After The Big Bang Theory ended, Young Sheldon promised to answer all the burning questions we had about breakout character Sheldon Cooper’s childhood. Throughout The Big Bang Theory’s 11-season run, we learned snippets about Sheldon’s past, including his mother’s strong religious values, growing up in Texas, and his rocky relationship with his father, George.
While his mother, siblings, and grandmother appeared in The Big Bang Theory, George’s death in Sheldon’s teens made it prime real estate for Young Sheldon. We only ever got allusions, letting the prequel fill in the gaps.
As one of the best TV series we’ve seen in years, we hope that Young Sheldon season 7 will answer some of the burning questions we have about George. In the past, the comedy series has addressed the parent show’s allusions to the character’s infidelity by exploring his connection with Brenda Sparks, but according to one Redditor, there’s another aspect of the character both shows also address.
Posting on the r/YoungSheldon subreddit, the user points out how, in The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon (Jim Parsons) talks a lot about George’s drinking. While this led to the implication that George was an alcoholic, this doesn’t seem to fit with the George (Lance Barber) we see on the show.
But Reddit user u/morley1966 believes that this disrepancy can be explained if viewers pay attention to Mary’s (Zoe Perry) and Sheldon’s (Iain Armitage) attitude towards George’s drinking on the spin-off show.
“There are several incidences where Sheldon and/or Mary reference George’s drinking that explain the discrepancy between the drunk George is referred to as on The Big bang Theory, and the George we see on Young Sheldon,” the user explains.
“George will be having a normal beer or beers as many many do, and a comment will be made about his drinking, keeping retailers in business, etc. This is simply the perception from religious zealot Mary and unable to understand sarcasm Sheldon.”
So, in other words, the Sheldon we meet in The Big Bang Theory who tells anecdotes about his alcoholic father is something of an unreliable narrator. Based on what we see in Young Sheldon, his opinion on his father’s drinking is shaped by his mother’s somewhat rigid reaction to it, leaving him unable to differentiate between ‘normal’ drinking and alcoholism.
Of course, it’s likely that George was always meant to be an alcoholic in The Big Bang Theory, but once Young Sheldon came to fruition, writers added this detail to retcon their past characterization and make the character more likeable.
If you like tense family relationships, you’ll love Wednesday season 2, which will no doubt continue to explore a teenage Wednesday Addams’ rift with mother, Morticia. Or, if you’re after some more wholesome family values, check out our guide to the best family movies.