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Dr. Sheldon Cooper
Sheldon Lee Cooper, B.S., M.S., M.A., Ph.D., Sc.D., is a Caltech theoretical physicist who shares an apartment with his colleague and best friend, Leonard Hofstadter. Originally from East Texas, Sheldon started college at the age of 11, receiving his first Ph.D. at 16. Sheldon was involved in numerous experiments as a wunderkind, such as his plan to provide free electricity for his hometown by building a nuclear reactor - a plan stopped by government pen pushers claiming it's illegal to store Yellowcake uranium in a garden shed! Unashamedly geeky, he has no qualms about speaking Klingon, wearing vintage t-shirts sporting superhero logos, or spouting various historical and cultural anecdotes (e.g., his account of the introduction of the fork into Thailand). While he might claim to be the perfect human specimen, Sheldon does have his faults. Sheldon is characterized by a strict adherence to routine and hygiene; an overly intellectual personality; a tenuous understanding of irony, sarcasm and humor; and a general lack of humility or empathy, the former of which is demonstrated in the fact that he has no problem voicing to his peers his admiration for his superior intellect. These qualities, along with his penchant for pranks, are his character's main source of humor. He has been described as the show's breakout character and has been voted as the Best Big Bang Theory Character.
Dr. Leonard Hofstadter
Leonard Leakey Hofstadter, Ph.D., is an experimental physicist at the California Institute of Technology who rooms with Sheldon Cooper in apartment 4A of their apartment building. Originally from New Jersey, Leonard attended Princeton University and was twenty-four years old when he received his doctorate with a Dissertation of the Year award for experimental particle physics. Having lived with Sheldon for ten years as of Season 6, he and Leonard are best friends. However, Leonard can become very agitated by many of his eccentricities and often feels obligated to explain Sheldon's behavior and serve as a mediator between him and other people in situations – he has been described as the straight man of the series. While Leonard, along with his geek friends and fellow scientists, is somewhat socially inept, Leonard would like to be better accepted outside of his social group. Leonard is more well-adjusted than his companions, being more willing to try different things. He appears to be best suited as a leader of the group, with Sheldon commenting how Leonard is the "Kirk" of the group. The writers have toyed with a romance between him and neighbor Penny, with their on-and-off relationship being a major force for drama.
Penny is the show's main female protagonist. She lives in apartment 4B across the hall from Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper, who live in apartment 4A. Her full first name is possibly "Penelope" as implied by "The Barbarian Sublimation", and her surname has not been given so far though for four years she was technically Penny Johnson when accidently married to Zack Johnson. An aspiring but mostly unsuccessful actress, she was born on a farm near Omaha, Nebraska, and worked at The Cheesecake Factory as a waitress until she quits it in The Occupation Recalibration (S7E13) to take up acting full time. Penny was the original female lead in the show before being joined by Bernadette Rostenkowski and Amy Farrah Fowler. She has been Leonard's love interest for most of the show, with the two dating briefly in the first episode of the second season, for most of the third season, and they rekindled their romance in "The Recombination Hypothesis". Penny is good friends with Leonard (despite their rocky relationship) and Sheldon, and even though she is considered part of the guys' group, she represents the "dumb blonde" for viewer context in the series.
Character of the Week
Relationship of the Week
Raj and Lucy
In the season six episode, "The Tangible Affection Proof", Raj and his friend, comic book store owner Stuart, put together a party at the store for lonely people on Valentine's Day. After giving a speech about how one can't define themselves by being in a relationship, he is approached by a girl (Kate Micucci). Raj and the girl leave to get a cup of coffee, with Raj declaring "later losers!", hinting at Raj finally having a relationship. In "The Monster Isolation" Lucy flees during their coffee date sending Raj into depression and isolation in his apartment. Later Lucy goes to his apartment to apologize and tells him that she has problems around new people. Raj describes his own psychological problem and they agree to a formal date.
In the following episode, "The Contractual Obligation Implementation", he takes Lucy out for a first date to a library where they text each other instead of talking, helping her deal with her social anxiety and him with his selective mutism. They continue to date and by "The Love Spell Potential" they do kiss, though it is through a chain-link fence. However, in the season 6 finale "The Bon Voyage Reaction", Lucy feels too pressured by Raj to meet his friends, and a dinner between Lucy, Raj, and Amy doesn't go well. Raj apologizes for his behavior and asks Lucy to come to Leonard's goodbye party before his departure for the North Sea on Professor Stephen Hawking's expedition. However, Lucy texts him at the party saying she won't be there and doesn't want to see him again. The next day, Penny goes to comfort a heartbroken Raj, who thinks he is completely unlovable. Penny tells him it was just the booze talking, but Raj hadn't had a drink since the night before. He was finally cured of his selective mutism. In fact, he was so cured of it, he couldn't stop talking about what went wrong in his relationship with Lucy, which ironically compelled Penny, Bernadette, and Amy to start drinking to tolerate his non-stop talking.