The quickest, most stylish way out the door this spring? A pair of laceless loafers—now leaner, meaner, and dressier than ever. Follow the lead of Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory and leave the wingtip-wearers behind.

The Jim Parsons Project

With his giant eyes, vulnerable face, and noodle-thin body, Jim Parsons at first looks harmless playing scientist Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. Then, on the show, he will say something like: “My father used to say a woman is like an egg-salad sandwich on a warm Texas day—full of eggs and only appealing for a short time.”

Sheldon’s a Klingon-speaking, string-theory-izing, cos-playing Archie Bunker, that too truthful crank who tickles TV viewers (of which TBBT has a gazillion), Emmy voters (he’s won twice), and melittologists (a species of Brazilian bee was named after his nonsense catchphrase “bazinga”).

“The spirit of the characters cuts them some slack. Of course, that doesn’t make what they’re saying good or right,” Parsons, 39, qualifies, as extra-polite as a graduate of Miss Porter’s in 1950.

Parsons—part of the wave of openly gay actors (Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Jesse Tyler Ferguson) who aren’t cagey about their sexuality—isn’t a geek, either, but a drama geek. He came up in experimental Houston theater, playing roles dark to demented, with hunches or limps, garish makeup or powdered hair; it was good training for comedically broad, emotionally detailed, acutely weird Sheldon. Parsons returns to the stage between seasons and is hopefully appearing in a film of Larry Kramer’s AIDS drama The Normal Heart.

About being a theater-firster on a mega-sitcom, he says: “You are up in the morning, done by early afternoon, and have summers off. It’s like being a schoolteacher.” After a pause, he carefully adds: “My mother and sister are schoolteachers. Of course, they work much harder.”—Mike Albo

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