Monday, August 27, 2012

How I'm Like: Leonard from The Big Bang Theory

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Here we are with installment two of looking at various television character with whom I have a lot in common. Today I chose Leonard Leakey Hofstadter because when I went to the panel for The Big Bang Theory at Comic-Con, Johnny Galecki wasn't there due to a delayed flight. Sitting in a room with thousands of other fans got me to thinking about Leonard, who was missing from the event, and I began to realize that many of the reasons that I like him are because we are a like in many ways. So, I'm going to take a crack at focusing on some of them now, and feel free to add your own similarities with him below!
First off, some basics... Leonard is from New Jersey, is near-sighted, and has divorced parents. So do I. He doesn't like his middle name, and I disliked mine so much I legally changed it. Leonard shares an apartment with a university colleague who becomes his best friend. When I was in graduate school, my roommate and I both worked at our university and she became one of my best friends. Leonard plays the cello and I play the violin, instruments in the same string family. Leonard owns several collectibles that were probably designed for children, and I'd be remiss if I didn't admit to having Rainbow Brite curtains, a My Little Pony watch, and at least five Disney-themed board games. Perhaps Leonard's biggest role amongst his friends is the mediator, a duty in which I have found myself very often throughout life. Though some people easily move on from issues within a group, I struggle to allow people to hate and avoid one another, and, much like Leonard, wind up patching things up, sometimes playing a wild card in the process. A big commonality between Leonard and I is that we both hang out with groups who have a lot of fun working out wacky experiments... he may be bouncing lasers off the moon and allowing people in other countries to control his stereo, but we've definitely tried figuring out whether or not a few crazy ideas would work. [not details on this one, sorry!]

Now, let's look at more of the nitty-gritty... Leonard knows that he's a geek, and while he sometimes wears that fact proudly, sometimes he tries to keep his hobbies quiet. I belong to a weekly board game group, people. I never thought of it as that dorky until about a year ago when someone actually mentioned that I shouldn't lead with that when I talk about my interests. Leonard's mother is not thrilled with his work, and I can't say that my own mother takes a great interest in mine. In one episode, Sheldon describes Leonard's uncles as resembling "a half-carton of eggs," and I also have my fare share of balding family members. This one is a little weak, but when Leonard thinks that Penny has no interest in him, he considers getting a cat... I've thought about having a cat for extra companionship. In the episode where the guys take the train, Leonard has the chance to talk to Summer Glau and doesn't take it. I've also chickened out of meeting celebrities... Oprah and Jay Leno being notable ones.

One time, Howard has to keep Leonard out of the apartment so that the others can prepare a surprise party, and Howard winds up having to ingest peanuts, causing an allergic reaction. There have been a couple of times when my friends went to crazy lengths to keep me from doing something, including pretending to have a broken leg and distracting me by dancing to a semi-choreographed song. Another time, Leonard drops everything he's doing to help Penny and the guys make barrettes all night. I've had similar things happen a few times, notably giving up on packing my own place to go help a friend be out of hers by midnight, and leaving a thesis work-day to drive an hour to help a friend set-up for someone's bridal shower. Similarly, Leonard does everything that Sheldon requests, more or less at the drop of a hat. Though I live on the other side of the country from one friend in particular, there were a good four years or so where I'd do the same. If she called and said she needed me to help her pick out a jacket, I met her. If she asked me to dye her hair for her, I did. If her car broke down while we were in it and she asked me to go back a block to find the piece that fell out of her car, I crept back amongst snickers of passersby to do so. Similarly, Leonard's friends are all about seeing midnight movies, and I've done that dozens of times.

Moving on to relationships... Leonard has a crush on a girl who lives in his building, and I've been guilty of the same in the past (though I never got as far as actually dating the person). For a short time, Leonard has a crush on two of his friends' sisters, and I had a pretty big crush on one of my friend's brothers back in middle school. Though Leonard and I both try long-distance relationships, mine lasted ages longer than his. Howard believes that Leonard is stealing Bernadette from him just because they are both interested in physics, and I had a friend think I was stealing her man because we had other similar interests. My favorite similarity, though, is that when Penny and Leonard break up, Sheldon feels that he has to sneak around to hang out with Penny. When I was in tenth grade, I had broken up with a boy (for the second time, no less) and several of my friends were chilling with him for a few months before they decided I could know.

I think that just about wraps things up, though this show is still running, so who knows what other examples might pop up in the future!
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