Young Sheldon season 4 explains how Sheldon first got the idea for his most ridiculous invention in The Big Bang Theory – the Mobile Virtual Presence Device (MVPD). The CBS spinoff series initially functioned mostly as a standalone series despite existing in the same reality as the long-running sitcom, but ever since The Big Bang Theory ended in 2019, Young Sheldon has been more active in establishing a connection with its parent series.
In some instances, this endeavor is explicitly done as with the voice cameo of Amy Farrah-Fowler in the Young Sheldon season 4 premiere. But in other cases, it’s in more subtle ways. For example, explaining that Sheldon’s hatred of Geology started after his first heartbreak and an unsavory experience in his first year of college resulted in him developing a disdain for engineers, hence why he always mocked Howard in The Big Bang Theory. The prequel series added more to the latter category in Young Sheldon season 4, episode 13, “The Geezer Bus and a New Model For Education.”
The events of the said outing started with a minor car accident involving Sheldon and Meemaw traumatizing the young genius and making him apprehensive of being in a vehicle again. This hindered him from going to school, but while other kids would gladly skip classes, Sheldon still wanted to learn. He then forced Dr. Linkletter to give him a one-on-one session over the traditional landline; all was going well but Sheldon thought it would be so much better if there was a video component to their communication means. Years later in The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon came up with the MVPD after he realized that he won’t live long enough to download his consciousness into a robot body. During the robot’s first time outside the apartment, riding with Leonard on the way to CalTech, Sheldon, who was operating it in the safety of his room, said that it’s so much easier to ride a car when one removes the possibility of “fiery vehicular death.”
Before the said Young Sheldon episode, however, the MVPD had been a favorite topic of conversation amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Sheldon is known for having over-the-top fears, particularly when it comes to his safety. As revealed in the CBS prequel, he’s not exactly comfortable holding hands with anyone because Sheldon’s a notorious germaphobe, hence why he wears his mittens when saying their regular prayer before meals. The MVPD would’ve been useful during this time and age where social distancing has been the norm as a way to combat the spread of the virus. So despite how ridiculous the idea was when it was debuted on The Big Bang Theory, it sounds like a cool piece of technology now.
Young Sheldon may not be known for preserving The Big Bang Theory continuity, but this new episode proves that it can be a great accompanying show to its parent series. If it continues to have this kind of thoughtful storylines that honors and even build on what came before it, fans of the original sitcom may eventually start genuinely liking it. Considering that the prequel is confirmed to run until season 7, a bigger fan base will be extremely important to its sustainability.