For most people, heroes change over time, with those that we looked up to as children getting replaced by others who fit our maturing ideals. The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon, though, has held a lifelong admiration for the science-promoting TV personality Arthur "Professor Proton" Jeffries, as played by Bob Newhart. And his love for the character is enough that he's apparently going to attempt to become the new version of Professor Proton in an upcoming episode, assumedly for a TV reboot. You can check out the brilliant physicist in character below.
Not too shabby, right? I mean, Sheldon basically looks like he's attending some kind of occupational get-together or something, since he doesn't look extremely out of the ordinary wearing a lab coat, but that cheese-emulsifying smile is everything.
However, we're pretty sure that the real Professor Proton (R.I.P.) would give Sheldon's duds a suspicious eye for a couple of reasons. First, he's just wearing a straight-up white lab coat, without the proton symbol on the front. I can't imagine that Sheldon is such a superfan of the show but hasn't ever bought an official Professor Proton lab coat over the years. With as many superhero T-shirts as this guy has, it's unlikely he would have gone all his adult life without nabbing at least a Proton Halloween costume. And if that show wasn't popular enough to inspire licensed products, he could have just sewed a proton patch onto it. (Perhaps I'm getting too worked up about this.)
But even without the camera-ready coat, Sheldon is making a pretty big mistake by portraying Professor Proton with that neckwear. As Big Bang Theory fans are probably aware, Bob Newhart's TV character wore a traditional necktie beneath his lab coat, while Sheldon is choosing to wear a bow tie. Why would that be a problem? Because that's the kind of tie preferred by Bill Nye, the Science Guy, who was someone that Arthur Jeffries absolutely hated, and he considered Nye's TV show to be a ripoff of the Professor Proton series. We think his reaction would look something like the one that Jim Parsons is giving below.
The episode in question, titled "The Proton Regeneration," will see Sheldon and his quasi-nemesis Wil Wheaton both vying for the role of the new Professor Proton, and Bob Newhart will be returning for another guest appearance, presumably within Sheldon's dreamscapes. So maybe he, speaking as Sheldon's subconscious, will rail on Sheldon for going with a bow tie there. That could very well be the element that costs him this gig, and we all know he won't like it at all if Wheaton gets it instead. Drama!
The Big Bang Theory airs Monday nights on CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET, but "The Proton Regeneration" will be the show's first episode when it flips over to its normal Thursday night timeslot following Thursday Night Football's exit from CBS. To see when all the other new and returning shows will arrive, head to our fall TV premiere schedule.