'The Big Bang Theory's' John Ross Bowie: Kripke is a 'Super Villain'
The actor — who goes head-to-head with his rival in Thursday's episode — tells THR that his character is overcompensating for sounding silly.
Kripke is back, and the lisping "super villain" wants to knock Sheldon off his perch as the top dog at work when the rivals face off on Thursday's The Big Bang Theory.
After learning that the corner office at the university is up for grabs at work, Kripke (John Ross Bowie) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) — two most unlikely athletes — will battle it out as they compete in a series of sports challenges, with the winner nabbing the spacious prize.
"Kripke has a confidence and bravado that no one else seems to have on the show," Bowie tells The Hollywood Reporter. "He thinks he’s awesome, and to a large extent he’s right."
While the challenges pushed both Bowie and Parsons beyond their comfort zones, the actor says each time the two battle it out, Kripke is the one who winds up on top. "He’s a bunch of things, but he’s not a loser," Bowie says. "Every time he clashes with Sheldon, he ends up winning in the long run."
Bowie notes that he first approached playing Kripke as an arrogant alpha male before Big Bang co-creator Chuck Lorre thought it better to give the character some vulnerability and gave him an over-the-top case of rhotacism (think Looney Tunes' Elmer Fudd).
It's that diagnosis that motivates Kripke to be the permanent thorn in Sheldon's side. "He's basically just overcompensating for sounding silly," Bowie says. "Kripke is a super villain — he’s got a speech impediment the way Lex Luthor has alopecia, but it doesn’t stop him from being endlessly resourceful and incredibly smart. He doesn’t seem to find Sheldon’s quirks charming — it’s almost as if he’s saying, 'Look, man, you are giving nerds a bad name. Pull it together.' "
While the arrogance remains, Bowie says Kripke's mean streak is likely fueled by his quest for notoriety — as in recognition of his accomplishments at the university. "Kripke probably would rather be a rock star, but he's stuck with this brilliant scientific mind. So he's got a lot of anger issues."
The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBS. Watch a promo for the episode below.