Dissecting Sheldon Cooper

There's no denying that I have feelings for you that can't be explained in any other way. I briefly considered that I had a brain parasite, but that seems even more far-fetched. The only conclusion was love.  Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory.

If you've seen even a single episode of the hit sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, then you're familiar with Dr. Sheldon Cooper.   Played to perfection by Jim Parsons, the tall, brilliant, Sheldon has always seemed bizarre (and that's saying something considering the other characters on the show).  Even fellow genius Leonard once described his friend and roommate as being "one lab accident away from becoming a supervillain."  When faced with frequent speculations about his mental stability, Sheldon typically responds that "my mother had me tested"  though his autistic personality,  asexuality, and  general weirdness does little to reassure his friends.

In may ways, Sheldon fits in with the general stereotype of the eccentric genius so often seen in other shows and movies.  Examples include Dr. Gregory House (star of the medical show of the same name), the OCD-racked Adrian Monk, and Dr. Emmet Brown of Back to the Future fame.   The popularity of these characters seems to tie in with our own fascination with creative types who are often seen as paying the price for their genius with assorted mental quirks that separate them from the rest of us.   But what does this fascination with characters like Sheldon Cooper, or the popularity of shows like The Big Bang Theory,  say about our own attitudes about creativity and mental illness?

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.





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