Disclaimer: Nothing is mine. Any resemblance to actual incidents on TV Tropes is partially coincidental. Oh, and for the record, "Back to the Future" is one of my all-time favourite movies ever. Sheldon's just being Sheldon.
It began innocently, like all incidents involving Sheldon Cooper. He was chatting with Amy over Skipe about the riveting string theory. Then, to relax their brains, they proceeded to discuss the fascinating world of physics, and the idiots who could not understand them.
"…so anyway, I tried to sit her down and explain why it's just not possible to travel through time by going 88 miles an hour on plutonium, but she told me to, and I quote, 'shut up and watch the movie'," Sheldon ranted. "As enjoyable as 'Back to the Future' may be, Emmett Brown's theories are thoroughly flawed." He sighed, "Sometimes, Amy, it feels like I'm the only evolved species on this planet."
"Actually, you're not," said Amy. She pushed her glasses up her nose. "I've been meaning to tell you about this website I found—it's called 'TV Tropes'."
"TV Tropes?" asked Sheldon. "What exactly is this 'TV Tropes'? Apart from it being a website about television and tropes, that is."
"It's not just television," explained Amy. "It covers a wide range of mediums—film, literature, comic books, you name it, but especially anime. It lists a series of plot conventions and devices associated with them and attempts to dissect the work individually. You might want to check it out."
"Has it served any purpose to the scientific community?" asked Sheldon.
"Nah, it's one of the biggest time wasters on the internet," said Amy. "But if you're looking for others who can spot scientific inconsistencies just as good as us, it's a decent little place to look up." She checked her wristwatch. "I have to go. It's time to record the results of my heroin-addicted monkey."
"I thought he was addicted to cigarettes," said Sheldon.
"Oh yeah, this is his brother," said Amy. "Turns out, addiction runs in the family. Maybe I'll make that the subject." And with that, she signed off, leaving Sheldon to ponder the mystery of TV Tropes.
"I wonder if there's a page for Star Trek?" he muttered as he typed in the Yahoo search engine "TV Tropes Star Trek".
5 hours later
By now, Leonard had grown accustomed to the many oddities of Sheldon Cooper. He could accept the assortment of "roommate agreements" and contracts, the specifically scheduled Halo nights, and the precise orders he and the others had to make at every restaurant.
Yet he couldn't understand why in the name of all things scientific Sheldon was sitting at his laptop at midnight editing for some kind of Wikipedia-ish website.
"I'm going to bed, Sheldon," said Leonard. He stood in his bathrobe and pyjamas holding a glass of water.
"By means of saying that, are you insinuating that I should go to bed as well?" said Sheldon, not looking up from the laptop. "How can I go to bed when Wesley Crusher is being so grossly insulted?"
Leonard suspected he would regret asking, but he dared to anyway: "How is Wesley being 'grossly insulted'?"
"There is a trope called 'Creator's Pet'," Sheldon said, his eyes still glued to the screen, his fingers typing at rapid speed. "It was once called 'The Wesley' after Wesley Crusher. Do you know what a Creator's Pet is, Leonard?"
"Enlighten me," Leonard said, wondering why he was wasting his time. It was probably half-curiosity, half-masochism. But mostly masochism.
"It is a term describing a character who is enamoured by the writing staff yet detested by the rest of the fan base," Sheldon said. His face wrenched with fury. "And apparently, the majority of the fan base despised Wesley." He scoffed, "Well, I would like to know the exact numbers TV Tropes got to arrive at that conclusion. Did they carry out a double-blind study? Do they gather a group of Star Trek fans, give them a list of characters, and then ask, on a scale of one to ten, to list from favourite to least favourite?"
"Maybe they just visited the fan forums and arrived to a conclusion from there," Leonard suggested.
He realized his fatal mistake two seconds too late.
"Is that so?" Sheldon said in a dangerously low tone. "They named a trope after Wesley Crusher as an insult…based on the opinion of jealous fans who wish they could be half as smart as me—I mean, Wesley? If you'll excuse me, I need to delete the entire page and replace it with a 'The Reason You Suck Speech' aimed at the majority of tropers who think they can get away with this injustice."
"Are you sure that's a good idea, Sheldon?" Leonard said. "Don't you think you could get banned for that?"
Sheldon's finger lingered over the delete key before dropping. "I just came up with a much better idea," he said. "Instead, I'll go to the discussion page and post my 'The Reason You Suck Speech' there instead. It will be my Crowning Moment Of Awesome."
"Your…crowning moment of what?" Leonard said.
Sheldon turned away from the laptop to look at Leonard as though he had asked what two plus two equalled. "My Crowning Moment Of Awesome, Leonard," he said. "As in, Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin. This was his Crowning Moment Of Awesome because he made an important scientific discovery that contributed to mankind's survival. Like what I'm doing here!"
Leonard debated asking Sheldon how complaining about a trivial issue that the rest of the world didn't give a damn about was ensuring mankind's survival, but then decided against it. He wasn't up for entertaining Sheldon.
"Good night, Sheldon," Leonard said as he turned for the bedroom. "And good luck with your TV Tropes thing."
After Leonard had shut the door, Sheldon scoffed, "My TV Tropes thing…hmph! It won't be a 'thing' once I've taken over the site and re-named it…"
He paused for dramatic effect. "Sheldon Tropes!"
When Leonard came out for breakfast the next morning, he found Sheldon asleep in his chair, his fingers lingering inches above the keyboard. With each breath he took, he snored.
"Sheldon?" Leonard whispered. "Sheldon?" He walked over to the sleeping troper and thought, What's that saying again—never wake a sleeping tiger?
So he stood and waited for Sheldon to awaken. Yet not a sound stirred from Sheldon, apart from the occasional snore. Just as Leonard was ready to either leave the man where he was or get out a pair of pots and pans, Sheldon abruptly woke up crying out, "KHAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN!"
"Good morning to you, too, Sheldon," Leonard said. He went into the kitchen to prepare a pot of coffee.
"I must continue on with my mission!" Sheldon cried. Immediately, as if he had never stopped to rest, his fingers flew across the keyboard and typed faster than Mighty Mouse on Red Bull.
"Is this still about rushing to the aid of Wesley Crusher?" Leonard asked.
"Yes and no," Sheldon said. Now, it was as though his eyes were glued to the laptop. "I am plotting a full-frontal siege of TV Tropes. I'm going through each and every article and re-writing them according to my scientific definitions. For instance, take 'Too Dumb To Live'—in theory, it's about a character becoming terminally stupid. Now, with a few changes here and there, it is called 'Darwin's Law'. I have also re-worded all examples to explain the linkage between their actions and the application of Darwin's Law within the context of the story."
Leonard poured himself a cup of coffee. "And an example of this would be…?"
Sheldon beamed, cleared his throat, and began to explain his point as though he had been preparing this speech in his sleep: "Homer Simpson is an excellent example of Darwinism at its very finest. According to the theory of Darwin, it is only the most adaptable of species who survive. Those who evolve sufficiently will have developed—"
"I get the picture," Leonard said quickly, saving himself from the introductory paragraph of Sheldon's ten-page thesis on the connection between Charles Darwin and Homer Simpson. "But how can you know if this will last? Won't the site's moderators eventually catch on?"
"Oh please, everyone knows that the moderators let the inmates take over the asylum," Sheldon said with a wave of his hand. "It's only natural that sooner or later, one of those inmates would rise up and burn down the asylum." He saved his brilliant changes to the once-mediocre page and moved on to the forums while Leonard stood and sipped his coffee while Sheldon struck the metaphorical match.
As the day wore on, Howard and Raj stopped by to discuss and debate whether or not "One More Day" really was that bad, but their plans were interrupted when they came in through the door and saw Sheldon sitting at the laptop, an unearthly glow reflecting off his face.
Was this proof that Sheldon was indeed another evolved life form as he had claimed?
Or was he just been sitting at the laptop for too long?
Either explanation would suffice.
"Oh hey, Sheldon," Howard said. He dared to step towards Sheldon and say, "Are you ready to begin out debate on—" He tiled his side to the right. "Is that TV Tropes?"
"So you were aware of this website, also, Howard?" said Sheldon. By now, his fingers were almost on fire.
"Yeah, yeah, I…" Howard cleared his throat. "I've been around the forums once or twice…"
"Oh really?" Sheldon said. Immediately, he opened up the forums in a new window. "What's your user name?"
Howard shuffled his feet and smiled nervously. "Well, um…what I meant to say was that I used to go there, but not anymore, so, um…"
"Wait a minute," Raj said, raising his hands. "Are you from the Troper Dating Service?"
"Oh no, no, I don't know what you're talking about," Howard laughed in an unnatural tone.
"Oh," said Raj, sounding somewhat disappointed. "Okay, then. I was just…curious."
"A-ha!" Sheldon exclaimed. "Nice try, but you can go a long way when you know exactly how to hack into the forums and trace someone's I.P. address, Howard…" He whipped around. "Or should I say…not-so-kosher hot dog1866!"
"Ahe…heheh…heheheheeee…you wouldn't," Howard said, regretting having ever mentioning his past involvement with TV Tropes.
"And why wouldn't I?" Sheldon said with his trademark smirk. He blinked. "What do you think I'm supposed to do?"
"Oh, uh, nothing," Howard said as he rubbed the back of his neck.
"I have better things to do than indulge in the banality of finding out the true identities of each troper," Sheldon said, turning his attention back to the laptop screen. "I am launching a full-scale takeover of TV Tropes. Care to join me?"
"Nah," Howard shook his head, "I'd rather take over the Death Star with that Star Wars Lego game."
"That reminds me, I believe it is currently the main image for 'Better Than It Sounds'," Sheldon said. "I'm still trying to find a much more suitable replacement, but I'm torn between the Doppler Effect and the Big Bang Theory. And even if I could choose just one, what would be the perfect image to capture the spirit of either? It would have to be something ordinary and yet explains everything you need to know about it in just one image."
"Oh, I know," Raj piped up. "Why don't you just post a picture of Haruhi Suzumiya? Everyone knows who Haruhi Suzumiya is!"
"I'm failing to see the connection between an anime character and the state of the universe," Sheldon scoffed. "Ergo, I will seek an image representing either the Doppler Effect or the Big Bang Theory."
"But wouldn't it just be 'Just a Face and a Caption'?" Howard pointed out.
"It's not 'Just a Face and a Caption' if everyone knows what it is," Sheldon said, rolling his eyes. "And I'm sure everyone knows what the Big Bang theory is. Hmm…maybe I'll go with that."
As it turned out, no one understood the significance behind the image of a black background. Despite Sheldon's repeated attempts to add the image back up, it was decided on a unanimous vote that the image would go down and the main page would be locked. Though this infuriated him to no end, he decided to focus his attention on the much bigger stakes at hand: Taking over the website. Once he had total control, he'd get to add whatever kind of images he wanted anyway.
"Ooh, ooh, now go after the 'Nightmare Fuel' page and discuss the inner workings of the brain," Raj urged.
"No, I'm afraid that's Amy's field," Sheldon sighed. "And besides, every time I try to edit legitimately incorrect entries, they just get undone with a series of Cluster F Bomb messages telling me why their opinion is superior to mine. So then I try to respond telling them that no, my opinion is superior to theirs because of my credentials, and then a neutral third party steps in and tells us both to cut it out or else we'll get banned. And then the person whom I was fighting with sent me a link to a YouTube video that was basically just a toddler blowing a raspberry."
"Ah, never underestimate adolescent cynicism," Howard sighed.
"But there is some good news," Sheldon said. "I have successfully brought back Troper Tales to the main site."
"Oh, I'm so happy!" Raj said gleefully. "I miss the good old days when I could tell everyone about my life saga using as many different Troper Tales as possible." He giggled, "Like the time Howard deliberately aggravated his nut allergy to prevent Leonard from finding out about his surprise birthday party!"
"Hey!" Howard whipped towards Raj. "I thought that was supposed to be our secret!"
"Well, you know what they say," Raj said, rocking back and forth on his feet. "One man may keep a secret if three are dead."
"So, um…just out of curiosity, Raj…what Troper Tales section did you relate that little story under?" Howard asked. He had a bad, bad feeling as to which one it was, yet he also hoped Raj had been merciful and added it under 'The Woobie' as a means to recount the woes of his companion's life.
"Too Dumb To Live," Raj replied.
"Don't you mean 'Darwin's Law'?" Sheldon said.
"Drop it," Howard seethed.
"And anyway, you interrupted me before I could finish," Sheldon said. "I added back Troper Tales…to discuss the practical scientific application of these tropes in everyday life outside of fictional conventions. I suspect it will be a matter of time before the moderators catch on, but in any event, I must continue in my mission!"
He pointed in a random direction. "On to 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic'!"
In this case, friendship was actually not magic. Once the bronies caught wind of Sheldon's plan, they spammed his inbox with messages demanding why he was intruding on their territory. In a situation like that, the sensible thing to do would've been to have someone like Raj speak to them—after all, he could identify with them to an extent and even enjoyed a couple episodes himself. And then, perhaps, Raj could've appealed to their good side by suggesting they help Sheldon's plan.
But alas, Sheldon proved once again that "intellectual" is not the same as "sensible", and aggravated the bronies even further by asking them why fully-grown men were interested in a show about ponies aimed at little girls. In response, they shot back why a fully-grown man was interested in a show about people flying around in a space ship. Sheldon then responded that the main difference was that 'Star Trek' was reserved for advanced, super-evolved humans such as himself and that sharing such a delight with lesser developed people was a privilege, while they were part of the species that never evolved past the homo gautengensis.
None of them understood the "gautengensis" part, but they did understand the "homo" part and took Sheldon's insult to mean something else…and naturally, they were very, very angry.
So they sent in a sort-of-but-not-really-neutral third party to offer Sheldon a seemingly innocent download link for a never-before-seen interview with Eugene Rodenberry. Deciding he could just look up the link and then bookmark for later after his mission was complete, he followed it.
And this was how Sheldon's laptop became infected with a virus, and was thus rendered incapable of doing anything except showing a cute little screensaver of Pinkie Pie frolicking through Equestria.
"Big NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Sheldon cried to the heavens.
Raj stroked his chin and muttered, "I wonder where I can get that screensaver?"
Knock-knock-knock. "Penny." Knock-knock-knock. "Penny." Knock-knock-knock. "Penny."
Penny opened the door and immediately, Sheldon rushed past her. "I need to borrow your laptop," he said as he searched the apartment.
"Well, you're out of luck, because my laptop croaked last night and I'm still looking for a new one," Penny said, wondering if she should dare ask his reasons. "And my computer is also down, so I can't help you there."
"Penny, this is serious," Sheldon urged. He gave up searching and sat on her couch, looking both placid and aggravated. "I'm having a Heroic BSOD in the aftermath of a Moral Event Horizon inflicted onto me by the Big Bad of the Fan Dumb, and I have thus become the Woobie."
Penny blinked. "What?"
Sheldon cleared his throat. "Let me make this a little more clear: I will Pay Evil Unto Evil by—"
"Wait, wait, back up," Penny said, holding her hands up. "Why do you need to borrow my laptop in the first place?"
"I am on a very important mission, Penny," Sheldon said. "It's one that could forever affect the future of mankind! I am their only hope!"
"And what would this mission be?" Penny asked.
"I am re-inventing TV Tropes to become Sheldon Tropes," Sheldon said, in a completely serious voice. "My laptop has been infected with a virus in my noble attempts to clean it up."
Penny blinked. "Um…yeah, why can't you just get your laptop in to be fixed?"
"Because the fate of the world rests on my shoulders and I can't just abandon my goal for even a second!" Sheldon insisted.
"I'm sure it can wait for just a day or two," Penny said. "So what's the big rush?"
"The moderators haven't yet caught on to my plan and I must act before they stop me," Sheldon said, shuddering at the thought of his glorious progress being left to the hands of grown men who masturbated to My Little Pony porn. "I figured that despite the fact you're nowhere near as intelligent as I, you might be a valuable asset in my little scheme. So, are you up to becoming the Chick to my Five Man Band?"
After contemplating Sheldon's words for several minutes, Penny finally said:
"TV Tropes will ruin your life. And your vocabulary."
Sheldon resigned to having his laptop taken in and fixed. Eventually, the virus was cleared out of the system (though not without the workers laughing over the absurdity of the situation). When Sheldon went back to TV Tropes, however, he learned that not only was the site reverted back to its original state, he had also been banned. And to rub salt in the wound, his saga had been the subject of a dramatic reading on YouTube by some user called Crazy…something, not that such trivialities mattered.
What mattered was that his pride had been severely wounded.
All he could do was cry to his mother about it on the phone….only to find out that she was addicted to TV Tropes, too.
He then moved on to the other thing he could do: Rant to Amy.
"Amy?" Sheldon began. "You were right. Addiction does run in the family."