I’m a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory. There is so much I could relate to with a few of those characters (mostly Leonard). Recently we’ve been watching Young Sheldon (essentially a TBBT prequel). If you are familiar with any of Chuck Lorre‘s sitcoms, he often adds “vanity cards” at the end of the credits of each episode. There is one particular vanity card about fictional character affection that hit home.
Chuck Lorre has been appending these vanity cards to the ends of his shows for nearly 25 years. The content of these cards can range from venting frustration to random images or just a simple brain dump. Politically, I may not always agree, but they are often very humorous.
“It’s A Strange and Wonderful Thing”
The final episode of Season Two of Young Sheldon there is a particularly interesting vanity card. This also exactly coincides with the final episode of The Big Bang Theory series. Chuck Lorre quips that “it’s a strange and wonderful thing to feel affection for a fictional character”. In this particular case he’s referring to Sheldon Cooper. He also lists off several other fictional characters for whom, I assume, he also felt this strange connection.
I’d like to list mine. I felt the same way when Fraiser, Friends, Castle, Scrubs and The Big Bang Theory ended. I, equally, loved Sheldon, Fraiser Crane, Chandler, J.D. and Richard Castle (to name a few). I hated to see these shows end. In an article I found on Refinery29, a media psychologist, Dr. Karen-Dill-Shackleford, said that we “get really attached to them because they bring you joy or cheer you up after a rough day.” This is absolutely true about Star Wars, at least for me. It doesn’t matter if its the sequels, prequels or the original trilogy. After 9 (or 11) movies, you feel a connection.
It Happens In Books Too!
These fictional character affections extends beyond just television series and/or movies. I have often felt a similar parasocial relationship with characters in books. Eragon from The Inheritance Series comes immediately to mind. I’ve felt similar connections to Harry Dresden, Ender Wiggin, Shawn Hagan, and Wade Watts (to name a few more).
We spend years and/or hundreds of pages living their lives, albeit fictional. If the author or screenwriter is any good, we begin to develop an emotional connection. It’s normal for all of us to feel this way, as long as that passion remains healthy. We live vicariously through their triumphs and their defeats. These connections explain why we are so devastated if the character dies or when the actor passes away.
Who are some of the character’s that have made you feel this way?