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TV Series Review

All of us were kids once. Even us geniuses.

Take Sheldon Cooper, the smarty-pants know-it-all from CBS's long-running, ludicrously successful sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon didn't always wear Green Lantern T-shirts and sputter about how many germs cluster on the average smartphone. No, he once was a little boy who wore bow ties and sputtered about how many germs cluster on the average dumb push-button phone—all the rage in East Texas back in 1989, y'know.

Granted, Sheldon's growing up pretty fast in some respects. He may be years away from puberty, but he's already in high school—driving his teachers crazy, embarrassing his high school-aged brother, and giving his mom and pops plenty to worry about. Which, I guess, makes him sound like a normal adolescent.

But it's the ways in which Sheldon causes all this worry, insanity and embarrassment that makes him a little different. His super-powered cerebrum has been paired with a bevy of neuroses and an utterly miniscule understanding of people—and that can make Sheldon seem very young indeed.

We know from the Big Bang that the kid did, somehow, make it to semi-functional adulthood. But just how many lockers was he stuffed into along the way?

Bazinga!

It's not easy being the smartest kid in high school, especially when you're 9 years old. But if you think Sheldon has it tough, well, he makes it pretty difficult on the people around him, too.

The cash-strapped Coopers would like to send their son to a private school that could cater to Sheldon's über-powered passion for knowledge. But they don't have the money. So Mary and George Cooper—the latter a coach for the high school football team—wring their hands every time their boy steps out of the house. It doesn't help when Sheldon calls out his fellow students for dress-code infractions or questions his instructors' teaching qualifications. ("Oral Roberts University is a wonderful school!" his math teacher blusters.) The Cooper parents are called into the principal's office so often that they might as well have reserved seats.

A Big Bust?

Young Sheldon creator Chuck Lorre is known for making crass, traditional comedies, from Two and a Half Men to 2 Broke Girls. The Big Bang Theory is his branchild, too—a kinder, gentler Lorre comedy that still can sometimes be quite problematic.

But Young Sheldon marks a departure for Lorre in a couple of significant ways.

First, the comedy is a one-camera show that doesn't have a laugh track. That gives it a far different feel than the two-camera, setup-punchline-laughter template of Big Bang Theory (or any Lorre's other programs).

Second, the show can be strangely sweet, and even sincere. Sure, it's no This Is Us or Parenthood. It's not even Speechless. Still, we see how much Sheldon really cares for his parents, and how much they, in turn, care for him—even if they don't always show that affection in the best of ways.

Moreover, Mary—arguably the show's most sympathetic character—is a Christian. It's not often you see such a multi-layered character who believes in God on TV these days. And even though young Sheldon has already departed from the faith, he still loves and respects his mother. He even volunteers to go to church with her.

"Why are you going?" Sheldon's twin sister, Missy, asks. "You don't believe in God."

"But I believe in Mom," Sheldon responds.

That said, in some other, more unfortunate respects, Young Sheldon follows the Chuck Lorre template a little too closely.

Language can be profane. And while certainly the show's main characters don't sleep around like, say, Kat from Two Broke Girls or Charlie on Two and a Half Men, references to sex and sensuality show up from time to time. Religion, despite Mary's faith, can take a beating. Finally, though the Coopers are ultimately a loving family, the dynamics in play therein are hardly the stuff that any thinking familial unit would want to emulate.

With Young Sheldon, Chuck Lorre seems to be growing up a bit. But like his youthful protagonist, he still has a ways to go.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

May 2, 2019: "A Proposal and a Popsicle Stick Cross"
Young Sheldon: Sept. 25, 2017 "Pilot"

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Comedy

Author

Cast

Iain Armitage as Sheldon; Zoe Perry as Mary; Lance Barber as George Sr.; Montana Jordan as George Jr.; Raegan Revord as Missy; Jim Parsons as the voice of older Sheldon

Director

Distributor

Network

CBS

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Released

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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