CBS’ Young Sheldon is effectively ruining the legacy of The Big Bang Theory to save itself. In an effort to capitalize on the geek-centric sitcom’s popularity, the network launched its first and only prequel in 2017 which centers on Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) childhood. But while it’s meant to build on the story of its parent series, Young Sheldon is contradicting The Big Bang Theory, and it doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. 

In its earlier years, Young Sheldon existed almost separately from the original show. Aside from sharing a lead character, there were barely any significant connections between the shows despite airing back-to-back as part of CBS’ premier sitcom block. But leading to The Big Bang Theory‘s end after 12 seasons, the network tried to actively tie them together in the hopes that viewers of the old series would be enticed by its newer spin-off. In fact, there was even a one-time crossover to solidify their link. Since The Big Bang Theory wrapped up in 2019, Young Sheldon has been standing on its own, but it continues to associate itself with its parent project, having some of the cast members do voice cameos such as Kaley Cuoco, Mayim Bialik, and Simon Helberg. Unfortunately, the prequel is also simultaneously sabotaging The Big Bang Theory by contradicting its story. 


Issues in micro-continuity, especially when dealing with a show that ran for more than a decade, are understandable. But aside from that, Young Sheldon has also been actively opposing The Big Bang Theory‘s depiction of George (Lance Barber) as a bad father and husband. Now, the spin-off is doubling down on their iteration and going to great lengths to preserve their version of the character as a decent family man.

Young Sheldon Is Fixing Its Big Bang Theory/George Plot Hole Wrong

Over the years, Young Sheldon has created a string of The Big Bang Theory plot holes. Some are inconsequential in the bigger scheme of things, while others have drastically changed the way viewers remember its parent series. Arguably its biggest ongoing inconsistency is its depiction of George. While The Big Bang Theory painted him as a mostly drunk and negligent father, the spin-off offers a significantly different version — one who’s willing to do anything to provide for his family despite being constantly berated and unappreciated.  But instead of slowly reconciling its iteration of the character with that of its predecessor, Young Sheldon season 5 has even doubled down on this plot hole by making George look like the victim of his circumstances. This makes him more empathetic to viewers, while Sheldon and Mary (Laurie Metcalf) become unreliable narrators when it comes to the Cooper patriarch.

Young Sheldon Is Justifying George’s Cheating W/ Mary’s Affair

In an effort to stick with its version of George, Young Sheldon season 5 has put him in situations where he could prove how committed he is to his family. But knowing full well that it will ultimately have to tackle Sheldon’s traumatic story on The Big Bang Theory about catching his dad cheating, the offshoot has to also slowly set up this particular plotline. After dancing around it for years, Young Sheldon has finally started to tackle it by suggesting that George will cheat with his neighbor, Brenda (Melissa Peterman). Unexpectedly, however, the show is suddenly building towards Mary having her own affair, as well — something that was never brought up or at least hinted at on The Big Bang Theory. In Young Sheldon season 5, episode 11, “A Lock-In, a Weather Girl and a Disgusting Habit,” George caught Mary (Zoe Perry) having a great time with Youth Pastor Rob (Dan Byrd) which seemingly fuels his motivation to finally act on his attraction to Brenda. This makes it seem like Mary was to blame for George’s inevitable cheating scandal, since she supposedly had an inappropriate relationship first.

How The Big Bang Theory Fix Hurts Young Sheldon

Young Sheldon gets a lot of flak for contradicting The Big Bang Theory, but objectively, the geek-centric show left it in a tricky position in terms of storytelling. If the spin-off simply follows what’s been previously established in its parent series with regard to George’s arc, it would’ve made it dark and depressing. Young Sheldon is CBS’ premier sitcom, and the network would like to keep it as lighthearted as possible, knowing how successful The Big Bang Theory was with this approach. Showing Sheldon and his family deal with a drunk and negligent father isn’t a humorous premise, and it also takes away the focus on the socially-inept genius supposedly being the “difficult” one in their clan. So, it made the creative liberty to go against The Big Bang Theory‘s depiction of George by making him a flawed but mostly a good family man. If it sticks to this version, Young Sheldon‘s biggest challenge is explaining why Sheldon and Mary remembered George differently in the original sitcom. However, this poses another problem since Sheldon is famous for having an eidetic memory; it would be difficult to justify why he suddenly had a faulty memory when it came to his father. 

How Young Sheldon Can Stop Ruining Big Bang Theory

With at least two more seasons to go, Young Sheldon will inevitably create more The Big Bang Theory plot holes. However, it’s imperative that the spin-off sticks as closely as possible to Sheldon’s story about catching his dad’s infidelity. It’s one of the most traumatic experiences for the character, and it affected him in such a significant way that he started his distinctive habit of knocking three times before entering a room. Changing this specific plotline would greatly impact Sheldon’s character arc as a whole, as it would imply that he had lied to Penny (Kaley Cuoco) in order to gain her sympathy. There’s also the possibility that the spin-off reveals that Sheldon incorrectly assumed that his dad was cheating when he barged in on his room -but, this would cheapen one of Sheldon’s most emotional moments on the original sitcom, by suggesting his emotional turmoil over the situation was down to merely a misunderstanding. However, Young Sheldon wants to approach this narrative, it needs to be handled with nuance, so it services both its own plot, and The Big Bang Theory‘s story. 

Young Sheldon airs every Thursday on CBS.

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