The Big Bang Theory is one of those shows that people love to shit on, a popular complain about the show is that the writers try to shoehorn in references to geek culture to score cheap laughs. While this may be true, in defence of the show, it does have one of the most subtle and nerdy Easter eggs ever featured in a sitcom.
One of the major criticisms dissenters of the show like to bring up is that it typifies “fake nerds”, a pejorative term mostly used by assholes who dislike the idea of people who aren’t them thinking that Batman is cool just because they didn’t read any comics he starred in. Even though that idea is stupid because you don’t need to intimately understand something to enjoy it, a statement that would be supported by anyone who’s ever had an orgasm.
Moving on, critics of the show often point to the numerous lazy “nerdy” jokes crammed into the show to pad it out, for example, referring to a character as a “muggle” for no other reason than to pander to Harry Potter fans, something we’d never do. These jokes are often delivered with the subtlety of a frozen brick to the testicles with about the same response, a pained, awkward silence. Which makes it all the more surprising that the show features an incredibly nuanced easter egg that only a huge-ass nerd would notice or even care about.
As noted above, the character Sheldon Cooper is often shown wearing T-shirts featuring the logos of famous well known superheroes like Batman, The Flash and Aquaman. However, in a few scenes Sheldon is seen wearing shirts featuring decidedly more obscure things, like this one.
That’s the logo of the Red Lantern Corps, a group of little known anti-heroes from the same series of comics that gave us the better-known Green Lantern, you know, that dipshit who can use his mind and the power of will to create anything and uses it mostly to create giant fists. Like the Green Lantern Corps, the Red Lantern Corps derive their power from a particular emotion, in this case rage, why is this important? Well, in that particular scene, Sheldon, a character who almost never shows any emotion other than apathy, is really fucking pissed.
Then in another episode in which Sheldon is shown to be uncharacteristically kind and emphatic, he’s seen wearing this.
That shirt features the logo for the Violet Lanterns, a group of female heroes who draw their power from feelings of love and compassion and is supposed to be small nod to how Sheldon respects and has feelings of benevolence for the powerful, independent women in his life.
To be clear, Sheldon never wears these shirts again, with the exception of the Violet Lantern shirt, which he wears in another episode where he displays unusual levels of consideration for a female cast mate. The writers and prop guys knew that Sheldon would be acting in a certain way in these scenes and went out of their way to include an incredibly obscure, subtle clue to his emotional state that only an avid comic fan would understand, in a show avid comic fans are known to actively avoid.
Then again, in the same episode Sheldon wears the Red Lantern shirt, it features a scene in which he imagines that he’s turned in Gollum from Lord of the Rings while wearing it. Which is stupid because Gollum is a character characterised by an intense greed for the one ring, and greed is the favoured emotion of the Orange Lanterns. Jeez, The Big Bang Theory, way to make yourself look like fucking idiots to the handful of people watching your show who know that.