After implying that George Cooper Sr. will have an affair with Brenda Sparks, Young Sheldon season 5 is trying too hard to justify his infidelity.
Warning! Spoiler ahead for Young Sheldon season 5, episode 5.
CBS’ Young Sheldon is trying way too hard to justify George Cooper Sr. (Lance Barber) cheating on Mary in the TV show. Adult Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and his mom always poked fun at and criticized his father in The Big Bang Theory. George was always described as a no-good dad who was negligent and lazy. To make matters worse, Sheldon even revealed that he caught George having an affair behind his mom’s back, which Young Sheldon has set up, leading to their divorce.
The revelation came while he explained to Penny (Kaley Cuoco) how he got his annoying habit of knocking three times. According to Sheldon, when he was 13 years old, he came home early from college. After hearing some noises, he barged into his parents’ room and saw his dad cheating on Mary with another woman. He and George never properly discussed what went down, and just a year after, the Cooper patriarch died of a heart attack. Not much else has been revealed about this particular incident, or George’s cheating. But ever since Young Sheldon premiered in 2017, people have wondered when the spinoff series would tackle this particularly dark storyline.
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The Young Sheldon season 4 finale laid the groundwork for this arc when George was propositioned by his newly-single neighbor, Brenda Sparks (Melissa Peterman), to come home with her. Before something could happen, however, he suffered an emergency health scare that saw him rushed to the hospital. Since then, the pair has maintained contact, and it’s clear that there’s some attraction between them, which could have led to George’s cheating scandal on Young Sheldon.
How Young Sheldon Tried To Make Cheating George The Victim
CBS is trying too hard to justify George cheating on Mary, despite what’s happening in the prequel and what’s established in The Big Bang Theory. In Young Sheldon season 5, episode 5, “Stuffed Animals and A Sweet Southern Syzygy,” the Cooper patriarch was depicted as a great dad who tries hard to please his kids. But after his inadvertent meddling in Missy Cooper’s (Raegan Revord) love life went awry, she ruthlessly chastised her dad, blaming him for her enduring humiliation. Instead of George standing up for himself and not allowing her to disrespect him, he walked away, looking defeated. The moment sends a message that the children’s lack of appreciation for their dad somehow factored into his decision to cheat. Adult Sheldon’s narration even acknowledged this.
This point was further emphasized when George’s heartwarming conversation with Billy Sparks after he was dumped by Missy later on. The Cooper patriarch took the time to check up on Brenda’s son. Unlike his own daughter, Billy was actually receptive to George’s advice about dealing with heartbreaks while Brenda watched George with starry eyes. Since Young Sheldon finds George either being disrespected or completely ignored at home, it follows that Sheldon’s dad’s eventual cheating was his way to find fulfillment and validation elsewhere. It attempts to justify his decision to be unfaithful because his own family treats him poorly despite everything he does for them.
The Big Bang Theory Universe Can Be Super Problematic
Neither Young Sheldon nor The Big Bang Theory is known for their progressive approach to their female characters, but George’s cheating scandal in Young Sheldon is talked about in The Big Bang Theory in a very different way. Even so, many have accused TBBT of being overtly sexist, particularly in the early seasons. It seems as if Young Sheldon is repeating its parent show’s mistakes regarding George cheating on Mary. Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) in TBBT, in particular, is the biggest perpetrator of them all. He does have a satisfying character arc when he becomes a father, losing much of his perverted attitude over time. But in the beginning, Howard is the full embodiment of the male gaze.
Related: Young Sheldon: George Secretly Makes A Dig At Big Bang Theory’s Penny
The Big Bang Theory used the “nerd” archetype to further its sexist tendencies as a sort of scapegoat. It was presented as acceptable whenever Leonard and the gang were misogynistic because they “didn’t know any better.” The female characters on the show are somewhat complicit in their degradation, fully accepting whatever the boys want to dish out. This did change a little as time went on. Especially when Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) started fighting back against Howard’s Peter Pan syndrome in later seasons. However, most of the other characters seemed incapable of growth. Since Young Sheldon’s in the same problematic universe as The Big Bang Theory, it’s unsurprising that the misogyny from the latter would translate into the former by making George the victim in his affair.
Though George’s cheating, as revealed in The Big Bang Theory, is still wrong, getting yelled at by Missy and showing how dejected he is after her over-the-top emotional outburst makes George more sympathetic. Obviously, there’s a disconnect between The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon’s depiction of George. Eventually, CBS will have to reconcile the vastly different versions of the character. But Sheldon’s memories of his father have been colored by his own experiences, and the spinoff show tries incredibly hard to provide a fuller perspective of George Cooper’s infidelity.
Next: Young Sheldon Continues Its George Sr. Big Bang Theory Plot Hole Fix
Young Sheldon releases new episodes Thursdays on CBS.
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Accidental movie and TV fan who is perpetually curious, Ana rekindled her love for writing and married it with everything pop culture. The result is a passionate writer who could ramble (and of course, pen) about films and series multiple hours a day. She has a soft spot for procedurals and old sitcoms (The Golden Girls!) but won’t dare watch any horror films although she’s (ironically) dying to see one. Though a bit late to the party and was an actual Force non-believer, she now finds the Star Wars franchise quite fascinating (fun fact: it was a crazy Jar Jar Binks/Sith theory that drew her in).
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