TV history is littered with countless sitcoms, but once in a blue moon, a massive show will take the world by storm. Friends made it happen in the '90s, and during the 2000s, The Big Bang Theory took over the pop culture sphere.
The series had memorable characters, hilarious unscripted moments, and some great cameos that helped it reach a height that few shows will come close to matching.
Unfortunately, the series did have its problems, including one guest character that fans could not stand. In a weird twist of fate, however, the actor playing that guest character went on to land a major role in the show's prequel spin-off, Young Sheldon.
Let's take a look at the character, and how actor Lance Barber managed to move on to Young Sheldon.
The Big Bang Theory, one of the most popular sitcoms of the 21st century, introduced a wide array of characters who became beloved by fans. However, not every character received the same warm welcome. Jimmy Speckerman, portrayed by actor Lance Barber, is one such character who sparked mixed reactions among fans
Jimmy Speckerman appears in Season 5, Episode 11, titled "The Speckerman Recurrence." He is portrayed as a former high school bully of Leonard Hofstadter (played by Johnny Galecki). Leonard and the rest of the gang are shocked when they encounter Jimmy, who is now overweight and down on his luck."
The introduction of Jimmy Speckerman into the series generated a significant amount of discussion among fans and critics. While some viewers appreciated the complexity and character development that his presence brought to Leonard's storyline, many others expressed dissatisfaction with the character.
As one Reddit user wrote about the character, "Jimmy Speckerman. A piece of s*** through and through. The episode in which he appears is one of my greatest fears committed to television. I don't like Priya. I don't like Beverly. I don't like Lucy. But I'd rather have 10 of them than 1 Speckerman."
You might think that a hated character could sour casting directors on the actor that played him, but instead, the folks making Young Sheldon doubled down on actor, Lance Barber.
Interestingly, Barber did open up about this in an interview.
"I was lucky enough to get a role on the show some years ago as Leonard's high school bully [Jimmy Speckerman] and from the little that I've looked online, there are some people who have a difficult time suspending belief with me taking on a different role in this world. I don't know if the fans can handle it, but I'd certainly be happy to," he said.
During that same interview, Barber talked about earning his role on Young Sheldon.
Said Barber about landing the role, "Like with most jobs, I did a scripted audition and then used that to make my choices. I did my research on the original series and the fandom that follows Big Bang, and there was a lot of information mapped out on George Cooper Sr. online. I did look it up and it was helpful, but there wasn't a lot and most of it was punchlines to jokes on the show. There was a little backstory but it wasn't deep. It was just set-ups and punchlines for jokes about Sheldon's past, and what they painted was almost a cartoonish character. They left open a lot of room to discover more," he said.
The casting directors obviously liked what they saw, and the brought Lance back into the picture. Thanks to being familiar with the fandom, he knew that he had to hit the ground running to make things work. Not only that, but with the character's fate already being known on the flagship series, Lance knew that there was a shelf life for his character.
So far, so good, as the show has been a hit. Nevertheless, it does bring to light another example of inconsistency with the franchise, something that many long-running shows suffer from.
One such inconsistency comes from Penny's dad's name.
"When Penny mentioned him early on, she mentioned that his name was Bob. When he appeared, his name was revealed to be Wyatt. No mention was ever made of any way to bridge this gap - such as Wyatt being a middle name - and so it simply remains as an inconsistency, albeit a minor one," CBR mentions.
The site also brings up changes with characters, tenures that fail to actually take place, and a few other things that have left some fans scratching their heads.
Good on Lance Barber for trucking through Jimmy's blowback to have a successful tenure on Young Sheldon.