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The Big Bang Theory was one of the most popular and long-running shows on CBS, lasting for 12 years and nearly 300 episodes. The show received praise from critics, and while it took a few years to rise in the rankings, it eventually reached the number one spot on TV rankings in its 11th season.

It was a great success for its actors, too, who became some of the highest-paid stars on television and were important parts of the show’s formula. So when Jim Parsons, who played the main character Sheldon Cooper, announced he would be leaving the show, fans were crushed.

Sheldon Cooper made The Big Bang Theory what it was; the show couldn’t continue without this iconic character. But the Sheldon we know today is very different from the original prototype of the character. So how does the final draft of Sheldon Cooper compare to Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory‘s pilot episode?

Sheldon Cooper

Sheldon Cooper is one of the main characters of The Big Bang Theory. He’s highly intelligent and, as the title hints at, is a theoretical physicist.

Despite his genius, he has little to no social skills, and due to his prodigy and genius has a tendency to see himself as superior to others who aren’t as exceptional as him. This combination of traits is played for laughs and is fuel for much of the comedy on the show.

Sheldon’s character and interest are modeled on things typically considered nerdy. He’s into role-playing games, superhero comics, and cosplay on top of the math and science expected within his career. He even has his own catchphrase which has been trademarked by Warner Bros and appears on much of the show’s merchandise: “Bazinga!”

Sheldon’s relationships

Jim Parsons smiling slightly in front of a black background
Jim Parsons | Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Another aspect of Sheldon Cooper that has been a major part of his characterization is how he feels about romantic relationships. Cooper is strongly implied although not outright stated to be asexual, and when his romantic interest, Amy Farrah Fowler (portrayed by Mayim Bialik) is introduced in season 3, whether or not they will have sex is a point of tension throughout the series.

The two end up married and win a Nobel Prize together, but their romantic relationship is demonstrated to be based more on their intellectual compatibility than sexuality. But what if Sheldon Cooper hadn’t been so averse to romantic relationships and sexuality? Would the show have been different if we had seen a Sheldon Cooper that was interested in men or women?

Sheldon in the pilot


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In the original, unaired pilot of The Big Bang Theory, viewers apparently would have been able to see a Sheldon Cooper that was much more social and sexualized. This version of Sheldon Cooper would have been more social in general.

He would have been interested in other people and even would have enjoyed dancing, though he wasn’t that great at it. The pilot even included an opening scene with Sheldon at a sperm bank and showed viewers that Sheldon had a particular affinity for women with big butts.

Maybe it was for the best that the writers of The Big Bang Theory decided to write Sheldon Cooper as mostly uninterested in sex. While some have criticized this as stereotypical, it’s quite possible that, considering Sheldon Cooper’s other traits of condescension and poor empathy, a Sheldon Cooper that was interested in sex could have aged very poorly, as some other beloved sitcoms have. Overall, the way that Sheldon Cooper ended up was successful.