I hate CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. It’s unfunny, boring and simply corny. So when I heard CBS was creating a prequel/spin-off about the life of its most popular nerd Sheldon, I continued to not give a damn. Then I watched Young Sheldon, begrudgingly, and by the end of my viewing experience, I wanted to hug each and every person responsible for this show.
Young Sheldon is what happens when a studio gives a damn about its original fan base while wanting to attract new fans. It’s what happens when writers decide to write with their hearts instead of greed. Yes, Young Sheldon is about a boy genius but that’s just part of the story. It’s a dance of love, family, acceptance, regret, and hope that makes this story – the human story so damn enjoyable, frustrating and hard.
Iain Armitage embodies young Sheldon Cooper, who at the age of nine is about to enter high school. Full of OCD qualities exhibits some Asperger-like characteristics and moral codes who drive others crazy; he is full of personality and spunk you just can’t find on other TV shows. His unique essence and gifted nature is the opposite of his parents and older brother. Pure country, his parents are average and some may argue not that intelligent but whatever they lack in life they make up with their strong family ties and yes, the power of love (but not the corny kind of love).
Young Sheldon is advertised as the life of the youngest Cooper, but what makes the show truly captivating is the universal struggles of raising a child no matter their intellect. They are all here to support Sheldon (even his unruly brother) while trying to make sense of the world themselves.
The world is cruel and while Sheldon is just an innocent child in the world where people are out to corrupt him who does a person try to shield their child from this while forging their own path in this world? Sheldon doesn’t fit in, he’s nerdy, easy to point out other people’s flaws, abrasively honesty and gifted. Like many parents, the George and Mary Cooper (played by Lance Barber and Zoe Perry, respectively) want Sheldon to stay grounded, but how does one teach a child who’s smarter than they ever will be? How does a brother fit in school when their younger sibling is both the star of the family and now the star of their school?
While these are heavy topics, the show manages to find the funny within the serious. Jokes are never forced or unnecessary (unlike its predecessor). Each character is played with authenticity and the chemistry is so powerful you’ll forget this is all scripted. Those who have never seen an episode of The Big Bang Theory will have no issues following along with the storyline, which is narrated by Jim Parsons. Young Sheldon has accomplished a rare feat for me. It has provided a viewing experience that is watchable, universal and makes me proud to be a fan. And judging by its pilot episode, as much as I can’t stand The Big Bang Theory, I’ll forever be grateful for it being responsible for the existence of Sheldon Cooper.