Characters on the hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory spent a lot of time in their respective workplaces, especially Caltech University, as the lead male protagonists were all physicists and engineers, and all of them made some very poor and questionable decisions that landed them in hot water at work.
Of course, to balance out their outrageous decisions, they also made a few smart ones here and there. Howard, for instance, regularly made offensive comments or behaved inappropriately with colleagues at work and got called into human resources. But, he also stood up to Sheldon when he needed to be taken down a few pegs, and he helped Leonard clean out the office of a deceased professor. The same, of course, could be said about every BBT character.
Barry: Pranking Sheldon On National Public Radio/Helping Leonard Gather Information On Dr. Pemberton
Worst: Barry Kripke was the boys’ annoying colleague at Caltech, always locking horns with Sheldon, in particular. He pumped helium gas into his office in an elaborate prank on Sheldon, while the latter was on National Public Radio (NPR). Sheldon was humiliated on NPR as his voice became hilariously distorted, and the whole university listened to it.
Best: Possibly the only time Barry showed any semblance of decency in the workplace was when he gathered information that could have helped Shamy take down their rival, Dr. Pemberton. Barry gave the information to Leonard, who wanted to ensure his friends weren’t robbed of their chance at the Nobel. Although the whole thing might have been a bit underhand, it came from a somewhat good place.
Stuart: Burning Down His Store/Appointing Denise
Worst: The comic book store, which was the adorably goofy Stuart’s only source of subsistence, burning down, was very sad indeed. Stuart really shouldn’t have been taking a shower across the street while cooking on his hotplate at the back of the store. It was never proved whether or not he burnt it down himself for the insurance money, yet, at any rate, leaving the hotplate unattended was definitely the worst decision he had made.
Best: The best decision Stuart made was of course employing Denise. The store needed a touch of freshness and the presence of a smart, intelligent young woman amidst the heavily masculine culture helped brighten things up immensely. He also finally found himself a good woman who appreciated him, so things turned out well, indeed.
Howard: Building A Sex Robot With University Funds/Deciding To Attend Sheldon’s Class
Worst: Howard Wolowitz was the resident creep, and there wasn’t anything he did during his early years on the show that wasn’t outright outrageous, usually with offensive sexual inuendoes. One of the worst decisions he made that was workplace-related was building a six-breasted robot with university funding, which was not just inappropriate and perverse, but also totally unethical.
Best: Howard’s decision to attend Sheldon’s physics class was indeed a brave one, for many a tougher person had failed to endure the impossible Sheldon Cooper. Howard was forever sparring with Sheldon, whom the latter teased endlessly for not being a doctorate like the rest. In spite of that, he thought he could brave the waters, and, in the process, ended up standing up to him.
Raj: Making An Inappropriate Comment To A Female Colleague/Standing Up To Sheldon
Worst: Raj, for the longest time, couldn’t speak to women. In season three, he needed to find a new project to work on so that he wouldn’t get deported back to India. As luck would have it, a female professor from MIT, Dr. Millstone, walked right in during an interview. Raj took some generous swigs of alcohol, but, although he managed to get past his inability to speak, he ended up making a very inappropriate comment to Dr. Millstone, who, of course, immediately filed a complaint.
Best: One of the best things Raj did at work was to stand up to Sheldon’s relentless bullying. Sheldon offered Raj a position in his office, but, in his inimitable manner, spent all his time trying to show him he was the boss. He even stooped to the level of planting a snake in Raj’s drawer, but, thankfully, the latter did not back down and stood up to Sheldon’s obnoxious behavior.
Bernadette: Pretending To Weep To Get Perks/Pushing Penny To Do Better
Worst: Bernadette was a hard nut to crack. She could be incredibly sweet, but she was also unbelievably insensitive and hurtful at times, especially with her unfortunate colleagues who got the brunt of it. When Bernie found out that her colleagues hated as well as feared her for being unnecessarily harsh, she went about it a different way. She broke down and made people feel bad for her, managing to get an expresso machine solely for her office in the process.
Best: While Bernie could be a little terror, she also looked out for her friends in her own way. It was she who pushed Penny so that she would get the sales rep job, and, later, hired her to launch a campaign for a new drug, which helped boost Penny’s image in the company.
Amy: Yelling At Rival Physicists In A Room Full Of Nobel Laureates/Taking Up The Princeton Offer
Worst: Amy Farrah Fowler was pretty much the most patient and understanding of the entire gang. However, even she had moments that she deeply regretted. The worst thing Amy did was surely when she lost her cool in front of a room full of Nobel Laureates at a party being hosted in her and Sheldon’s honor. She screamed at the two rival physicists, Pemberton and Campbell, and ended up being called to the HR’s office.
Best: Amy’s best decision in terms of work was to accept the offer of a visiting researcher from the prestigious Princeton University. She was sad to be leaving Sheldon, but she didn’t let that be her main consideration, and she pushed ahead to take up this amazing opportunity that is offered to only the best in the business.
Penny: Quitting The Cheesecake Factory/Refusing Offers From Rival Companies
Worst: Possibly the best decision Penny took in the context of her work was to quit waitressing at the Cheesecake Factory to devote her energies to an acting career. The decision had seemed rash to Leonard, who thought she was being impulsive, but it motivated Penny to find something good and she managed to get a well-paying pharmaceuticals sales rep job.
Best: Penny’s success and charm soon made her catnip for rival pharmaceutical companies. In fact, she was shown being lured by other companies during the launch of a new drug, but she turned it down out of gratitude and love for Bernie, even though, in typical Penny style, things seemed dicey for a while.
Leonard: Allocating Funds For His Own Project/Attempting To Give Due Credit To Professor Abbot
Worst: Leonard didn’t make nearly as many terrible workplace decisions as Sheldon, or, in fact, any of his friends. However, the one time he was given an important role was when he was picked by the President of the university to distribute the grant money, he proved selfish and simply allocated the money to buy himself a laser, which was uncharacteristic of Leonard Hofstadter.
Best: Yet, Leonard was soft-hearted and easily moved. While cleaning out the office of one Professor Abbot who had passed away, he was humbled by the fact that the professor had achieved so little after decades of research. He honored the dead professor by making a pact with Raj and Howard to open the bottle of wine gifted to Abbot by his mother when any one of them had accomplished something significant.
Sheldon: Getting Amy Off Her Project/Saying No To Dr. Nowitzki
Worst: From likening women to egg salad sandwiches to commenting on their biological systems, there was hardly a time Sheldon didn’t make a mess of things. However, we will go out on a limb and call his attempt to get Amy off her own research his worst moment. He wanted her to work with him on the super-asymmetry theory, but this was simply not Sheldon’s place to interfere.
Best: The best decision Sheldon Cooper made at work, and probably his only good one, was to board a plane to New Jersey to propose to Amy after his colleague, Dr. Nowitzki, had made advances on him. His reaction was very true to his abrupt nature, but, for once, he ended up making the right choice.