The hit sitcom seemed to describe the mind-bending idea of the film in the season two episode “The Work Song Nanocluster”, which was first broadcast in 2009.
During the episode, Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) is shown drinking an unhealthy amount of coffee, before delivering a caffeine-fuelled rant about reverse entropy - the central idea behind Nolan’s recent blockbuster.
In Tenet, characters are able to travel backwards though time by reversing the entropy of their own bodies.
In the Big Bang Theory clip, Sheldon says: “Let’s reconsider the entire ideology entropy reversed and effect preceding cause. So you are thinking of a universe, not expanding from the centre, no, it is retreating! From a possibility space! Bam!
“A space where we are all essentially Alice Through the Looking Glass standing in front of the Red Queen, and we’re being offered a cracker to quench our thirst… bam!”
The clip from the episode was shared on Reddit, along with the comment: “I’m damn sure. Sheldon inspired Christopher Nolan!!”
While it’s obvious that Tenet’s storyline was a lot more fleshed out than the brief, rambling idea from Sheldon, the film does specifically talk about “reversing entropy”, using the exact same terminology as Cooper.
Tenet’s plot and time-travel mechanic proved too complicated for many viewers, however, with some cinema-goers complaining that the film was confusing.
You can read The Independent’s guide to understanding Tenet here.