As it happens with all important moments in life, I remember perfectly where and when I started watching “The Big Bang Theory”, the record-breaking sitcom that promises to go out with a bang on May 16th.
It was Sunday morning in December 2008. The Warner Channel in Brazil was showing re-runs of the first season of “The Big Bang Theory”, and I coincidentally turned on the TV when the pilot was starting. I was instantly hooked. Those two physicists, without their pants after a failed attempt to donate sperm in exchange for money, made me laugh a lot — and they would be the main source of laughter during the hardest time of my life.
That December the network presented a marathon of the first season — I watched and loved it. I watched the second season through reruns and later, already in 2009, started watching the episodes as they aired for the first time here in Brazil. And how I needed that!
2009 was the worst year of my life. I was a sophomore in high school, had no friends in a class of 50, was bullied and developed depression. On Tuesdays, I had the most boring subjects at school — however, on Tuesdays I also watched new episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” on TV. And so I could go on — because I had Sheldon Cooper and his gang waiting for me.
Speaking of Sheldon Cooper, I was surprised because, as I saw more and more episodes, I realized I had never seen anyone like myself on TV — until Sheldon came. Like Sheldon, I am a nerd (and proud of it) who is socially awkward and has quirky manias. Like him, I skipped grades, I don’t like birthdays, I always sit at the same spot of the couch, I like correcting people, I often sound pedantic, I have eidetic memory and I hate when things are not done my way.
I was happy enough with seeing myself in Sheldon, and didn’t think it was weird at all. Then, in 2010, I was reading a magazine when I saw Sheldon mentioned. It was an article about health, and Sheldon was mentioned as someone who might have Asperger’s syndrome.
Once again, my life was changed thanks to “The Big Bang Theory”. So, I was not only weird, different, or as my bullies called me, “a monster” and “an alien”? There was actually a reason behind me being who I was?
Yes, I know the creators of the show have said that Sheldon doesn’t have Asperger’s. But guess what: I do, and I only found this out because of Sheldon. It actually took seven years from my initial contact with Asperger’s until my mother finally had me tested and I got the diagnosis. And I started living better because of it — because now I know more about myself.
So Sheldon is basically me — and Young Sheldon is so painfully relatable that I sometimes have the feeling the writers had been following me since I was a kid. Sheldon helped me go through my bad times, and I’ll be forever thankful to everybody who made Sheldon the way he is — including four-time Emmy winner Jim Parsons. I always remember where I was each time he won — of course, I was watching the Emmys and got very excited for him, for the show, and for all nerds over there.
I must confess it took me some time to warm up to Amy. At first I thought Sheldon’s relationship with her was a way of “conforming” to society norms, something I don’t like and that would hurt the initial idea of focusing on the outcast nerds like me. But then I realized Amy was quirky in her own way, and Sheldon’s growth didn’t need to be like my own personal growth for me to like it. It’s OK if the characters grew by engaging in healthy relationships while I grew by pursuing a degree and following my dreams. I loved seeing they grow, learn and compromise — and while doing this they never failed to make me laugh.
And there was the time when, not being able to dress as Sheldon for Halloween (as I’m very short), I just dressed as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler! Of course my first idea was to dress as the Doppler Effect, but I had to improvise with the things I had at home:
“The Big Bang Theory” is ending, but it’ll always influence my life. I’ll keep on quoting the show. I’ll keep on saying “Bazinga!” I’ll keep on wanting to solve problems with a game of rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock. I’ll keep wishing “Fun with Flags” was a real YouTube channel. I’ll keep on wishing Raj and Howard’s “Thor and Doctor Jones” was on Spotify. I’ll keep on singing “Soft Kitty” to myself whenever I’m sad or sick. I’ll keep on knocking on doors three times. I’ll keep on offering a hot beverage for people who are upset and I’ll keep on wanting to see if the Friendship Algorithm works. For Sheldon it worked. And, for me, “The Big Bang Theory” will always live on — in my heart and in the heart of millions of fans.
And it all started with a Big… Bang!