‘The Big Bang Theory’: 3 Ways Sheldon Cooper Changed After the Pilot Episode

The Big Bang Theory ran for a storied 12 seasons. While the show has fans and critics, most viewers can agree that Sheldon Cooper helped make the show shine. Sheldon didn’t stay the same from start to finish. He changed and transformed during the show’s run. Do you remember these three ways that Sheldon changed from the pilot to the final episode?

Sheldon Cooper initially had an interest in coitus in The Big Bang Theory pilot

One of Sheldon’s biggest transformations during The Big Bang Theory was his romantic interest. While some fans will argue that Sheldon developed an interest in romance and sex after meeting Amy Farrah Fowler, he always had an interest. The production team wrote that sex drive out of the show. The pilot is proof.

Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler on 'The Big Bang Theory'
Sheldon and Amy on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

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In the pilot, Leonard made a one-off comment that Sheldon was “semi-pro” when they went to the sperm bank to donate. In later episodes, it was revealed that Sheldon didn’t have a sex drive, evidence by his ascertain that he wasn’t interested in “coitus.” Once his relationship with Amy deepened, he gave in and was willing to have a physical connection for special occasions. Still, he needed to be cajoled into it. His lack of a sex drive in most of the show was quite different than what was stated in the pilot episode.

Sheldon learned how to be an actual friend to someone

Most fans of The Big Bang Theory argue that Sheldon started to transform from a selfish robot into someone who could contribute to a friendship when he met Amy. The transformation began a lot earlier than that, though. In the pilot, Sheldon didn’t understand why Leonard was so interested in Penny. During season 1, Sheldon started to acknowledge Penny as an actual person and learned how to treat her with respect.

Sheldon and Penny’s friendship isn’t often discussed, but it’s among the sincerest in the entire show. Penny really didn’t have much to offer Sheldon. Sure, she drove him around occasionally, but her driving was subpar, in his opinion. Penny also didn’t bend to Sheldon’s will. Their friendship was pretty pure, and it was clear that she’s the one who taught him how to give a little in his interpersonal relationships. 

Sheldon learned to play by societies rules, a little bit

In the pilot and early episodes of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon was completely incapable of compromise. He had no qualms about telling everyone around him that he thought he was better and smarter than him, including his superiors at Caltech. Sheldon’s penchant for announcing his superiority got him into trouble at work more than once in those early episodes.

Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper in 'The Big Bang Theory'
Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

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As time progressed, Sheldon seemed to learn how to operate within the rules of a civilized society. Screen Rant points out that this particular change helped Sheldon not only keep his job but excel in his field. Perhaps the show’s writers made the change to make Sheldon more likable, or maybe they just wanted to show that Sheldon, regardless of his quirks, was capable of emotionally maturing.