Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon
Leonard's roommate. A child prodigy, he graduated from college at the age of 15 from East Texas and specializes in Theoretical Physics. Supposedly the smartest of the guys, but he only ends up dominating arguments and debates (both in science and in nerd trivia) because he's too stubborn to quit and resorts to crazy logic to win. His dedication to science and geekdom is so complete that he has almost no interest in social skills, regular pop culture (current fads, celebrity gossip, etc.) or even romance. He thinks he's superior to... well, to everyone.
- Abandoned Catchphrase: Sheldon adopted the habit of making some surprising statement, and when met with surprise, reveal that he was joking with the catchphrase, 'Bazinga!' He also used it once when successfully pranking Leonard. He abandoned it after a while.
- Accent Relapse: Jim Parsons manages to keep his natural Texan drawl under control but there are a few times it slips out, typically done in character with Sheldon who is also from Texas. These relapses are rather cleverly worked into the story — it is heavily implied that Sheldon affects his rather colorless normal accent, and that his natural Texan accent creeps back into his speech when he is too angry, distressed or occasionally too drunk to hide it. For example, when Sheldon is locked out of his apartment and Penny offers for him to eat his food in hers:Penny: Sure, why not?Sheldon: (accent relapsing) Sure, why not? And after the sun sets, we can all go pile up in my pickup truck and go skinny-dipping down by the the crick (creek)! Cause today's the day to stop making sense!
- Accidental Hero: On multiple occasions. For instance, he stopped Leonard from giving up the secrets to the experimental rocket fuel to a spy posing as his date, by barging in and complaining about them trying to sleep together without warning him 24 hours in advance, as their roommate agreement required. He also has a lack of social filter, such as that he will attempt things that others are too timid to do themselves and by all means shouldn't work, but sometimes does. Especially when he nails an Armor-Piercing Question on Leonard, it tends to prove beneficial to him in the long run by forcing him to confront that option.
- Adorkable: Sheldon Cooper, a man who can somehow make wearing a plaid suit almost sexy. There's something endearingly innocent in his total inability to behave like a normal human being. Later in the series, he's seen as cute and hot by his girlfriend Amy. One female student had a crush on him and thought that Penny had to be into him too.
- Aesop Amnesia: Sheldon doesn't really learn lessons because he's too stubborn to believe he has anything to learn.
- Affectionate Nickname:
- His mother and sister call him "Shelly", and only they are allowed to refer to him as such.
- His grandmother calls him "Moon Pie" and he calls her "Meemaw"....and nobody calls him Moon Pie but Meemaw!
- Afraid of Blood: Sheldon faints at the sight of his own blood after cutting his thumb while attempting to dissect a brain. He later removes the bandage to prove to Penny how serious the wound was and promptly faints again.
- The Alcoholic: He inherits the gene from his dad, who drank himself to death. It's implied that he's fully aware of it, as he makes a concerted effort not to drink, but on the few occasions that he does, he does not stop.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Sheldon displays symptoms of lots of different disorders depending on Rule of Funny.
- Annoying Patient: Sheldon suffers from severe social ineptitude, as well as mild hypochondria, making him an absolute nightmare to be around when he's sick.
- Anti-Hero: He mostly cares about himself and, intentionally or not, he belittles his friends on a regular basis. He's also arrogant, strict, petty and demanding. Despite this, he does genuinely care for his friends, and a hybrid of that, lack of malicious intent behind his actions, suffering from severe Ambiguous Disorder, child-like traits and multiple Pet the Dog moments stop him from becoming unlikeable.
- Sheldon is conspicuously uninterested in romance, and is one of those rare TV characters whose asexuality is made more or less explicit in-universe.Penny: I know this is none of my business, but I just... I have to ask: what's Sheldon's deal? Is it girls...? Guys...? Sock puppets...?
Leonard: Honestly, we've been operating under the assumption that he has no deal.
Penny: Come on, everyone has a deal.
Howard: Not Sheldon. Over the years we've formulated a number of theories about how he might reproduce. I'm an advocate of mitosis.
- He's familiar with the concepts of physical or romantic attraction, but doesn't apparently experience those things himself. Any time he "clicks" with someone in a romantic way, it is always juxtaposed with a common scientific enthusiasm. While the possibility of sexual attraction has appeared from time to time (when Amy kisses him in Season 4, he says "Fascinating", which could indicate that he found the experience pleasurable or at least interesting), he is written largely as someone who puts intellect and science first and mocks his friends for not doing the same.Leonard: I can't believe you're going to have Howard choose between sex and Halo!
Sheldon: No, I'm asking him to choose between sex and Halo 3. As far as I know sex hadn't been upgraded to include hi-def graphics and advanced weapon systems.
Leonard: Right, all sex has is nudity, orgasms, and human contact.
Sheldon: My point.
- In a Season 3 episode, Penny falls in the shower and breaks her arm. She calls for Sheldon to help, because she knows the sight of her naked would literally do nothing for him. In fact, Sheldon spends more time whining about the possibility of getting injured driving than appreciating the fact that he got to enjoy Kaley Cuoco "in the altogether."
- With the introduction of Amy as a love interest it has been depicted as Single-Target Sexuality, he connects with Amy in a way he hasn't connected with anyone else, and shows signs of depression and jealousy when she is not a part of his life, leading to them becoming a couple in season 5. In Season 7, Sheldon gives a Take That! kiss to Amy to mock her for her idea of a "romantic weekend," then moves in closer and holds the kiss for over ten seconds. While they had kissed several times before it was largely Amy surprising him with affection, this was the first time Sheldon initiated the kiss and him lingering was a sign of finding it pleasurable. Later in their relationship, they seem to have no issue making out while on dates.
- The finale of Season 8 shows that Sheldon was willing to propose to Amy before she broke up with him. Given his reliance on "social convention," he likely would have had a proper honeymoon with her. He finally proposes to Amy in the last scene of Season 10, as she had left town for a project lasting several months and he filled the void spending time with Ramona Nowitzki, a colleague who previously shown romantic interest in him. When she surprised Sheldon with a kiss, he immediately flew across the country to see Amy and propose, because that experience told him he would never view anyone else the same way as he does Amy.
- He consummated his relationship with Amy in "The Opening Night Excitation," spending part of the episode debating on an appropriate birthday gift to give her. Both really enjoyed the experience, but he viewed it as a special occasion saying he was looking forward to having sex on her next birthday, making it a yearly tradition. Exceptions seem to be made on particular occasions, after seeing an experiment melding skin samples between him and Amy produce a simple neural network he became interested in getting her pregnant (she refused on principle, though it was difficult) and in a different episode she was leaving for a fellowship at Princeton making him want to have a special night before she goes.
- Sheldon is conspicuously uninterested in romance, and is one of those rare TV characters whose asexuality is made more or less explicit in-universe.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Sheldon usually has issues with maintaining focus when he is unable to work at the university. He goes from one project in the morning to the third or fourth by the time Leonard gets back home.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Has these moments not only with Amy, but with all of his friends and family. After an episode focusing on his Jerkass tendencies, he almost always has at least one Pet the Dog moment to show that he cares for them. Even despite his Sibling Yin-Yang with Missy, she admits at the end that she's very proud of him, and tells all of her friends that her brother's a rocket scientist. Naturally, Sheldon gets upset at the "rocket scientist" bit, but still.
- Bad "Bad Acting": His "Fun with Flags" podcast has him delivering his lines in a monotone and sounds like a speech synthesiser. He also directs his lines directly at the camera, and his body language is cold and uninviting.
- Bad Liar: If he thinks too hard it's virtually impossible for him to maintain a lie, keeping secrets drives him insane. But if he works up an overcomplicated backstory to the lie then he can manage it okay, but that requires some prep work including falsifying evidence and sometimes a Facebook profile. His trouble is knowing the proper scale of lying — his intricate preparations would be rather good lies for a government intelligence agency. In terms of deflecting attention from a white lie Leonard told to avoid having to watch Penny sing, it was way over-designed with the belief anything less would fall apart. If it's an improvised deception in the moment, he can stumble along.
- Bastard Boyfriend: To Amy whom he verbally abuses and treats like crap, to be fair, he treats everyone like crap. It's Played for Laughs.
- Beauty, Brains and Brawn: The brains to Georgie's brawn and Missy's beauty.
- Been There, Shaped History: In Young Sheldon episode "A Patch, a Modem, and a Zantac", it's shown that Sheldon's notebook inspired Elon Musk to successfully land a rocket on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean on April 8, 2016.
- Berserk Button: He has numerous examples:
- Perhaps it would be best to begin with an in-universe listing...Raj: What did you do? Did you change the contrast or brightness settings on the television?
Raj: Did you take a Band-Aid off in front of him?
Howard: Did you buy generic ketchup, forget to rinse the sink, talk to him through the bathroom door?
Raj: Adjust the thermostat, cook with cilantro, pronounce the T in often?
Howard: ...Did you make fun of trains?
- Don't mention Wil Wheaton around Sheldon, unless you want a "WHEEEEEAAAATOOOOOONNN!" that would make Shatner proud. (They made up at the end of "The Russian Rocket Reaction" and are now good friends — according to Sheldon, anyways). Unfortunately, Brent Spiner then inadvertently replaces Wil Wheaton on Sheldon's Mortal Enemy list.
- The Goofy character. This is a reference to a 1 panel webcomic strip known as "It's Goofy Time". Sheldon's dialogue is a direct copy of the non-goofy character from it.Penny: What's wrong with Goofy?
Leonard: Beats me... he's fine with Pluto.
- Don't sit in Sheldon's spot on the couch. You will regret it.
- He also loathes being lied to, as it has caused some serious friction between some of his friends.
- While Sheldon is almost fine with cheap shots aimed at his mother, do not insult his Meemaw. (Grandmother)
- Being let down by his friends, but especially Leonard, is another one. After Kripke humiliated him on NPR, his misery is compounded when he finds out Leonard laughed.
- Sheldon usually doesn't resort to physical violence, but question the legitimacy of his work and back up your claims with tangible proofs and all bets are off!
- The following exchange:Sheldon: You want me to share credit?
Sheldon: GET OUT.
- A minor example, but only his mother and sister are allowed to call him "Shelly". Also, only his "Meemaw" is allowed to call him "Moon Pie."
- Amy is a new one — Sheldon actually physically assaulted Leonard (via a weak karate chop to the neck), when he felt that Leonard might consider a relationship with her (like Amy, he seemed to be aware that Leonard might rebound with her).
- Perhaps it would be best to begin with an in-universe listing...
- Beta Couple: Although his relationship with Amy is a complex one, it is significantly more stable then Leonard/Penny. This is accurate to Asperger syndrome (although his attitude to sex is not). If he didn't believe a relationship with Amy would last, he wouldn't bother. Their relationship continues because Amy feels exactly the same way.
- Big Damn Kiss: In the middle of an annoyed rant about romance, the normally very asexual Sheldon actually initiates a kiss with Amy in "The Locomotive Manipulation." And he liked it.
- Gets a second one in Season 9 with Penny. It turns out it was All Just a Dream, rooted in Leonard's anxiety.
- Also in Season 9, the kiss he shares with Amy after they get back together.
- Big Ego, Hidden Depths: Sheldon may qualify as many of his breakdowns show that while underneath his ego, he is in many ways still just a little kid who doesn't understand the world and hasn't recovered from multiple traumatic incidents that occurred during his childhood, he does genuinely care about his friends and several episodes have implied that his ego stems from some sort of coping mechanism (he tries to reason that his childhood bullies hurt him cause they were jealous of him).
- Big Guy, Little Guy: The Big Guy to Leonard's Little Guy. Sheldon is 6' 1" (1.86 m) and towers over the 5' 5" (1.65 m) Leonard.
- Birthday Hater: Sheldon has some mental scars from past birthdays relating to his general aversion to socialization. Subverted as he's willing to endure Amy's birthday in "The Opening Night Excitation."
- Black Face: In an episode of Fun with flags, LeVar Burton stops by again:Sheldon: Since you're here I'd like to get your opinion on something, in honor of Black History I portrayed George Washington Carver in a loving tribute that my roommate called "wildly racist." What do you think? (Shows Burton a tablet.) Hi, my name is George.LeVar Burton: Oh, hell no...Sheldon: See Leonard, its not racist.
- The Bore: Frequently. His flag podcast is incredibly bland and colorless, and he often railroads the conversation onto topics that only he finds interesting (such as railroads). Sheldon, being the way he is, takes the disinterest as signs of his audience's intellectual inferiority.
- Brainy Brunette: A genius with dark hair.
- Break the Haughty: His inflated sense of entitlement and superiority often end up putting him through a thorough, and often well-deserved, Humiliation Conga. Subverted in that he never loses his arrogance, no matter how hard he may have been humiliated. He actually faints when Dr. Stephen Hawkings points out a small mathematical error in the paper Sheldon gave him.
- Brilliant, but Lazy:
- He's certainly very smart and works very hard on things, but has actually accomplished very little, especially compared to Raj and Howard, who have both been at the centre of major stories about their accomplishments. It may be a result of Informed Ability, seeing as his offscreen resume is fairly impressive.note
- Averted in Season 7. In "The Romance Resonance", he discovers how to synthesize a new heavy element, it doesn't get him mainstream fame but it quickly becomes a big buzz in the scientific community to the point the cafeteria applauded him. Unfortunately, it turns out that he stumbled across the discovery by accident after misreading a chart and making a mathematical error. And then it comes out that the team that tested his hypothesis faked their results, so he didn't "discover" anything after all.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Averted. It's made clear that, however smart he may be, he's nowhere near as valuable or talented as he thinks and he's been fired with little issue at least once, although comments from President Siebert seem to suggest that there are at least some people on the university board who feel he plays this trope straight.
- Brutal Honesty: Due to his problems with lying, Sheldon normally tells the truth in the most brutal way possible, and then won't realise why they're offended. It caused a lot of problems to his family when he was a kid.
- Butt-Monkey: Often on the receiving end of a lot of humiliation and punishment even if not to Leonard's extent. Not that he doesn't bring it on himself, though. He's an even bigger one in the prequel series Young Sheldon from being bullied by his bratty sister Missy to dealing with abusive neighbors.
- Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Socially awkward in this department doesn't even begin to cover it.Sheldon: Around what time in the morning do you have a bowel movement?
Leonard: Er...whenever I need to?
Sheldon: [sigh] I'm sorry, I'm not renting this room out to hippies.
Leonard: Okay, okay, around 8:00.
Sheldon: Hmm, I can't do that, is 7:30 okay?
Leonard: Yeah, okay, whatever!
- Cannot Keep a Secret: He either slips into I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You! or comes up with needlessly elaborate lies that fall apart under their own weight. However, if he is given a pre-prepared and reasonably concrete deception he can muddle by.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: Whenever he tries to lie, he exhibits incredibly obvious nervous facial tics.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: He almost never drinks casually but it doesn't take much for him to lose it, once getting tipsy after only using tequila as mouthwash. In addition there has been a few times he was unaware of what he was drinking because it was spiked. In Season 7, he begins drinking more commonly at some social events, although he is still not particularly interested in doing so, nor does he seem to enjoy it that much. Never the less his tolerance seems to have increased with his change. Luckily, he's quite a fun drunk.
- "Bazinga". (Dropped this somewhere around Season 6).
- There's his, "Excuse me!" when he wants to argue a point or just disagrees with something.
- (Knock, knock, knock) Penny. (Knock, knock, knock) Penny. (Knock, knock, knock) Penny. Sheldon even gets a little annoyed when Penny opens the door before he finishes.
- "I'm not crazy. My mother had me tested."
- He often asks "In what universe..." to something he wants to argue about.
- "That's my spot."
- Celibate Hero: As far as being openly contemptuous of any kind of sexual desire.
- Celibate Eccentric Genius: At least, before Amy Farrah Fowler came along. Even his dynamic with Amy isn't particularly conventionally romantic.
- Character Development: Sheldon hanging out with Penny and the gang leads him to become more and more human. Three particular Season 5 episodes involve him pushing out his personal boundaries, discovering that his rigid scheduling to regulate his life doesn't need to be so inflexible and his life won't collapse if he does things a little differently now and then. Shortly into his relationship with Amy, he was reluctant to keep to his end of the agreements in the Relationship Agreement. In a later episode, when Amy is sick, after some initial hesitation, he agrees to uphold the agreement and take care of her, and does go vigilantly. During Season 6, he notes that he has become more comfortable with physical contact, and admits that someday, perhaps, he and Amy might be physically intimate. In Season 7, he seems noticeably calmer, slyer, and quicker than before. In Season 9, he DOES get physically intimate with Amy. In an episode of Season 12 while watching a recording of his father coaching high School football, he considers that as different as he and his father's have been, there have been parts that have been similar.
- Characterization Marches On: Considering the sheer number of quirks he acquired after the first few episodes, it's somewhat of a shock to see him in the early stages. Sheldon wasn't quite as socially inept or uptight in earlier episodes and may not even have been established as asexual yet. He was still an arrogant jerk, but more of a friend ribbing another instead of having a huge ego mixed with an Ambiguous Disorder. As such:
- Asexuality: He casually refers to Penny being beautiful and immediately recognizes Leonard is attracted to her, seems to (mildly) compete for her attention and when they visit a sperm bank, Leonard makes an off-hand comment that Sheldon is a "semi-pro," the implications in such a context should be obvious.
- Social Skills: He advises Leonard that discussing bowel movements isn't appropriate when he invites Penny to lunch. As early as the second episode it becomes a Running Gag Sheldon rarely understands sarcasm. In the first episode, nearly all of his jokes are sarcastic quips at Leonard's expense. In later episodes, it becomes a challenge to get Sheldon to admit that he's wrong, regardless of whatever outrageous thing he's done or said. In the second episode, although he still believes that cleaning Penny's apartment without her permission was the right thing to do, he offers a sincere apology to her face after some prodding by Leonard. However, he continued to use sarcasm and dry snark, meaning he probably understands sarcasm, just can't detect it readily.
- Language: His Catchphrase "Bazinga" did not show up until the late second season. He was also not the first person to use "coitus" as Spock Speak for sex (that was actually Howard), and in fact simply used the word sex. While he didn't have a potty mouth, he did use swear words rather judiciously a few times ("Oh gravity, thou art a heartless bitch."), in later seasons he would either censor himself ("I wanted to avoid offending the ho's"), others ("Cockamane?" "I felt uncomfortable with the word Leonard used") or use old fashioned terms ("ninny").
- Chastity Couple: He and Amy agreed there would be no physical relationship, but over time Amy developed into wanting one. While he has no interest in it (and doesn't recognise certain behavior, like helping her bathe and rubbing Vapo Rub on her chest is arousing to her) he has admitted to her and others that she influenced him and he considers theirs a deeply intimate relationship even if they aren't physical. Their relationship became physical as of "The Opening Night Excitation".
- Child Hater: Sheldon is very much this, which probably stems from having been bullied so much as a child. When he tries to do a shooting for the Professor Proton show reboot, he instead ends up talking about a dangerous experiment, very complicated math and he doesn't even know how to talk to little kids due to his social awkwardness. After seeing the video, Leonard points out that he should stop showing his contempt for children. Sheldon even states that he doesn't like kids when Howard offers an invitation to his daughter Halley's first birthday party
- Child Prodigy: While he definitely was, attending college at 11 and getting his first of two Ph.Ds at age 16, it's possible he's a deconstruction of the concept. His intelligence vastly alienated him from his family, gave him a big ego, made him highly neurotic and socially inept, and though it may or may not be related to his childhood brilliance he's also something of a man-child. He has a journal record of his attempts at potty-training, from the journal itself "April 18 — This is humiliating, what was wrong with diapers?"
- Chosen Conception Partner: To Amy, who propositions him for sex under the explanation that it's their duty to sire future geniuses.
- Clock King: Sheldon is obsessed with scheduling everything, planning things, has his daily schedule planned out and memorizes and tries to plan other people's schedules. He even unironically considers things related to planning, order, schedules, rules, and organizing a joyous experience. He even one mistook Howard and Bernadette talking about spending all day at the zoning office for bragging about a "fun day".
- Cloudcuckoolander: Far too many examples to list.
- Clueless Chick Magnet: Sheldon has gained not one, but two devoted groupies. As well, he ignores a girl who actually goes into his room and sits on his bed, and unwittingly manages to pick up a gay man. After Sheldon ends up charming Raj's date (a successful dentist), causing her to leave for the date with him instead, he then completely fails to understand why he would see her again.Sheldon: Why would I see her again? I have a dentist.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The shirts Sheldon wears, taken from Green Lantern comics, can sometimes indicate his moods.
- Red = Anger
- Orange = Greed
- Yellow = Fear
- Green = Courage
- Blue = Hope
- Indigo = Compassion
- Violet = Love
- The Comically Serious: In fact, it's pretty much his entire shtick (aside from neurosis, passive-aggressiveness and love of trains.)
- Commitment Issues: Sheldon struggles with committing to Amy and then from there moving forward in their relationship. The issue stems from having previously thought of himself as a Celibate Eccentric Genius who is above time wasting romantic notions, and having an aversion to change. In one episode, both Leonard and Amy decide to move too fast for their partners and put moving in on the table. Sheldon and Penny are forced to confide their hesitations about it to each other.
- Control Freak: He regulates when his roommate can use the bathroom. (8:20 am, since you ask).
- Crazy Cat Lady: Gender inverted. In "The Zazzy Substitution" (Season 4, Episode 3), Sheldon and Amy break up. He tries to fill the void in his life by adopting 25 cats. This is treated as disturbing.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: If any guy shows minor interest in Amy Farrah-Fowler.Sheldon: [karate-chops Leonard] She is NOT for you!
- Crazy-Prepared: His flat is ready for every catastrophe.
- Creature of Habit: Is called this and Penny uses this against him during their feud.
- Cuckoosnarker: Though Sarcasm-Blind, he tends to make sarcastic (or Innocently Insensitive) quips at his friends and colleagues (and pretty much everyone).
- Cultural Rebel: He's pretty far removed from the stereotypical Texan he was raised to be. He also affects an accent he perceives to be more educated, slipping back into his native Texan drawl when very angry or distressed.
- Cuteness Proximity: Falls into this when he started out naming the plethora of cats after scientists, until he got to Zazzles.Sheldon: I was going to name him Hermann von Helmholtz, but he's so... Zazzy.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Sheldon's eidetic memory would make him very successful in a variety of conventional career fields, and in one episode we see he's very courteous and helpful when he takes it upon himself to aid customers at a computer store. Too bad he's so arrogant he sees such fields as beneath him and is dedicated to theoretical physics.
- Deadpan Snarker: Further in keeping with the depiction of Asperger Syndrome; this is the type of humour that Aspies are most at home with.Leonard: Sheldon, how could you sit there and let [Howard and Raj] watch my date with Penny?
Sheldon: They were clever, Leonard. They took advantage of my complete lack of interest in what they were doing.
- Depending on the Writer: The degree of Sheldon's irreligion and views on God seem to be this. While it's clear that he doesn't share his mother's Christian beliefs, he seems to vary between atheism, agnosticism, apatheism and even acknowledging God and/or Jesus' existence at times. note
- Dirty Coward: In the episode where he and Raj were in the steam tunnels, and he abandons Raj there when some rats show up. Later Raj gives him a What the Hell, Hero? speech.
- Ditzy Genius: He's a brilliant scientist, but is absolutely, painfully clueless in almost every other aspect of life. He overanalyzes things, making him unable to answer simple and easy questions (especially if it's not related to engineering, physics, calculus or statistics). He interprets Penny saying "Oh, I see" as the acronym OIC, disputes a DMV written exam question for trying to define a standard car length claiming that cars are obviously of varying length and misconstrued Leonard's drawing of a chocolate-chip cookie in Pictionary as a quark gluon plasma.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Sheldon seems to think that a joke can only be funny if it is explained. Whether he is the one telling it or he hears it from someone else he will give a quick explanation of why it is funny, or ask for clarification on it while simultaneously explaining it himself if he is not entirely sure it is a joke, before laughing at it, much to the annoyance of everyone else.
- Dumbass Has a Point: He is largely clueless with regard to relationships but sometimes does have an impressive insight with those.
- Dysfunctional Family: He has several bad memories of his parents fighting and that is reflected in some present events (he returns to being 10 when Leonard and Penny fight). It is commonly implied he grew up in a very unstable home. He also commonly implies or even outright states on occasion that his father was a severe alcoholic. He had a very poor and somewhat abusive relationship with both his siblings. There are some other things where he considered his parents to be Abusive Parents but they were just trying to treat him like a normal child (he wanted a titanium centrifuge for his birthday, they gave him a motorized dirtbike). He also reveals that his father cheated on his mother.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Sheldon's mom is the only one who can override his irrational behavior. He also seems quite devoted to his grandmother, or "Meemaw", as he calls her.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Averted. He doesn't go for Amy as Snow White.
- Evil Genius: Sheldon occasionally invokes this on purpose. Leonard has already noted that Sheldon's "one lab accident away from becoming a super villain".
- Eyes Always Averted: In the Flashback to when Leonard and Sheldon first met, Sheldon makes very little eye contact. It's a little off-putting and not immediately noticeable, but adds to just how much better he's become in social situations.
- The Finicky One: He has a thing for making people sign written agreements, is something of a germaphobe and is very picky about where he sits.
- First Kiss: His first kiss with Amy was in Season 4's "The Agreement Dissection" when a drunken Amy kisses Sheldon, and he deems it "fascinating." She also kisses him when he buys her a tiara in Season 5, after they've started dating. However their Big Damn Kiss is in "The Locomotive Manipulation" (Season 7, Episode 15), the first time Sheldon initiates it and they both enjoy it.
- Foil: Primarily for Leonard, but can be this for Raj and Howard. Many of his nerdy interests and behavior can be seen as somewhat of an extreme version of the other three. While nowhere near as intolerable as Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard do show a sense of neediness that can irritate other characters.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling:
- When they were young, he was the Responsible to Missy and Georgie's Foolish. He was always an extremely smart goody two shoes while both his siblings were Book Dumb and careless.
- It's ultimately subverted with respect to Georgie. When he appears in Season 11, he turns out to run an extremely successful tire business, and it's also revealed that he stepped up to help run the Cooper household when their father died and their mother fell into depression over it. Given Sheldon's particular eccentricities, Georgie ends up looking like the Responsible sibling between the two.
- For Science!: The only reason he gives for putting ground-up moths into Leonard's food, claiming it was to determine at what concentration food begins to start tasting "mothy".
- For Want of a Nail: Discussed in "The Cooper Extraction", where we see that Leonard not moving in with Sheldon meant he would've moved in with Raj and not cared about meeting a woman, letting himself go. Without Sheldon, Leonard wouldn't have had a foil to play his awkwardness off of and Penny would've turned him down from the get-go. Amy would've remained a social outcast, miserable and desperately seeking friends. No Leonard and Penny means that Bernadette never gets set up with Howard, who remains with his mother and eventually goes Psycho on her. Lastly, without Leonard in the picture to circumvent her theorized high sex drive, Penny would've made many advances on Sheldon, likely have given up, then end up settling for a idiot like Zack.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Choleric. He insists on taking decisions for the group, making him the de facto leader, he is devoted to his work, he is a goal-oriented person (who will go to any lengths to achieve said goals), he is typically overconfident, passionate for the things he cares about. He also has the flaws of the type such as being overly Bossy, needlessly stubborn, vindictive, insufferably arrogant, insensitive to the feelings of others, and rude to other people
- Freak Out!: The sheer quantity of changes he experiences in Season 7 is too much for him to handle. They include his new field of work, Leonard and Penny getting engaged, the possibility of Leonard moving out, Stuart's comic book store burned to the ground, him getting more intimate with Amy, the death of Professor Proton and so on...Sheldon goes beyond his breaking point and leaves on a train to straighten his ideas.
- Freudian Excuse:
- He reveals to Penny that the reason he knocks three times is that When he was a teenager, he entered a room without knocking, to find his Father committing adultery. Him knocking is to give who ever is in the room a chance to get dressed.
- The real reason Sheldon hates geology is revealed on Young Sheldon: it's because it reminds him of his break with childhood friend Libby, who was a big geology fan, and even got Sheldon and Tam hooked up on it for a while (although Tam was actually more hooked up on Libby). Sheldon broke up with Libby because he disliked when he knew she was a babysitter, wanting to seem a more mature boy, which she told to him and Mary Cooper when Libby and Mary were getting acquainted before she took Sheldon and Tam by car to Houston to watch an IMAX movie, while Libby broke up with Tam because he tried to hit on her while they were watching the IMAX movie without Sheldon, since he ended up not going, and she did not like it.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: So much that the guys kick him off the team for the Physics Bowl in "The Bat Jar Conjecture". And when Sheldon wants to accept an offer to go on an arctic expedition, they are excited about being Sheldon-free for three months. Penny once asks exactly how he got any friends in the first place and Howard answers that they liked Leonard. In the episode where Leonard, Raj, and Howard are on a camping trip:Leonard: Too bad Sheldon couldn't come with us.
Raj: Yeah, it's just not the same without him.
[silence for a second and then the three guys start laughing]
- Geek Physiques: He was described by another character as looking like a praying mantis. The other three geeks also have skinny physiques. It's just that Sheldon's is more pronounced due to being a head taller than the other three.
- Good Is Not Nice: A perfect example in that he's really a good and well-intentioned person, but he's so obnoxious, selfish, and condescending that he comes off as irritating. Just about everyone considers him a foolish manchild who either can't or refuses to become independent.
- Grade Skipper: It's been mentioned numerous times on the show that Sheldon was much younger than traditional age when he went to high school and college.
- Green-Eyed Epiphany:
- Season 5 shows that Sheldon has grown very possessive of Amy, if nothing else. When Leonard states that he and Amy had quite a fun time together at a wedding party and playfully threw in sexual innuendo about this "fun time", Sheldon's reaction? A karate chop to Leonard's neck and then:Leonard: Why did you do that?
Sheldon: To send a message: She's not for you.
Sheldon: Not! For you!
- Later when Amy begins to date Stuart, Sheldon "officially" upgrades the status of their relationship to boyfriend and girlfriend.
- Season 5 shows that Sheldon has grown very possessive of Amy, if nothing else. When Leonard states that he and Amy had quite a fun time together at a wedding party and playfully threw in sexual innuendo about this "fun time", Sheldon's reaction? A karate chop to Leonard's neck and then:
- The Grinch: Sheldon hates Christmas, claiming it's a knockoff of the pagan celebration of Saturnalia, bemoaning being forced to participate by his zealously religious mother as a child, etc., all to the annoyance of Leonard, who just wants some Christmas cheer because he was forced to write papers by his family on Christmas. It all comes to a head during a Christmas themed game of Dungeons & Dragons where Sheldon leaves Santa (whom they were supposed to be saving) to die, ruining the game and Christmas spirit for all involved. He declares that the real reason he hates Christmas is that Santa never granted him his wish of bringing his "Pop-Pop" (grandfather, and the only family member to encourage his interest in science) back as a kid.
- Hard on Soft Science: Exaggerated with him to the point of absurdity. Not only does he regard the social sciences as "largely hokum" (although despite this, he deeply respects Leonard's psychologist mother, however, she's also a neuroscientist), but he also speaks disparagingly of other hard sciences, referring to the geology department as "the dirt people" and having a falling out with Leslie Winkle because she favored supergravity theory over superstring theory. The only non-scientific discipline he has not expressed open contempt for is the law, probably due to his mania with rules.Sheldon: I have never said that you [Howard] are not good at what you do. It's just that what you do [Engineering] is not worth doing.
- Despite his distaste for the "softer sciences," he does occasionally show at least a basic knowledge of philosophy and linguistics, such as explaining to Penny what "semiotics" is.
- Hates Being Touched: He's terribly awkward about getting close to people, sometimes due to his germophobia and sometimes because he's so bad at showing emotions. In later seasons, he gets a bit better.Sheldon: It's not a touch phobia, it's a germ phobia. If you'd like to go put on a pair of latex gloves, I'll let you check me for a hernia.
- He Cleans Up Nicely:
- When he has to give a speech, Penny takes him out to buy a new outfit. Sheldon emerges from the changing room looking stylish, dapper and let's face it, handsome, in a black suit. Penny can see how much a decent suit changes his gangly appearance. Sheldon finds the outfit absurd - his usual suit is a garish checked number.
- In Season 6, when Penny gives him a new haircut, Amy is shocked when she sees it and insists that Penny change him back — because she's worried he might attract other women. "I don't want him walking around like sex on a stick!" (Sheldon agrees. "She's right. I'm too hot.")
- Henpecked Husband: After a fight with Amy, he has decided to be one to avoid major fights in the future. So when Amy tells Levar Burton he's a worse actor than Wil Wheaton, Sheldon tells the former while he may not actually think so, he must agree with Amy. Levar understands completely. This does not normally occur, as he is mostly the dominant one in their relationship.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Not a lethal one, but during a paintball war his comrades (Leonard, Howard, and Raj) have no enthusiasm due to prior events, and don't really want to fight. Sheldon proceeds to walk outside, into the open, and take several shots to motivate them into fighting, resulting in victory. Complete with slow-motion and a Platoon-style "death".
- Hidden Depths: Sheldon proves to be surprisingly understanding and helpful when hearing about his friends' love problems. He also knows a lot about football, though it's only because his father always made him watch the games as a child, rather than out of his own interest; plus he grew up in Texas, where he mentions that football is inescapable there. Also thanks to his father he is apparently a crack shot with both a bow and a gun. Due to his upbringing, he is also a skilled ballroom dancer and archer. At times, he seems to know more than the other guys about proper social interaction, but his knowledge is shallow and he's very poor at applying it to real-life situations.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Sheldon is revealed to have been so traumatized by his parents' constant fighting when he was a child that he is unable to be around people arguing. He goes so far as to run away from his apartment when roommate Leonard won't stop arguing with his girlfriend. He relates multiple incidents of being bullied (sometimes by his own siblings) that fit the trope, such as discovering string theory, due to being beaten round the head with a book about it.
- Hollywood Atheist: Sheldon is an atheist, and in his prequel series Young Sheldon he was very vocal about it because his mother and Pastor Jeff kept trying to convert him to Christianity but he resisted. Given that Young Sheldon occurs in the 1980s, being an atheist was a rarity back then in the United States and atheists faced greater pressure to convert to local religions at the time.
- Hollywood Autism: He's not officially diagnosed as Autistic but he's somewhere on the spectrum. Sheldon is a savant with science, literal-minded, possesses child-like qualities, had zero interest in sex or relationships, had an odd fascination with trains and is generally disliked by the others for his behaviour. Prior to meeting Leonard and Penny, Sheldon was socially impaired until he matured and eventually married Amy.
- Hollywood Nerd: A tall, svelte attractive man who is noted by his girlfriend as looking like "sex on a stick" when he gets a more flattering haircut.
- Honor Before Reason: Will often avoid taking the easy way out of things, though this usually leaves him worse off than before.
- Humanity Is Infectious: As much as Sheldon doesn't want to admit it. He has been greatly influenced by the people in life because at first Sheldon was very anti-social with people, inconsiderate and had no desire for intimacy. Sheldon's morals were built by his mother and his friends, his relationship with Amy grew intimate and he learned to be considerate with his friends. Granted, he still has moments of sarcasm and bitterness, but he has improved greatly when he's compared to how he started out in the series.
- Calls Priya a know-it-all for explaining the origins of the "toast". This is in spite of in 90% of his conversations, he brings up such topics at any given chance.
- Constantly makes fun of Penny for being born in Nebraska when he himself is from East Texas.
- Sheldon loves rules and believes they are the foundation of society, but he only ever enforces rules that benefit him and will try to avoid or get around any that don't work for him. Also, if he believes the world has descended into chaos, the very thing he believes rules help avoid, he will openly ignore any rules, like his Mother telling him to sit back down in class or even his own Roommate Agreement. Season 3's "Excelsior" proves that Sheldon has contempt for the Californian legal system and unnecessarily insulted a judge simply because he was given a traffic violation ticket (which he overreacted about).
- Often accuses Leonard of being a narcissist and wanting to make everything about him, without a hint of irony.
- Is an opportunistic show-off when it comes to intellect, but in Season 1's "Jerusalem" when Dennis arrived, Sheldon does not take well to being replaced by a 15-year old North Korean teenager as the smartest scientist in CalTech. If Sheldon were to follow his own words he would have bowed to Dennis and not shooed him to go away.
- Hates all forms of change big and small and constantly tries to keep his life as consistent as possible. However, as Leonard points out in "The Table Polorization", the spot on the couch that Sheldon loves so much was itself a change due to Leonard buying the couch in the first place, and Sheldon is unable to explain why that was a good change and all others are automatically bad.
- Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: While Sheldon is undeniably skilled in the field of theoretical physics, the moment he steps out of his narrow range of expertise he becomes woefully inept at any subject he approaches. Nobody seems to have told him that though, as he is utterly convinced that he as just as brilliant and informed on any other subject under the faulty logic that because he's an expert in theoretical physics, and because everything else is an application of theoretical physics, that he must be an expert in everything.
- Informed Ability: Although the other scientists do have some level of respect for his abilities (Leonard at one point calling him "one of the greatest minds of the 21st century") Sheldon is by far the most fervent admirer of his own intellect, but he frequently makes mistakes (especially in non-scientific fields, sometimes even then) and besides being given an award by the University all his accomplishments are second-hand information. Lampshaded by President Siebert, "The board tells me he has a beautiful mind, but I just think he's bananas."
- Innocent Bigot: Occasionally says things that may be considered offensive without realization.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: He has large, expressive blue eyes. They may or may not be a physical manifestation of how clueless he is when it comes to social interaction, despite his intellectual brilliance.
- Innocently Insensitive: Even when he's trying not to be an Insufferable Genius (usually at the request of one of the other guys), he has a problem of insulting people anyway without realizing it. It's debatable whether or not he realizes how insufferable he really is. Much of his innocent insensitivity stems less from his arrogance and overbearing manner than his total ignorance of social conventions. For example, in one conversation with Penny, he asks her where she currently is on her menstrual cycle. He doesn't understand why it's inappropriate.
- Innocent Prodigy: In Young Sheldon. He's more naive and innocent than both his siblings, despite being much smarter than them. In one episode, it's revealed that he knows how the human reproduction works only because it was his twin sister who told him. Of course, as an adult, he will grow up into a full-on Ditzy Genius.
- Insane Troll Logic: Sheldon's thought processes are very alien, and he occasionally purposefully distorts logic to get his way.
- If he cannot have his way or if he manages to fail at an activity then he will often dig deep to find some way to justify why he didn't succeed. After failing at learning how to drive he decided he was an evolved form of humanity that was smarter but incapable of driving properly.
- In Season 4, he and Amy play a game called "Counter-Factuals", where they offer a For Want of a Nail scenario where the world is different in some manner, and figure out what the answer to a question is. In this game, Sheldon rationalizes that if a giant beaver ruled the world, it would lead to a chain of events that results in the cheese danish never being invented due to worldwide flooding.
- By the rules of the Roommate Agreement, if he and Leonard vote on something and it's a tie, he settles the tie. Leonard reminds that he voted against this, to which Sheldon counters he voted "yes", and he settles all ties, so it was a yes.
- Subverted in some other ways. Though some of his lifestyle choices are strange to outsiders, he has well-thought-out reasons for them that make sense, if in a Super OCD way. For example, his spot on the couch comes with a list of reasons why it is his spot, from balanced airflow in the room to allowing maximum interaction with guests (with minimal head turning) while still allowing a proper view of the TV without distorting the image.
- In-Series Nickname:
- His mother and sister call him "Shelly", though he does not seem to like the nickname. Leonard and Penny have occassionally used the same term. His grandmother calls him "Moonpie", because he is so sweet to her. When Penny uses the nickname, however, Sheldon replies: "No one calls me Moonpie but Meemaw".
- In "The Isolation Permutation", a drunk Amy nicknames him "cuddles".
- Insistent Terminology: He is not a rocket scientist. He's a theoretical physicist! Also, he takes great pains to point out that his team t-shirt spells "The Wesley Crushers" (Those Who Crush Wesley) and not "The Wesley Crushers" (Multiple People Named Wesley Crusher). Dr. Sheldon Cooper would also have you know that he's not crazy; his mother had him tested. She later confirms this (...though she should have followed-up with that specialist in Houston). He also does not play "pranks"; he subjects people to his classic pranks. He also prefers it when accurate terms are used. One of the more notable things he prefers is to refer to sexual intercourse as 'coitus', probably to separate it from sex as in 'male or female'..
- Insufferable Genius: He's that page's image for a very good reason. Though it's been shown repeatedly that it isn't impossible to outsmart him or even point out mistakes in his work, it's a matter of being stubborn enough to fight him through the insufferable part (Stephen Hawking notwithstanding). He was even more insufferable as a 9 years old kid.
- It's All About Me: Though he is able to show concern and attention for his friends on occasion, Sheldon's default attitude is wildly egocentric, taking the view of "the world revolves around me" as an axiom.Leonard: Sheldon, not everything is about you.
Sheldon: [pause] I don't follow you.
- Jerkass: While he is very intelligent, he has been known to be a real nuisance to his friends, by trying to take all charge for Leonard's app idea, trying to sabotage them after they kick him out, staying at Raj and Howard's houses and keeping them up, never accepting gifts from others, kicking Raj out of his apartment due to regulations, and so on. He also forces the others to obey his ridiculously rigid schedules to the point of trying to control them and belittles his friends (especially Howard for daring to be an engineer). This is also explained well by Bernadette:Bernadette: He doesn't understand when he's being mean because that part of his brain is getting a wedgie from the rest of his brain.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Their are a few times where despite being a condescending jerk, Sheldon does make some good points.
- Sheldon spent years telling Penny to pay attention to her check engine light on her dashboard (even though her car wasn't built with one). While Sheldon is annoying and rude, he did have a point that Penny should pay more attention to her car, especially when it finally breaks down for good.
- In "The Apology Insufficiency", Sheldon intentionally tried to ruin Howards chance to work on something he really wanted to work using a series of petty reasons that no one but him cared about. Only to accidentally let slip that Howard got the Mars Rover stuck in a ditch. While this is an incredibly jerkass thing to do, especially given his reaction in The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation, it doesnt change the fact that Howard let a girl into a secure area to pilot the Mars Rover, which eventually ended with her crashing it in a ditch, all in a vain attempt to get laid, then destroyed the evidence of it to cover his own ass. Even if it was something Howard really, really wanted to do, it still doesn't change the fact that he really, really didn't deserve the clearance because of that.
- In "The Lunar Excitation" when Zack question how the guys know their laser project won't blow up the moon, Leonard states that is a excellent question to which Sheldon quickly points out that it is not. Penny then tells Sheldon to play nice, but Sheldon states that it is not and proceeds to ask how someone could possibly think that they are going to blow up the the moon, stating that that is an excellent question. Jerk though he may be, Sheldon was well within he rights to chastise Zack for asking such a stupid and ridiculous question.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- He's insufferable most of the time, but he shows concern and attention for his friends in his own ways, can offer genuinely helpful advice on their problems if he's in the right mood, he's never actively malevolent to them beyond verbal jabs, and is hurt if they slight him in some way. On the other hand, his perspective on social interactions are skewed, so he doesn't understand when he does something offensive or inappropriate, he's constantly flaunting what he considers his superior intellect, and while he can offer helpful advice on a problem at times, he's just as liable to interrupt their explanation of said problem to note he doesn't care. The Heart Of Gold is there, but it's deep down under a lot of arrogance and an Ambiguous Disorder.
- In the flashback where he and Leonard met, he first forces the latter through rigorous tests to determine if he's allowed to move in, and later ruins his relationship with a North Korean exchange student. At the end of the episode, he saves Leonard's life, and doesn't even make an issue of it. (Also, the exchange student turned out to be a spy, although he might not have known that beforehand.)
- Throughout the series, he will always maintain this trope-sometimes, the focus is more on the "Jerk" part, and sometimes more the "Heart of Gold" part.
- Jock Dad, Nerd Son: He often talked about how his father forced him to learn football. In Young Sheldon his father is revealed to be a football coach.
- Karma Houdini: Rarely does he receive more than a slap on the wrist for all the crap he puts his friends through. In many cases, when it seems like things have come to a head and one of the other guys has finally had enough of his antics, a Deus ex Machina will ensure that Sheldon escapes punishment and his obnoxious behavior is vindicated.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: Eventually, his actions in his relationship with Amy catch up to him and it crashes and burns.
- Kick the Dog: He often mocks Leonard for his short height, his poor vision requiring glasses, his asthma, his lactose intolerance and for not graduating from high school at age 14. Leonard's physical disadvantages just makes Sheldon feel all the more superior to Leonard.
- Kind Hearted Cat Lover: When he and Amy disagree over the superiority of physics vis-a-vis neurobiology, they terminate their friendship.note He fills the void left by her absence by adopting a plethora of cats. His mother also sings him his sick song, "Soft Kitty" whenever he's sick, and so does Penny. Sheldon even sings it to her at one point.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Sheldon tends to lapse into this when he veers away from physics and into the life sciences. Sheldon acts like he knows United States history when he doesn't. He tries to convince Leonard that he should be a history professor instead of a physicist by testing whether Leonard knows that slavery in the United States ended in 1863. It didn't. At the Renaissance Fair, when he complains about the historical inaccuracies, but doesn't realize Leonard's knight costume is at least 200 years out of date. His "defense" to a charge of running a red light in "The Excelsior Acquisition" shows he knows absolutely nothing about the law, as well. On similar lines, his beloved Roommate Agreement is full of loopholes, and doesn't stand up to the scrutiny of a legal professional. Many of his beloved factoids, when outside the sciences, are actually common misconceptions: The Romans did not sow over Carthage with salt, for instance, as any archaeology undergrad could have told him. Even worse, sometimes he fails at science. For example, when Amy is sick, and Sheldon wants to help her, he asks if she believes in the placebo effect, then shows the placebo - but the placebo effect only works if you believe the placebo actually is medicine. However this is often a case of Depending on the Writer, sometimes he is presented as being as smart as he thinks he is (or at least knowledgeable in a broad range of areas). The Rule (following the Rule of Funny) often seems to be that he only slips into this whenever it would actually benefit him not to.
- Lack of Empathy: Subverted Although he often comes across as this Sheldon is perfectly capable of feeling empathy and can even be quite caring on occasion. Its just he's very bad at showing it.
- Large Ham: He can be quite overdramatic.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Penny. In the episode "The Intimacy Acceleration" they conduct an experiment designed to make people fall in love by asking each other a few personal questions. They don't fall in love but reflect more about their friendship and they both admit that they look on each other like a brother and a sister.
- Limited Wardrobe: Almost always wears short sleeved t-shirts with a longer shirt underneath, rolled up to the elbows. Superhero t-shirts are the most common, Green Lantern (or a symbol of one of the other Lantern Corps) and The Flash especially. This leads to a rather amusing variation of Characterization Marches On, as in one early episode he follows the general pattern, but it's far removed from what he was later known for.note
- Literal-Minded: More than everyone else, being Sarcasm-Blind.
- Little Known Facts: Loves bringing them up in conversation, sometimes to benefit himself such as why he should have the last dumpling, because in Tia culture its reserved for the most valued member of the group.
- Mad Scientist: Has about as many shades as you can get while still being thoroughly grounded in reality. A brief list of examples is his willingness to try electric shocks to modify Penny's behavior by negative reinforcement, the government monitors his computer activities due to his efforts to hack their systems, as a child he attempted to build a "death ray" and to create a griffon by cross-breeding lions and eagles, and he occasionally makes references to societal reforms he plans to implement when "[he] comes to power". Lampshaded by Leonard, who notes Sheldon is "one lab accident away from becoming a supervillain."
- Manchild: While all the characters indulge themselves in childish things, Sheldon insists that someone take care of him the way his mother would when he's sick (or even just homesick), locks himself in his bedroom where no one else is allowed when he's furious, curls up into a crying ball of sad on his bed when he's embarrassed, runs away from home when he's upset, is practically traumatized by the sound of people arguingnote , and is stubborn and petty beyond all reason. The only thing on this planet that can force him to behave rationally when he's angry or depressed is an order from his mother, whom Leonard calls "Sheldon's Kryptonite". He also responds positively to being patronized by Penny, especially if he gets a toy robot and a comic book out of it. Lampshaded by Bernadette at one point, after she successfully got him to go to bed by first reasoning with him about the effects of lack of sleep, and then simply treating him like an overgrown child and sending him to bed.
- Manipulative Bastard: Although failing on most of his attempts in the first few seasons, starting Season 6 and appearing more commonly in Season 7, Sheldon begins to get more successful at his attempts to manipulate others, learning how to play off of their weaknesses to his advantage.
- Meaningful Name: Named for television producer Sheldon Leonard and possibly for physics Nobel Laureate Leon N. Cooper.
- Minor Injury Overreaction: His response to getting a cut on his thumb? He faints.
- Momma's Boy: His mother still treats him like a child and is the only person who can tell him what to do.
- Morality Pet: His mother, Amy and sometimes Penny.
- Mother Nature, Father Science: A rather blatant example with Amy, who's a biologist and him a physicist.
- Narcissist: The most fervent admirer of his own genius.
- Neat Freak: He broke into Penny's apartment to clean, because being that close to mess made him have trouble sleeping.
- Nerd: His life is almost exclusively devoted to the nerdy interests of science, science fiction, fantasy, comicbooks, and videogames, much to Amy's chagrin.
- Never My Fault: He always tries to avoid any blame for anything that happens to him or his friends. If he failed something or did something wrong then he will state that he is so smart the thing he failed at isn't important enough to learn. Whenever he is an inconvenience for someone then it is their own fault for being too dumb to understand his genius advice or not being able to control their own anger. Many of his own problems have a very simple solution to them and he would avoid angering a lot of people if he would simply apologize, but instead he often thinks of overly complex solutions to avoid the simple solution because doing so would either damage his pride or would cause a very minor inconvenience that only he cares about. If he does apologize to someone it will usually be a Backhanded Apology so he can have the last word or avoid taking all the blame.
- Which makes those rare occasions (see Pet the Dog below) when he does admit his own fault even more significant, such as when he accidentally cost Howard his security clearance, leading to his career suffering a serious setback.
- No Sense of Humor: Zigzagged. Sheldon has a sense of humor, but it's so separate from everybody else (except for Amy) that he doesn't get most jokes and most people don't get his. And he always explains his jokes.
- No Social Skills: To the point where Sheldon seems to consider "accepted social protocol" more like inviolable laws he must obey, rather than doing nice things simply because he's trying to be pleasant. Lampshaded a few times by Penny.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Although rarely a true villain, when ever he does take an antagonistic role its normally either as a petty prankster seeking revenge or a egomaniac control freak whining to others when he doesn't get his way. However in "The Itchy Brain Simulation" he proves he when he's had time to plan he can be quite impressive. He successful manipulates his own best friend into simulating OCD, and torturing himself, all while barely lifting a finger. He is certainly smart enough to plan some extremely potent revenge schemes but he tends to fail or go sideways in execution (a prank against Kripke involving a fast expanding foam ended up being sprung when members of the board are visiting his office).
- Odd Friendship: with George Jr.'s bully Tommy Clarkson in Young Sheldon episode "David, Goliath, and a Yoo-Hoo from the Back". They bond together because Tommy can control George Jr..
- With Mike Rostenkowski (Bernie's dad), of all people. The two of them bond during Thanksgiving over Sheldon's knowledge of football.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: There's only a slight hint of Sheldon's Texan accent when he normally speaks, but he does slip into it more when he's with his mother and goes full on Texas when he's drunk.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The few times he deviates from specific idiosyncrasies is treated as exceptionally odd and results in some big reactions from the characters, notably how Penny started crying when Sheldon gave her a hug for the Leonard Nimoy Napkin Christmas gift.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: To an ludicrous extent in the first few series, (built a complete, functioning CT scanner up to the imaging software when he was eleven, discovered a new phase of matter but didn't even bother to present his findings and genetically engineered a bioluminescent fish, working from home, in a matter of weeks) toned down later on but still present.
- Only Friend: To Tam Nguyen, in his childhood. (Except for that brief time when Libby was also their friend, as well as his Odd Friendship with George Jr.'s bully Tommy Clarkson.)
- Out-of-Character Moment: His obsession with cleanliness was evident early on, with him cleaning Penny's apartment himself while she slept and later panicking when he hears she came from a family gathering where they were sick. In the Season 1 episode "The Loobenfeld Decay", he places a bag of chicken in a take-out container into an outside bin, then recovers it a few minutes later with nothing more than a quick blow. It certainly stands out as an anomaly with his regular behavior.
- Pet the Dog: He's typically very selfish and insufferable and frequently comments on how much he hates social interaction even with his closest friends. But there are a few rare moments where he actually uses his selfish behavior as a smokescreen to hide that he's actually concerned and/or happy for his friends, but doesn't want to admit that right out. For instance, he discovered through Amy that Penny had some doubts about her relationship with Leonard. So he confronts her late at night and tries talking Leonard up, saying that he just wants to keep the status quo for his own sake. As the conversation went on, he eventually asked with sincerity, "Please don't hurt my friend."
Penny: (sobbing) I really thought he was going to say Let it go.
- When Mrs. Wolowitz suddenly dies in her sleep during Season 8, Sheldon tries to speak to Howard. Leonard, righteously worried that Sheldon will say something inappropriate, tries to stop him, but Howard lets him talk. He says the most heartfelt thing he has ever said in-series:
- Photographic Memory: He has it, though he objects to the name and insists that it's properly called eidetic memory. He's able to recall the precise date and time of any event in his life and win complex card games through memorization
- Polar Opposite Twins: With Missy. 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 out-going, friendly, level-headed and sociable. Sheldon points out that non-identical twins will only resemble each other as much as siblings born on separate occasions.
- Pride: A lot of the problems he encounters could be avoided if he wasn't so arrogant and proud. A good example is "The Excelsior Acquisition", where he tries to fight a traffic violation on principle when a scene just before he finds out about his summons establishes he has several thousand dollars in uncashed paychecks.
- Proud to Be a Geek: Sheldon simply refuses to be anything but a geek and unlike his friends (mostly Leonard) he isn't embarrassed at all by his geekiness.
- Rail Enthusiast: A fan of model railways, he even wears his own pretend-Engineer's hat. This would be rather sweet if he didn't neglect Amy for it, something which visibly offended her.
- Raised Catholic: Was raised in East Texas by an overly-religious Christian mother, but he himself does not partake in religion. Though it is unclear whether he is an atheist, agnostic, Nay-Theist, etc.
- The Rain Man: To an extent. His intelligence verges on Super Intelligence, making him able to achieve prominence in his chosen scientific field. At the same time, though, it contributes to his weirdness and failure to connect with people. Even Sheldon's family and his few friends have trouble understanding and tolerating him.
- Renaissance Man: One episode of Young Sheldon reveals that he has an impressive talent for acting, singing, and tap-dancing besides, of course, being an academic genius (and later becoming an Omnidisciplinary Scientist). He immediately gets the lead role in a play...but he can't perform because he has stage fright.
- The Reveal: Young Sheldon episode "A Stunted Childhood and a Can of Fancy Mixed Nuts" reveals the origin of Sheldon's "Bazinga" catchphrase on Big Bang. In an attempt to loosen himself up and be more carefree like Missy and Paige, he buys a set of practical tricks from the comic shop, manufactured by Bazinga Novelties; Sheldon takes the tagline "If it's funny, it's a Bazinga" quite literally.
- Rule of Three: His characteristic knock on the door is a Running Gag. Three knocks, followed by calling the name or names of whoever is on the other side of the door (Penny, Amy, Bernadette, etc). Followed by a second set of three knocks and another call of the name/s. And finishing with a third set of three knocks and another call of the name/s. When the door opens before Sheldon has a chance to complete his ritual, he simply continues knocking the open door.
- There a few minor deviations of the general rule. In "The Toast Derivation", Sheldon does not call Leonard, Howard, and Raj by their names, using the phrase "all my friends" three times. In "The Anxiety Optimization", Sheldon does not call Penny, Amy, and Bernadette by their names, using the word "ladies" three times. Played for Laughs in "The Opening Night Excitation" as (1) he has to match the name with whoever asks him to come in, and (2) he calls Amy "Birthday Girl".
- Rules Lawyer: Provided they're either rules he drafted himself or those governing the playing of Tabletop Games. As Priya and "The Excelsior Acquisition" showed, he doesn't have a very good handle on the actual law. Though it is likely his arrogance plays a part in this. He was able to match her on his second try.
- Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Sheldon is such a Child Prodigy that he entered college at age eleven and graduated with honours at fourteen. He has devoted pretty much his entire life to research since then, and this may have contributed to his lack of rudimentary social skills (such as not gloating at a judge) and his overall inability to deal with the mundane world (germophobia for instance).Leonard: Sheldon's in jail?! For what?
Penny: For doing the same crap he always does, except to a judge.
- Sarcasm-Blind: Zig-Zagged. He understands the concept of sarcasm and can use it himself, but almost never picks it up when it's about him. He gets lucky once in a while, but it seems like guesswork on his part. Leonard even made a sarcasm sign in an early episode. And Sheldon keeps track of how many times he correctly understands sarcasm. Once, when Howard made a sarcastic comment, Sheldon asked "Was that sarcasm?", and Howard sarcastically replied "No!" which, of course, Sheldon failed to recognize the sarcasm of.
- In at least one episode, this is inverted: Sheldon takes something as sarcastic when it isn't.
- There was one episode where after being kicked off the group's app team due to his unbearable attitude and staying with Penny, she eventually convinces everyone to take him back if he apologizes. Sheldon doesn't want to apologize so Penny tricks him into "apologizing sarcastically" as practice for his sarcasm. Sheldon thinks he did a good job when really he was just lying to everyone.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Uses lots of big words, even when it's not necessary.Sheldon: I'm polymerized tree sap and you're an inorganic adhesive, so whatever verbal projectile you launch in my direction is reflected off of me, returns to its original trajectory and adheres to you.
- She's Not My Girlfriend: Amy. In his own words: "She's a girl and she's my friend, but there's no touching or unsanitary exchange of saliva." Finally subverted in Season 5, where while Sheldon holds to the ban of physical intimacy, he and Amy are "officially" together, as noted by the Relationship Agreement he drew up.
- As of Season 7, occasional kissing seems to have entered their relationship. Presumably the exchange of saliva is highly sanitary.
- As of "Opening Night Excitation", coitus seems to have entered their relationship.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Missy and him couldn't be more different despite being fraternal twins.
- Signature Laugh: A sort of quick inhalation sort of thing.
- Silence, You Fool!: Expect Leonard to get shut down by him if his love-life interferes with their order waiting times at bars or restaurants.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Amy is the ONLY person he has ever expressed romantic feelings towards. While other women (and men) have shown some form of attraction to him the most he ever reciprocates is an appreciation that they appreciate him. Even though a sexual relationship is still repulsive to him, he confessed to Amy that the two of them is the most intimate relationship he has ever had. As of "The Opening Night Excitation", he is now in a sexual relationship with Amy.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Played With, as in "Know-Nothing Know-It-All". He believes himself to be multi-talented when his only real skill is in theoretical physics but this does fall into Depending on the Writer as he sometimes genuinely is near to as smart as he believes he is and has shown in-depth knowledge of other subjects and his friends do on occasion acknowledge that he really is the smartest of them. He's also very unaware of how much people dislike him and can't understand why they wouldn't want to spend time with him. But of his friends he is the most successful (being the Senior Theoretical Physicist at Caltech) and is apparently held in high regard by the physics community. Never the less its made very clear that he doesn't live up to his opinion of himself.
- Smart People Play Chess: He and Leonard play three-dimensional chess (yes, it does exist). He also created 3-man chess, complete with new pieces. Unlike many of his socializing-related projects, his new rules are seemingly enjoyable and not over-complicated.
- Smug Snake: Very smug about his genius-level intelligence. He sometimes talks about himself as a new and improved human. Ironically he can often live up to his claims, its purely down to his ego that he fails.
- Social Darwinist: As shown when his guided meditation gets sidetracked by imagining Godzilla attacking SimCity.Sheldon: People of Sheldonopolis, this is your Mayor! Follow me and I will lead you to safety. If your children cannot run, leave them behind!
- Southern-Fried Genius: Subverted for the most part. Despite hailing from Texas, he displays none of the traits that are typically associated with the "redneck" aspect of the trope. This is apparently a conscious decision on his part; he reverts to his Texas drawl when angry, upset, under duress and a few times when drunk, even using idioms.Sheldon: Sure, why not?! And after the sun sets, we can pile up in my pickup truck and go skinny-dipping down by the creek (pronounced "crick" here)! Cause today's the day to stop making sense!
- He is also very knowledgable on American football, as being in Texas meant it was inevitable he would know (his dad would make him go to games and watch.) He also knows how to chicken-fry pretty well (or as he puts it, "fry meat that is not chicken as if it were chicken.) He's also very knowledgable in handling firearms, because, well it's Texas.
- He also notes that being from Texas, he can "taste the difference between rabbit and squirrel."
- Spin-Off: Because of his popularity, he later earns a show about his childhood in 2017.
- Spock Speak: Just let this example speak for itself:Sheldon: Well, I'm polymerized tree sap and you're an inorganic adhesive, so whatever verbal projectile you launch in my direction is reflected off of me, returns on its original trajectory and adheres to you. Translation
- Spoiled Brat: Sheldon tends to embody this trope, often getting whatever he wants, how and when he wants it, no matter how unreasonable, merely by being extremely difficult. Ironically, his family seem to be the only people not enabling him.
- The Starscream: He feels the need to be in charge of whatever the group is doing, just to give himself a feel of authority. The biggest example perhaps was when Leonard got an app idea and he immediately tried to declare himself in charge, while only listing Leonard as the "founder." After Leonard makes it clear he is in charge, Sheldon begins insulting every decision he makes, tries to get the app named after himself, and tries to vote Leonard out of leadership when he won't give in to his demands. After Leonard finally fires him he tries to sabotage the group by bribing Raj and Howard to join him instead and later prevent them from working.
- Static Character: Justified; he makes an active effort to not change himself. Also subverted since he has gradually changed over time, becoming more sociable, compassionate and understanding.
- Super OCD:
- Don't sit on his favorite couch cushion, you'll smush it out of shape. A good example is when the cushion that was "his spot" on the sofa was stained and he spent the time in which the cushion was being cleaned slowly going crazy, eventually going to the point where he was crouching over the spot where he used to sit. Howard tries to solve the problem by grabbing Rajesh's cushion and placing it in Sheldon's spot. Rajesh starts to complain, giving us:Howard: Who cares where you sit? You are not crazy!
- In the thirty seconds it took Rajesh to find a new place to sit, Sheldon had found something unacceptable about the new cushion and the fun was restarted.Sheldon: These shrimp are all the same size, there's no logical order to eat them in. [chucks them into the garbage can]
- Sheldon always has to knock on Penny's door 3 times and each knock is followed by him calling Penny's name. Penny at one point tries to mess up Sheldon's rhythm by opening the door and imitating what Sheldon does. He feels "that's just wrong."
- Don't sit on his favorite couch cushion, you'll smush it out of shape. A good example is when the cushion that was "his spot" on the sofa was stained and he spent the time in which the cushion was being cleaned slowly going crazy, eventually going to the point where he was crouching over the spot where he used to sit. Howard tries to solve the problem by grabbing Rajesh's cushion and placing it in Sheldon's spot. Rajesh starts to complain, giving us:
- Surrounded by Idiots: His opinion of everyone around him.
- Team Prima Donna: His huge ego and childishness always cause problems whenever he and the others try to work together on anything. Like the time they tried to make a cell phone app and Sheldon tried to stage a mutiny because Leonard wouldn't let him name the app after himself. Heck, his nitpicking and obsession with getting his way even makes going to see a movie a complicated project.
- Token Evil Teammate: He's not actually evil but given the previous tropes that represent him is a different story.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In "The Itchy Brain Simulation" he goes from a merely annoying Innocently Insensitive Jerkass to an Evil Genius Magnificent Bastard.
- Sheldon continually insulting Amy after their breakup, even though it was entirely his fault over his inability to pick up on social cues and other people's feelings, comes across as incredibly juvenile and cruel.
- Took a Level in Kindness: After he and Amy get back together, Sheldon treats her and all of his friends better then he did before, completely undoing the above Took a Level in Jerkass.
- Trekkie: Star Trek is one of the group's favourite franchises. They especially dig Star Trek: The Original Series and ''Star Trek: The Next Generation'. Spock is Sheldon's favorite character.
- This fact is eventually lampshaded in "The Spock Resonance": due to Sheldon's refusal to believe in the constant "What Would Jesus do" attitude of his mother to help with his constant bullying, he instead resorted to asking "What Would Spock do" and idolizing the character due to his approach to logic and rationale as opposed to emotions and belief (even if it still got him to be beaten up). Penny correctly points out that Spock's character is half-human, and therefore emotions are a huge part of his development in the original series and as a character overall, and by doing so demonstrates that he actually uses the character's basic description as an escape. Sheldon proves her right by digressing into a breakdown over his recent break-up with Amy and running to his bedroom.
- Troll: He's often guilty of this behavior, as demonstrated by most of his "Classic Pranks", his heckling of both Leonard and Brian Greene's lectures and when his continual swiping of the One Ring from Leonard.Howard: You're not helping!
Sheldon: I'm not trying to help! [smirks]
- Tsundere: Platonic version towards Leonard. Although he constantly mocks Leonard for being a less-intelligent Experimental Physicist, he has constantly proven that he cares greatly for him.
- Twitchy Eye: Gets a very prominent one when he either doesn't know something, or the others don't let him finish explaining something.
- TV Genius: This is a huge part of the sitcom's premise. Leonard, Raj and Howard are also extremely intelligent, but no where near as TV Genius as Sheldon. To reiterate, in a show where five of the seven main characters have at least one doctorate (Penny has a high school diploma, while Howard only has a masters) and most of the recurring characters are university professors or otherwise in highly technical fields, Sheldon is universally regarded as bizarre. Not incomprehensibly so, however, as he literally came with a manual. That he himself wrote in PDF format and hands out to new friends.
- Übermensch: Sheldon has a slight disregard/disapproval of certain social protocols, his obsessive-compulsive behaviors are often seen as weird or overdone by his friends, and he outright considers compassion and understanding to be a limitation to himself. Despite all of this, Sheldon is an incredibly intelligent genius physicist, and it can't be denied that his zealous imposition of order on his household really does help himself as well as Leonard, despite his protests.
- Uncle Pennybags: Surprisingly — Sheldon's lifestyle is very low-budget and he saves his money, to the point he feels perfectly comfortable giving Penny enough money to both pay her rent and fix her car when it breaks down. Despite her assumption that Sheldon's obsessive tendencies would lead him to hound her, it turns out that he's incredibly lax when it comes to lending his money. He honestly doesn't care when it's paid back, as long as it eventually is.
- Unreliable Narrator: Almost everything in his life is skewed around his own viewpoint and perception of his own suffering, and as such will describe any given event as him being an innocent victim and everyone around him are morons acting out of jealousy. It becomes more apparent whenever dealing with his family members, as they have spent so much dealing with his egotism that they have little patience with him skewing the truth. His mother even says that his childhood bullying was in large part due to him being an Insufferable Genius.
- Unskilled, but Strong: In an intellectual sense. He's exceptionally bright, but has nearly zero technical/people/organisational skills and his default approach to problem-solving is to just stare at his whiteboard until a solution comes to him.
- The Unsmile: Masters it and is even the page image.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Sheldon's self-centered egotism and condescending behavior is the source of conflict for any given episode, even just by being sick and asking for help (his obnoxious neediness at that stage is dreaded by everyone).
- Verbal Tic: Sometimes refers to things with unnecessary tautologies, such as "Green Lantern Lantern", or "Lord of the Rings Ring".
- Virtue Is Weakness: He actively believes that being compassionate and open-minded is a weakness, to the point that he (unsuccessfully) attempted to break up with Amy when he realized her effect on his personality.
- Wacky Guy: Has a tendency to come up with strange ideas and plans, which affect everyone around him. Such as trying to stay awake for days (to work on a scientfic problem), stepping in into the roles of busboy and waiter at the Cheesecake Factory without bothering to notify his new employers, tracking down James Earl Jones to convince him to co-found a comic book convention, etc.
- White Sheep: He likes to see himself as this, demeaning everything from Texas, including his family, as backwards morons who don't appreciate his genius. He even wrote a Star Trek Fan Fiction about him being taken away from his family to the future. The truth is more complex, his family was middle class and had to dedicate a lot of their time and resources to Sheldon's education, who was already difficult to deal with. Both his siblings resent him to different degrees because of being Overshadowed by Awesome, their own modest accomplishments seem insignificant to Sheldon's genius.
- With Friends Like These...:Sheldon: Those are traits associated with a psychopath.
Leonard: Are you worried about me killing you in your sleep?
Sheldon: No, I imagine if you were going to do so, you would have done it years ago.
- Whoopi Epiphany Speech: Played with. While such a speech is usually one of great wisdom made by someone who isn't all that educated or book smart, it can't be said that Sheldon is either of those things. But he is very socially inept. So it comes as a surprise at times when Sheldon has rare gems of social wisdom (albeit wrapped in Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness) that give Leonard new insights he couldn't see before.
- Work Off the Debt: On Young Sheldon Sheldon takes on a paper route to pay George after he dismantled the refrigerator, costing his father $200 to get it restored.