1 Big Bang Theory Christmas Episode Nearly Ruined A Special Sheldon Record


  • Sheldon is central to the appeal of The Big Bang Theory and his popularity made it impossible to imagine the series without him.
  • The episode “The Cooper Extraction” explored what the gang’s life would be like without Sheldon, but cutting him limited the episode’s potential and received mixed reviews.
  • Sheldon, along with Leonard, Raj, and Howard, is one of the only characters to appear in every episode of The Big Bang Theory, and the show’s focus shifted more towards Sheldon’s story as it progressed.

While The Big Bang Theory almost cut Sheldon out of one Christmas episode entirely, this would have jeopardized an incredible streak that the Jim Parsons character pulled off. Even though the show was ostensibly focused on the nerdy Leonard’s attempts to romance his glamorous neighbor, Penny, Sheldon was central to the appeal of The Big Bang Theory. Jim Parsons established himself as a scene-stealing superstar early on in the show’s run and, by the time The Big Bang Theory ended, his character even got a spinoff prequel. Sheldon’s popularity meant that it would have been impossible to imagine the series without him.

However, that is exactly what The Big Bang Theory’s characters attempted in one Christmas episode. Season 7, episode 11, “The Cooper Extraction,” lived up to its title as Leonard, Penny, Raj, Amy, and Howard envisioned their alternate lives if they had never met Sheldon. While it was interesting to see this episode explore what the gang’s life would be like without Sheldon, cutting the show’s funniest character limited the outing’s potential. This resulted in mixed reviews for the episode, but “The Cooper Extraction” could have done much worse if the series had stuck with its premise more closely.

The Big Bang Theory Season 7’s Sheldon-Free Christmas Almost Broke A Record

“The Cooper Extraction” nearly failed to feature Parsons, even though Sheldon is one of the only characters to appear in every episode of The Big Bang Theory. However, Sheldon did end up appearing throughout the episode despite its premise. If he hadn’t, this would have been the only episode of the entire show’s run without the character. While The Big Bang Theory’s finale did give most of the show’s characters a happy ending, it was no surprise that the outing focused heavily on Sheldon’s Nobel Prize acceptance ceremony. The character became the protagonist of the show in later seasons as Penny and Leonard’s perpetual relationship dramas finally cooled off.

By this stage, it was becoming clear that Raj’s love life was always doomed to failure and Howard and Bernadette were happily married with a child. As such, there was no more competition for the show’s primary focus. This made it easier for The Big Bang Theory to center Sheldon in the A-plot of most episodes, while experimental outings like “The Cooper Extraction” allowed the show to prove just how pivotal he was to the lives of the heroes. The Big Bang Theory abandoned its original premise when the show started to focus less on Penny and Leonard’s romance and more on Sheldon’s story, but this approach still succeeded.

Only Four Characters Appear In Every Big Bang Theory Episode

Simon Helberg's Howard, Melissa Rauch's Bernadette, Mayim Bialik's Amy, and Jim Parsons' Sheldon sit and talk on a couch in The Big Bang Theory %22The Holiday Summation%22

Aside from Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard were the only other characters who appeared in every episode of The Big Bang Theory. Surprisingly, Penny missed a few season 4 outings due to Kaley Cuoco’s horse-riding injury. As such, while “The Cooper Extraction” had some festive fun with the premise of Sheldon losing out on his spot in the series, the episode skirted dangerously close to making him the only member of the central quartet who didn’t appear in every outing. Since his character arc received much more screen time than Howard and Raj’s respective stories, this would have been an ironic mistake for The Big Bang Theory to make.

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