Let’s face it, we all love an eccentric genius and CBS television has provided us with some great examples in the American series, The Big Bang Theory. The two main characters in the show, Leonard Hofstadter, played by Johnny Galecki and Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons, are both physicists who are best friends and share an apartment. The series portrays the ways in which these two geniuses struggle to tolerate each other’s eccentricities; their relationship is far from smooth, as their personalities differ in so many ways.
Actor Johnny Galecki knew almost nothing about physics when he was picked to play the role of physicist Leonard Hofstadter but over the series he has learned to relate brilliantly to his character. Leonard Hofstadter graduated at the age of 24 with a Ph.D. and is now employed as an experimental physicist at the university. Johnny Galecki portrays Leonard Hofstadter as highly intelligent but socially inept and shows how he longs for the chance to have a real relationship and to be accepted outside of his present social group of like-minded science geeks. Johnny Galecki manages to represent the character of Leonard Hofstadter as more than just a pathetic geek; he portrays the loneliness that lurks beneath the character’s persona and the potential for the character of Leonard Hofstadter to develop. Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons, was a child prodigy who started college at the age of 11 and graduated with his first Ph.D. at 16. He possesses an eidetic memory, allowing him almost total recall of images he has seen in the past but he lacks empathy and has an inflated ego. In common with Leonard Hofstadter, he also lacks social skills.
The future certainly looks bright for The Big Bang Theory, which is due to return to our screens soon for its seventh series. The show has been nominated for a number of categories in this year’s Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series. Will Leonard Hofstadter finally manage to have a meaningful relationship with Penny, who lives across the hall? There is so much potential with the various relationships from roommates to lovers and with such fine actors as Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons we can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for us next.