Sharing a tolerable friendship and a tenuous professional relationship, Sheldon Cooper and Raj Koothrappali function like an old married couple at best, and frienemies at worst. Somehow they get along well enough, but of all of his friends, Raj probably gives Sheldon the biggest run for his money; Raj always seems to have a comeback that surprises Sheldon. Hilariously, Dr. Cooper is rarely able to do anything other than glare at Dr. Koothrappali when Raj lobs his insults at Sheldon.
Dr. Rajesh Ramayan Koothrappali is Howard Wolowitz’s best friend, but hangs out with Sheldon and Leonard on a regular basis as well. He is perhaps the biggest anti-India Indian in the world: he regularly rejects Indian culture, food, and Hindu precepts. Raj was named one of People Magazine’s “30 Under 30″ to watch after he discovered a planet beyond the Kuiper Belt (the Kuiper Belt runs just beyond Neptune and is made of ices rather than asteroids). This sounds very impressive, but soon, Raj’s research comes to a dead end. In “The Pirate Solution” (season 3, episode 4), Sheldon proposes that Raj work for him. Watch the proposal here.
Despite claiming that “I would rather swim butt-naked across the Ganges, with a papercut on my nipple and die a slow, agonizing death from a viral infection than work with you,” Raj does eventually go to work “for” Sheldon. The result is a marathon session of staring at a formula filled white board in an effort to test “the annihilation spectrum resulting from dark matter collisions in space.” Watch their work session here.
The two tend to tolerate one another, but it has not kept them from launching mini wars against each other. In “Hot Troll Deviation” (season 4, episode 4), Sheldon Cooper and Raj Koothrappali battle it out over desk space in Sheldon’s office. After Sheldon is resistant to Raj’s right to a desk in their shared space, Sheldon agrees that Raj may purchase his own desk for the office. Raj, in turn, buys the largest executive desk he can manage to fit into the tiny room, causing Sheldon’s desk to be pushed so close to the door that one can barely fit through the doorway to enter. The results are literally explosive. Watch a segment of “Hot Troll Deviation” here.
Despite trading insults and shooting marshmallows at one another, Sheldon Cooper and Raj Koothrappali really are great friends. Watch this clip of a lonely Raj seeking Sheldon’s friendship.