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Young Sheldon Series: The Tale of a Genius

Updated: May 29

Young Sheldon Series Poster

Young Sheldon Taps into the fanbase of The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper while using 80s and 90s nostalgia as a flywheel for momentum. Jim Parson's voiceover as the narrator of Young Sheldon's timeline served as a necessary bridge for the viewers to know that they are watching a part of something they already know.

You get to explore the warmth of southern hospitality, the pride a Texan feels, and how it drives them to be a better person every day at least in their childhood.

While he is never diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, Young Sheldon's behaviorisms point toward him being neurodivergent. There are several instances in The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon Cooper proclaims to his colleagues that his "mother had him tested" and he wasn't crazy. Other series that deal with neurodivergent characters include Atypical and The Good Doctor Series.

The Cast of the Young Sheldon Series

The character development in the Young Sheldon TV show is really interesting where you see The Cooper kids grow up into well-rounded young adults but the parents remain pretty much the same.

This might be partly due to the fact children have developing minds and a lot of room for growth, whereas adults beyond a certain age are set in their ways and change only under critical circumstances.

Young Sheldon and family in Season 1

There is also the script detail that the Coopers lived in a conservative part of the USA - the fictional town of Medford in Texas (although there is an actual Medford city in Jackson County, Oregon). Such an environment will also make it extra difficult for people to go against the grain and achieve personal change without societal support.

Also, I thought it was unbearably adorable that while Laurie Metcalf played Sheldon Cooper's mother Mary Cooper in The Big Bang Theory, her daughter Zoe Perry played the same role - literally keeping the role in the family.

Apart from Iain Armitage as Young Sheldon, Lance Barber, Zoe Perry, and Annie Potts carried the whole show as George and Mary Cooper and "MeeMaw." The chemistry between the three makes the entire show worth watching with each ripping on the other to hilarious effect.

You would remember Annie Potts as a surly receptionist in Ghostbusters who is in equal parts - cute, pretty, and incredibly hilarious.

Annie Potts in Ghostbusters 1984

She has a similar personality in at least three roles she has played - Judith's mother in Two and a Half Men, Ghostbusters (1984), and of course the Young Sheldon TV show.

Annie Potts and Craig T Nelson in Young Sheldon

Lance Barber does a great job of playing the overworked and underappreciated, yet fulfilled father of three - the working man. He uses alcohol to a certain extent to cope with his pressures, loves his family a lot, and is a bit of a glutton.

Melissa Peterman as Brenda Sparks in Young Sheldon

What's interesting is that Lance Barber also had a confusing cameo as Leonard's high school classmate who comes back to bully him for a last time. This was a cameo in The Big Bang Theory and has no retcon explanation or references in the Young Sheldon series at any time.

Mary Cooper checking in on Famly

Zoe Perry does an adequate job of portraying George Cooper's "Bible-Thumping" ( as said by Sheldon ) as a loving wife, homemaker, Church accountant, and mother to three.

My favorite comedic character on this show is Nancy Linehan Charles who plays Peg the chain-smoking receptionist to the Church Pastor. She is also a casual alcoholic and believes that she doesn't want to waste all of her wonderful self on a single man!

Nancy Linehan Charles as Peg in Young Sheldon Series Season 1

There is always a cigarette hanging over the side of her lip no matter what she's doing - hammering away on a typewriter, pouring hard liquor into her cup of coffee, or breaking into a cough after saying something profound.

I did know a morbidly obese person in my friend's extended family who used to crack a terrible joke that ALWAYS ended in a long and disgusting cough with spittle flying all over the place. But this was more disgusting than funny, entirely unhygienic, and violated the common courtesy of covering up a cough.

My favorite character actors have got significant screen time in this series with Rex Linn taking a break from playing a Federal agent in every movie ever. Wallace Shawn plays a goofy scientist named Dr. John Sturgis reminding me of his role in My Dinner with Andre. Ed Begley Jr. plays Dr. Grant Linklater, Shawn's colleague in this series adding significantly to the comedic stylings of Shawn.

Plot Summary of Young Sheldon

The Young Sheldon Series is the story of how the legendary Sheldon Cooper grew up to be the annoying yet lovable scientist who holds his friends together.

Laurie Metcalf as Mary Cooper and Lance Barber as George Cooper

As you watch the seasons of the Young Sheldon TV show, you observe Iain Armitage grow up simultaneously as his character and his authentic self. This experience is quite amazing where you see the child actor grow with his role in many ways.

Each season sees Sheldon Cooper growing up as a person and individual with values that are inspired by his upbringing and his thought processes. You also explore the psychological workings behind his idiosyncracies such as his reason for knocking on every closed door three times.

Also, you find the reason why he treats Geology as a hobby, how he comes up with his signature Bazinga catchphrase, why he doesn't drive, and other fun stuff.

There are tons of flash-forwards and callbacks to and from The Big Bang Theory series which makes for an entertaining watch.

Sheldon Cooper's life starts in the late 80s and can be divided roughly into early and middle childhood, and his teenage years or adolescence. The first season covers his early childhood in primary school, while Seasons 2 to 4 cover the middle childhood phase of his life. The seasons from 5-7 go over the teenage years of his life as he grows into a young man and discovers new frontiers.

Season 1

The first season explores a middle-class family in the heart of Texas trying to make things work. There is sibling rivalry between the three children in the household, the mother-in-law overstaying her welcome, and everyday problems that throw the house into chaos.

Young Sheldon is the center of the Cooper family and not by choice - this conflict brings out the humor in such a tricky situation. The price of Sheldon's genius is his endless list of phobias and hypochondriac nature that puts everyone in his family on edge and makes their life significantly difficult.

Hypochondriacs tend to project their insecurities on others to hide their instability. I once had a significantly older and thankfully well-removed relative from my family go to a major hospital just because they could not handle hiccups. The same person made a remarkable impression of Steve Carrell on crutches after he cooked his foot in The Office (US) series. But the funniest part was they believed they were grievously hurt.

But the Young Sheldon series has less severe cases of such projections of insecurity and gives the little brat a more empathetic bent of mind which is developed over time.

Montana Jordan as Georgie Cooper Junior

Georgie Cooper Junior is played well by Montana Jordan as the loving yet tough older brother of the precocious Sheldon. He takes care of Sheldon while setting firm boundaries that need to be respected.

Raegan Revord as Missy Cooper

Missy Cooper is played to perfection by the sassy Raegan Revord who loves annoying her twin brother and supporting him at times when he can't take it. While she is emotionally intelligent, she pales in comparison to Sheldon's gift for academics.

George Cooper Senior played by Lance Barber struggles to accept his non-athletic son as his progeny since he is disinterested in sports. But pins most of his hopes on his eldest Georgie to fulfill his dreams of becoming an athlete, while also making time for the best daughter in the world - Missy.

There is loads of sibling rivalry, middle-class family problems, colorfully annoying neighbors, and a healthy dose of chaos that always keeps things fun.

I love how the teachers at Sheldon's school band together to complain about what a pain in the butt the Young genius Sheldon represents. Although the teachers are self-aware and do admit Sheldon is right in pointing out their mistakes while wishing for a better attitude saying the same.

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Seasons 2, 3, and 4

Sheldon's gifts of intelligence bring him face to face with the battlefield that is high school in the 90s. Sheldon manages to find a friend in the unlikeliest manner possible, while in the library. An American of Vietnamese descent, Tam makes an excellent companion for little Sheldon, sharing similar passions in science and technology.

Sheldon's awkwardness and his being a misfit do not go away overnight, but you do see a spark in him eager to connect with others around him in search of meaning.

Despite being overshadowed by Sheldon's brilliance and his growing list of needs, his siblings come into their own and discover parts of their identity. Missy explores her social skills by making tons of friends at school, staying on top of the scuttlebutt, and connecting with people. Georgie learns the ways of the entrepreneur and gets focused on making a lot of money, the right way.

All the while the Coopers try to support each other at critical times and keep the morale high at home. Monetizing nostalgia from the 80s and the 90s in the US could have been a disaster

Seasons 5, 6, and 7

The '90s are a great period in which Sheldon's teenage years shaped him into the man he became in his later years. The last three seasons see a lot of character development, some heartbreak, and a lot of sentimental scenes that add heft to this series.

Sheldon Cooper and his Family in the Later Years

Monetizing nostalgia from the 80s and the 90s could have been a disaster, but the creators of Young Sheldon have done this tastefully. It includes the viewings of Star Trek The Original Series on cable, physical comic book stores, Radio Shack, or even the Tandy computer.

You see Sheldon growing up a hell of a lot in these seasons along with his loving siblings who show love by teasing each other.

Young Sheldon Series Finale

The series finale is done well, even though I felt it was missing something. There are delightful flash-forwards to bridge the series finale with the start of The Big Bang Theory but I think it needed more. There is a loss in the Cooper family and everyone deals with their grief differently.

This reminds me of That's 70's Show where Kitty bakes, Red gets angry, and Eric just avoids everyone to deal with a death in the family.

Wrapping Up

The Young Sheldon series is a great standalone watch, even though having watched The Big Bang Theory series will enhance the viewing experience significantly in terms of references and context.

It is a family-friendly show that you can watch with everyone at home and walk away feeling all warm and fuzzy with a chuckle or two.

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