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Tam Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American character in Young Sheldon. He was a classmate and the only childhood friend of Sheldon Cooper.

Character Info[]

Young Sheldon[]

Tam is a pessimistic, short-tempered Vietnamese-American boy who attends the same high school as Sheldon. He is the first friend in high school that Sheldon ever made. He has the same issues with friends as Sheldon; when they met Tam told Sheldon he had trouble making friends as well, and in "A Rival Prodigy and Sir Isaac Neutron" when Mary Cooper mentioned that Tam must have other friends Sheldon refutes it, stating "I'm all he's got, and even I avoid him half the time."

He laments his difficult childhood in war-torn Vietnam which includes his father having been in re-education camp and his encounter with the Ku Klux Klan while first arriving in America. Tam may or may not have PTSD, given he has difficulty getting over such traumatic events and he takes his frustration out on other people, such as Sheldon's father George.

He tends to get frustrated a lot with Sheldon (although Tam often only makes sarcastic comments, similar to Leonard, which Sheldon does not notice). Despite this, Sheldon and Tam are much alike in their personalities. When Sheldon simply stated, "I'm not hungry", Tam responds that no one in Vietnam would ever say those words. Also when Tam referred to the American war effort as the "wrong side" of the Vietnam War (even though, ironically, he and his family had fled from Vietnam's brutal Communist regime to escape to America), George Sr. claims he's concerned about Tam calling the Americans the wrong side, before Tam angrily asserts he was just being polite when clearly he's not.

Season 1[]

When Sheldon gains popularity from helping his father lead the football team, Tam uses it as advantage to get girls, going so far as to say that he helped Sheldon do the math, people at school believed it because he's Asian. Later, Tam takes him to a party due to his popularity from football and as a way for him to get in. As a consequence, Sheldon got a B+ on a test, he later gets scolded by Mary. (A Solar Calculator, a Game Ball, and a Cheerleader's Bosom)

In Physical education class, Tam helps Sheldon with crunches as mandated by Coach Wilkins. When asked about how to find evidence of cheating, he tells Sheldon to look for evidence under the soles of Georgie's shoes. At the library, he sees Sheldon not check out books, and tells him he has to but is reassured that Sheldon will eventually return them. At lunch, he is shown a fake note written by Sheldon to get out of gym class; the excuse was testicular Hernia. (Spock, Kirk, and Testicular Hernia)

While Tam and Sheldon are playing with trains in the Cooper House garage, Sheldon tells Tam that he is going to private school. He does not seem to be bothered by it, but in a voiceover, Sheldon thinks Tam is crying tears of grief that Sheldon is about to leave. (An Eagle Feather, a String Bean, and an Eskimo)

Tam plays Dungeons and Dragons in the Cooper house garage with Billy Sparks and Sheldon. Mary comes in, sees the contents, and discourages them from playing due to the mention of demons. At a lunch in the library, Sheldon asks him about Catholicism, and he tells Sheldon about information, of which makes him feel bad; Tam retorts that those feelings means Catholicism is working. (Demons, Sunday School, and Prime Numbers)

Tam develops a crush on Libby, a black female student that has an interest in geology; however, when he went to go see an IMAX film with her and tried to put his arm around her neck, she snapped back and rejected his romantic advances. Not wanting to get physically attacked by her, Tam came running back to Sheldon. (Dolomite, Apple Slices, and a Mystery Woman)

He welcomed Sheldon in a sleepover. He introduced Sheldon to Vietnamese food and culture. While Tam wanted to play a game, Sheldon confesses a secret, and Tam didn’t care. Later, they slept. (A Financial Secret and Fish Sauce)

Tam is walking in class when he was asked about detention. He has never been in detention but describes the school bus as a mental hospital on wheels. (A Sneeze, Detention, and Sissy Spacek)

Tam joins Sheldon for lunch. He tells Sheldon that he had learned Jiu-Jitsu early on. In gym class, as the other kids do star jumps, Sheldon and Tam do Arm Locks against each other, unable to wriggle free. (Jiu-Jitsu, Bubble Wrap, and Yoo-hoo)

Season 2[]

While Tam and Sheldon are having lunch, Tam reads a note from his mother, the note read “don’t talk to Sheldon - Mom”, Sheldon says that its okay as he mostly does the talking, and Tam agrees. (A Loaf of Bread and a Grand Old Flag)

Tam is at school with Sheldon. In the school library with Tam, Sheldon reads the issue of Psychology Magazine that Paige was talking about. He admits there is ample evidence that a stunted childhood can lead to someone being a maladjusted adult. Tam remarks that he’s screwed as his childhood is all about schoolwork, playing the cello, and working in the family store. Sheldon vows to do something to it by goofing off, engaging in horseplay and, if time permits, being quite immature. (A Stunted Childhood and a Can of Fancy Mixed Nuts)

Season 4[]

Tam buys a copy of Sheldon's old high school test from Georgie. (A Box of Treasure and the Meemaw of Science)

Tam tells Sheldon about a guy who sells bootleg copies of video games, Sheldon buys it and goes to his room to test it while Tam is in the living room singing to a song on MTV. (A Virus, Heartbreak and a World of Possibilities)

Season 7[]

Sheldon asks tam to have one last lunch in the library with him before he leaves for California where Tam tells Sheldon about how his life is going after high school and Sheldon doesn't care. (A New Home and a Traditional Texas Torture)

The Big Bang Theory[]

Tam, now in his mid-40s, meets Sheldon again after not having contact with him for more than 20 years. During this time, he had married a woman named Beth, and has a son and another child. He said Sheldon had not spoken for 20 years because Tam broke his promise to go to California with Sheldon and become roommates with one another. They had attended different universities, with Sheldon going to grad school in Caltech, while Tam went to college in Texas and got married to Beth. (The Tam Turbulence)



The Big Bang Theory Episodes
 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Tot
Season 1 0
Season 2 0
Season 3 0
Season 4 0
Season 5 0
Season 6 0
Season 7 0
Season 8 0
Season 9 0
Season 10 0
Season 11 0
Season 12 1


Young Sheldon Episodes
 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Tot
Season 1 11
Season 2 M 10
Season 3 M 5
Season 4 M 3
Season 5 F 1
Season 6 0
Season 7 F 2
Appeared M = Mentioned Did not appear Not aired/Not available
V = Voiced C = Cameo F = Flashback I = Indirectly mentioned P = Pictured


  • Tam was Sheldon's only friend and Sheldon notes that he's Tam's only friend as well.
  • Tam may be considered a part of the Vietnamese refugee population called "Boat People" since he stated he and his family arrived to the U.S. in a runaway refugee boat.
  • Tam is like a Vietnamese version of Stuart Bloom and Leonard Hofstadter in Young Sheldon.
    • Tam is the same age as Stuart and they both share an interest in manga and comics.
  • In Young Sheldon, Tam's role has slowly decreased and he isn't even mentioned in seasons 5 or 6, however he did return in episode 12 of Season 7.
  • In Young Sheldon, Tam said that he wanted to marry a hot blonde woman in the future but in TBBT he did get married but it was never mentioned if she was a hot blonde woman.
  • Tam once fished Sheldon out of a dumpster.



v · e · d
Young Sheldon Characters
Main Characters Main Sheldon Cooper  ‧  Mary Cooper  ‧  George Cooper Sr.  ‧  George Cooper Jr.  ‧  Missy Cooper  ‧  Meemaw  ‧  Jeff Difford  ‧  Billy Sparks  ‧  Amanda McAllister
Recurring and Minor Characters John Sturgis  ‧ Tam Nguyen  ‧  Paige Swanson  ‧  Veronica Duncan  ‧  Brenda Sparks  ‧  Herschel Sparks  ‧  Victoria McElroy  ‧  Evelyn Ingram  ‧  Wayne Wilkins  ‧  Hubert Givens  ‧  Sheryl Hutchins  ‧  Gene Lundy  ‧  Tom Petersen  ‧  Le Nguyen  ‧  Trang Nguyen  ‧  Mai Nguyen  ‧  Kim-Ly Nguyen   ‧  Barry Swanson  ‧  Linda Swanson  ‧  Erica Swanson  ‧  Dale Ballard  ‧  Selena  ‧  Robin Difford  ‧  Jana  ‧  Marcus Larson  ‧  June  ‧  Grant Linkletter  ‧ Linda Hagemeyer  ‧ Pat  ‧ Professor Boucher  ‧ Jim McAllister  ‧ Audrey McAllister  ‧ Amber