Warning! Spoilers ahead for Young Sheldon season 5, episode 5, “Stuffed Animals and a Sweet Southern Syzgy.”
CBS continues its effort to fix the The Big Bang Theory plot hole in Young Sheldon regarding the depiction of George Cooper Sr. (Lance Barber). It’s been two years since the Pasadena-set sitcom wrapped its run after 12 seasons. This leaves Young Sheldon to stand on its own, but, interestingly, it seems to be actively resolving story inconsistencies with its parent series now more than ever.
Premiering in 2017, CBS greenlit Young Sheldon in an effort to take advantage of The Big Bang Theory‘s massive popularity. Set around two decades before the original show began, it chronicles Sheldon’s (Iain Armitage) life with his family in Texas. Despite existing in the same reality, however, there have been a lot of continuity issues between the two series. But, arguably its most glaring one revolves around the depiction of George. In The Big Bang Theory, he was described as a negligent parent who did nothing but drink. Both adult Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Mary (Laurie Metcalf) repeatedly talked about this in the geek-centric sitcom. So, it’s jarring for viewers when Young Sheldon‘s version of the character isn’t exactly the bad father he sounded to be.
CBS has been making an effort to resolve this particular plot hole in the prequel series. In Young Sheldon season 5, episode 5 titled “Stuffed Animals and A Sweet Southern Syzygy,” adult Sheldon once again acknowledged that his dad wasn’t all that bad. George Sr. was reprimanded by Missy (Raegan Revord) for inadvertently encouraging Billy’s (Wyatt McClure) crush on her. Despite trying to make amends, Missy was harsh on her dad; she was also very disrespectful. Instead of scolding her, George simply walked away looking all dejected. During this time, adult Sheldon’s voice-over admitted that while George wasn’t the greatest father, they weren’t exactly the greatest kids either. This builds on a specific moment in Young Sheldon season 4 when George and Sheldon spent a quiet night watching TV together. Similarly, adult Sheldon said in the narration that he regretted not telling his dad that he appreciated and loved him when his father was still around. Considering the fact that Sheldon spent most of his time bashing his deceased dad in The Big Bang Theory, these moments are important in terms of the trajectory of George Sr.’s character arc in the prequel.
What’s more heartbreaking in the aforementioned episode of Young Sheldon is that the Cooper patriarch seemed really happy about connecting with his kids while his wife was away. It’s no secret that George Sr. typically gets overlooked in his family, with his kids mostly ignoring him while Mary (Zoe Perry) tends to either nag or criticize him. Granted that George Sr.’s actions negatively impacted Missy’s life, it was still very disrespectful for her to dismiss him like that. If anything, she should’ve learned a lesson from her last outburst which ended up with her dad suffering a mini heart attack. It hasn’t even been that long since that happened, and she was wracked with guilt when she learned about George Sr.’s health scare, so she should’ve known better than to ruthlessly admonish for something that he didn’t intentionally do. The Cooper patriarch not even trying to argue or scold Missy for her behavior made the whole scene much worse.
The narration in Young Sheldon sounds like adult Sheldon’s musings, so it’s curious if this means that it is also willing to skip George Sr.’s cheating scandal. The story was first told in The Big Bang Theory when Sheldon was explaining how he ended up with the habit of knocking three times before entering a room. If the prequel’s version of the Cooper patriarch becomes the definitive iteration of the character, CBS could find a way to work around his infidelity plot altogether. In any case, it’s too dark to tackle in a sitcom anyway.