TV Legends Revealed | ‘Big Bang Theory’s’ Sheldon Originally Had a Sex Drive

 

From the original opening

From the original opening

TV URBAN LEGEND: Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory originally had a typical sexual appetite.

One of the most difficult parts about any television series is getting the lead characters right. Many legends have developed over the years about some of the difficulties classic shows have had casting their leads. Whether it’s Brandon Tartikoff claiming that Michael J. Fox could never make it as a lead on Family Ties or The Cosby Show originally looking for a Dominican Clair Huxtable, so much can change before you actually shoot the pilot. Even then, though, things can change dramatically based on audience reactions to the pilot, like audiences loving the killer in the pilot of 77 Sunset Strip so much that producers re-cast the villain as one of the show’s lead characters. Negative audience reaction was the issue with the original, unsuccessful pilot for CBS’s hit comedy The Big Bang Theory.

Jim Parsons stars on as Sheldon Cooper, the egotistical and socially awkward genius who drives many of The Big Bang Theory plots as his friends clash with his fastidious nature. His roommate, the slightly less-awkward Leonard Hofstadter (played by Johnny Galecki) bears the brunt of most of Sheldon’s odd behavior, while Leonard’s girlfriend Penny (Kaley Cuoco) often challenges Sheldon over his behavior (but in an understanding fashion). Parsons has won three Emmy Awards for Best Actor in a Comedy for the role. One of the defining characteristics of Sheldon is his asexual tendencies, which constantly frustrate his girlfriend, Amy Farrah Fowler (played by Mayim Bialik). It’s fascinating to note, then, that the original vision creators Bill Prady and Chuck Lorre had for Sheldon was much different than the character we would all come to know and love (well, tolerate).

From the original pilot

From the original pilot

Lorre was already the proverbial king of the sitcom hill when he and Prady began developing a new sitcom in 2006 (they had previously worked together on Dharma and Greg). Lorre’s raunchy Two and a Half Men was in its third season and had just successfully transitioned into the 9 p.m. Monday time slot on CBS that had been the domain of the hit Everybody Loves Raymond for years. Lorre, a longtime TV writer (he was a writer and producer on Roseanne), had already created a number of successful sitcoms, including Cybil, Grace Under Fire, the aforementioned Dharma and Greg and now Two and a Half Men. The two men pondered two different ideas for a series: In one of the ideas, the show would be about a young woman trying to make her way in the world. In the other, it would be about geeky scientists who are closed off to the “real world” and can’t relate to women. Eventually, they decided to combine the two ideas into one show. Rather than pitch CBS on the concept, Lorre and Prady decided to go the unusual route of filming a pilot themselves and sending that to the network.

The only cast members of the current series that appeared in the original pilot are Parsons and Galecki. They were still roommates, but in that pilot they come across a down-on-her luck beauty salon worker named Katie (Amanda Walsh) who ends up throwing Sheldon and Leonard’s life out of whack by moving in with them. The street-smart Katie clashed with the book-smart Sheldon and Leonard, and that was basically the gist of the show. CBS passed on the pilot but liked the show enough to ask Lorre and Prady to produce a second pilot. Later, Prady and Lorre would note the reaction the test audience had to the pilot:

What we didn’t anticipate, though, is how protective the audience would feel about our guys. Early screenings of that version of the pilot led audiences to beg that the “mean lady” would stay away from the “sweet guys.”

Therefore, they re-shot the pilot, adding Cuoco’s much-nicer Penny, who was sweet to the guys while still, of course, noting how awkward they were socially. This second pilot did very well with audiences, and CBS picked up the show, which has since become a major hit for the network (and is the most popular sitcom on television at the moment).

From the original pilot

From the original pilot

While the move from Katie to Penny is likely the biggest change from the original pilot to the successful one, there was another major change: In the original, Sheldon actually had a sex drive! The opening sequence of the first pilot showed Leonard and Sheldon making some quick cash by donating to a sperm bank that specialized in high-IQ donors. Sheldon complained to Leonard that he was distracted for a while because he was questioning the point of their endeavor (as high-IQ parents do not necessarily produce a high-IQ child) but then he noticed a magazine with women with large buttocks and he was able to finish. Leonard joked that by “noticing” the magazine he meant he brought it from his sock drawer at home. Sheldon then defended his enjoyment of women with large behinds by noting that it’s an evolutionary response to be attracted to women who appear to be good child bearers.

Later in the episode, we meet another rejected character, Sheldon and Leonard’s colleague Gilda (played by Iris Bahr), who was romantically interested in Leonard but, as it is revealed in the episode, had once had sex with Sheldon at a Star Trek convention. Gilda explained, “He was doing such an effective job portraying a Vulcan caught up in the pon farr mating fever that I couldn’t say no.”

At one point, Katie mocks Sheldon’s inexperience with women and he defends himself by explaining that he had seen six naked women in his life, and not all of them were relatives!

So Sheldon originally had a normal sex drive. When the show was re-tooled, though, it’s likely that with the addition of Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar as Leonard and Sheldon’s friends Howard Wolowitz and Raj Koothrappali, the decision was made to use Howard as the friend with a heavy sex drive (while Raj is the opposite side of the spectrum, as he is so shy that he could not even talk to women without first being drunk).

Interestingly, Lorre and Prady have never made the original pilot available as an extra on any Big Bang Theory DVDs. You would think that it would be a compelling curiosity for fans of the show, but I guess they don’t want to show off what they felt to be a failure.

The legend is…

STATUS: True

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

Be sure to check out my Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the worlds of TV, Movies and Music!

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Comments

  • Roger A. Sneed

    The original pilot had been available on the Internet (I can’t remember where I saw it).

  • Brett Spears

    The success of this show proves how shitty most peoples’ tastes in comedy are.

  • joe35

    Or that, you know, they simply find it funny and entertaining. Unlike dull, unfunny shit like Community or Parks and Rec.

  • joe35

    The second (aired) pilot also opens with a scene in a sperm bank, although it gets cut out for syndication airing in order to squeeze in more commercial time.

  • Dandru

    Or that, hey, they have different tastes that you do, you narrow-minded, egotistical, socially inept twat.

  • http://www.noticiaseriefilas.com/ Andoni
  • scarletspider

    Those shows are way funnier and way smarter than big bang theory could ever hope to be.

  • …?

    I saw the original ax better than the new shmeg, oh penny married zack Omg, who gives a f.

  • Jeff

    I find all three funny, Community, Parks and Rec AND Big Bang. I think what it means is humor is subjective. I also like Cheers, Friends, All In the Family and MASH, for the record.

  • brownbear34

    The second pilot also had sheldon and learonard at a sperm bank. infact one of the jokes that leanrd makes is that sheldon could be a pro at sperm donation which kinda means that sheldon has a very active sex drive

  • Chris Coulson

    You are a good kind of person, sir. I have deep respect for you. A person who can juggle many various humours is a very good person indeed.

  • the_rock_says

    I was going to comment that too.

  • JohnnyDoe

    Me too :-)

  • http://ahmadqatato.com Qatato

    The least funny show I’ve ever seen. It’s way overrated than it should be. The characters are badly developed the script is horrible and the jokes are just daft flat cliches. But again, that’s most American TV for you.

  • Tommy Rankin

    Most sitcoms are almost complete shit, they have some okay jokes but there’s no character development or any real plot so it’s easy to get bored by them. Even the fact that BBT is full of “nerd jokes” doesn’t get me interested enough to watch the show

  • Crimsonrain
  • Richard Casey

    Yeah, it’s weird. Mostly because of how cheap and horrible it looks, but also just how different (i.e very 90s) the show felt. Definitley glad we have the version we’ve got now: is it the greatest show around? No, but it IS funny, has characters i like, frequently pulls the “science is awesome card”, give us plenty of Kaylee Cuocuo in tight, cleavagey tanks tops and isn’t afraid to make some deep cut geek gags, whether it’s original Time Machine props being an A story, the use of people like Will Wheaton, or it’s shout outs to the brilliance of Firefly.

    is it smart like Community or adorable as Parks and Rec? Nope. But it is a funny, inoffensive show whose undeniable success and popularity allows networks to make shows like Community and Parks of Rec.

  • Ryan Deadpooln

    It was weird. Sheldon had a thing for big behinds.

  • Gamer_2k4

    I’m not sure what you mean by “the characters are badly developed.” Over seven years, the characters have had some of the most striking development I’ve ever seen in a TV show.

  • Gamer_2k4

    For me, it’s the opposite. The nerd jerks aren’t funny to me (I’m a software engineer, so I’ve heard them all before), but it’s the characters and their development that keeps me hooked on the show.

  • SlamAdams

    You must not watch to much tv

  • http://www.theageofknights.com/ NoThru22

    He liked big buttocks and he could not deceive.

  • SlamAdams

    At this point, I just can’t take laugh tracks seriously. I feel its a pavlovian response to get people to laugh. Plus no one actually sounds like they are having a real conversation. Its just straight line/punch line over and over again.

  • SlamAdams

    I know what you mean to say, but Community and Parks and Rec are actually on a different network usually in the same time slot as Big Bang Theory. If BBT was doing anything, it was taking Community and Parks and Rec off the air being the more competitive show

  • Gamer_2k4

    You must not watch The Big Bang Theory.

  • Lalam

    Given what, a pretentious mindset that assumes your opiniuon is the required worldwide standard?

    Stop kidding yourself. The “taste” you’re referencing references personal preference, which isn’t always the same as yours. Unless you can offer statistic suggesting intellectual argument beyond perceptive bullshit about how a series is below another, stop discussing the topic.

  • Lalam

    “My opinion dictates a show is terrible, and should therefore be seen as overrated, even though other opinions exist supporting its current ratings!”
    What’s funny is that you’re arguing intellectual superiority when you’re clearly too stupid to understand the flaw in your argument.

    Please, for the sake of everyone who is intelligent, stop posting online.

  • Lalam

    That’s how most sitcoms are. If they developed the series without laughtrack breaks, I’m sure it’d make much more sense to people who are purposely looking for flaws instead of enjoying something. Or, rather, being contrarian because they prefer feeling falsely intellectually superior to others.

  • SandwichChipsAndDrink

    One of the worst shows in the history of television.

  • dan

    yeh i got bored about half way through because you were waffling and didnt get to the point, no offence

  • SlamAdams

    My roommates like it so I have caught episodes here and there. I find very little distinction between seasons. A season 4 episode, except for continuity, the characters could have existed as is right after a season 1 episode.

  • SlamAdams

    There’s nothing more falsely intellectually superior than writing off someone’s negative criticism as biased for the sake of being different.

    It’s the way most sitcoms are, but its not the way they all are. And its not the way they have to be. They constantly sacrifice fluidity and timing stopping for laugh breaks and regurgitating lifeless scripts

  • Gamer_2k4

    nerd jokes*

  • AnaBastow

    Sheldon had a sex drive?! I need to sit. The idea that there is an alternative universe with Sheldon having sex capades at Comic Con exist is too much to bear.

  • rodney

    Howard and Raj are almost completely different from how they began. Sheldon and Penny have evolved quite a bit as well. Leonard is more or less the same, but he was always meant to be the most “normal” character. They have also added characters, Amy and Bernadette, to great effect. Maybe it’s not your cup of tea, but it’s very well written, and the characters have evolved quite nicely.

  • rodney

    I’ve never seen Community, love Parks and Rec though, and while the comedy is a different style, I would say the quality is pretty near that of Parks.

  • Believe1nTheShield

    LOL dumb elitist prick, tell me more about how the tv shows you enjoy are soooooo “superior” to the shows other people enjoy?

    XD just pathetic

  • SlamAdams

    What is your definition of overrated? Mine is anything that a lot of people like that I don’t care for. Is that not what it means to you?

  • SlamAdams

    Adding Amy and Brenadette is not the same as character development. I have admitted to seeing only a few episodes here and there, but if there is any character development it is minor or isolated (sitcoms are infamous for character development in a single episode and then pretending it never happened the next).

  • SlamAdams

    Seriously though? Have you not seen something like Breaking Bad or The Sopranos or The Shield? The Wire? Mad Men? If you want to talk about “the most striking development,” there are tv shows that end with their characters looking almost completely different from how they begin. The fact that someone from BBT decided to part their hair different isnt that striking.

  • http://www.noticiaseriefilas.com/ Andoni

    I’ll say this in all honesty: you’re the only person I know that watches TBBT because of its character development.

    Just wanted to point that out.

  • Walter

    Seriously? You started out talking about sitcoms, then compared BBT, a half hour sitcom, to several hour long dramas. Apples and oranges.
    The fact that you say you don’t watch the show probably explains why you don’t see character development. Like looking out the window twice in June and saying there’s only one season.

  • Walter

    It sounds like your criticism of BBT has less to do with the show and more to do with a general dislike for all sitcoms.

    If a show is repeatedly RATED #1, meaning a clear majority of viewers prefer it, I think (by definition) it’s not overrated, just under-appreciated by the minority of people who don’t get it.

  • des_3

    No, it would be something that a lot of people find unappealing, yet remains popular (at least as a meme) in the mainstream.

    You can say Lady Gaga is over-rated because MOST people find her music average and her schtick boring (or Miley Cyrus for that matter), yet she remains a top star because a small percentage of loyal fans and the media constantly prop her up.

    A single person not liking someone or something doesn’t make them over-rated.

  • des_3

    This story once again shows how limited Hollywood writers are. Every idea is simply another spin on oversexed people acting goofy trying to get laid. It’s so tired and lazy, yet you never see a change. You have to go to cable to find intelligently written shows that focus on other character traits.

    Like or dislike the show, if the writers had their way, what would have been made would have been far worse than what we eventually ended up with.

  • Molly

    If I met a guy and was initially attracted to him, only to find out he was a huge fan of this show, I’d never speak to him again. I cannot get past how awful this show is and how stupid people must be to actually think this show has “the most striking character development of any show they’ve ever seen”. WHAT? I’ve never laughed at a single joke and find it sickening that Jim Parsons has a won best actor Emmy multiple times.

  • PsY

    You’re absolutely right, the fact that a 22 minute sitcom focusing on comedy doesn’t have character development as deep as a 45 minute drama focusing on the story is utterly ridiculous!

  • Bretzky1

    In the early part of the first season, it’s obvious that Sheldon is “normal” when it comes to his interest in women. Like most sitcoms, they added an extreme characteristic over time as a comedic prop when they found that it resonated with the audience. It’s similar to Joey on Friends and Kelly on Married with Children. Both started out as being of average intelligence but seemed to turn into raging idiots by the middle of their show’s second season.

  • konnie

    reading the comments is so entertaining. but I think some of you need to be reminded of a recent invention called THE REMOTE. goggle it, the explanation of how it works and the many options it controls will rock your world.

  • Tim

    Sorry, but Community and Parks and Rec aren’t on the intellectual level or comedic quality of Big Bang. Your lack of capable observation is showing it’s ugly head along with those who up-arrowed your low-IQ comment.

  • jim

    if i met a girl and was initially attracted to her, only to find out that she would dump me for my choice of sitcom, i would never speak to her again.

  • Aaron Wexler

    That’s hilarious! You sound just like that stereotype character that hack Jim Parsons plays! Awesome impression.

  • aleparrae

    dude, this is awesome…
    i love your site
    y vos estas muy wapo

  • sinnerG7

    THANK YOU! for posting that. It was Hilarious!

  • Todd Robbins

    I like Sheldon to be asexual…. his intelligence & sexual habits would have been a little strange comprehend.

  • http://www.noticiaseriefilas.com/ Andoni

    Jajaja, ¡gracias!

  • Dee Ellen

    Thank you! I enjoyed it, too.

  • Jonas Tamarack

    Its because you don’t get the jokes. Only people with an IQ over 130 find it funny.

  • Patrick_Gerard

    I thought those people were busy watching Community…

  • Patrick_Gerard

    It’s in competition with Community and Parks & Rec though. Chuck Lorre’s shows are generally seen as the destroyer of NBC’s “cerebral sitcoms.”

    I really think the only terribly “clever” comedy show on CBS is How I Met Your Mother… and I don’t think BBT helps it any.

  • Patrick_Gerard

    The one thing positive BBT did for Community: Community has never had great ratings but one thing that keeps it coming back is that it’s the one show that never loses viewers to BBT.

  • Patrick_Gerard

    Granted… I think it’s a pretty close copy of the British show The IT Crowd, which is a touch funnier than BBT but even more cliched.

  • Patrick_Gerard

    You mean the Chipettes don’t make Alvin and the Chipmunks on par with an AMC cable drama?

    In terms of plot development, Parks & Recreation, Modern Family, and the BBT may deliver that. Heck, American Dad excels at that. It’s Always Sunny is constant plot development.

    But I think HIMYM and Community are the only American sitcoms I can think of that do character development, where characters have organically developed quirks and changed their identities and beliefs dramatically as a result of events in episodes.

  • Me

    While I do like The Big Bang, I do believe Chuck Lorre to be a way too egotistical (hate those self-indulgent paragraphs at the end of his shows), a dipstick and sexists with twinges of misogonism. But our culture loves sexism and misogonism.

  • ex Kaybecer

    YOu are half right. Community is an overyhped piece of drivel. P&R is a smart, funny, heartwarming story about real people albeit quirky, to whom we can relate.

  • PAM

    I like the show but I’m really tired of Raj’s race jokes about being brown and/or Indian. It’s unrealistic and cliche. Apparently the writers in Hollywood have not evolved much regarding minorities. To think that he would constantly bring up being Indian is perfect proof.

  • Nick

    Holy shit. How low is your IQ? It must be far under the average for you to be this stupid.
    If there is a god, he is extremely cruel for making you so stupendously moronic.

  • Nick

    What do you mean “if the writers had their way”? They never claimed that they wanted Sheldon to have a sex drive, or think he should have one. It’s merely how they first envisioned the show. Not every Hollywood writer is as close-minded to new ideas as you portray them to be.
    You’re merely shoving words into Lorre and Prady’s mouths without any evidence.
    In short, shut the fuck up. You’re an imbecile.

  • Nick

    I didn’t realise you must watch both shows on TV, and cannot rent/buy them on DVD.
    Strange…

  • des_3

    Nice try dipshit. Maybe you should learn to read before you post again.

    “They never claimed that they wanted Sheldon to have a sex drive…..it’s merely how they envisioned the show.”

    Seriously, I know you want to show everyone how stupid you are, but if they “envisioned the show” that way, that means that’s how they wanted him. WTF????

  • tom evans

    wow, how is How I Met Your Mother even in this conversation, let alone still on the air? It is the dumbest show ever foisted on the American public. The voice of the grown up Ted (who IS AN ADULT!) is provided by Bob Saget. Is Ted going to grown into Bob Saget in another 10 years? Somehow no one has noticed or cared about this for the 37 years (maybe it just seems this long) the show has been polluting the airwaves. And the rest of the show is an openly gay man picking up (and rudely dumping) dozens of women, while the rest of the cast whines and frets about dinner plans and the price of beer. For the love of all that is holy, PULL THE PLUG ON THIS UNRELENTING GARBAGE!!!

  • disqus_ofKJ7qkikv

    Well they succeeded, Sheldon is very, very different, and I love it.

  • ballen1133

    I really like BBT but sometimes I wish Sheldon would get therapy.

  • carre1

    I like Big Bang but they have made Sheldon unlikeable. The episode where Leonard wore the scratchy shirt showed Sheldon to be off the wall unfeeling, although Leonard was stupid for going along with Sheldon. Yes, I know, Sheldon is not supposed to have any empathy for humans.

  • ex Kaybecer

    I disagree. Sheldon has been unlikeable from Day 1. Just more so the last few years especially how cruelly he treats poor Amy.

  • Zadie Summer-Day

    I remember watching a couple of episodes of The Big Bang Theory when it first came out and didn’t think it was funny enough. Like I realized the joke but it wasn’t strong enough to push me over the edge for chuckling to ensue (I feel the same way with Two Broke Girls). I remember generally liking the actors and characters and hoping it got funnier for their sake. Years later I gave it a shot and it actually caused me to laugh out loud. Seems that it improved or my standards for humor have lowered. I guess it could be either one.

  • D2Kvirus

    No, you’re thinking of 2 Broke Girls.

  • crispy crisp

    The humor in Big Bang is starting to fade. Same thing is happening with HIMYO.

  • :)

    “Same thing is happening with HIMYO.”

    How I Met Your Otter?

  • ex Kaybecer

    Silly….How I Met Your OTHER, as in significant other…jeez….some people can;’t read…

  • ghostofyou

    Friends!! Best sitcom of all time.

  • ex Kaybecer

    Not even close. But very enjoyable, well written and acted.

  • lzardo

    But, there´s some reminiscence of this Sheldon with a sexual drive even in the first episode.

    When they are waiting to donate their sperm, Sheldon tells Leonard that he thinks he would not be able to do that.

    Leonard refutes it by saying that he was actually a “pro”, referring to Sheldon masturbation habits.

  • Paul Munz

    I see some bright spots in the original pilot but the way the show turned out is a lot better. There were some laughs in this one and the theme music seems a little too obvious.
    Gilda in this pilot reminds me of Amy that they brought in later and Penny fits in better than Katie does even though they are somewhat similar…
    … and Sheldon is still somewhat Sheldon..

  • Paul Munz

    Thanks for sharing this! it was great to see how the show could have been..

  • BlueTigress

    Yep, seen it more than once.

  • Tresix

    Odd, joe35, because I like “Big Bang Theory”, “Community”, AND “Parks and Recreation”. What does that say about me?

  • ex Kaybecer

    Tresix, it means that you have a great sense of humour, enjoy funny, smart, well-written comedies, and also enjoy Community.

  • ex Kaybecer

    YOu are allowed to cry racism if you are a racial minority in the area in which you live.

  • ex Kaybecer

    One of the reasons I started to watch a couple of his shows were the aptly named “vanity cards” where I had to pause the VCR back in the day.
    Some are funny, some poignant, some sad, but you really want to bring a show or its creator down because of two seconds?
    If Lorre is to be pilloried make it for something substantial, like firing Charlie Sheen and blowing up the very nature of Two and a Half Men. Where he has got rid of to of the three main characters, changed the makeup of two others and made the leads basically despicable.

  • ex Kaybecer

    Goggle it?

  • ex Kaybecer

    No, Community is for people who don’t mind rewinding the tape of the show they are watching because that characters speak to quickly (Abed especially) so as to fool people into thinking they are clever, witty and brilliant.

  • Beau

    “The only cast members of the current series that appeared in the original pilot are Parsons and Galecki.” — Actually the sperm bank receptionist now has the recurrent part of the ER Nurse.

  • ex Kaybecer

    Shame on you to not recognize Welcome Back, Kotter’s Vernee Watson.

  • http://www.retorch.com/ Jason Beck

    Yes – saw a lot of these jokes/gags in the show. And in the actual pilot, Sheldon seems pretty interested in Penny, in my opinion. It was almost like his “sex drive” was quickly written out of the show in the first few episodes.

  • Brin

    Wow, that Katie character was terrible, and Gilda was sooo… annoying. And the un-funny made the laugh track that much more archaic.

  • ex Kaybecer

    Boy that female character was annoying—kind of like the way Sheldon is now. Only not nearly so much.

  • Andrew Mutz

    well, I am not sure which part I didn’t like more, but you do have a point… I like what they have not what they could have had.. and I would not have watched what I just saw… I am like new Sheldon.. not like old Sheldon…

  • AJ2449

    Agreed, the culture loves sexism, but it’s primarily the more common misandrist type.

  • Alex Graul

    Pseudo Intellectuals arguing about the intellectual value of sitcoms. Interesting.

  • Jon

    In the actual pilot Leonard still makes a comment regarding how frequently Sheldon masturbates. Also, in the first few episodes Raj talks around Penny without any problem.

  • Bubbles

    What makes sitcoms work is tension.

    Lorre mastered that with 2 and 1/2 men. Everyone in that show hates or has tension towards just about everyone else in that show, but circumstances force them to be together. The comedy falls from there. Of course the big tension was whether Charlie Sheen would self destruct or not, and he walked a fine line for 8 or 9 years before he finely chose a side. This also provides another important aspect, there has to be an element or thread of truth to make the narrative and the tension believable enough to trigger comic relief.

    Along the way, Lorre seems to have mastered the psychological back story to his characters that impel them towards their characteristically behavior: this is a form of tension as well. In the case of Two and a Half men, its the relationship with the mother and goes from there. Some of the funniest episodes are ones where they are at the Psychiatrists office (Jane Lynch)

    Tension is at work masterfully in The Big Bang Theory. First off you have worked with “nerds” (I worked as an Information Systems professional for 14 years, so yes, I have) then you know there’s a ring of truth in all the characters behavior. That’s the truth necessary to make the narrative believable enough to trigger comic relief. The tension is the inability of “geeks/nerd” to interact normally in the real world.

    The title of an important book “Accidental Empires” includes “How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date.” There’s the desire to date and the social inability to pull it off. That’s tension right there. Lorre is able to exploit this and harvest all of the collateral tension. He has good psychological back story too. The reason these two people live together is because each is a metaphore for the other’s mother. It is a known psychological drive that we continue to attempt to get our relationship right with our parents through metaphores for them in our other relationships.

    The comedies that make it big tap into those elements: psychological back story as a source of tension, and tension in the other relationships.

  • Jarek Draven

    Those curious can find the unaired pilot online.

    I actually thought it was pretty good. The original “Penny” character was not nearly as good. And yes, she came across as more “edgy.” But I really liked a sexualized Sheldon. IMO it made him more relateable.

  • rodycaz

    Thank you! That was fun to watch.

  • rodycaz

    No, it’s not.

  • unclesam328

    I may be crazy but I swear I saw on Youtube and even earlier version of a pilot. It was terrible. I’ve tried to go back and find it but they must have pulled it. Someone else played Sheldon and he didn’t get it. Across the hallway was a lesbian couple where the guys had placed hidden cameras. Roger A. Sneed – Was that what you watched? Parsons did not play Sheldon!!!!!!

  • Matt Hardwick

    Like yours you mean. This is one of the funniest shows on TV I’ll have you know!

  • NM25

    Justin Bieber constantly gets to the top of the charts i.e. ‘RATED #1′, he still creates awful music and I think TBBT is similar to this principle.

    TBBT is not an intelligent show. It makes the same predictable slapstick/toilet jokes but throws in science jargon.

  • NM25

    TBBT does this as well. Toilet jokes with science jargon thrown in to make it feel intelligent.

  • http://www.poewar.com/ John Hewitt

    You are right but your comparison does not mean much. When you compare the character development on a traditional three camera sitcom to some of the greatest dramas in television history, it is going to fall short.

    However, when you compare it to other three camera sitcoms, it is actually very good at staying true to character development. Some of the differences:

    Sheldon has opened up his circle of friends, and actually admitted to caring about other people. He is actively trying to develop an intimacy with a woman, which would have been all but unthinkable in the first two seasons.

    Howard has gone from an extremely off-putting pervert, to someone in a loving marriage with someone he is dedicated to. He has also developed a friendship with Amy that is devoid of sexual overtones, which is a major step forward.

    Raj can speak. That alone is amazing, and the way they developed it felt earned.

    Leonard has gone from someone who worshiped a girl from afar with no real ability to connect to her, to someone who has had two long-term relationships in which marriage has been at least a remote possibility.

    Penny has gone from someone who dated and connected with handsome dullards and viewed her neighbors with a measure of condescension to someone who openly admits she loves nerds, not just Leonard, but all of her nerd friends. She has also been seriously questioning her life choices in a number of ways.

    I’m not claiming this is high art. It’s a sitcom. But if you compare the development on this show with other hit sitcoms, it definitely has let it’s characters grow more than most.

  • ex Kaybecer

    Extremely well put, John. BBT is one of those rare shows that has actually gotten better with time and is much funnier and RICHER since the women arrived.
    Raj’s talking to women came as a weird shock but I said it was WELL about time.
    It is clever and heartwarming at the same time. Perhaps even Sheldon is not irredeemable as a character and Howard is MUCH improved.

  • Jjmayhem

    How is it a stereotypical character?

  • Jjmayhem

    Gotta love those opinions huh

  • lanmanna

    Of course someone who likes the Big Bang would hate Parks and Rec and Community. I’m guessing you watching 2 Broke Girls and Two & a Half Men too. LOL

  • lanmanna

    Heck no. Seinfeld, Frasier, and numerous 60s/70s/80s sitcoms are better.

  • ex Kaybecer

    Seinfeld is the most overrated overhyped show of its time, possibly in history. Friends was very good.l There are some that were better.

  • Joshua Pfahning

    It is worth noting that the pilot that was aired for the show as it is now also originally started with a brief scene in a sperm bank. During the scene Sheldon remarks that he yearns for faster downloads but that he doesn’t feel he can go through with donating, to which Leonard replies that he (Sheldon) is semi-pro at it (paraphrased). As the show has progressed I have noticed that scene has been removed from re-run airings of the Pilot, which now starts off with Leonard and Sheldon walking up the stairs and Sheldon’s explaining the experiment with stairs he conducted as a child, during which his father broke his clavical.

  • Harley Jackson

    I think you guys haven’t touched on the point of this article: SHELDON HAD SEX. Yeah. Mindfreak.

  • John Taylor

    I say that the end of the series should have Penny being smarter than all of them. Her playing dumb was all part of a social experiment.

  • ex Kaybecer

    And render the entire series useless? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no. THe only series that did that brilliantly was Newhart (best series finale ever).

  • FoxyHound

    The official pilot had them trying to donate sperm as well, they just don’t go through with it.

  • Nine AM

    Yup, and actually, in the official pilot, Lennard says to Sheldon that he knows that Sheldon has no problem masturbating at home, so he should be able to do it in the sperm bank. So it seems that even when producing the second pilot the idea of Sheldon having no sex drive actually came later in the season, not at the very beginning.

  • Erik Baran

    Just because most of the show goes over your pointy head doesn’t mean it’s unfunny.

  • Erik Baran

    Lol. “Way overrated than it should be”? How overrated SHOULD it be? And you take the typical Third World slap at America? Cliché.

  • ex Kaybecer

    if he can honestly say that’s American TV for you, his mind is too closed to be reasoned with. Even in Canada we produce some awful stuff (Satisfaction? Little Mosque?) but also some fantastic shows (11th Hour, 22 Minutes, Arctic Air) so I would not dismiss a network, let alone a country, for one bad show.
    Which BBT most definitely is not. As mentioned above (by me as well), the character development, especially with Melissa and Mayim’s characters, has overshot even the first season of most shows. I can’t stand Sheldon, but the cast and characters blend so incredibly well, and the show is so well-written that you don’t have to be a geek or science nerd to love it. Which I do. (And I’m not!)

    Obviously Chuck Lorre is putting all his effort into keeping this show on a high level and ignoring other creations (Two and A Half Men, post Charlie, anyone? I must admit Mike and Molly has been ok but has lost a step), for which we are grateful.

  • Sand Lily

    It’s realistic, believe it or not. I’ve actually worked with people (from India) who do the same thing.

  • ex Kaybecer

    Listen to Russell Peters or Shaun Majumder sometimes.

  • Mark V.

    I never knew that, very interesting! Thanks for posting it.

  • jd

    Thank You!
    Sheldon has the same sex drive in the aired pilot.
    Which kind of takes away from the point of the article.

  • casbah

    Nope that title belongs to Seinfeld.

  • ex Kaybecer

    Only if you are referring to most OVERRATED sitcom of its time.

  • Amanda

    It comes in my season 1 dvd set, in Brazil

  • ph74

    IIRC the first episode makes it seem as if Sheldon was attracted to Penny and was competeing for her attention. The whole “A Sexual” portion of the character seemed to develop later.

  • jimG

    The writing for the BBT has been terrible this season. Lorre has too many productions. The writing is no longer creative and comical. Sorry to see it go downhill.

  • Julia Murray

    In the aired pilot you can see that Sheldon had a sex drive; he was competing with Leonard over Penny’s attention to their respective work, and it wasn’t in his now-usual “I have to be the center of attention” manner, but rather as awkward flirting.

  • Jose Soto

    i presently have a copy of the pilot…it is an essential bonus for the Big Bang Theory fans.

  • Olaf

    I really hope they revisit this ‘universe’ in a what-if style episode (that by the way, would totally work as a concept on The Big Bang given its comicy-ness) – Obviously re-work it with Howard, Raj and Penny. And penny should ask “Have you ever wondered what Sheldon would be like if he had a sex-drive?” or something and then they could do this. Oh man I want this.

  • LiveFreeOrDiet

    The unaired pilot was released on the Season 1 bonus / blooper / behind the scenes DVD.

  • roundthings

    Seinfeld was great except for the year or two that Larry david wasn’t in charge. Those episodes, ironically, were some of the worst of all time

  • roundthings

    Anyone tuning in now may feel that way, the show’s writing has clearly gone downward.
    However, the first few years (actually up to Howard’s rooftop wedding, which was great) are comic gems that will leave a lasting legacy, IMO

  • ex Kaybecer

    Ummmm, no, and maybe.

  • ex Kaybecer

    “Clearly”? Obviously not. NEVER make a ridiculous statement like that. It only makes you look foolish.
    It is perhaps a bit less cerebral, but far funnier and relatable, especially with the additions of Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik (who is brilliant in her own right).

  • roundthings

    The statement stands. Watch re-runs and watch the show now-it is clearly not as well written.
    The girls are great but have been from the beginning

  • RY33

    Thanks. If you’re a fan of the show and have the internet you’ve already seen this. Got any scoops about the shape of the Earth or the color of the sky?

  • Bob Dagner

    the question is a sex drive for what

  • Royce Dressel

    Its also a world in which there are apparently no black physicists. Which is curious considering the popularity and ethnicity of two other shows about physics. oh I forgot its a nerd fantasy. I guess it would be like seeing a white man on bill cosbys show that wasnt a villan.

  • suzych

    I’ve heard a few people enthuse over Sheldon as (*finally*) a tv character that at least acknowledges that some people really do have very low sex-drives, but are nonetheless human beings. Most Western story-telling just ignores the existence of people who aren’t panting after sex all the time, or at least constantly preoccupied by ideas about sex. Refreshing, IMO.

  • Jasha Gutierrez

    I find BBT witty and hilarious- they don’t need tons of costume or change of set for it to be funny, interesting, and such a big hit. The staff took to four nerdy characters and turn them into some of the most interesting and unforgettable characters i’ve ever seen on tv. and trust me- i have seen a lot

  • nightmagic

    i love it just the way it is !! its clever witty and Sheldon is willing to learn in his own quirky way !!! its such a great show !!! and it never goes to far !

  • nightmagic

    thank you for the link !!!!

  • 23

    Wait? Them being in the sperm bank wan’t in the first episode? What the hell did I watch then? (or more precisely “how?” since we know what)

  • 23

    Yup, looked it up- it’s still in the first episode. Less explicit, but sill makes a strong case for Sheldon having a sex drive.

  • Edwin Gyomar Morales-Lopez

    I know an Indian girl who’s famous on YouTube for constantly talking about the fact that she’s Indian and explaining brown girls’ culture to everyone. She even just did a movie with the guy who plays Raj.

  • Tresix

    Yes, I do.

  • Kealeboga

    I say the mistake turned into something else… adorable because the show is superbly flurbished

  • Aussie cathie

    Thank you for Sheldon Cooper… Jim Parsons you are a legend