“Bazinga!” A famous quote from the hit American sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory” had many people such as myself groaning for an entire decade while the show ran its course. It revolved around a friend group of extreme geeks, all who work together as geniuses at Caltech, get up to a whole bunch of shenanigans and expand their group as they gain romantic interests across its 12 seasons. Running from 2007 till 2019, the series was a massive success, raking in seven Emmy awards among its 47 nominations. As a result, a prequel was green-lit and premiered in 2017 focusing on “The Big Bang Theory’s” most interesting character, Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons).
The prequel, subsequently named “Young Sheldon,” is a coming-of-age sitcom, stylistically shot differently than Big Bang Theory, and it explores Sheldon’s life as a child prodigy with his family in East Texas before becoming the weird man we all know from “The Big Bang Theory”.
The show takes place in the late 1980s/early 1990s with Sheldon (Iain Armitage), age nine, starting high school and the majority of the show focuses on his relationships with his family, such as loving his mother, Mary (Zoe Perry), all the while he constantly argues with her over religion, not knowing how to bond with his father, George (Lance Barber), embarrassing and annoying his older brother, Georgie (Montana Jordan), who he goes to high school with, and not being able to understand how he can be related to his twin sister, Missy (Raegen Revord). Sheldon absolutely adores his maternal grandmother, Connie (Annie Potts), who is often referred to as Meemaw, despite the fact she is an adventurous and sarcastic woman. Parsons returns as adult Sheldon to narrate over the show in similar style to the sitcom “Everyone Hates Chris.”
I’ve only ever seen a little bit of “Big Bang Theory” when I was younger, but like everyone, I knew a lot about it simply from how big it was. And to be honest, I hated it. From what I’ve seen, the show overplays its laugh tracks for every mediocre joke thrown in, and it has a lot of uneasy jokes centered around Howard’s Jewish heritage and Raj, being the only person of color in the group, as an Indian. I cringe every time I remember how popular Sheldon’s quip when he thinks he pulled off a joke well, “Bazinga,” was literally everywhere from merch in stores to people adopting it into their vernacular to be quirky. When I heard “Young Sheldon” was a show I paid no mind to its existence and went on my merry way.
Recently, however, I found clips of the show on TikTok and I noticed how different the show was shot compared to “The Big Bang Theory.” Out of mere curiosity, I began to watch the show. I was hooked immediately.
Young Sheldon is nothing like his adult counterpart (at least in my opinion) and he isn’t as annoying. It’s endearing to watch the child prodigy (who is also very autistic-coded) learn how to grow up, socialize and see how his family relationships shape him as a person. Despite the constant struggle he has with the rest of his family in trying to understand one another with their range in intellect, they all very much love each other.
In fact, the show doesn’t even focus on Sheldon half of the time, often giving us more insight in internal struggles of the rest of the family and their relationships with each other, such as Georgie and Missy often getting along as the “dumb ones” when they see how their parents constantly hover over Sheldon and his problems. We are given insight into the marital problems between Mary and George as they often struggle to find a compromise between treating Sheldon as his proper age or giving him all the opportunities that come his way, such as whether he should start college at 11.
To everyone that has doubts over this show because of its predecessor, trust me when I say it’s nothing like it at all. There’s not even an insufferable laugh track for every joke! At best, there are some easter eggs here and there that you may recognize from “The Big Bang Theory,” but other than that, you don’t need to have seen it to watch this surprisingly incredible show. “Young Sheldon” is currently slated to release its seventh and final season this coming May 2024.