|Name:||Sheldon Lee Cooper; Sheldor; Shelly|
|Relationships:||Leonard Hofstadter (best friend); Penny (dear friend); Rajesh Koothrappali (dear friend); Howard Wolowitz (dear friend); Bernadette Rostenkowski (friend); Amy Farrah Fowler (wife); Leonard Cooper (son); other unnamed child(ren); Mary Cooper (mother); George Cooper Sr. (father, deceased); Missy Cooper (twin sister); George "Georgie" Cooper Jr. (brother); Missy's unnamed son (nephew); Constance "Connie" Tucker aka "Meemaw" (maternal grandmother); Charles "Charlie" Tucker/"Pop Pop" (maternal grandfather); Wil Wheaton (hate crush); Lucky (childhood pet cat, deceased); Tamagotchi (digital pet)|
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Reception and Popularity
Sheldon is very likely to be the most popular character out of the cast of The Big Bang Theory. He is the character most likely to be recognized by those who do not watch the show themselves, and he is featured more often and more prominently than his friends in fan works.
Portrayal of ASD
The show itself never explicitly mentions Sheldon being autistic, and co-creator Bill Prady has even denied it outright when he was asked about it by fans. Despite this, the character is commonly agreed to be autistic due to the many symptoms of ASD he displays, such as strict adherence to routines, difficulties in social situations and unusally strong interests.
Many people criticize the way Sheldon is portrayed. His autistic traits are the butt of the joke more often than not, some even having evolved into running gags (e.g. his catchphrase "that's my spot"). These jokes at his expense often come from other characters on the show, and the added laugh track tells the audience they are meant to laugh along. Other times, Sheldon's behaviour itself is supposed to be the joke, suggesting that solely displaying symptoms of ASD is funny in some way. Additionally, the show reinforces stereotypes, most notably the idea that autistic people are insensitive and uncaring. On occasion, Sheldon is portrayed as an overgrown child, which affirms the infantilazation of autistic people. Among the autistic community, the character is seen less as representation and more as an offensive caricature.
I'm not Sheldon Cooper. I am, however, autistic, which means I'm constantly compared to him. This is ironic because according to the producers of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper isn't actually autistic. And yet my autism is constantly compared – and seemingly failing to live up – to this fictional character.
However, some argue that Sheldon is positive representation. Instead of being given a stereotypically lonely, miserable, limited life that media often presents as the default for neurodivergent people, Sheldon has a close circle of friends, a loving relationship with his girlfriend-turned-wife, fulfilling hobbies, a successful career, and a biting sense of humor.
Fanon and Tropes
Fan Communities and Archives
- FanFiction.Net (FFN): The Big Bang Theory stories and crossovers featuring Sheldon C.
- Archive of Our Own (AO3): Sheldon Cooper tag
- Comic-Con: 'Big Bang Theory' finds inspiration in...Pepe Le Pew?
- Hetherington-Page, Oliver. "Oliver Hetherington-Page says his experience of autism doesn't fit the pop culture mould". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 14 September 2021. Archived from the original.