‘The Big Bang Theory’: 3 Times Caltech Should Have Fired Its Employees

The Big Bang Theory is, arguably, one of the most successful television shows of all time. Still, critics have lambasted the series for its lack of realism, lazy writing, and incredibly sexist jokes and behaviors. One of the biggest issues critics have with the series is how much Sheldon Cooper, Leonard Hofstadter, Raj Koothrappali, and Howard Wolowitz were allowed to get away with while working prestigious research positions at Caltech. There were several incidents where the university would have fired three of the four main characters in the real world.

Leonard and Howard should have been fired after letting a bird into the cleanroom

In season 8, Leonard and Howard worked on an experiment together in a cleanroom at the university. The sterile environment is intended to stay just that way, meaning no external objects are supposed to come into the room. Howard, however, left a door open, and a pigeon flew in. Instead of calling facilities to help, Howard and Leonard attempt to get the bird out themselves but only managed to make matters worse in the process.

Howard Wolowitz, Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter sit in the lunch room of Caltech in an episode of 'The Big Bang Theory'
Howard Wolowitz, Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

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Sure, accidents happen, and a first offense likely wouldn’t have gotten them fired but failing to own up to the mistake and continuously contaminating the space probably should have. If that wasn’t enough to send them packing, they erased their names from a sign-in sheet to avoid being blamed. One would think a research university would have cameras, making it easy to figure out who was in the room.

Caltech should have let Howard go after he crashed the Mars Rover

Caltech should have fired Howard long before he and Leonard had an issue in the cleanroom. Howard should have lost his job way back in season 2 when he allowed Stephanie Barrett into the Mars Rover’s control room, hoping to impress her. The escapade resulted in Howard crashing the Rover into a ditch.

Howard’s mess up is another major plot hole. Working with such a high-powered, expensive, and incredibly delicate machine obviously required a government clearance. Once a worker gets those clearances, they aren’t free to do whatever they please. A sign in of some sort likely would have pointed to Howard as the person who crashed the rover. It would have likely revealed that he let someone who shouldn’t have access to the facility into the room, too. The accident and his lack of concern for security likely would have gotten him fired if he were a real person. Instead, the show acted like no one had any idea who drove the machine into a ditch.

Sheldon Cooper should have been fired after multiple complaints to HR during season six of The Big Bang Theory  

Howard isn’t the only member of the gang who had some serious issues crop up during his time at Caltech. Sheldon’s employment was similarly problematic, and several instances would have likely resulted in his dismissal in the real world. His most glaring infraction came in season 6 when dealing with a female research assistant.            

Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar), Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg), Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) sit in the living room in an episode of 'The Big Bang Theory'
Kunal Nayyar as Raj Koothrappali, Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz, Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper and Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ | Erik Voake/CBS via Getty Images

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The Express points out that Sheldon’s sexist remarks toward Alex Jensen resulted in an HR investigation. The emotionally stunted genius didn’t endear himself to the human resource professional who took on his case. During their initial meeting, he continued to make rude, sexist, and wildly inappropriate comments about women. Still, somehow, Sheldon kept his job, even after telling Alex to complete a mandatory online course for him.