Young Sheldon season 4 is making its biggest issues with The Big Bang Theory painfully clear. The original series debuted in 2007 and wrapped up in 2019 after 12 seasons after Jim Parsons decided to leave despite the sitcom still pulling in great viewership ratings for CBS. In an effort to continue taking advantage of its popularity, the network began positioning its prequel series to be a replacement, but admittedly, not all fans of The Big Bang Theory are sold on it.
While Parsons wanted out of the parent show, he continues to be involved in Young Sheldon, not only producing it but also providing the narration as the adult Sheldon. Still, it’s not enough to make a strong connection between The Big Bang Theory and the prequel series, especially during the latter’s earlier season which didn’t really make much effort in tying the shows together. Things changed, however, in the last couple of years. Between The Big Bang Theory ending and the titular character growing up, there’s been a more active effort to establish their ties. Unfortunately, Young Sheldon season 4 thus far isn’t doing that much of a good job with this — in fact, it might even be making it worse.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Young Sheldon season 4 had a late start this year. What was supposed to be the season 3 finale was repurposed to be the premiere, which featured a massive surprise for The Big Bang Theory fans. Aside from Amy’s cameo, the episode also revealed the name of her and Sheldon’s son — Leonard Cooper. As cool as this was, however, it doesn’t resolve Young Sheldon’s biggest continuity issue with The Big Bang Theory, which is the depiction of George Sr. who was always presented as a bad father, but whose depiction in the prequel show absolutely does not match.
Before Young Sheldon even debuted, most of its characters were already known players in The Big Bang Theory thanks to Sheldon’s regular references to his life in Galveston, Texas before he moved to Pasadena. Unlike the rest of his family, however, his dad was unable to appear in the original sitcom because he had died when Sheldon was just 13. Despite this, there was a clear understanding of how he was as a father; the theoretical physicist had few to no good things to say about his father, capping it off with the story of him accidentally catching him cheating on his mother. What’s interesting with this in mind is that the George Sr. depicted in Young Sheldon has been nothing but a good father and a decent husband, and season 4, while only has two episodes thus far, is doubling on that.
After helping Sheldon convince Mary to let him go to college, George Sr. shifted his focus on Missy in Young Sheldon season 2, episode 2 titled “A Docent, A Little Lady and a Bouncer Named Dalton.” In the outing, George accompanied Missy to her baseball game when she unexpectedly got her first period. The Cooper patriarch, although visibly shaken and panicked, helped his daughter get everything she needed at the pharmacy. In the end, Missy not only made it to her game on time, but she also played well, which made George glowing with pride. At night, when the kids were asleep, he and Mary enjoy some quality time together — with George even asking his wife what she wanted to watch on the TV.
While it’s possible that there’s a turning point for George in the future that would confirm Sheldon’s description of him in The Big Bang Theory, the longer it takes for that to happen, the tricky it is going to be. At this point in Young Sheldon, the titular character is already 11 years old and is set to start college soon; based on the timeline, George’s cheating takes place in the next couple of years at the most since the older Cooper supposedly died when he’s 13 years old.