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It upsets Sheldon when you play with the food...It upsets Sheldon when you play with the Sheldon. First sentence I kinda can justify the, second one - just don't get it.

(The big bang theory. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCK6ZwpNICQ)

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It's just a jokey continuation of the conversation. Prior to this there are several instances where they say, "It upsets Sheldon when you play with the X."

It also jokingly insinuates that there is only one 'Sheldon' in the world and at the same time dehumanises him somewhat.

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'the' is known as the definite article (as opposed to the indefinite 'a' or 'an') and implies that something is special, important, significant or one of a kind. You can't go to an Eiffel Tower, but you can go to the Eiffel tower. Often in speech we misuse this article in order to imply that something is more important than it is. 'the Sheldon' is probably mocking Sheldon's self-important perspective of himself.

It's also a rhetorical technique known as parallelism, to emphasise the place value of the word as an object in the sentence.

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    The definite article does not in any way imply that something special, important or one of a kind. It only implies that the thing you’re talking about is expected to be familiar and recognisable by the listener in the scope of the current conversation. For example, in your last sentence, you use it no less than three times (“the place value” [whatever exactly that is], “the word”, and “the sentence”), none of which denote things that are special, important, or one of a kind. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 7 '18 at 17:13
  • To Oksana: no worries, glad it helped. @JanusBahsJacquet you're absolutely correct (in certain contexts, including this), but that level of detail isn't really necessary for a question like this - the asker is interested in an aberration in normal speech patterns, not detailed grammatical laws. Saying that 'the' means something specific (i.e. special) is as good as saying that it defines it as familiar/recognisable/ specific. Thanks for pointing it out, but I don't think any amendment is called for. – Joseph Paduch Dec 8 '18 at 8:28
  • @JanusBahsJacquet in other contexts, you get constructions like 'the one and only', which more clearly demonstrates how 'the' makes something special. He was the one. Worship a god, I'll worship the God. It's not common, but when 'the' is used out of place - such as the Sheldon, it can imply uniqueness. – Joseph Paduch Dec 8 '18 at 8:35

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