Jim Parsons is tied for most all-time Emmy wins in the comedy series lead actor category with Michael J. Fox, Kelsey Grammer and Carroll O’Connor. He’s collected all four of them for playing the role of Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory,” including back-to-back victories the past two years. Here’s a breakdown of what Parsons brought to his Emmy-winning installments.
“The Pants Alternative”
(season 3, episode 18)
Logline: Sheldon has to overcome his fear of public speaking when he wins an award, and his friends offer some anxiety-relieving tips — including alcohol.
Sheldon’s funniest moment: After Penny offers him the option of taking a drink or fainting before his speech, Sheldon downs the drink and immediately says, “I don’t feel anything. This alcohol is defective.” Shortly after, he’s performing drunken standup on stage, getting uncomfortably philosophical with his audience and demonstrating where Uranus is located.
Why Parsons won: Parsons takes his performance to the next level with Sheldon’s out-of-character behavior while remaining in character as the neurotic professor, with drunk-confident one-liners, an energetic periodic table rehearsal, slurred speech and slowed hangover phase.
“The Agreement Dissection”
(season 4, episode 21)
Logline: Sheldon joins Penny and the girls on a night out at a club. Afterward, Amy invites Sheldon in to visit and gives him a kiss.
Sheldon’s funniest moment: Sheldon criticizes Amy in his signature fashion for consuming alcohol and smoking, then brags that he has learned many forms of dance, including the waltz — against his will.
Why Parsons won: By this point, Parsons has mastered Sheldon’s range of emotions without showing too much emotion, staying true to his character. The episode showcases Sheldon’s most erratic and cautious behavior, narcissistic and elitist personality and, ultimately, just enough empathy to prove the socially awkward guy does care for Amy.
“The Habitation Configuration”
(season 6, episode 7)
Logline: Sheldon doesn’t recognize that he hurt Amy’s feelings after he failed to defend her in an argument with Wil Wheaton.
Sheldon’s funniest moment: After slurping down two glasses of Long Island iced teas through a straw within a matter of seconds (because he’s consumed “enough iced tea” to know how to drink it) Sheldon greets Wil on his doorstep with a Texas accent and fists in the air, noting that his fists aren’t in the air to milk a cow.
Why Parsons won: Once again, Parsons masterfully delivers convoluted scientific jargon while acting drunk. Here, he adds the Texas accent to the mix and takes on a different persona. Parsons is also able to convincingly convey different dimensions of Sheldon’s personality, from his stubborn, social hopelessness to his surprising sass.
“The Relationship Diremption”
(season 7, episode 20)
Logline: Sheldon’s research of String Theory has come to a stalemate after 20 years, and Penny suggests that he put an end to the research just as she would a relationship.
Sheldon’s funniest moment: Sheldon obliges to toasting to his new focus with “grape juice that’s been filtered through a fungus.” The next morning, after shamefully waking up in bed next to a geology book, Sheldon discovers that he drunk-dialed Stephen Hawking and left a number of hilarious, bellowing voicemails.
Why Parsons won: It’s an energetic episode that shows Sheldon out of his typical conservative character and showcases Parsons’ entertaining vocal range — from a mechanical monotone to the sing-song, wild jokes that he leaves on Hawking’s voicemail.