Content warning: The following contains discussions on alcoholism.
Young Sheldon, now heading toward its sixth season, is a spin-off/prequel to the popular CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory showing the childhood life of one of the main characters, Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons. Odd, eccentric, socially awkward, and brilliant, if viewers were curious to find out what a young Sheldon might look like, this show delivers with a fabulously believable performance by Iain Armitage.
The stories and casting are, for the most part, perfect, and the show reveals the origins of the many fears, phobias, and idiosyncrasies that would define Sheldon in his adult life. It even includes appearances by Sheldon’s childhood idol Professor Proton in his prime, something Big Bang Theory fans never thought they’d see. That said, there are a few glaring inconsistencies that should be addressed.
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Updated on June 23rd, 2022 by Tanner Fox: Several episodes of The Big Bang Theory included musings from Sheldon Cooper about his supposedly-tumultuous childhood in rural Texas. However, while newer installments of the series see the Cooper family being to come apart at the seams, there’s still quite a lot about Sheldon’s childhood that doesn’t make much sense.
From the death of Sheldon’s father George to impactful events which the ever-mindful Sheldon somehow forgot, there’s a lot in Young Sheldon that has yet to be explained or rectified. Of course, renewed in 2021 for a fifth, sixth, and seventh season, there’s plenty of time for the show’s writers to unravel the persistent mysteries of the Cooper clan.
Sheldon Said His Dad Was An Alcoholic
Sure, Sheldon’s dad George clearly loved his beer; he’s usually seen having one, maybe two every night, and sometimes three on Fridays. To a young Sheldon’s eyes, it might have seemed that his father drank a lot. So, perhaps it isn’t an inconsistency insomuch as it is a young boy’s perception being carried over to his adult life.
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This was even proven, to some degree, when Sheldon unearthed an old VHS tape of his father giving a pep talk during an episode of The Big Bang Theory and realized with the help of Amy that sometimes things can be “observer-relative.” Who knows, maybe the drinking got worse over time, and fans have yet to see it. Either way, it seems like Sheldon’s dad was a man who drank a lot of beer, but didn’t really have a problem with alcohol, per se.
Sheldon’s Scheduling Conflicts
A season 5 episode of Young Sheldon reveals that the titular character heavily regulated other students’ use of his dorm room at East Texas Tech, though he hated scheduling these things. Given Sheldon’s fastidious nature and love of routine, one would assume that he would have no problem with this.
Additionally, Sheldon’s extreme adherence to routine was a major part of The Big Bang Theory. While it’s possible that he developed these idiosyncracies later in life, it’s tough to believe that Sheldon would, at any point, have reviled creating a schedule for himself and his cohorts.
Sheldon Claimed To Be Bullied A Lot
We’ve seen glimpses of how Sheldon was picked on at school, but it seems as though he mainly kept to himself and wasn’t really tormented and bullied as much as he describes later to his friends in The Big Bang Theory.
Maybe there are things fans just aren’t shown in the series, and there’s still more story to tell. But, from what has been depicted thus far, while Sheldon didn’t really have many friends, most of the high schoolers just gave him weird looks and rolled eyes. His biggest bully was the dimwitted neighbor Billy Sparks and the little girl whose bullying seemed to stop as soon as it began.
He Said He Didn’t Have Any Friends
Tam surely must be hurt to know that Sheldon told all of his friends in adulthood that he didn’t have any friends when he was younger. Meanwhile, it seems like he and Tam hung out every day, eating together, studying in the library, and sometimes even getting together after school.
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A grown-up Tam did appear on The Big Bang Theory, showing that Sheldon sort of blocked out their friendship after getting upset that Tam moved away, so this could explain that inconsistency. That said, Sheldon isn’t known to have a foggy memory, and this whole thing comes off as a bit of a ret-con.
Sheldon’s Parents Seem All Good
While Sheldon often discussed how his parents’ marriage imploded, with his father’s cheating and staying out all night, but very little of that has thus far come to light. Sure, they don’t exactly have the perfect marriage, but, for the most part, his father George seems like a doting, hard-working father.
So, did things go terribly wrong at some point and it simply hasn’t happened yet on Young Sheldon? Or did Sheldon really not perceive his childhood accurately? More recent seasons of Young Sheldon have hinted at a coming tragedy, though Sheldon’s childhood regardless seems much less tumultuous than he made it out to be.
Where Is The House on Blocks?
In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon mentions one time that his mother had to return home to Texas because their house was slipping off the blocks again, which would imply that they lived in a trailer park. They clearly live in a lovely home in Young Sheldon, so when exactly did they move to this type of home on blocks?
It could have been after Sheldon’s father died, which is when he was 14 or 15. Or maybe it was after George lost his job. Perhaps this means the Young Sheldon story will take a bad turn at some point this upcoming season, and the family will lose their home—or maybe Mary and Sheldon didn’t mean the comment literally. Also, their actual house could possibly be “on blocks,” a cheaper method of building a foundation versus poured concrete.
Meemaw Seems Very Different
Sure, during her appearance on The Big Bang Theory, Meemaw, played by June Squibb, was a hit, hilariously ragging on Amy. But, there was no resemblance between her and the Meemaw in Young Sheldon, played by Annie Potts, both in appearance and attitude. Though she did present as the true Meemaw when adult Sheldon poured her a whiskey instead of wine and declared “I made it just how you like it—a lot in a glass.”
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It’s possible that Meemaw became old-fashioned and stern as she aged, but the woman seen in The Big Bang Theory seems almost nothing like the version seen in Young Sheldon. It’s hard to believe that Meemaw shifted so rapidly from the wild and unconventional grandmother she was 20+ years prior to the wholesome woman she appeared to be in the present day.
Where Is Pop-Pop?
Speaking of Meemaw, where is Sheldon’s grandfather, Pop-Pop? In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon credits his grandfather for getting him into science before he passed away. On Young Sheldon, it has presumably been about four years since the grandfather died, which would mean Sheldon was five years old when he passed away.
Sure, five is probably old enough to start developing an interest in particular hobbies, so it’s quite possible that someone as intellectually advanced as Sheldon got the science bug from that age. But, he never really talks about his grandfather in Young Sheldon, nor about him being an inspiration.
Sheldon’s Dad Was Leonard’s Bully
Eagle-eyed fans noticed as soon as Young Sheldon was released that the actor who plays George, Sheldon’s father, is the same actor who played Jimmy, Leonard’s high school bully, in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. In season five, Jimmy, played by Lance Barber, reaches out to Leonard, and Leonard finally has the chance to stand up to him.
Meanwhile, Barber returned to the BBT family to play George, and fans noticed. Sure, it was only a small role way back then, but, for the sake of believability, it’s something fans can’t unsee once they notice.
How To Win Friends and Influence People
In an episode of Young Sheldon, the librarian hands Sheldon the self-help book called “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which he then goes on to read and attempts to follow in an effort to—well, win friends and influence people. Unfortunately, his tactics don’t quite work.
Where, then, does the inconsistency lie? In The Big Bang Theory, which takes place decades later, an adult Sheldon comes across a mention of Dale Carnegie and this book, and he seems unfamiliar with it. For someone with an eidetic memory, this isn’t something he would forget.
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About The Author
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A professional writer and editor with 18+ years of experience, Christine, now a freelance writer/editor, is a self-professed TV fanatic with tastes that vary considerably from comedies to dramas, sci-fi, and more. She can usually be found binging a new show at night, coupled with a glass of red wine. With a long history writing in the field of consumer tech, she now also writes on topics from entertainment to parenting, lifestyle, marketing, and business. She resides in Toronto, Ontario in Canada with her husband and young son.
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