The Big Bang Theory has been no stranger to a plot hole here and there during its 12-year tenure on CBS. Whether it be the truth behind Penny’s (played by Kaley Cuoco) surname or the Aquaman security camera installed by Sheldon (Jim Parsons), there have been a few issues with the timelines behind the character’s stories. Now an episode from season one may have thrown Sheldon’s salary and financial stability into question.
Before visiting the scene in question, it’s worth noting how Sheldon breaks down his earnings.
In season two, episode 14, The Financial Permeability, Penny is struggling for cash and seeks Sheldon’s help. Sheldon tells her: “It occurs to me, you could solve all of your problems by obtaining more money.”
Shortly after, he takes a joke can of peanut brittle off the shelf and hands over a wad of cash to Penny.
Penny comments: “Wow, you’ve got a lot of money in there.”
Sheldon offers to lend Penny money after she confessed she needs at least $1200 to fix her apartment problems.
When she’s initially reluctant to accept, Sheldon reveals how his earnings are broken down.
He says: “My expenses account for 46.9 per cent of my after-tax income, the rest is divvied up between a small savings account, this deceptive container of peanut brittle and the hollowed-out buttocks of a superhero action figure.”
After Sheldon convinces Penny it’s okay, she begins to count off notes from the pile. As mentioned earlier, she needed at $1200 to pay her bills, but still left quite a substantial number of notes in Sheldon’s hand.
Fast-forward to season six also, Sheldon’s frugality with money comes into play again when he needs to buy Amy (Mayim Bialik) a Valentine’s gift. He instils the help of his assistant Alex (Margo Harshman) to find something to give her.
In the season six episode The Tangible Affection Proof, Sheldon roots through his pockets for cash.
He pulls out a crumpled pile of dollar bills before reaching into his drawer and finding some more cash. Sheldon tells Alex: “This is about $2000, I think she likes monkey and the colour grey.”
So it’s no surprise Sheldon is very good with money and, in fact, quite affluent thanks to his organisational skills and his high-status job at CalTech – so where does the plot hole lie?
In season one, episode seven, The Dumpling Paradox, Sheldon objects to Penny temporarily moving in with himself and Leonard (Johnny Galecki).
When Leonard offers Penny the couch in their apartment, Sheldon says: “Well, first, we don’t have house guests.
“Frankly, if I could afford the rent I’d ask you to leave.”
Surely with, what are presumed to be, quite good earnings and savings, he could’ve afforded the rent?
While his salary at the time isn’t revealed, the fact he has saved up thousands of dollars in a peanut brittle jar by season two suggests he’s doing quite well even in the timeline of the show’s debut run.