The TV series Young Sheldon is a prequel to the hit series The Big Bang Theory, which ran for twelve seasons. The show, which returns to streaming platform Netflix with its fifth season this September 1, highlights the Texas youth of main character Sheldon Cooper.
Set in the 1980s, Young Sheldon features a 9-year-old Sheldon in the first season, as an intellectual prodigy in a world that struggles to understand him. The series explores Sheldon’s formative years, as he navigates the challenges of school and family life with his mother, father, sister and brother. While the writers were careful to model themselves on many of the stories told in the parent series, one notable inconsistency concerns the portrayal of George Cooper, Sheldon’s father, in The Big Bang Theory. He’s portrayed as imposing and overbearing, and generally shown as a strict, alcoholic father, but loving towards Sheldon.
An inconsistency between Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory
When Young Sheldon launched, fans quickly noticed that George Cooper’s character was not at all portrayed in the same way in the spin-off series. Producer Steven Molaro addressed this inconsistency in an interview with TV Line. He explained that the difference in George Cooper’s portrayal between the two series was deliberate. According to him, the adult Sheldon has a skewed view of his father when he recalls his childhood. In The Big Bang Theory, George Cooper is seen through the eyes of an adult Sheldon, who retains resentment towards his father. In Young Sheldon, on the other hand, George Cooper is shown as he really was, from the point of view of young Sheldon.
Young Sheldon VS The Big Bang Theory: a different vision of the young, adult Sheldon
“Sheldon on Big Bang Theory told much harsher versions of his father’s stories. And these may not have been entirely accurate. They certainly were from his point of view, but that point of view has changed,” explained the producer. Steven Molaro maintains that this difference in representation makes it possible to explore the evolution of the relationship between Sheldon and his father over the years, as well as the main character’s psychological journey. For him, it’s important to recognize that Sheldon’s adult childhood memories are tinged with emotions and subjective interpretations.
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