The quirks, habits and idiosyncrasies which make up the external, identifiable carapace of man’s being, are not merely a protective shell, rather they define his nature, demonstrate his purpose, and are the outward extrusions of his soul. As the unusual carapace of Sheldon is slowly being prised away, let us take a moment to appreciate his original unique construction.
Because why chortle or guffaw when you can sound like a stabbed accordion? Resembling the prelude to a sneeze, or a sarcastic, asthmatic vacuum cleaner, Sheldon’s version of laughter, earns him Humanoid Points of 3/10.
Like the HAL 9000 computer, Shelbot functions along lines of pure logic, order, truth and reason. Inherently honest, when forced to lie or otherwise manipulate his own programming to adhere to the vagaries of social protocol, a spanner is thrown in the intricate, delicate machine, resulting in facial tics, home-fleeing, and Gorn-infested nightmares. Sheldon’s dedication to the Truth only bends for lies which are “Un-unravelable”.
Inability to Deceive
Arching up like a magnificent pair of moth antennae, threatening to fly off with his face, they work the gamut of incredulity to outrage, via smugness, baffledry and sass. A visual warning system to lesser sentients, the eyebrows project the many moods of Sheldon as efficiently as a semaphore.
Seen on T-Shirts and a panoply of misspelled Facebook posts, the catchphrase so dreadful that it’s perversely charming. Used as the cymbal clash at the end of a Sheldonic prank or piece of “humour” or “playfulness”, its appeal lies in knowing that at such times Sheldon is truly delighted with himself.
The OCD/Triple Knock
Every hero has his entrance music, and the Triple Knock
is Sheldor’s. Mimicked affectionately by Penny,
and mocked by everyone else, the Triple Knock is only one (two, three) of a number of compulsions towards closure and clarity. Taking “A place for everything and everything in its place” to a new, and exciting level, they include labelling
the label maker, numerically ordering the cereal according
to fibre content, and reorganising Penny’s entropy-
suck of an apartment whilst
she obliviously slumbers.
“Part of what’s wonderful and unique about Sheldon is he has chosen not to play in the relationship game either way — heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, any sexuality. He has said, ‘This is not for me. I’m a scientist. All I’m interested in is science and what George Lucas thinks.’ We’ve stumbled into creating a character who has chosen a lifestyle for himself that is unique. And I don’t see any reason to modify it.” (Chuck Lorre, 2010).
The Cooper Factoid
Usually an impassioned diatribe on a scientific particular, but occasionally a nugget of arcane knowledge foisted upon the company, for Sheldonian reasons, at moments of either crisis or irrelevancy. Topics include Planck’s Constant, the Drake Equation, Nietzsche, Trains, Swiss Cookery, Roman History, Medieval Underwear and why guacamole turns brown.
Sporadic Super Villainry
Puny humans who cross Sheldon can expect the wrath of Dr. Mwa-Ha-Ha, whose largely ineffectual nefarious schemes began in Childhood, with dog-bothering Sonic Death Rays and the wistful genetic engineering of an Attack Griffin. Now in adulthood they stretch from purloined panties to foamy vengeance,
blackmailed lawyers, and attempts
to blow up Leonard’s head with
his mind or alternatively strangle
him with the force. Pending
cartoon villainry includes plans
to convert the elevator shaft
into a missile silo. Many of
these efforts demonstrate a
comic-book concept of
revenge and justice, rather
than a deeper darkness.
Part of Vintage Sheldon’s appeal was his peculiar, alien innocence. The inability to understand sarcasm or innuendo, to lie, or comprehend subtle facial expressions and tonal variations. His need for protocols, and his constant bafflement at many of humanity’s more sordid fixations, reinforced by his intolerance to alcohol and stimulants, gave him an untouchable, otherworldly quality. This purity justified his moral high ground, in the same
way as his genius justified his arrogance. His obliviousness, finally, removed the sting and malice from his insults.
The Germ Phobia
In an effort to preserve the Citadel of his Integrity, Homo novus distances himself from the lower life form Homo quotidianus via a system of barriers. Wielding an arsenal of Lysol, Purell, Baby Wipes and his general personality, Sheldon maintains a “cool, wary distance” even from his own body, let alone the bacterial theme parks of other people’s.
Whatever one might think of Sheldon Lee Cooper and his apocalyptic emergency, Star-Wars-themed grab bag of tics and crazy; one was never under any doubt that one was in the presence of true genius. One was indeed, made maddeningly, enragedly aware of the fact, if not by his speech and actions, his history and accolades, his manner, dignity and certitude of pursuit, then by Sheldon telling you himself. Possibly several times. As the alien is made human, and the eccentric rendered normal, romance replacing intellect as the focus of his character, the “beautiful mind genius guy” is the Sheldon we fear losing the most.
From Oatmeal Day to Laundry Night, via Halo, Vintage Game, and Comic Book Night, with a terrifying stop at Anything Can Happen Thursday, Sheldon “creature of habit” Cooper patrols the boundaries of his territory with a laudable vigilance. In a land of Tuesday Pajamas, Soft Kitty when sick, a 71 degree climate, where even cocoa is “whimsically” relegated to months with an R in them, the sanctity of routine is paramount. At the heart of all is The Spot, 0000, the singular location in space around which revolves Sheldon’s entire universe.
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