April 18, 2012
Dr. Sheldon Cooper and Narcissistic Personality Disorder
The Big Bang Theory is a fictional television show centering on Dr. Sheldon Cooper and his roommate Leonard Hofstadter. Leonard and Sheldon meet when Leonard answers an ad for a room for rent. They both work in the physics department of The California Institute of Technology often called Caltech. From the beginning it is clear that Sheldon is not going to be a typical roommate, he has a detailed roommate agreement he expects Leonard to sign and follow to the letter. Leonard and Sheldon’s friend group is rounded out by Howard Wolowitz an aerospace engineer who still lives with his mother and Rajesh Koothrappali who cannot speak in front of women unless he has had alcohol to drink. A typical afternoon may include playing video games, arguing about star trek or inventing glow in the dark fish. Penny is their attractive, popular neighbor next door. Penny works at The Cheesecake Factory and is trying to become an actress. Her beauty is a stark contrast to Leonard and Sheldon’s social awkwardness. Also in the cast, Leslie Winkle, a physicist at Caltech, who has dated Leonard and Howard at different times; Bernadette Rostenkowski, Howard’s current fiancée who is a microbiologist and Amy Farrah Fowler, a neurobiologist who was matched to Sheldon on a dating website. The big bang theory is a comedy mostly scientific but also centers around the friendships that all these young people have. Wolowitz is the only male character that does not a doctorate and they give him some razzing for that, but he works alongside NASA and is pretty impressive. He is slated to marry Bernadette at any time. Bernadette ironically makes more money than Howard, and serves as sort of a second mother figure to Howard, happy to take care of him, but also very quick to put him in his place. Leonard and Penny are meant to be a couple from the beginning, throughout the seasons they will vary from dating to not dating, but they will always be paired with each other in many ways. Rajesh, or Raj as he is called for short has very wealthy parents that are always trying to arrange a marriage to a nice Indian girl for him. Raj himself has much trouble with dating, and is the only member of the group that had not found a permanent partner on the show. Sheldon is an interesting character. He is very regimented, and many people have trouble being around him. Sheldon’s mother is brought in several times to help him deal with problems socially and at work. He is extremely intelligent, but lacks some of the common sense and social mechanisms others would expect him to have. But most importantly I intend to establish that Dr. Sheldon Cooper is suffering from Narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by self-centeredness, lack of empathy, and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Someone suffering from this disorder could be called a know it all. They would take extreme pride in their appearance and opinion. They may become agitated with you if you do not automatically defer to their opinion. When they are challenged, they may often think others are simply not intelligent enough to understand them. Someone suffering from narcissistic personality disorder will have difficulty in all relationships, personal or professional. For my first example, I will describe some scenes from The Big Bang Theory “The Luminous Fish Effect.” This episode begins with Sheldon and Leonard discussing a Caltech physics department faculty party. Sheldon does not want to attend the party, knowing that it will be mundane to his standards. Leonard: Well then we’ll avoid Finkleday, we’ll meet the new department head, congratulate him, shake his hand and go. Sheldon: How’s this? Pleased to meet you, Dr. Gablehouser. How fortunate for you that the University has chosen to hire you, despite the fact that you’ve done no original...