It’s hardly an insult to be called a geek these days. Sure, in the days of yore, it wasn’t socially desirable to be mathematically inclined, technologically proficient or scientifically stable. My, how times have changed—popular culture fanatics from all walks of life now celebrate today’s nerds and geeks.
Smash hit show The Big Bang Theory (season 7 currently airing on E4) is a modern celebration of geekdom. The creators and producers go one step further by enlisting a vast array of guest stars with a geek bent. We’ve been treated to stars from cult classic sci-fi television shows such as Star Trek and Firefly as well as scientists, authors, science professors and comic book legends. The sheer variety of fields from which the show lures impressive guest stars is crazy.
With the Big Bang’s 7th season having started airing on E4 last night (if you forgot to set your Sky / Tivo / Directtv / DVR system, it’s repeated tonight at 8pm!), I thought it would be good to take a trip down memory lane for some of the best guest stars who have visited Caltech.
Laurie Metcalf as Mary Cooper
Co-executive producer Chuck Lorre creates a mini-reunion each time the show’s script calls for an appearance from Sheldon’s mother. Metcalfe, Lorre and Johnny Galecki worked together on the ’80s sitcom Roseanne (geek fact – Roseanne was where Joss Whedon got his writing break). However, Metcalfe’s Mary Cooper is a far cry from her “Roseanne” character, and it’s the last person you would expect to be Sheldon’s mother. As a fundamentalist Christian from Texas, Mary can control him with one terse sentence or glance. She is, as Leonard once noted, Sheldon’s Kryptonite.
Wil Wheaton as a Fictionalized Wil Wheaton
The child star of Stephen King’s “Stand By Me,” Wil Wheaton has appeared on several episodes of the series as the former friend and oft-nemesis of Sheldon’s. Wheaton has also worked on Star Trek: The Next Generation and a recent Web series aimed at online role-playing gaming geeks. Wheaton’s appearances usually involve a roller coaster ride of revenge and begrudging friendship between the two.
Stan Lee as Himself
Any self-respecting nerd is a comic book fan, right? Well, Sheldon is true to that credo. In the Spider Man creator’s episode The Excelsior Acquisition, Sheldon misses Stan Lee’s appearance at the comic book store. Penny tries take him to Lee’s home, where Sheldon rushes in due to a misunderstanding. It all results in a restraining order that Leonard, Raj and Howard recommended he hang next to his Leonard Nimoy restraining order. While Lee’s appearance was that of the straight man (or rather, the cantankerous man whose privacy was invaded) comic book nerds delighted in simply seeing the legend on the small screen.
George Takei as Himself
Any Star Trek alum appearance is automatic gold, but George Takei, the actor and current Facebook sensation (and our first podcast guest), was another treat for those simply wanting to revel in a classic sci-fi legend appearance.
With so many other geek favourites, such as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson who, to Sheldon’s chagrin, disproved Pluto’s being a planet, popular science author Brian Greene and so many other notable guest stars from past seasons, it will be a blast to see who shows up in season seven.