There’s a good reason why The Big Bang Theory has managed to stay on the air for ten seasons. Its characters are still the best part of it. They deliver quips about pop culture, relationship problems, and everything in between with uncanny timing. None does it better than Sheldon Cooper, the most recognizable character of the series. Perhaps, that’s exactly why the Young Sheldon prequel is such a bad idea.
The Big Bag Theory spin-off/prequel series, in development by CBS, will focus on the life of a young Sheldon Cooper, presumably as he goes through life as an advanced student in high school. But while we certainly had reasons to be excited, there are also signs that this could all go wrong as well.
Young Sheldon Could Ruin The Character
In an official poll held by the official Big Bang Theory website a few seasons ago, Sheldon came out as the fanbase’s favorite character. He did it by an overwhelming margin, too (with 49.8% of the total votes).
But that’s because part of his charm comes from his utter lack of manners, and social etiquette. Sheldon’s total misunderstanding of norms – be it at work, or with friends – has been the cause of too many hilarious moments to count. And a large part of his character comes from his often-referenced childhood.
When Sheldon talks about his childhood in Texas – growing up drawn to science and raised by his religious mother – we hear a bunch of interesting stories that explain his ineptness with regular social situations. But that doesn’t mean that we want those little anecdotes to turn into full twenty-minute episodes. Too much exposure of something we love isn’t always a good thing.
Also, Sheldon’s popularity is a direct success of Jim Parson’s talented portrayal. He’s also well-balanced by the other characters we’ve grown fond of. Leonard, Penny, and the rest of the cast keep him under control and balance him out. We enjoy Sheldon’s eccentricities in measured portions. If we get a series focused wholly on him, even if portrayed by Iain Armitage, it may feel like force-feeding. That just won’t go over well with The Big Bang Theory fans.
Let’s not forget the pretty bad track record of spin-off pieces of media featuring the comic relief. Happy Days was a success, but Joanie Loves Chachi fell flat on its face. Friends became a household name, but no one wanted to watch Joey. People loved Despicable Me, but Minions was overkill.
We’ll give the benefit of the doubt for CBS to pull Young Sheldon off. But just in case it fails after one season, at least we’ll still have old Sheldon – the one and original – for another season or two.