The Big Bang Theory executive producer Steve Molaro explains why Sheldon isn’t as annoying in Young Sheldon. Last year, CBS’ long-running sitcom officially wrapped up after 12 seasons despite its continued popularity due to Jim Parson’s decision to exit the show. The franchise continues, however, in the ongoing prequel spin-off, which chronicles the socially-inept genius young years living in Texas with his family.
Debuting in 2017, Young Sheldon is the first and only The Big Bang Theory offshoot thus far. While the two shows exist in the same reality, some notable distinctions between them do not sit right with some of the original sitcom’s loyal viewers. One notable difference is how the lead character acts in the aforementioned series. As it turns out, this is apparently a conscious creative decision from the people behind Young Sheldon.
Speaking I Saw That Years Ago Podcast, Molaro, who created Young Sheldon with The Big Bang Theory‘s co-creator Chuck Lorre explained that they really wanted to differentiate between the two versions of Sheldon. According to him, this stems from the idea that the character had evolved over the years, meaning he’s less annoying and more agreeable when he was younger.
When we were writing that pilot we didn’t want to just write him as adult Sheldon and have a kid just say it. . . . As annoying as adult Sheldon can be, he can get away with it so we decided he’s not this person yet – we made him a lot more naive.
Sheldon isn’t the only character in Young Sheldon who’s different from his The Big Bang Theory counterpart. His mother, Mary Cooper, and grandmother, Meemaw, are significantly different between the series in demeanor and attitude. Aside from that, there are details in the prequel spin-off that directly contradict what was established from its parent series. This effectively creates plot issues – something that draws the ire of The Big Bang Theory fans and ultimately drives them away from getting invested in the ongoing series. Molaro has previously acknowledged the issue, explaining that Young Sheldon prioritizes narrative over maintaining continuity. It’s curious if this approach will help them in the long run. While the offshoot has amassed its own following, it’s not as massive as what The Big Bang Theory had. Not catering to that segment of the fan community is a waste of opportunity.
That being said, this particular explanation as to why Sheldon is different in The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon somehow makes sense. As the character grew older, he became more set in his ways, thus becoming the sometimes annoying and insensitive Sheldon fans see in the original series. It’s also worth noting that unlike in The Big Bang Theory where he got very little chastising from his friends, he had his parents and Meemaw to set him straight whenever he’s crossing a line in Young Sheldon.