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The Big Bang Theory Season Four: Sheldon Speak

on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 00:00

The CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory contains a stellar cast of four distinct and highly original characters. Howard Wolowitz, for instance, is a pint-sized aerospace engineer who fashions himself a womanizer despite his sheepish and slightly obnoxious behavior. Rajesh “Raj” Koothrappali, meanwhile, is an astrophysicist whose internal shyness makes it literally impossible for him to speak with members of the opposite sex. Experimental physicist Leonard Hofstadter, on the other hand, is just as much as socially inept as the others but is also the most normal of the group, and next-door-neighbor Penny is the loveable blonde waitress caught up in the weekly goings-on of her male counterparts.

Then there’s Sheldon Cooper. While Raj has an inability to talk with women, the theoretical physicist has no interest in the opposite sex—or his own sex, for that matter. While Howard tends towards the obnoxious, Sheldon has taken up residence there with his egotistical intellect and condescending nature. And although Leonard and Penny are normal by sitcom standards, Sheldon Cooper is anything but typical with his vast array of social ticks and personality quirks. Taken together, however, these qualities translate into one of the most memorable and comic characters on television. The traits have also enabled Sheldon to develop his own manner of speaking through the years, filled with witty one-liners, unusual observations and both scientific and geek culture analogies, and season four of The Big Bang Theory continues that trend.

“If there’s simply no talking to me, why did you call?”

“I won’t say that all senior citizens who can’t master technology should be publicly flogged, but we make an example of one or two, it might give the others incentive to try harder.”

“I was in a taxi but the driver didn’t look at all like the photograph on his license, so I lept out and ran for it.”

“‘Not knowing is part of the fun.’ Was that the motto of your community college?”

“Everyone was set a-twitter. Although oddly no one Tweeted.”

“If you’re looking for an example of a waste of time, I would refer you to the conversation we’re having right now.”

Many of Sheldon Cooper’s best lines come in response to comments made by other characters on The Big Bang Theory. For instance, when a female FBI agent arrives at his apartment and shows her identification, Sheldon replies, “Here is my Justice League membership card, but that doesn’t prove I know Batman.”

And when a pizza delivery guy calls because the elevator is not working and he is reluctant to use the stairs, Sheldon tells him, “Pizza dates back to the Sixteenth Century while the first elevator was not installed until 1852. That means for over 300 years people carried pizzas up stairs. Be part of that proud tradition.”

Penny is often the brunt of Sheldon’s most condescending remarks. When she asks if she can partake in the group’s take-out dinner, for example, Sheldon says, “At this point in our eco-system, you are akin to the plover, a small scavenging bird that eats extra food from between the teeth of crocodiles. Please, fly into our open maw and have at it.”

Other Sheldon Cooper comments include:

Penny: “Can I ask you a question?”
Sheldon: “Given your community college education, I encourage you to ask me as many as possible.”

Leonard: “Do we have any alcohol?”
Sheldon: “No. But we have potatoes. I could make you vodka. It will take two weeks.”

Penny: “That’s thinking ahead.”
Sheldon: “The alternative would be to think backwards, and that’s just remembering.”

Leonard: “Can’t we make a onetime exception for tonight?”
Sheldon: “We could. We could also stop using the letter M. But I think that idea is isguided and oronic.”

Penny: “You guys ready to order?”
Sheldon: “Since we come in every Tuesday night at six o’clock and order the same exact thing and it’s now six o-eight, I believe your question not only answers itself but also stands alongside such other nonsensical queries as ‘Who let the dogs out?’ and ‘How are they hanging?’”

Leonard: “Einstein had a pretty busy sex life.”
Sheldon: “Yes, and he never unified gravity with the other forces. If he hadn’t been such a hound dog, we’d all have time machines.”

Penny: “Don’t tell me you’re afraid of germs.”
Sheldon: “Not all germs. Just the ones that will kill me. Same way I’m not afraid of all steak knives, just the ones that might be plunged into my thorax.”

Sheldon Cooper, however, is not the only one on The Big Bang Theory that uses scientific metaphors and ponders various geek elements throughout the course of the series. Examples of “Sheldon Speak” spoken by other members of the cast include:

Leonard: “Let me see if I can explain your situation using physics. What would you be if you were attached to another object by an incline plan wrapped helically around an axis?” (The answer is “screwed.”)

Raj: “There’s something I’ve always wondered about Aquaman. Where does he poop? What do the toilets look like in Atlantis? How would you flush it? And when you did flush it, where would the poop go?”

Leonard: “If they took all the money they spent trying to make a decent Hulk movie they could probably just make an actual Hulk.”

The small inner circle on The Big Bang Theory grew during season four with more prominent screen time for recurring characters Amy Farrah Fowler and Bernadette Rostenkowski. Amy in particular is a friend of Sheldon Cooper and exhibits much of the same quirks and ticks as her male companion.

“Amy’s at the dry cleaners and she’s made a very amusing pun,” Sheldon tells the others in regards to a text message he receives. “‘I don’t care for perchloroethylene and I don’t like glycol ether.’ Get it? She doesn’t like glycol ‘ether.’ Sounds like ‘either.’”

When Penny asks Amy how her life is going, Amy replies, “Like everybody else’s. Subject to entropy, decay and eventual death.”

“I’ll make it simple for you,” Amy tells Sheldon in regards to the difference between being a neurobiologist like herself and a microbiologist like Bernadette. “I study the brain, the organ responsible for Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Bernadette studies yeast, the organism responsible for Michelob Light.”

Other remarks made by Amy Farrah Fowler include:

“You’re mother thinks you might be losing your mind over me. As a neurobiologist, I was curious.”

“Did you know that the iconic Valentine’s heart shape is not actually based on the shape of a human heart but rather on the shape of a buttocks of a female bending over?”

“Do you subscribe to the Freudian theory of penis envy? Sometimes I think it might be nice to have one. Not for sex, for convenience. You can’t deny that by comparison, our internal plumbing is extremely high maintenance.”

“Sheldon, like it or not, until you manage to upload your intelligence into a self-sustaining orbiting satellite equipped with high speed Internet and a cloaking device, you will be dependent on other members of the human race.”

Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler team up during the course of the season to invent a new game called Counterfactuals. “We postulate an alternate world that differs from ours in one key aspect and then pose questions to each other,” Amy explains.

The first question asked is, “In a world were rhinoceroses are domesticated pets, who wins the Second World War?”

“Uganda,” Sheldon answers. “Kenya rises to power on the export of rhinoceroses. A central African power block is formed, colonizing North Africa and Europe. When war breaks out, no one can afford the luxury of a rhino. Kenya withers, Uganda triumphs.”

“In a world where mankind is ruled by a giant intelligent beaver, what food is no longer consumed?” is another query and the correct response is Cheese Danish. “In a world ruled by a giant beaver, mankind builds many dams to please the beaver overlord,” Amy rationalizes. “The low lying city of Copenhagen is flooded, thousands die. Devastated, the Danes never invent their namesake pastry.”

With their high level of intelligence and inherent geek nature, it is no wonder that the core group of characters on The Big Bang Theory have such a unique, eloquent and extremely amusing way of expressing themselves. Still the cornerstone of the series is Sheldon Cooper, who not only keeps the dialogue flowing but the internal dynamics as well.

As he himself explains to Amy Farrah Fowler, “They can’t function without me. I’m the social glue that holds this little group together.”

Anthony Letizia

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