A TBBT Fan Theory: Sheldon Was a Jerk in Earlier Seasons for a Reason

A TBBT Fan Theory: Sheldon Was a Jerk in Earlier Seasons for a Reason
Image credit: CBS

The character's maturation was hindered by his personal tragedy.


  • Sheldon was the most annoying character in earlier seasons of TBBT.
  • He never properly processed the grief of losing his father as a teenager.
  • All of Sheldon's progress in socializing was thwarted by the tragedy.

There is an interesting conundrum when it comes to TV characters. In dramas, viewers tend to love the kindest and nicest characters. Underdogs are the ultimate fan favorites. In comedies, however, audiences tend to gravitate toward whoever is the most fun to watch, even if that character has a nasty personality and would be a terrible person to be around in real life.

And that's exactly the case with TBBT's Dr. Sheldon Cooper. The central character of the hit CBS sitcom shocked audiences with his obnoxious demeanor over the course of twelve seasons on the air. His lack of emotional intelligence and social skills, combined with the arrogance that came with his incredible intellect, made him a truly repulsive person who was still very fun to watch.

Sure, Sheldon became more likable over time, but he was completely unbearable in the early seasons of The Big Bang Theory. And it seems that the finale of the show's spin-off, Young Sheldon, shed some light on why Dr. Cooper was such an annoyance at the beginning of the show.

The Fruit of Unprocessed Grief

Although every TBBT fan knew this, it still hurt when Sheldon's father George died at the end of Episode 12, Season 7 of Young Sheldon. The next episode, Funeral, showed how differently the Coopers experienced the tragedy. Shelly spent hours and days thinking of the many ways he could have spent his last moments with his father – from taking the last car ride with him to telling him he loved him.

But in the end, nothing could help, and Sheldon shut down his emotions, which he didn't know how to process. His family, affected by the tragedy themselves, were of no help. And there was no one else who could have helped him through this difficult time.

A Major Rollback

Years later, in Episode 15, Season 8 of TBBT, when Howard's mother died, Sheldon told him that Howard had his friends to support him, which Sheldon didn't. Sheldon's grief was unresolved. And maybe that's why he became so socially and emotionally inept.

In other words, Shelly, who was just beginning to grasp the intricacies of emotions and human relationships, pushed them aside in an attempt to shut down his own feelings and protect himself when his father died. To add insult to injury, Sheldon moved to CalTech almost immediately after the tragedy, which is just too much change for a person who is unnerved by it. And with no friends to support him through the most formative years of his life, Sheldon became the insufferable person we know from TBBT.