While it is clear from his acclaimed performance that Jim Parsons was perfectly suited to playing ’s Sheldon Cooper, one behind-the-scenes detail made his casting even better. In an era when shows like , , and were all experimenting with the sitcom format by playing with its tropes and conventions, became a surprise sleeper hit by going back to basics. Like most of creator Chuck Lorre’s earlier hits, was a traditional multi-camera hangout show with a laugh track.
This might have seemed comically outdated in the late 2000s, but proved that the well-worn formula still worked. At the height of the show’s popularity, regularly earned over 10 million weekly viewers. This was mostly thanks to the show’s cast, a mixture of relative unknowns and sitcom veterans who proved that chemistry alone could elevate a seemingly simple premise. At the center of this cast was Parsons, who rose to stardom by playing ’s antihero Sheldon Cooper. Abrasive, obsessive, and self-centered, Sheldon was also hilarious and oddly lovable.
While Parsons might have been a perfect fit for the part of Sheldon, this didn’t mean that the real-life actor shared his character’s interests. Parsons even admitted in an interview with that he failed science in college. Specifically, the actor said he flunked meteorology years before getting his famous role. Although was intended to be the show’s focus, Sheldon’s scene-stealing antics ended up making the character a fan favorite. Despite this and the show’s use of on-set physics advisors to keep its scientific references realistic, Parsons wasn’t particularly scientifically minded himself.
Parsons did say that he had an abiding interest in meteorology as a child due to growing up on the Gulf Coast, where hurricanes were a regular occurrence, but he also admitted that this obsession didn’t translate to academic aptitude. By his own admission, the actor is fascinated by physics but can’t understand it himself. While there are a lot of , the realization that the real-life actor who played scientific genius Sheldon Cooper didn’t have much of an interest in pursuing science is one of the most hilarious. However, other autobiographical details worked in the star’s favor.
While Parsons might not understand astrology, even he could see that the stars aligned to net him his role. Like Sheldon Cooper, the real Parsons is Texan which meant his accent was perfect whenever it appeared. This, alongside the consistent critical praise he earned in the role, showed just how much Parsons was born to play Sheldon. While the show’s first sitcom spinoff found a fitting star to take over the role for Sheldon’s early years, Parsons stayed on as the narrator of that series. As a result, ’s leading man is still closely associated with the show.