Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and his buddies on “The Big Bang Theory” have a lot of pop culture interests, from “Star Wars” and superheroes to “The Lord of the Rings” and Dungeons & Dragons. But for Sheldon, one franchise holds a particularly special place in his heart: “Star Trek.” There are numerous moments on “The Big Bang Theory” that show Sheldon’s true Trekkie colors, such as his rare emotional outburst when Penny (Kaley Cuoco) gifts him a Cheesecake Factory napkin used by Leonard Nimoy.
However, the actor himself is far removed from his character’s heavy fandom participation — Parsons’ love for “Star Trek” is limited to when he’s portraying the theoretical physicist. In an interview with Time, he said, “I get asked a lot of, of course, science things. I’m like, ‘You’re kidding.’ And even the pop culture. … I’ve never seen ‘Star Trek.’ I don’t know ‘Doctor Who.'” But this isn’t the only aspect of his character that Parsons can’t relate to.
Jim Parsons isn’t a scientific genius and worked hard to memorize his lines
Not only is Jim Parsons unfamiliar with many of Sheldon Cooper’s pop culture interests, but he’s also not savvy when it comes to science. In an interview with NPR, Parsons revealed that it took much effort to remember his character’s complicated scientific lines. “I really just [run] rampant around my apartment saying these words, this dialogue over and over,” he said. “I’d go outside and say it. I’d sit down and say it. I’d stand up and run while staying [sic] it. Because I thought ‘I need to be able to trust myself to have these words come out.'”
On “The Big Bang Theory,” it’s usually Penny who is confused when Sheldon and his friends make intellectual jokes. But behind the scenes, when the show’s science consultant, David Saltzberg — a physicist at UCLA — tossed in some science humor, it was Parsons who didn’t laugh. “He sends over this diagram on this white board [sic] and he’ll throw in little inside jokes that I don’t find funny because I don’t know what the heck he’s talking about,” Parsons said.
Still, Parsons’ acting chops — and pretending to be a genius “Star Trek” fan — paid off, with his portrayal of Sheldon earning him the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series four times.