Of all of the relationships on The Big Bang Theory, the most central is certainly the friendship of doctors Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter. The pair have been roommates for seven years and are about as compatible as two north poles of a magnet, but Leonard is probably the only person who could endure Sheldon’s antics, while still appreciating him for who he is.
Sheldon represents the extreme in nerd behavior, and presents as a socially awkward, elitist scientist. Cooper’s awkwardness and inappropriate antics are what keep audiences rolling week after week, mainly because they are delivered with condescension and mild loathing, if any emotion at all.
Leonard on the other hand is the straight man of the series. Yet, he is still comical in his own way. Like Sheldon, Leonard is a caricature of nerd stereotypes. With everything from physics related t-shirts and comic hero bed sheets, to Star Wars shampoo, Leonard embraces all that is geeky in the world. To be fair, there are few that would be able to live with someone so nerdy. This truth makes the roommate situtation a perfect match for the pair of doctors.
In fact, Sheldon and Leonard have the kind of relationship only family members tend to have. They regularly poke fun at one another; a fairly constant theme is Leonard’s annoyance with Sheldon and Sheldon’s exasperation at Leonard’s social and romantic escapades. Despite their petty bickering and mild-mannered low blows, the friends really do care about one another.
Friendship doesn’t get in the way of official apartment business, though. As roommates, Sheldon holds Leonard to what is commonly referred to as “the roommate agreement.” In the contract, which is pages long, Sheldon and Leonard have agreed to several clauses and conditions to include the following:
The Overnight Guests Notification Clause requires 24 hour notification if a non-related female is to be staying over for the night.
Article 74 C outlines the management of the apartment in the event one of the roommates becomes a robot.
Section 7, subsection B prohibits the use of the the shower by more than one person, except in the case of attack by water soluble aliens.
The Skynet clause provides provisions in the event that one of the roommates creates artificial intelligence that begins to take over the Earth.
The Gozilla clause outlines a plan of action if someone threatens Tokyo’s destruction.
The agreement even outlines the official flag of the apartment (“a gold lion rampant on a field of azure,” which is to be flown upside-down in times of distress).
Sheldon may be a genius, but he is not infallible. This was evidenced in Season 4 when Priya, Leonard’s girlfriend for a time and Raj’s sister, argues on Leonard’s behalf against a few clauses in the roommate agreement. The argument is the result of Sheldon’s discovery of the two in the shower together, a clear violation of Section 7, subsection B. (Watch here)
Despite their squabbles over long-winded contracts and whiteboard equations, Leonard and Sheldon really are the perfect roommates for one another. Who else could put up with them?