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The Big Bang Theory Season Two: Sheldon Speak

on Mon, 02/08/2010 - 00:00

Sheldon Cooper continues to exhibit his distinctive wit and worldly perspective in the second season of the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory. While classic one-liners continue to be a staple of Sheldon Speak, longer soliloquies that play to the character’s tremendous intelligence and ego are mixed into the season as well. But just like season one, the best dialogue centers on discourses involving science fiction and comic books.

In an early episode, for example, Sheldon refers to fellow scientist Leslie Winkle as his arch enemy: “The Dr. Doom to my Mr. Fantastic. The Dr. Octopus to my Spider-Man. The Dr. Sivana to my Captain Marvel. You know, it’s amazing how many supervillains have advanced degrees. Graduate schools should probably do a better job of screening those people out.”

Other sci-fi observations include:

“I couldn’t become Green Lantern unless I was chosen by the Guardians of Oa, but given enough start-up capital and adequate research facility, I could be Batman.”

“It’s my pre-packed disaster evacuation bag. It’s recommended by the Department of Homeland Security. And Sarah Connor.”

“You know how I know we’re not in The Matrix? If we were, the food would be better.”

“I’m sorry, but I’m not going to watch The Clone Wars TV series until I’ve seen The Clone Wars movie. I prefer to let George Lucas disappoint me in the order he intended.”

“I see no large upcoming expenditures unless they develop an affordable technology to fuse my skeleton with adamantium like Wolverine.”

“I’ve given the matter some thought and I think I’d be willing to be a house pet to a race of super intelligent aliens. The learning opportunities would be abundant. Additionally, I like having my belly scratched.”

“The Japanese, they’re doing some wonderful work with artificial intelligence. Now you combine that with some animatronics from the imagineers over at Disney, next thing you know we’re playing Halo with a multilingual Abraham Lincoln.”

“If Sky Net actually did exist in the future, a perfect way to infiltrate and destroy mankind would be to send Terminators back posing as actors who have played Terminators in popular films and television series, lulling us into a false sense of security.”

Perhaps the most popular contribution of season two is Sheldon’s reinterpretation of the game “rock-paper-scissors,” which he appropriately then names “Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.”

“It’s very simple,” he explains. “Scissors cuts paper. Paper covers rock. Rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock. Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard. Lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock. Spock vaporizes rock. And as it always has, rock crushes scissors.”

Although not as scientifically-diverse as in season one, Sheldon still rattles off his fair share of one-liners in season two.

“For the record, it could kill us to meet new people. They could be murders or the carriers of unusual pathogens.”

“A fear of heights is illogical. Fear of falling, on the other hand, is prudent and evolutionary.”

“A tremendous accomplishment would be if the planetary body he discovered were plummeting to Earth and he exploded it with his mind.”

“The problem is not solved. If your head had been accidentally amputated and we transplanted a dog’s head in its place, would that be ‘problem solved?’”

“I’m a published theoretical physicist with two doctorates and an IQ which cannot be accurately measured by normal tests. How much scarcer could I be?”

“I’d rather have a blow fly lay eggs and hatch larvae in my auditory canal.”

“I’m in such a good mood I’m actually finding your tenuous grasp of the English language folksy and charming today.”

“Would you like some advice? Then this is the perfect time to launch a blog with an interactive comments section.”

“I believe the appropriate metaphor here involves a river of excrement and a Native American water vessel without any means of propulsion.”

And when neighbor Penny shows an inability to follow his instructions, Sheldon comments, “Personal robots cannot get here soon enough.”

To call Sheldon Cooper “unique” is a gross understatement. During season two, he tells the following story about his childhood that puts that uniqueness in a more accurate perspective: “When I was eight, a Montgomery Ward delivery van ran over our family cat, Lucky. While others mourned Lucky, I realized his untimely demise provided me with the opportunity to replace him with something more suited to my pet needs. A faithful companion that I could snuggle with at night yet would be capable of killing on telepathic command. I wanted a Griffin. Half eagle, half lion. I was studying recombinant DNA technology and I was confident I could create one but my parents were unwilling to secure the necessary eagle eggs and lion semen. Of course my sister got swimming lessons when she wanted them.”

Furthermore, Sheldon often has difficulty comprehending everyday tasks such as driving. “This first question makes no sense,” he tells the clerk when applying for a learner’s permit. “‘How many car lengths should you leave in front of you when driving?’ There’s no possible way to answer that. A car length is not a standardized unit of measure. Question two: ‘When are roadways most slippery?’ Now there are three answers, none of which are correct. The correct answer is when covered by a film of liquid sufficient to reduce the coefficient static friction between the tire and the road to essentially zero but not so deep as to introduce a new source of friction.”

In the end, Sheldon gives up on learning to drive. “Have you ever wondered why my little toes and lateral incisors are significantly smaller than the average for someone my size?” he asks roommate Leonard Hofstadter. “Those are indicators that I am farther along the evolutionary scale than the average human. I’m not going to go so far as to say that I represent a distinct new stage in humankind. A homo-novus, if you will. No, that’s for anthropologists to decide. But I am convinced that the reason I cannot not master the plebian task of driving is because I’m not meant to. I’m meant for greater things, like unraveling the mysteries of the universe, not determining when it’s safe to pass a stopped school bus on a country road.”

Sheldon’s ego is front-and-center throughout season two, especially when he greets the latest incoming class of graduate students. “Looking out at your fresh, young faces, I remember when I too was deciding my academic future as a lowly graduate student,” he tells them. “Of course, I was 14 and I’d already achieved more than most of you could ever hope to despite my nine o’clock bedtime. Now, there may be one or two of you in this room who has what it takes to succeed in theoretical physics, although it’s more likely you’ll spend your scientific careers teaching fifth graders how to make paper-machete volcanoes with baking soda lava. In short, anyone who told you that you would someday be able to make any significant contributions to physics played a cruel trick on you, a cruel trick indeed. Any questions?”

That ego also blooms when he meets real-life physicist George Smoot. “You won the Nobel Prize, what, three years ago?” Sheldon asks him. “You must deal with a whole lot of ‘what has Smoot done lately.’ My thought is, we continue my research as a team—you know, Cooper-Smoot, alphabetical—and when we win the Nobel Prize, you’ll be back on top.”

Smoot simply replies, “With all due respect, Dr. Cooper, are you on crack?”

Despite these numerous additions to Sheldon Speak, however, the best line of season two actually belongs to Leonard Hofstadter when he makes the following observation about his inimitable roommate: “The guy’s one lab accident away from being a supervillain.”

Anthony Letizia

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