Since the Big Bang Theory’s premiere, many fans have speculated that Sheldon Cooper has some sort of mental disorder in addition to being a genius. It’s easy to see why fans would believe this based off some of Sheldon’s characteristics. For example, the trademark knocking and then “Penny.” Or the fact that no one can sit in a certain chair besides him. There is a wide debate among the fandom about what mental disorder Sheldon actually has. Some fans say Asperger’s, others say OCD, or autism. Whether any of these opinions are correct or not, is actually not important. What is important is that the character of Sheldon Cooper strikes a chord with the audience, especially those with mental disorders, and offers them a feeling of comfort and comradery.
Way back on August 14, 2014, the website Autism Speaks had a guest speaker write an article on why the autistic community loved Sheldon Cooper. The speaker, Kerry Magro, wrote that growing up he really loved theatre and used it as a way to combat his communication problems. Later on this led him to want to make sure that people with these types of disorders were being properly portrayed on film. Magro actually helped out with the film, Joyful Noise, which had a character with Asperger’s.
Kerry goes on to say that he has received many inquiries about whether Sheldon has Asperger’s or not. Although the creators of the Big Bang Theory have addressed this popular fan question and has stated that Sheldon is not on the autistic, actor Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon on the show, has mentioned in several interviews how his character seems to show some Asperger-like symptoms.
As mentioned in the introduction, whether Sheldon was meant to be portrayed as having Asperger’s syndrome or not, is not really the issue here. What is important is that the popularity of show has pushed this condition into the limelight to produce conversation. The show is unconsciously bringing awareness to the illness. It is also noteworthy to bring up here that the cast has also advocated for the awareness of skin cancer as well.
Audiences have also praised Sheldon and Parsons for an accurate portrayal of someone with Asperger’s. Many people with the condition look up to Sheldon and a little boy with autism once told Magro that he wanted to grow up to be just like Sheldon!
Magro ends his acticle stating that what draws audiences to Sheldon Cooper is that he is so genuine. Sheldon accepts who is and never tries to be anything else. It is a very positive message to send to audiences, whether they have an illness or not. If anything, Jim Parsons should take pride in bringing comfort and hope to a community that may need it. Even with all of his characters, Sheldon has a relationship, a job, and leads a normal life. Anyone can lead a normal life if they truly want to. Be like Sheldon and ignore negativity and be yourself to the fullest.