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  • List of The Big Bang Theory characters The American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, created

  • and executive produced by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, premiered on CBS on September

  • 24, 2007. The show initially centers on five characters: roommates Sheldon Cooper and Leonard

  • Hofstadter, two Caltech physicists; Penny, a waitress and aspiring actress who lives

  • across the hall; and Leonard and Sheldon's friends and co-workers aerospace engineer

  • Howard Wolowitz, and astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrappali. In Season 3, microbiologist

  • Bernadette Rostenkowski, and neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler are introduced, and later

  • become Howard's wife and Sheldon's girlfriend, respectively.

  • Over time, several supporting characters have been promoted to starring roles: Leslie Winkle

  • (season 1 recurring; season 2 regular; season 3 guest), a physicist colleague, and, at different

  • times, a lover of both Leonard and Howard; Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz (season 3

  • recurring; season 4-present regular), a microbiologist, Howard's fiancée and subsequent wife, and

  • former part-time waitress alongside Penny; neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler (season 3

  • guest; season 4 recurring; season 4-present regular), who joins the group after being

  • matched to Sheldon on a dating website; and comic book store-owner, Stuart Bloom (seasons

  • 2–5 recurring; season 6-present regular), who replaces Howard as Raj's best friend when

  • Howard is in space. The show also features numerous supporting characters, each of whom

  • plays a prominent role in a small group of episodes.

  • Main characters Main characters are divided into two groups,

  • original main characters and those who have been promoted to main character status since

  • season two. Original main characters

  • With the exception of injury to the actors, these characters have appeared in all episodes.

  • Leonard Hofstadter Dr. Leonard Leakey Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki)

  • is an experimental physicist with an IQ of 173 who is originally from New Jersey and

  • received his PhD at age 24, spending at least some of his time at Princeton University.

  • He shares an apartment in Pasadena with colleague and friend Dr. Sheldon Cooper. Unlike his

  • equally geeky friends, Leonard is interested and quite adept in building interpersonal

  • and social relationships with others. Compared to his friends he is relatively successful

  • with women. The writers have toyed with a romance between him and next-door neighbor

  • Penny since the pilot, with their unresolved sexual tension being a major force for drama.

  • Leonard dated Penny for most of Season 3, although they had dated briefly at the end

  • of Season 1. Aside from Penny, Leonard has had romantic relationships with coworker Leslie

  • Winkle, physician Stephanie Barnett, an unnamed French literature PhD, and North Korean spy

  • Joyce Kim. Following his breakup with Penny, Leonard began a relationship with Raj's sister

  • Priya in Season 4, and it is implied they had a brief sexual encounter before the start

  • of the series on an occasion when Priya visited Raj. The two attempted a long-distance relationship

  • after Priya moved back to India, but Leonard eventually broke up with her in Season 5 after

  • she admitted to cheating on him with her former boyfriend. In Season 5's "The Beta Test Initiation",

  • Leonard and Penny start dating anew though their relationship is rocky. Leonard's family

  • includes other accomplished scientists: his mother, Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, is a world-renowned

  • psychiatrist, his sister is a biologist and his father an anthropologist. Also, his brother

  • Michael is a Harvard law professor. It is mentioned in the season 2 episode "The Maternal

  • Capacitance" that Leonard is the least successful member of his family. He is also known to

  • be lactose intolerant and cannot process corn, as Sheldon states in "Pilot". Leonard also

  • plays the cello. The cause of the elevator not working is also due in part to Leonard

  • (and Sheldon) as the experimental rocket fuel he was developing was improperly mixed within

  • their apartment and Sheldon threw the canister into the elevator shaft right before the explosion.

  • Sheldon Cooper Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper (Jim Parsons) is a

  • theoretical physicist, possessing a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, PhD, an ScD,

  • and an IQ of 187. Originally from East Texas, he was a child prodigy, starting college at

  • the age of 11, and receiving his PhD at age 16. He is cold and calculating, and refrains

  • from any form of physical contact if possible. Sheldon exhibits a strict adherence to routine

  • to the point of exhibiting obsessivecompulsive disorder, performing specific activities on

  • specific days and specifics times, such as doing the laundry on Saturday night at 8:15.

  • Any disruption to this routine distresses him enormously. A running gag has him always

  • knocking on doors or other surfaces in a pattern of three knocks and one call repeated three

  • times, which he has to complete no matter what. He has forced Leonard into signing an

  • absurdly exhaustive "Roommate Agreement", and later enters a similar "Relationship Agreement"

  • with Amy Farrah Fowler. Sheldon has great difficulty identifying sarcasm and irony and

  • responding in kind, and a recurring topic is his efforts to acquire these skills. He

  • has also enormous difficulties lying or even keeping a secret, giving himself away with

  • wild facial tics and implausible statements. He is however fond of occasionally playing

  • a prank, which he typically punctuates with his trademark exclamation "Bazinga!". Sheldon

  • has a superiority complex and makes no effort to hide his contempt for other people's intellects,

  • often making highly inappropriate comments. A common joke is his inability to drive, although

  • he did receive a learner's permit. Sheldon loves comic books and science fiction like

  • his friends, but to the point of being obsessed about them, and is a fan of Spock, a fictional

  • character of the Star Trek franchise. Unlike Leonard and Raj who come from intellectual

  • families, Sheldon stands out from his own relatives. His father, George, whose death

  • pre-dates the series, was described as a stereotypical Texan who liked football, skeet shooting,

  • and heavy drinking, his mother, Mary, is a devout Evangelical Christian, who does not

  • possess anything near Sheldon's intellect (though she displays a great deal of common

  • sense); his twin sister, Missy, and as-yet unseen brother, George Jr., were both described

  • by Mary as being "dumb as soup". His fraternal twin sister who later has a baby boy makes

  • Sheldon an uncle. He meets Amy Farrah Fowler in the Season 3 finale and starts a highly

  • unusual and very slowly evolving relationship with her. Previous to this, he has also exhibited

  • some affinities with Leonard's equally unemotional mother.

  • Penny Penny (Her surname has not yet been revealed.)

  • (Kaley Cuoco), is Leonard and Sheldon's neighbor across the hallway. Originally from a small

  • town outside Omaha, Nebraska, she was a waitress and occasional bartender at the local Cheesecake

  • Factory until season 7 and is an aspiring actress. Her educational qualifications (she

  • had dropped out of community college) are a constant source of disparaging comments

  • from Sheldon. She has dated several men during the course of the series, including Kurt,

  • Stuart, and Zack, but her recurring love interest is Leonard. Leonard pursued Penny during season

  • 1; they dated briefly at the start of season 2 which led to some awkwardness; they began

  • dating again and were a couple for most of season 3 but she broke up with him after he

  • told Penny he loved her and she was not ready to reciprocate. Penny and Leonard begin to

  • date again "slowly" during the fifth season, though he does upset her by impulsively asking

  • her to marry him during intercourse. She has a tense relationship with Sheldon, whose nerdy

  • and obstinate personality often exasperate her, but they are ultimately good friends,

  • helping each other out in various situations. By season four, Penny also begins to socialize

  • more with Bernadette and Amy, who frequently hang out in Penny's apartment, go out together

  • and comfort each other. Bernadette and Amy are both shown to be simultaneously envious

  • of and threatened by Penny's more outgoing personality. Not much is known about Penny's

  • family, but it is mentioned in the series that her father, Wyatt (portrayed by Keith

  • Carradine), raised her like a boy, her mother smoked marijuana while she was pregnant with

  • her, her sister shot her husband while they were intoxicated and her brother is a meth

  • addict. Cuoco began being credited as Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, starting with the season seven

  • episode, "The Convention Conundrum". Howard Wolowitz

  • Howard Joel Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) is an aerospace engineer at Caltech's Department

  • of Applied Physics with a Masters in Engineering who often hangs out at Leonard and Sheldon's

  • apartment. Unlike Sheldon, Leonard, and Raj, Howard has no doctorate, and often gets disparaged

  • as a result, especially by Sheldon. He defends this by pointing out that he has a master's

  • degree in Engineering from MIT and that the equipment he designs is launched into space,

  • unlike the theoretical work of his friends. In the season 5 finale, Howard goes to the

  • International Space Station on Expedition 31. Howard lives in Altadena with his domineering,

  • belittling and unseen mother who treats him like a child. While he sometimes expresses

  • irritation at this treatment, for the most part he appears to prefer it. Howard dotes

  • on his mother and participates in many of her daily routines. A recurring gimmick in

  • the series is Howard and his mother communicating with each other from different rooms by yelling,

  • a habit which Bernadette also adopts in later episodes. His father left them when he was

  • eleven, and Howard gets visibly distressed when the subject comes up. Howard fancies

  • himself a ladies' man and attempts pick-up lines whenever a woman is present, which often

  • come off as inappropriate and disgusting, although he has dropped this habit since he

  • started going out with Bernadette. He is Jewish, but he is not very serious about his faith,

  • and does not keep kosher. For example, when the group's favorite Chinese restaurant raised

  • the price of pork, Howard remarked, "It's getting tougher and tougher to be a bad Jew."

  • However, he does observe Sabbath and the Jewish holidays. In the pilot episode, it is shown

  • that he is a polyglot and can speak English, French, Mandarin, Russian, Arabic, and Farsi,

  • along with fictional languages like Klingon and Sindarin. He is asthmatic, allergic to

  • peanuts, almonds, and walnuts, prone to canker sores and pink eye, succumbs to seasickness,

  • has an incredibly high genetic risk of heart illness, and has transient idiopathic arrhythmia.

  • In Season 5 episode 4, it is shown that he knows American Sign Language. Howard dated

  • Bernadette briefly in season 3. After some difficulties, they resumed their relationship

  • in season 4, which culminated in their engagement. In the season 5 finale, Howard and Bernadette

  • are married on the roof of the apartment building shortly before he has to leave for Kazakhstan

  • where he is to be sent to the International Space Station.

  • Rajesh Koothrappali Dr. Rajesh Ramayan "Raj" Koothrappali (Kunal

  • Nayyar) is Howard Wolowitz's best friend, and yet another genius of the group; his name

  • is usually shortened to "Raj". He is originally from New Delhi, India, and he works in the

  • Physics department at Caltech, where his area of expertise is particle astrophysics. He

  • lives in an apartment in Pasadena. As with his friends, he is mutually involved with

  • and obsessed with science fiction and comic books in general, and is usually the one to

  • propose various real-life questions derived from such works, such as the functions of

  • the tails of the Na'vi in the film Avatar. He is also a fan of Harry Potter. Raj dislikes

  • India, Indian food, and Indian music, he also appreciates the Indian lullabies his mother

  • sang to him and the catchiness of Hindi phrases. Raj is a Hindu and believes in karma (reincarnation),

  • but eats beef. Raj is very shy around women, and finds himself unable to speak to or while

  • in the presence of them unless he drinks alcoholic beverages, or he believes he has done so.

  • When Penny or Bernadette is around, Raj usually whispers what he wants to say to Howard or

  • Leonard, who then repeats or responds to what Raj says out loud, although at times Howard

  • will embarrass him by saying something completely different and inappropriate. Despite this,

  • Raj has sometimes ended up in bed with women, leaving the other guys perplexed. Unlike his

  • friends however, Raj has many quite feminine interests such as reading Archie Comics and

  • Twilight and watching chick flicks such as Bridget Jones's Diary. A recurring joke in

  • the series has people, including his parents and Leonard's mother, speculating that Raj

  • might be gay due to his feminine interests and his close friendship with Howard, with

  • whom he has arguments similar to those of a married couple. However, Raj has always

  • stated that he is straight, but metrosexual. He has had an infatuation with Penny, and

  • secretly wrote love poems about Bernadette. Raj comes from a very wealthy family in India,

  • and often communicates with his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Koothrappali, via webcam. He has

  • a younger sister, Priya, who is mentioned to have dated Leonard briefly before the series

  • timeline began and dates him again in Season 4, breaking up with him in Season 5. After

  • making a brave speech about not being embarrassed to be single, Raj started seeing a shy and

  • sweet woman named Lucy. Lucy has many things in common with Raj including her fear of being

  • in large crowds. In the season 6 finale, Raj finds he can now talk to women without alcohol,

  • however he never stops talking. Additional main characters

  • The following characters have been promoted to main character status since season 2. Leslie