Can you imagine if the original name of one of The Big Bang Theory’s characters had been Kenny? Believe it or not, that was what Sheldon’s name was originally going to be before the show aired, and it was change by the time the pilot was shown so it’s a fact that only dedicated fans might know at this point. As the tale goes the names of the two leading men were, as Ana Dumaraog of Screenrant points out, taken from Sheldon Leonard, a very prolific sitcom producer that was given the honor of having his name being shared by the two stars of the show, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki. Whether there’s another reason why Kenny became Sheldon is hard to say, but it’s likely that many people would have had a harder time accepting Parsons as Kenny than they would as Sheldon, as the name just kind of fits in a big way. Kenny brings to mind a very different image with a lot of people and even had it been pushed forward it definitely feels more likely that Kenneth would have been the given name of the character given how fussy of a person he is. Kenny just doesn’t sound like a name that would have been right to apply to a character such as the one that fans had the pleasure of watching for so long.
For so long Sheldon was actually one of the favored characters on the show and one of those that people couldn’t wait to watch. It was kind of confusing really since personally Sheldon Cooper was the kind of person that made my skin crawl given that he barely knew how to function in everyday life without appearing to be socially awkward and more than a little inept while still carrying a serious superiority complex. But for many people he was the undisputed star of the show even if he wasn’t always in the spotlight for every episode. There was something about his personality that people tended to lock on for some reason, some strange magnetism that Parsons was able to create with his act that kept people coming back for more. Upon seeing interviews of him off the show it was amazing to see how very different he is from his character, as he’s almost nothing like Sheldon in real life as it’s been shown. Samantha Grossman of Time has more to say on this subject. People will likely know him as Sheldon for some time to come even if the show’s been off the air for a while. That’s just how good he is really, that people still want to see him as a role that in real life would be nothing less than utterly annoying.
But hearing the name ‘Kenny’ brings to mind something more country, not inner city, and definitely not someone like Sheldon Cooper. It might be personal bias but the name just sounds like it belongs in a much more rural setting, or at the very least someone that might be intelligent but doesn’t make it a note to broadcast as much to everyone. Sheldon was definitely presumptuous and sometimes a royal pain the ass, but he did serve a purpose on the show and it was one that he was well-suited for since without him the show might have been a lot less entertaining. It’s funny sometimes how the most annoying character on a sitcom can actually be the link that makes it work. The character gives people some to like, to hate, and to just endure at times while they enjoy the rest of the show, never really knowing that without that one character things would be very different. Even having a different name might have changed the show in a massive way, and possibly not for the better since Sheldon has become a name that many people know whether they’ve watched the show or not. The Big Bang Theory was great largely because all of the cast members came together to form a group that people came to care about and could, in some ways, relate to in their own way, but it’s undeniable to think that a lot of people had their favorites, and Sheldon was definitely one of those.
Still thinking of the name Kenny is enough to make a person wonder just what might have happened had the name never changed, and to be glad that it did. For some reason the name Kenny just brings up images of a guy that’s about the opposite of Sheldon. There’s no way to tell just what might have happened with the spinoff, Young Sheldon, if the name Kenny had been kept since it would have had to work in order to be pushed through. Something, likely the overall success of the show, suggests that the name change was one of the best things that could have happened.