that?Amy: That's a good question. (Gives a strong gulp in her wine glass.) After five years, I was just feeling it was more work than should be.Dave: That's too had. Was he a neurobiologist like you?Amy: No, he's a theoretical physicist at Caltech. (Amy looks down, while Dave looks sideways.)Dave: I love teaching math, but that would be my dream job. What's his focus?Amy: It used to be string theory, now it's dark matter. But let's not discuss Sheldon, let's get back to you.Dave: (Surprised.) Wait, you're not talking about Dr. Sheldon Cooper?Amy: (Disappointed.) I'm trying not to. Do you know him?Dave: No, but I followed his work for years. He's a rock star! You've got to tell me about him. (Criss-crosses fingers, puts his hands below his chin, bends forward towards Amy and looks happily in anticipation.) What's he like?
Leonard: (Fresh from the toilet, looking at Bernie's and Dave's cars after they crashed.) What happened?Dave: (Looking surprised at Leonard.) OMG! (Pointing at him.) Aren't you Leonard Hofstadter?Leonard: (Surprised.) Yeah...Dave: I saw you speak in Stanford with Sheldon Cooper. (Leonard nods with mouth open, while Dave points at him, looking to Amy.) Amy, can you believe it? It's Dr. Leonard Hofstadter!Amy: (Sarcastically.) No, pinch me...Dave: It's an absolute pleasure to meet you. May I shake your hand?Leonard: If don't know if you wanna do that. I was just... OK, never mind. (Bernie looks, disgusted.)Dave: (Looking to Amy while still shaking hands with Leonard.) Amy, I'm never washing this hand again.Leonard: (Sarcastically.) You really should...
- And people who do things with Sheldon, such as Leonard, who once gave a lecture at Stanford with him that Dave went to see.
- The Matchmaker: Ends up pushing Sheldon and Amy together again... at his third date with her.Dave: Kiss her, you brilliant fool!
- Nice Guy: Is actually very kind and friendly, and is genuinely thrilled when Amy and Sheldon get back together.
- No Social Skills: On his dates with Amy, talks a lot either about Sheldon or his ex-wife having cheated on him.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Left England because it reminded him too much of his ex.Dave: That's why I left England, it reminded me too much of her. Cold, gloomy and easily accessed by a Frenchman through a tunnel.
- Shipper on Deck: For Sheldon and Amy. Even when he was dating her.
The new employee at Stuart's comic book store. Introduced in Season 11.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Stuart. Her knowledge of comics is on par with his.
- Geeky Turn-On: She was overtly impressed with Stuart's knowledge of Star Wars lore, even calling him sexy for it. The two begin dating in Season 12.
- Proud to Be a Geek: She understands geek pop culture possibly more than any character on the show, and handles it with the same finesse as the other characters talk about science and math.
- Sherlock Scan: Was able to deduce Sheldon's preferences just from seeing his T-shirt, and recommended a lesser known comic based on that. Sheldon is suitably impressed, and they spent hours talking about comic books.
- Fourth Date Marriage: She and Raj get engaged on the second date, and the wedding planning doubles as their courtship. Justified, as it's an Arranged Marriage, and they both understood the purpose of the date was to see if they could work as spouses.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: Downplayed. She views marriage mostly as a practical arrangement, and love as nothing more than a series of chemical reactions. Raj, being a hopeless romantic, is put off by this, and almost calls off the engagement altogether because he doesn't want the story he tells their kids to be so clinical. Anu responds by getting down on one knee and publicly asking for his hand, showing she's willing to meet him in the middle.
- Marriage of Convenience: She wants to get married mostly for practical reasons, though she does genuinely like Raj.
- Married to the Job: She moves to London for her dream job when she's offered it at the conference she attends in London.
- Put on a Bus: While it's never explicitly confirmed, Raj's deciding against going to London to be with her apparently ends their relationship, as she isn't seen or mentioned in the final two episodes, and the dialogue in said episodes indicates that Raj is single again.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She wants to marry Raj because he's a nice, affectionate guy who wants to settle down and have kids. Even if she isn't madly in love with him, she figures he'll be a good husband.
Cal Tech Co-Workers
A fellow physicist at the university, she has brief romantic relationships with Leonard and Howard, and an intellect and attitude to rival Sheldon. She never passes up a chance to insult him.
- Ascended Extra: Began to become a more prominent character and was even briefly promoted to main credits, but faded away again when her character proved uninteresting outside of her rivalry with Sheldon. She's eventually Put on a Bus after season 2.
- Berserk Button: She will do anything to show up Sheldon if he's mentioned.
- Brainy Brunette: Leslie is the first major female example of this until Amy and Alex come along in later seasons.
- The Bus Came Back: Reappears for Sheldon's birthday in "The Celebration Experimentation".
- Catchphrase: "Dumbass..."
- Deadpan Snarker: Most of her lines consist of her snarking at Sheldon.
- Jerkass: Generally has an unpleasant attitude, especially when she is around Sheldon.
- Meganekko: Mostly because Smart People Wear Glasses. The first Meganekko to appear on the show before Amy and Bernadette are introduced.
- Put on a Bus: Her appearances decrease rapidly once Amy and Bernadette join the cast as regulars. When Leonard turns up at her apartment in Season 3 he mentions that they hadn't spoken in a while, possibly justifying her absence, as it implies that she might have left the university for a new job (since they were lab-mates in the first couple of seasons and would have seen each other at work even if they didn't socialise any more).
- Really Gets Around: Leonard describes her as "using sex as a stress release" and she at one point mentions "waking up on a futon with a bunch of guys I don't know".
- Ship Tease:
- She and Leonard have hooked up twice, though the first time was purely for the sex, and there have been other hints when they're separated.
- Later she dated Howard for a while, making her the fifth woman to sleep with Howard without being paid.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: She strongly dislikes Sheldon and considers him an "arrogant, misogynistic East-Texas doorknob". When she insulted his intelligence, he came to hate her, considering her his "archenemy".
- The Smart Girl: While most of the characters on the show are very brilliant, Leslie is possibly the only one (along with Amy) who can be considered Sheldon's intellectual equal.
- Static Character: Despite showing a deal of potential as a foil or rival for Sheldon, and amassing a significant fanbase in her own right, the writers never really let her grow from sporadic nemesis. Word of God says this was because the writing team found it difficult to expand her character beyond her rivalry with Sheldon.
- The Stoic: She keeps a very straight face most of the time when she isn't being seductive or trying to humiliate someone.
- Took a Level in Kindness: By the ninth season she is shown to have matured so that she does not feel a need to insult Sheldon.
- Worthy Opponent: She's as intelligent as Sheldon and their mutual dislike for one another matches them very well in some competitive situations.
The Physics Chairman at Caltech and Leonard, Leslie, Sheldon and Raj's boss.
- Greed: States that the main purpose of the university is to make money. He has no qualms over allowing a 15-year old boy (Dennis Kim) take up graduate work and a paying job at the university, because to him Dennis is a goldmine.
- Jerkass: Mostly towards Howard for not having a Ph.D.
- Put on a Bus: He disappears from Season 2 and doesn't return, with President Siebert largely taking up his role in latter seasons.
Another rival at the university, he and Sheldon do not get along well at all. Kripke is defined by a speech impediment in being unable to pronounce R's, substituting the sound of a W, making him unable to say his own name properly.
- Always Someone Better: If he's featured in an episode, by the time it ends, he'll have faced at least one of the guys and come out the winner. Most prominent when they face him in a BattleBots fight, as their robot did well destroying a toaster oven while Kripke's robot "Had angry sex with a Camry!" It could be argued that Barry is the "smartest" character in the series, being the academic equal of Sheldon and a capable engineer (demonstrated with the robot battle); in a sixth season episode, when both have similar proposals for a reactor, Sheldon admitted without any pressure that the Kripke's work was a lot better.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Has something of a fratboy personality and often crude and obnoxious but is every bit a genius as the rest of the cast. When competing for tenure he also turns up the charm and is apparently great with kids (he doesn't know why, but he makes them "waugh and waugh and waugh!").
- Casanova Wannabe: He tries hitting on Penny in the most obnoxious way, prompting Howard to quip "I'm looking pretty good right now, aren't I?"
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: He doesn't pwonounce his R's w-ight. And just look at his name. He has problems with L-s, too.
- Everyone Has Standards: While Kripke isn't the world's nicest guy, even he is disgusted by Pemberton's thesis plagiarism in "The Plagiarism Schism".
- Friendly Enemy: Depending on the Writer he is on decent terms with the group as a whole but often ends up as the villain of an episode. Played with when Sheldon believed he held power over the use of the University's supercomputer, thus spent time developing a Friendship Algorithm to become friends with him.
- The Gambling Addict: Implied, given he willingly went to Sheldon's party only because there's going to be a raffle.
- Jerkass: Not always (see Took a Level in Jerkass) but he certainly qualifies at times and when he does he becomes the most despicable person in the whole show. He regularly goes out of his way to act as obnoxious as possible towards others including rubbing his success and their failures in their face. He never misses a chance to mock, insult or humiliate Sheldon. He's also very perverted and misogynist to the point he makes pre-character development Howard look like a perfect gentleman. He's even able to sometimes surpass Sheldon in this regard.
- Last-Name Basis: Nearly always referred to by his last name.
- Nerdy Bully: In addition to being incredibly nerdy, he also checks off most typical high school bully tropes: he's crude, obnoxious, and routinely pranks the guys and foils their projects. Hell, he usually makes his appearances in the cafeteria like a high school bully.
- Pet the Dog: One episode begins with him presenting Amy with a bottle of wine for assisting him with a hypothesis on String Theory.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Not often demonstrated but comes out whenever a promotion of some sort is available at the university.Kripke: If any of you need my nose, you will find it firmwy wodged in the collwective wectums of the tenure committee.
- Recurring Character: He's one of the series' longest running regulars and usually appears at least once or twice per season, although some feature him much more than that.
- The Rival: To Sheldon, being that they both have massive egos and typically get into prank wars or competitions with each other. In his introductory episode, he seemed to be rivals with Howard, given they were both engineers. But in general he is more often a co-worker the group only sometimes doesn't get along with rather than anything malicious involved, he doesn't quite fit the role of a Sitcom Arch-Nemesis.
- Took A Levelin Jerkass: Zigzagged When he first appeared Barry, although arrogant and jerkish, didn't seem to be a particularly bad guy, just another scientist on an opposing team. Since then however he's gone back and forth from being a Friendly Enemy, and a very unpleasant man who seems to exist just to bully Sheldon and rub his failures in his face. One episode took this to whole new level by revealing he regularly embezzled the university, by applying for grants to investigate things he knew he couldn't prove, meaning he is free to spend the money on things for himself.
A grad student Sheldon hires as an assistant. Friendly with the group, she is at least somewhat capable of dealing with her boss' many eccentricities. Which gets harder to do as time goes on.
- Beleaguered Assistant: To Sheldon, especially since she's not allowed to participate in his research on physics. She becomes underemployed in the process (she graduated from Stanford majoring in physics) and has to do menial tasks for Sheldon.
- Brainy Brunette: Smart enough to earn Sheldon's regard.
- Butt-Monkey: Only natural since she has to be Sheldon's assistant.
- Love at First Sight: Raj immediately gets a crush on her, though as usual he is incapable of talking to her.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Which make Sheldon's abominable treatment of her more annoying.
- Ship Tease: Between her and Leonard. Alex obviously has a crush on him and keeps hitting on him, which he didn't realize at first.
- Tomboyish Name: Along with the requisite gender confusion when Amy learns Sheldon's new assistant Alex is female. Penny laughs hysterically when Amy gets worried about the implications: "He didn't tell me Alex was a girl." "Maybe he didn't notice."
- Unknown Rival: To Penny. Alex obviously likes Penny's boyfriend.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: After the Valentine's Day episode "The Tangible Affection Proof", she makes no more appearances. It's possible that after taking so much of Sheldon's crap that she quit. It is unknown if she has found a worthy job in physics after leaving Sheldon.
A geologist at CalTech who became interested in Amy.
- Always Someone Better: He is actually a brilliant geologist, he published a paper that got him a lot of prestige and a monetary award. It was enough that even Sheldon got jealous, and despite his own dislike of geology once he read the paper he had to admit it was inspired.
- Ascended Extra: After his Early-Bird Cameo as a library patron who almost interrupted Raj and Lucy's date, he made multiple appearances as a central character to the episode's plot.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: An odd guy with No Social Skills but he is apparently good at his job and has won a prize for a research paper he wrote.
- Gentle Giant: He's huge. Really huge. But he's a genuinely nice guy if a bit awkward socially.
- Hopeless Suitor: With Amy, who rejected him due to her relationship with Sheldon, though they seem to have settled comfortably into Better as Friends.
- No-Sell: Sheldon attempts a karate chop on his neck when angered. He injured his hand and Bert was apparently unaware he even did it.
- No Social Skills: He's very socially awkward and by his standards Amy is the coolest girl he knows.
- Sarcasm-Blind: To the point that he didn't notice when Sheldon, of all people, congratulates him with sarcasm.
- Smarter Than You Look: He comes off as odd and awkward, to the point of being oblivious. But he's smart enough to be issued a genius grant for his geology work, much to Sheldon's chargin.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: He eventually finds a girlfriend although she turns out to be a Gold Digger.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: He started dating a very attractive girl named Rebecca, which is eventually confirmed that she is a Gold Digger because he was so wealthy after receiving an academic award. It ends up being reconstructed in a unique way, the main cast encourage him to break up with her over this but after doing so he found himself to be miserable without her. Even if it was superficial they were happier together than apart.
The Human Resources director at CalTech and on the tenure committee. Given the quirks of the main characters, she finds herself having to counsel them often on what is and is not appropriate behavior in the workplace. She was very familiar with Howard before he got married.
- Face Palm: Especially when having to deal with Sheldon.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: In Season Twelve, she reveals she keeps a big bottle of Scotch hidden in her office. Given what she has to put up with, it's hard to blame her.
- Not So Stoic: She usually responds to the guys' shenanigans with unflappable professionalism (mixed with very understandable annoyance), but in "The Reaction Retraction," she's visibly about to burst out laughing when she reads the email Leonard (drunkenly) sent her.
- Ship Tease: Raj has expressed some attraction to her (thus also making it somewhat Token Shipping), although it is greatly one sided.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Has frequent run-ins with the guys, in particular Sheldon, who somehow manages to stumble blindly into incredibly racist comments without meaning to.
- Token Minority: Certainly notable among the recurring characters (the show has had plenty of minority characters but besides Raj they haven't been more than one episode). Sheldon also tends to single her being black as a character trait, not understanding why Roots may not be an appropriate or insightful gift to give her.
- Your Cheating Heart: Her husband apparently left her for an undergrad student.
Former graduate at Caltech who has a crush on Sheldon.
- Academic Athlete: She eventually gets her Ph.D and also used to be an Olympic swimmer.
- Always Someone Better: To Amy, especially when Sheldon points out that Ramona is as brilliant as Amy, but also tall, blonde, and athletic. Amy starts being worried about it but it doesn't last long, obviously.
- The Bus Came Back: Originally a One-Shot Character from season 2, she returns in the season 10 finale, still infatuated with Sheldon.
- Romantic False Lead: Her return in season 10 as a Hopeless Suitor to Sheldon only has the purpose of prompting Sheldon to propose to his real love, Amy.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Ironically, she's the reason why Sheldon and Amy are engaged. Amy thanks her for that.
- Stalker with a Crush: Has an obsessive crush on Sheldon, to the point of stalking him in his apartment.
Arthur Jefferies/"Professor Proton"
A children's science show host 30 years ago, he was invited by Sheldon to perform a "birthday party" science demonstration for the group. He is bitter that despite being a degree'd professional with a Ph'D in physics, none of his later work was taken seriously because he was a kids show host. He appreciates the attention and respect Sheldon and Leonard give him, though is easily annoyed with Sheldon's hero worship. He passed away after several appearances in the show, but continued to manifest as a Spirit Advisor to Sheldon.
- Cool Old Guy: Once you get past the grumpiness, he is very friendly.
- Cuckold: The puppeteer who controlled his sidekick Gino the Neutrino slept with his (later) ex-wife, so he now hates the puppet.Professor Proton: The puppeteer who did, who did Gino, well, he also did my wife.
- Deadpan Snarker: Amazingly not affected by his slow speech pattern.
- Dirty Old Man: Downplayed. He obviously enjoys hanging around Penny more than the guys, but he isn't quite creepy about it.
- Grumpy Old Man: Overall bitter about life and his age, not helped by Sheldon's clinginess towards him.
- Meta Guy: Any time Sheldon meets him in his dreams, Professor Proton's Force Ghost points out that he isn't real but a manifestation of Sheldon's mind.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: As per being played by Bob Newhart.
- Old Shame: Has regrets over his career path after doing the show, while Leonard and Sheldon help him see many modern scientists were inspired by his work as kids.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Generally good-natured, he can get grumpy.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: With Bill Nye the Science Guy.Bill Nye: Wow, Arthur Jeffries. It's an honor to meet you. My show never would have happened without yours.
Arthur Jeffries: That's what I told my lawyers.
- Spirit Advisor: After he died, he showed up in Sheldon's dream. Both he and the manifestation of Arthur are trying to figure out what he must be coming back to help Sheldon with.
- Stylistic Suck: His show was pretty silly, but it seemed a lot of its charm was how annoyed he was with the writing.
The world famous physicist himself. First featured when Howard was assigned to help maintain his communication and life support systems when he visited the university, he has since made irregular cameo appearances.
- Actually Pretty Funny: He finds the idea of a remote-control car based off of him hilarious. The gang agrees to never tell Howard this.
- As Himself: It's the real Stephen Hawking.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has a mean wit.Sheldon: Buh-buh-but there has to be a mistake! I don't make mathematical errors!
Hawking: Are you saying that I do?
- Living Legend: The guys, being scientists themselves, naturally admire his genius and absolutely squee over him when he appears at Caltech for the first time. Even Sheldon craves his approval.
- Pet the Dog: His last action in the series is to send Sheldon and Amy a wedding present, and it arrives a couple weeks after his death.
- Shipper on Deck: His response to Sheldon and Amy getting married? "It's about time."
- Sitcom Archnemesis: To an extent, he does antagonise Sheldon, however Sheldon idolises him so it's solely one sided.
- Troll: He loves antagonizing and mocking Sheldon. In "The Troll Manipulation" he justifies it as "if you were sitting in a chair for forty years, you'd get bored, too."Hawking: What do Sheldon Cooper and a black hole have in common? ...They both suck... [beat] ...neener, neener."
Desk nurse at the local hospital, who has to deal with/knock sense into the guys whenever their Zany Schemes land them there. Also appears in the very first scene of the pilot as the receptionist at the sperm bank Leonard and Sheldon go to.
- Comically Small Bribe: She turns one down offered by Howard:Howard: What if I were to introduce you to [holds up five-dollar bill] the man who freed your people?note
Althea: Unless my people were freed by Benjamin Franklinnote and his five twin brothers, you are wasting your time!
- Deadpan Snarker: Everything she says is snarky. It's what makes her so memorable as a character, despite having only four appearances (so far).
- Not So Stoic: She is immediately aghast and startled into action upon seeing Howard having an allergic reaction to peanuts.
- Recurring Extra: Nearly every time the cast end up at a hospital she is the one to deal with them. This is never acknowledged and her name is only known from a freeze frame of her work badge. In fact she was in the unaired original pilot playing the same role she does in the official pilot, making her the only character besides Leonard and Sheldon to transfer over.
- Sassy Black Woman: Oh so much. She's 100% willing to call the guys out on their stupidity and loads on the sass while doing it.
- Women Are Wiser: When Howard comes in with the robot hand stuck on his privates, Althea immediately finds the solution that could have saved him a lot of embarrassment: simply turning the robot off and then on again.
A local celebrity and perpetual rival to Sheldon, after an incident where he bailed out on a Star Trek convention Sheldon suffered great things to attend.
- Adam Westing: Takes it to a new art form.
- Arch-Enemy: Sheldon considers him this in his earlier appearances, owing to his failure to attend a Comic-Con convention a number of years previous, which Sheldon attended in hopes of an autograph. They eventually become friends though.
- As Himself: A Jerkass version of himself a few times, serving as Sheldon's nemesis and eventual friend.
- The Atoner: Shows signs. He invited Sheldon and his friends to a party — and when Sheldon actually shows up, Wheaton gave Sheldon a signed action figure to make up for not showing up at the Star Trek convention Sheldon went to as a child. Of course, Brent Spiner ended up inadvertently ruining the gesture by opening said action figure, but at least Wheaton is off Sheldon's Arch-Enemy list. He later seemed to be on good terms with him at Howard's bachelor party. He later appears on Sheldon's "Fun with Flags" webshow, unintentionally causing trouble with Sheldon's relationship to Amy, ending with Sheldon throwing up in his rosebush. He's still friends with Sheldon in later seasons.
- Beard of Evil: Has stubble, but still keeps it after he stops being evil.
- Celebrity Paradox: Indirectly so. Wil Wheaton stars As Himself in the The Big Bang Theory and as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Wallace Shawn stars as Dr. John Sturgis on Young Sheldon and is Grand Nagus Zek on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which was Next Generation's Spin-Off.
- Evil Gloating: Gloats that being Sheldon's archnemesis means he lives in Sheldon's head rent free.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: He eventually goes back on his original jerkish behaviour and forms a friendship with not just Sheldon, but all the others. In season 11 he's briefly back on Sheldon's enemies list and he straight up tells Sheldon that he can't tell the difference between being his friend or enemy. In "The Novelization Correlation" Sheldon apologizes to him and takes him off his enemies list. He's later seen at Sheldon's wedding.
- It Amused Me: It's hinted that he found Sheldon's unbridled hatred of him to be amusing, and so decided to play up being a jerkass for that purpose, and he didn't harbor any ill feelings towards Sheldon personally. When Brent Spiner got on to Sheldon's "mortal enemy" list (shortly after Wheaton was removed from that list and became his friend), he notes that his life doesn't really change with that distinction. After years of being on good terms with each other, Sheldon decides to return Wheaton to being enemies (after he accepts a role as the new Professor Proton in a revival of the show) and he again says that there isn't much of a difference.
- Jerkass: Originally he was a very big jerk being willing to lie through his teeth and break up Leonard and Penny to win contests against Sheldon, and exploit his celebrity status just to spite him, but he grew out of it in Season 5.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: From season 5 onwards he Took a Level in Kindness and becomes a genuinely good friend to Sheldon and the others.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: In his early appearances, he lied about his grandmother dying to win a card game, cheated the gang out of their movie seats (after literally hours of waiting in line) and managed to convince Penny to break up with Leonard so he could win a bowling match. However he stopped being this after his HeelFace Turn.
- Karma Houdini: Regardless of the episode and what he does specifically, Wheaton typically causes trouble for the group and specifically Sheldon and never gets any retribution. He breaks up Leonard and Penny to win a bowling match and wins. There's a certain part of the fandom that wants Penny to figure out he did it on purpose and get her revenge.
- Manipulative Bastard: In his early appearances. He deliberately starts an argument between Penny and Leonard so that his bowling team can beat Sheldon's.
- Nice Character, Mean Actor: In the show's universe (his early appearances), Wheaton is a selfish, scheming mastermind Sitcom Archnemesis who orchestrated the first break-up between Penny and Leonard just to beat Sheldon's team at bowling — a far cry from his character on Star Trek (which is how Sheldon initially knew of him). Later on, he becomes Nice Character Nice Actor.
- Took a Level in Kindness: He's not as antagonistic as he was in earlier seasons. He seems to have dropped his feud with Sheldon as well.
- Troll: Partakes in this with glee. In a particularly glorious moment, he struts into the theater for the Star Wars premiere in full Star TREK attire, complete with Vulcan ears.note Star Wars fan: Star Trek stinks!Wil Wheaton: Yeah, live long and suck it!
Colonel Richard Williams
An Army colonel who commissions the guys to build a guidance system in Season 10.
- Hidden Depths: He turns out to be an MIT-educated engineer by training and knows enough about science to follow the guys' work. He even immediately recognizes Sheldon's approach to miniaturize the gyroscope even further by seeing his equations containing a derivative (derivatives indicate shrinking).
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Refers to "the Death Star from Star Trek".
- Reasonable Authority Figure: When told that they can't make the deadline, Colonel Williams is very understanding.Colonel Williams: Well, you think you're the first contractor who isn't going to deliver on time? Still waiting for a big space laser Reagan ordered to beat the Commies.