In case you are unfamiliar with the massively successful sitcom, “Big Bang Theory”…how is this possible?! At any rate, a new-aged nerdy version of “Friends,” “Big Bang Theory” is the latest sitcom to take TV-land by storm. The show has presumably been gifted with a cult-like following due to its simultaneously relatable yet, almost alien-like caricatures. Most notably, the notorious Sheldon Cooper.
There are numerous reasons that make Sheldon Cooper’s, (actor Jim Parsons’) character so epic…but beneath it all seems to lie an unnamed condition which drives his often incomprehensible antics. Asperger’s Syndrome, or a brand of high functioning autism, is a disorder often carried by genius-level thinkers, and seems to be the issue behind Cooper that writers are alluding to, stereotypically so, though it may be. With that being said, here are the Top 5 reasons Sheldon Cooper is likely an Aspie!
5. Above Average Intelligence/Know-it-all-ism— Ok, so this one is oddly a no-brainer. As aforementioned, many people with Asperger’s syndrome have above average intelligence with a tendency inadvertently to come off as a know-it-all, or even a bit arrogant. Sheldon Cooper is the clear, but also self-proclaimed, most intelligent member of this group by a mile…he’s not shy about this, nor does he make any apologies. In fact, he almost seems to want apologies from the rest of them for not being as brilliant.
4. Narrow Set of Interests—Another mark of an Aspie is that they have a very narrow set of interests which they can get lost in for days, weeks, or even months at a time. If you’ve ever watched the show you know this guy can easily lose days in pursuit of answering just one equation. He will routinely forgo any and all extracurricular, or even basic activities, when he’s on the verge of some discovery; certainly no accident.
3. Rigid and Highly Routine— Another very evident element of Sheldon’s personality are his highly rigid routines. This is a common trait of many Aspies as they have issues with changing their routines because of the unpredictability and lack of control, so they will often have fits or tantrums if their efforts to maintain routines are thwarted. For instance, Saturday is always laundry day and one needn’t look any further than Penny’s panty party on the telephone pole to find out what happens if one dares to interrupt his routines.
2. Misunderstands Humor and Sarcasm—Though Sheldon Cooper is a notoriously brilliant mind, he is equally known for being the last one to get a joke…often snickering minutes, or even hours later after the punch line finally hit him. Why is this?! Perhaps because Aspies are known for taking things too literally and thus regularly misreads jokes and sarcasm. Frequently, on the show the funniest part of a joke hinges upon whether or not Sheldon understands it. Oh, but when he gets it, he gets it! #Bazinga!!
1. Socially Awkward—The number one reason why Sheldon Cooper may be an Aspie is that he’s marked by social awkwardness. Like a child, he often needs explanations about why social norms such as birthday presents, or get well soon cards, are an important part of the culture in order for him to try and settle into practicing “normal” customs. Furthermore, he is also seemingly asexual which is one of the biggest myths about people with autism. Sheldon Cooper has a girlfriend whom he has never nearly had intercourse with…though, she is pining. Sheldon does not understand social cues and definitely has to be coaxed into giving any form of affection, hand-holding included. This behavior is by far the biggest indicator that the writers have modeled him after a stereotypical person with Asperger’s. Although you will likely find this stereotype to be an inaccurate representation of someone with autism, this type of behavior is widely accepted as fact within the medical community.
Above all, Sheldon is a very lovable and unique character. Though Sheldon comes off as brash and pompous at times, viewers easily see through his façade. However, viewers also accept that he is a good person who seems to process information differently than the rest of us. Rather than taking these stereotypes and assigning them to people whom you know with Asperger’s in real life, perhaps the next time you come across someone who is suffering from this disorder you will take the time to get to know the Sheldon-esque spirit deep inside.
*Cues “Soft Kitty” Song*