Stuart Bloom is the hapless comic store owner whose shop is frequented by the main characters on The Big Bang Theory. Stuart is an artist who is as passionate about comic books and pop culture as much as Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj are. Throughout the series, we see Stuart struggling with the low returns on owning a comic store in the 2010s, and his inability to find a romantic partner who is into his particular brand of inoffensive but bland personality.
While things rarely go well for the perpetually gloomy Stuart, his mistakes serve as valuable life lessons for viewers.
Don’t Doubt Your Geeky Charm
Starting out, Stuart had some serious moves. He was an artist in addition to being a comic store owner. By the end of his first time meeting Penny, he was able to ask her out for a date with a drawing of her. All the other guys were in awe of him because of how easily he could talk and flirt with women.
By later seasons, Stuart started seeing himself like the others saw themselves in the beginning, a geeky loser who could not possibly be of interest to any woman. This new attitude made Stuart lose his geeky appeal to women, and he turned into the romantic pariah that he projected himself as.
Be The First To Make A Move
When Stuart was confident enough to talk to Penny, he was able to successfully ask her out. But with later seasons, Stuart developed a phobia for talking to women that was almost as crippling as Raj’s. So much so that the two went to a mall and could not find the courage to start a simple conversation with any females there. Naturally, this attitude resulted in zero romantic prospects for Stuart, since it is very difficult to get a date if you are a guy and unwilling to be the one to initiate a conversation.
Demonstrate Your Friendship
At one point, Stuart felt very hurt when he realized Shelson saw him as a secondary friend since Stuart stated that he thought of the rest of the gang as his family. But the truth is, we rarely saw Stuart interact with the others other than when they came to his shop on business.
He was rarely a part of their game nights, and only became a prominent part of the group after Howard helped him out while he was without a house. Coming to your friend only in times of need or in matters of business is not a good way to establish a strong bond. You take the little steps of checking up on your friends regularly and hanging out with them to be considered a part of the inner circle.
Don’t Be A Mooch
While Stuart is quite inoffensive at times, he can also be a real mooch, and that is probably his least desirable quality. He overstayed his welcome at Howard’s house and is often needed to be told when he is no longer desired by the others to be around. It takes a certain amount of tact and consideration to know when you’ve overstayed your welcome, something Stuart lacks.
Respect Personal Space
Piggybacking off of the previous point, every time the other members of the gang allow Stuart to get close to them in later seasons, he draws in closer than is necessary. Like when his relationship with Howard’s mom caused Howard much anger and distaste. Or when he brought his girlfriend over to Howard and Bernadette’s house while they were there and proceeded to get intimate.
This kind of overstepping increases the level of discomfort others feel because of Stuart and leads to the kind of subsequent exclusion that makes his life even sadder.
Women Aren’t Aliens
In the beginning, Stuart was a charmer when it came to women. And yet, by later seasons, he was shown to be almost as bad as Sheldon when it came to knowing how to behave around women. Like when a review of his store mentioned him staring intensely at a female customer until she got weirded out and left. Or another review that talked about Stuart gave his shirt to a woman who commented that she liked it. These instances suggest Stuart has started to see the entire female population as a fascinating yet terrifying ‘other’ species of humanity. That is no way to live your life and try to find love.
Implement Constructive Feedback
When Stuart wanted to make his comic book store more accessible to females, he realized quickly that his own ideas were limited due to his complicated feelings with regard to women. Fortunately, Stuart was friends with Penny, Amy, and Bernadette. Instead of tackling the issue on his own, he asked them to suggest improvements, which they were happy to do. The feedback they gave must have helped because we see a woman working at the shop in later seasons.
Believe In Yourself
By later seasons, Stuart had a very low opinion of himself. And that stood in the way of every one of his encounters with other people. It was also completely unnecessary. Stuart has demonstrated himself in the past to be a good artist, a confident wooer of women, and a successful business owner for several years. He was a good caretaker for Howard’s mom in a way Howard could never manage to be.
He was also an excellent housekeeper and nanny for Bernadette and Howard. All these qualities prove Stuart had more worth than he gave himself credit for. We wish someone would have reminded him of this more often.
Seek Help When You Need It
Stuart was definitely not okay by later seasons. Even ignoring the personal tragedies in his life and nothing truly going his way, the way Stuart’s almost every line was a reference to some pathetic aspect of his life clearly points to severe mental health and self-esteem issues. Perhaps he was clinically depressed, perhaps even worse, but in either case, we saw Stuart struggling to deal with his issues on his own.
The only times Stuart’s life got better was when he reached out to his friends, and they helped him by giving him a place to live, and more importantly, warmth and companionship.
Don’t Own A Comic Book Shop
The biggest lesson from Stuart’s journey is that the days of the physical comic book store are over. More and more people are going online to read comics for free. The collectibles that could only be found in stores earlier can now be shipped directly to your home. And while the visit from a celebrity or hosting a special event at the store might prop up sales and popularity for a while, it never lasts. Stuart himself summed up the lesson succinctly when Penny asked him for a recommendation on comic books: “I recommend you don’t open a store and sell them.”