Star Trek Guide

Big Bang Theory: How Sheldon’s Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock Works

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock - Sheldon Cooper's typically quirky take on the traditional hand game - is the perfect expression of Sheldon himself. But how does the infamous The Big Bang Theorygame work? Known for his odd behavior and unusual quirks, the socially-inept genius never missed an opportunity to brag about his intelligence. That ranged from just being brutally honest about it to coming up with new ways to complicate simple activities like the popular game.

Not that he was only doing this to show off; Sheldon (Jim Parsons) is really smart, but instead of being humble about it, he liked to rub it in even to his other highly intelligent friends, annoying them in the process. Naturally, whenever the rest of the Pasadena gang gets an opportunity to make fun of him over The Big Bang Theory's 12 seasons, or at least give him the idea that they are smarter than him, they almost always take advantage. Complicating Rock, Paper, Scissors didn't seem like it was just another way for him to establish his intelligence because he may simply have found the original game to be too simple for him.

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That is presumably why he introduced his friends to his very own version of Rock, Paper, Scissors modified with the addition of two new hand options: Lizard and Spock. It's uncertain why he decided to use a reptile in his iteration, but given his undying love for Spock and Star Trek with a string of actor cameos on the sitcom over the years, not to mention his similarities to the character, it makes sense why he wanted to incorporate the famous half-Vulcan. Sheldon first talked about Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock in The Big Bang Theory season 2, episode 18 aptly-titled "The Lizard-Spock Expansion" as a way for him and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) to settle a dispute about what they want to watch on TV.

As Sheldon explained to Raj and Leonard (Johnny Galecki), who was listening to their conversation, Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock adapts the rules of the original game, with Lizard and Spock giving players more options. In the game, Scissors cuts Paper; Paper covers Rock; Rock crushes Lizard; Lizard poisons Spock; Spock smashes Scissors; Scissors decapitates Lizard, Lizard eats Paper; Paper disproves Spock; Spock vaporizes Rocks and finally, Rock crushes Scissors. For the most part, these scenarios do make sense, but in the service of The Big Bang Theory's humor, there are also a couple that's mind baffling. That includes Paper potentially disproving Spock. In any case, Raj was interested, resulting in him agreeing to play the game.

While he's the one to introduce it to his friends, it appears as if Sheldon didn't create the game himself. Blogger Sam Kass came up with the variation of the game with Karen Bryla, with the former claiming that the show producer didn't ask permission to use it in The Big Bang Theory. The show rectified this behind-the-scenes resulting in Sheldon finally giving Kass the credit he deserved for it in season 5, episode 17 titled "The Rothman Disintegration."