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With Shelton and Lenard being PHD scientist who works for a large university, why do they live in a rundown apartment with an elevator that hasn't worked in 5 years?

Because they are nerds and have simple living tastes. They spend their money on collectables and take away dinners, and see no point in forking out loads of cash just to live in a swanky apartment that doesn't suit them. I quite like their apartment... except for the lift. But they broke that themselves. :icon_cheesygrin:

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Guest I'm not dead Cheryl

also, their names are Sheldon and Leonard

p.s.: Sorry I HAD TO!

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With Shelton and Lenard being PHD scientist who works for a large university, why do they live in a rundown apartment with an elevator that hasn't worked in 5 years?

Here is something I posted last month----

For the sake of the premise, TBBT has wildly underestimated the real life earnings of both Howard and Leonard. A master engineer from MIT who makes "Do dads" for NASA would have patent royalties and bonuses from the government contractors who would really be selling those instruments to the Feds. Same thing for Leonard and his satellite killing lasers for the defense department contractors.

Howard and Leonard would be making serious six figure incomes at their level of involvement in such big projects. But that would spoil running gags about the two characters on the show. Leonard would not be sharing an apartment next to a waitress/actress and Howard should not be living with his mom and riding a Vespa.

This is from PhysicsWorld.com in 2011:

"According to this study by the US website PayScale, physicists are the sixth-highest-earning group of graduates, with a median salary of $98,800 (just under £60k) after at least 10 years in the workforce. Indeed, physics was one of only three non-engineering majors to crack the top ten, along with computer science and economics. Starting salaries for physicists aren’t bad either: $51,100, or a respectable 14th on the same list of 75 different subjects".

If Leonard, a PH.D, also does some teaching at CalTech he is easily over $110,000 a year. And according to Leonard during his "Dream" date with Penny he is working on a missile killing laser grant for the Feds (Government contractors will pay dearly on that one). Even he said "the money's good". But if they portrayed Leonard's economic status realistically, no way he has to share an apartment with Sheldon or more importantly, would have ever met Penny socially. Its a stretch already that Penny is living in that apartment building on a waitress' salary while trying to finance a car and acting lessons without a roommate.

Only Leonard was mentioned for a good reason. He is an experimental physicist who works on applying breakthroughs to practical use. He is making things that can make corporations who sell to the government or industry big money. That's why he would get large grants. As a former government contractor, Leonard and Howard are pure gold.

A theoretical physicist like Sheldon, who refuses to teach or an astrophysicist like Raj are good for the prestige of an institution like Cal Tech and would make decent money (60 to 80K) after some time in their job but their research would not be tied to a revenue stream at the end. They work for the pure benefit of the advancement of science, which is quite noble.

As for Howard, the portrayal of his station borders on the ridiculous. A master engineer from MIT and designer of major space station and Mars rover components who lives with his mother and drives a motor scooter and has a microbiologist wife who vastly out earns him in her first year on the job is ludicrous. He would most likely clear more then Leonard, according to how many patents he would have (and he would have some, given the trust NASA has in him). By the way, the number one highest paying job in the tech field? Aerospace engineer at a median of $115,000.

Of course, we give the show liberties because it would be tough to make the premise work otherwise. They would not have to make these adjustment if the show was about real geeky, nerdy guys, like Stuart or Captain Sweatpants. Our foursome are really very successful professional men who like nerdy things.

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With Shelton and Lenard being PHD scientist who works for a large university, why do they live in a rundown apartment with an elevator that hasn't worked in 5 years?

because they are the ones who BROKE the elevator.

(and their apartment isn't run down at all...)

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also, their names are Sheldon and Leonard

p.s.: Sorry I HAD TO!

Funny and a homage to legendary sitcom producer Sheldon Leonard. See Chuck Lorre's Vanity card #187 for his take on that.

BangerMain, I think Sursinica was being Sarcastic... Look the firts post, read the names :icon_biggrin:

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With Shelton and Lenard being PHD scientist who works for a large university, why do they live in a rundown apartment with an elevator that hasn't worked in 5 years?

I think that there are 2 reasons why someone with their income would continue to live there. First, they have grown comfortable there and dislike change. In other words, it is easier to remain living there then to go through the hassle of finding another place and moving. Second, it meets their needs. None of them seem to be overly concerned with buying luxury items. It seems to me that that they are happy as long as their basic living needs are met, they have the latest and greatest in computer and computer related items, and they are able to get take out every night. Years ago I had a friend who is now my brother-in-law who made allot of money but lived very simply, and like Sheldon, would have 2 or 3 paychecks just sitting in his desk drawer. There are people like that out there.

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I think the reason Sheldon and Leonard still live together is because they both like simple living.

Well, Sheldonlikes simple living and Leonard knows Penny lives there too so he ain't moving! But Sheldon likes the place because he doesn't like change and it is close to the restaurants and University he needs to get to and has a roomate that will drive him.

Actually, I remember an episode where Penny had money issues and Sheldon said something like his expenses account for 45% of his after-tax income. If you think about that, it makes more sense. He has over 50% of his after tax income to spend on comic books and games, etc. If he lived in a bigger more expensive place he'd have less money to do that.

Penny, on the other hand, it's a little hard to believe SHE could live in the same apartment building as Sheldon and Leonard and not even have a roomate since she only gets about min. wage at the Cheesecake Factory. They did say that the rent was very reasonable so I guess she could afford it but then her apartment shouldn't be so messy since she wouldn't have very much money to spend on anything but rent, food and gas.

Raj's situation seems pretty reasonable. If he is making a good wage, he has his own apartment that looks pretty good and has a nice car. No issue there really.

And finally,

Howard. Yes, he probably would be making a lot of money as a engineer making stuff for NASA but his living with his mother has NOTHING to do with how much money he makes. He's a MAMA'S BOY. That's always been why he lives with his mother.

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also, their names are Sheldon and Leonard

p.s.: Sorry I HAD TO!

Funny and a homage to legendary sitcom producer Sheldon Leonard. See Chuck Lorre's Vanity card #187 for his take on that.

BangerMain, I think Sursinica was being Sarcastic... Look the firts post, read the names :icon_biggrin:

D'Oh !!! As Leonard would say, "That was me being pedantic" :icon_wink:

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Re: Penny being able to live there - waitresses make more money than you'd think. I was a server for many years while I put myself through school, and pulled in $35-$40K when I worked full time. I lived in a pretty nice apartment (not TV-set nice, but nice) and never had a roommate. I chalk up Penny's money troubles to irresponsible spending and possibly just not working enough.

The best part of being a waitress was that in my state, anyway, you have to claim tips on 8% of your sales, but of course if you're not a crappy server you'll make twice that, so a lot of your income is untaxed. ;) (This is no longer true so much since most people now use debit/credit cards for everything and you have to claim all of that.)

Pet peeve: In one episode Leonard asks her for money for Chinese food and she doesn't have any cash. "How do you walk around with no money?" "I'm cute, I get by." Ha, ha, yes, that's funny. In reality, there's no such thing as a waitress who doesn't have cash. :D

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Maybe they like sticking to routine/don't like too much change--especially Sheldon. Maybe Leonard didn't want to live alone?

Plus, it does cut down on other expenses to have a roommate and cheaper apartment. They do eat out a lot, buy a lot of comic books/collectibles, have games/systems/laptops, etc. Maybe saving on rent gives them more money for other things?

And, too, Leonard probably pays for a lot of Penny's expenses--at one point, didn't she owe him like $1400?

And as for Howard, he has some mother issues, so even if he does have money, I can see him living with his mother. Maybe he just likes the scooter, too?

Another thing--was Leonard making that much when he first moved in? And how much would their rent and bills be, realistically?

Could be Leonard is saving his money to buy a big house in a neighborhood with good schools. :icon_lol:

No doubt Penny is being subsidized by Leonard, though she considers them "loans". When she said she may have to move to a cheaper apartment because of $1800 she had given to her goonish ex-boyfriend, Kurt, Leonard nearly got smashed successfully getting back the money she loaned Kurt.

I can believe that Howard is emotionally tied to his mother but the scooter is a character affectation that should have been dumped by now. He's a top ranked aerospace engineer who is an astronaut and recently married. Having him riding around in a scooter should be incredulous to more than just his father-in-law.

Leonard and Sheldon have been roommates for about nine years now. In the real world as a newly minted PH.D working at CalTech, Leonard would have been making about 50 to 60K a year (that's conservative, since an experimental physicist without a doctoral degree in 2011 averages $51,000 on entry), that's not a great deal of money in southern California, but more than enough to afford his own apartment but let's say he wants to have a roommate to defer his expenses. Leonard is likely making twice the entry salary now. The only logical explanation (an its a good one) that Leonard is still there, is Penny. If he gets her to the point that she says "OK, lets go", he would leave skid marks on the apartment driveway.

Where we have to just suspend disbelieve in TBBT universe is the apartment building. We don't know what the rents are in the apartment and can only deduce that Penny's monthly rent is less than $1400. We know that Leonard paid her rent one month and with the food she had eaten the total came to $1400. A California waitress must make a base of $16,000 a year (the Minimum Wage Tipped code) so Penny makes at least $30,000 a year if she works full time with tips. She could afford a one bed room apartment for say $1000/month. Yes it would be a struggle. A two bedroom apartment could be as much as 50% more or $1500. Since the combined income of Leonard and Sheldon is somewhere between 4 to 6 times Penny's, they must have spectacular savings accounts. By the way, the average rent on a one bedroom apartment in Pasadena is over $1700 and a two bedroom is about $2200.

But this is a TV show that had it's original premise rejected by the network. The show's first pilot showed how the homeless "Penny" character came to live with the two scientist and did not have to pay for anything. CBS squashed that so this incongruity is what we have to accept and just not think about.

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The cost of living in Southern California cannot be under estimated.

Also, there is a good chance that everything they do professionally, be it intellectual or one of Howard's inventions, belongs to the university. Patents and intellectual rights often do not directly benefit someone being paid by a government or organization to pursue such things.


With Shelton and Lenard being PHD scientist who works for a large university, why do they live in a rundown apartment with an elevator that hasn't worked in 5 years?

I think that there are 2 reasons why someone with their income would continue to live there. First, they have grown comfortable there and dislike change. In other words, it is easier to remain living there then to go through the hassle of finding another place and moving. Second, it meets their needs. None of them seem to be overly concerned with buying luxury items. It seems to me that that they are happy as long as their basic living needs are met, they have the latest and greatest in computer and computer related items, and they are able to get take out every night. Years ago I had a friend who is now my brother-in-law who made allot of money but lived very simply, and like Sheldon, would have 2 or 3 paychecks just sitting in his desk drawer. There are people like that out there.

Good points! I once worked with a man like that. He had money, lived simply, and had a stack of uncashed paychecks in his desk drawer.

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Ummm, has anyone considered they might be living cheaply because they have PHD sized student loans to pay off?

Ha! Good point for Leonard. I always had the impression that Sheldon made his way with scholarships and grants, though, since he went to college at 11, and didn't he also mention an honorary lecturing position abroad when he was 18 or so?

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.

HELLO!!! These are not real people. They are creations of Writers who make them what ever fits the Comedy routine.

If you were Leonard would you continue to live with Sheldon?? I sure wouldn't but I enjoy laughing at him.

.

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Who would watch a show called "THE RICH AND NERDOUS" , "MILLIONAIRE PHD", or "BEVERLY HILLS ASTROPHYSICIST" ? Other then maybe me I mean.

So True! :icon_wink:

If they made the salaries realistic, how many viewers would identify or have sympathy with them? Best they leave things in this fantasy world.

The latest salary.com survey says a level 5 Physicist like Leonard would make between 104 and 137K per year with a median of $114,259. No way Penny's going to be on the fence with that kind of cash. :icon_lol:

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.

HELLO!!! These are not real people. They are creations of Writers who make them what ever fits the Comedy routine.

If you were Leonard would you continue to live with Sheldon?? I sure wouldn't but I enjoy laughing at him.

.

Do the writers read these forums?

In some post I read about what would happen if Sheldon lost his memory ... and later came the episode "The Werewolf Transformation" (not a lost of memory... but a caracter transformation) :icon_lol:

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.

HELLO!!! These are not real people. They are creations of Writers who make them what ever fits the Comedy routine.

If you were Leonard would you continue to live with Sheldon?? I sure wouldn't but I enjoy laughing at him.

.

Do the writers read these forums?

In some post I read about what would happen if Sheldon lost his memory ... and later came the episode "The Werewolf Transformation" (not a lost of memory... but a caracter transformation) :icon_lol:

Haha, definitely coincidence. They are not allowed to read any type of fan site or forum.

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