Mayim Bialik is a learned woman. She has a degree in neuroscience and understands the eccentricities of the show The Big Bang Theory and its characters. Mayim elaborated on why the show creator, Bill Prady avoided labeling the characters. She shed light on the topic with her own knowledge on the subject in a detailed blog post.
Once Upon a Time
Mayim Bialik wrote an elaborate blog post in which she explained why Bill Prady had avoided any labels in The Big Bang Theory. Very much like her character, Mayim is a very educated and intelligent woman. She did not go straight into any explanations. She wrote about the time when labeling was not a big deal. In those times of discretion, anyone with any issue was given their privacy and respect. She said that disorder like depression and autism were mentioned in whispers. Aunts were committed in ‘homes’. ‘Weird’ and ‘crazy’ were used to describe any anomalies.
To Find a Label
Mayim wrote in her blog that many characters on the show exhibit a certain type of psychological persona that can fit a specific diagnostic criteria.
Sheldon Cooper by Jim Parsons
The character of Sheldon Cooper played by Jim Parson remain one of the most daunting of The Big Bang Theory. Mayim wrote an elaborate profile for Sheldon Cooper,
Sheldon has a propensity for knocking three times on doors–a feature of OCD. He has an extreme distaste for germs—also seen in OCD—as well as a variety of unique and focused hobbies and interests such as trains and flags, which is often seen in a form of autism formerly known as Aspergers. Sheldon also has phobias (fears with no basis in an actual event) and a lot of fears based in experience; he is a delicate and sensitive man who also has an exceptionally high IQ.
John Galecki’s Leonard Hofstader
Leonard is the pivotal role of the series. He is the point of association for all characters. Despite that important role, he has his issue. Mayim wrote about them,
Leonard is an anxious—and highly allergic—fellow with a ton of “mommy issues,” as we used to fondly call them. Any psychologist would have a field day with Leonard.
Kunal Nayyar’s Rajesh Koothrapali
She elaborated that Rajesh Koothrapali, played by Kunal Nayyar is another prime example of wanting a label. She wrote,
The same could be said of Koothrapali, who previously could not speak to women without alcohol in his system.
Howard Wolowitz by Simon Helberg
The main four friends are rounded off by Howard who still lives with this mom. Mayim elaborated those in her elaboration of the character,
Wolowitz, who had a Freudian attachment to his mother which even his mother was not entirely comfortable with.
Also mentioned are the women on the show.
Mayim wrote that the ladies on the show also exhibited signs of psychological disorders. Bernadette has a tendency to be mean and she also lies. Meanwhile her own character Amy Farah Fowler is socially awkward and facing repressed sexual urges.
Kelly Cuoco’s Penny
The only one character that Mayim sees as being psychologically sound. Penny was always the beautiful distraction at the beginning of the show and she had remained as such.
Bill Prady’s Logic
She wrote that creator and executive producer Bill Prady explained this issue back 2009 when talking about Sheldon
“We write the character as the character. A lot of people see various things in him and make the connections. Our feeling is that Sheldon’s mother never got a diagnosis, so we don’t have one.”
Two Reasons Mayim Gave
The first reason that Mayim gave for lack of label is that it does not matter what we say to anyone. The condition should be that they are only mentioned for medical and clinical purposes.
Secondly, the characters and story are most important. The show is about a real life situation. It requires problem solving, thought process and living everyday life. They become hostile if they are forced into a label or seeking treatment. Such is the case with both Sheldon and Leonard.
Why I Call Bullshit on Mayim Bialik’s No Label Logic
While Bill Prady has his reasons. Some of which he had explained. Many remain unclear about the whole situation. However, as a student of psychology, I disprove of her logic. While Prady and Bialik are proud for not giving any labels, Mayim Bialik seems to have a little problem. She reminisced about the old time. A time when there were no labels. She believes that giving no labels actually helps the characters.
However, we are in a point in time where psychological disorders are not LABELS. It is about time when they have moved on from the stigma of being labels.
They are conditions and they exist actively. People are encouraged to seek help for them. And if they are successful, lead good lives despite their diagnosis. In a time, when shows and celebrities are pushing to promote mental health. Mayim Bialik is content in living in the past. She prefers previous times in which such conditions went unaddressed.
Why Psychological Well Being is Important
While Prady and Bialik might think that labeling a character might take away from the character. It is not the case in the world of modern psychology. John Galecki’s Leonard Hofstader’s mother is a psychologist. She has made consistent observations about the characters over the course of the show. To say, they have remained un-diagnosed is not entirely true.
The Characters Know Their Flaws
There is a good chance that Leonard knows his psychological disorder. Moreover, we are not sure if Sheldon never got a diagnosis. Young Sheldon has seen Sheldon and his sister Missy, participate in scientific trials. We don’t know if there was a psychological evaluation in the trial. Or that he simply chose to ignore it. Raj has acknowledged his own anxiety around women countless times. In psychological terminology. Howard and Bernadette have been self-aware of their own psychological issues. They talk about it when they go out on their first date. In recent seasons, Penny knows she has depression.
So not spelling out a specific labels on the characters might be an outlook. However, Mayim Bialik might need to binge watch her entire show before making such conclusions.