I can’t recall the last time the CBS network had so many highly anticipated new shows. First, there’s Star Trek Discovery (though after the pilot, the show will only be found on their streaming service). And then there’s Young Sheldon. A spin-off of The Big Bang Theory which shows Dr. Sheldon Cooper as a young boy.
As always, I was a little skeptical about this. There’s no doubt that Dr. Sheldon Cooper is one of the greatest characters to have ever graced the small screen, played masterfully by Jim Parsons. He’s social awkward, yet bluntly cruel and demanding to his friends. For some crazy reason, they put up with it and it makes us laugh. His hilarious OCD habit of knocking in three series of three, usually followed by “Penny!” His need to be sung “Soft Kitty” when he’s sick. And don’t you dare sit in his spot!
Sheldon’s catch phrase, Bazinga!, has become a household word (at least in the households I visit). He took a new twist on an old favorite with rock, paper, scissors, Spock. He loves his meemaw and is willing to help comfort people with hot tea. In the past ten year of The Big Bang Theory, we’ve watched Sheldon grow (slowly) as a person. Learning how to deal with the world, and even fall in love.
That is what had me worried about a show that chronicles the young life of this character. Because Sheldon was emotionally stunted, it was great to watch him mature in The Big Bang Theory. So what could be done with his character in his younger days. Romance would be off the table since Amy is certainly his first. And did he really have any friends before Leonard?
But after watching the trailer, I have great hope that this show will not only be funny, but heartwarming as well. I admit I was a little choked up by the time I got the the end of the trailer.
From what I can tell, the show has a Wonder Years vibe. It’s narrated by Parsons himself, and shot one camera style, not shot before a studio audience like The Big Bang Theory. I don’t think there is a laugh track (and really hope there isn’t).
Young Sheldon is played by newcomer Iain Armitage and he looks and plays the part well. A fish out of water who doesn’t quite know he’s a fish out of water. I was a little bummed that Laurie Metcalf was not cast as his mother here (she could pull off playing 30 years younger). But was pleased to learn that the role went to her daughter, Zoe Perry.
Typical sibling rivalries also raise their heads, but Sheldon’s response to them is sure to be a-typical. And his relationship with his father (a character not spoken too highly of in The Big Bang Theory) has the potential to be heartwarming, and possibly heart breaking.
Hearing one of the family’s fellow churchgoers ask: “What is wrong with him?” may be followed by a funny punchline. But underneath, it may show us why he speaks down to people, because that’s the way people spoke to him all his life.
If I’ve one complaint about The Big Bang Theory, it’s that their characters can be very one dimensional. Which works wonderfully for a sitcom. But Little Sheldon has the hopes of taking us building on an already strong character. I can’t wait to jump on this train.