Young Sheldon, now heading into its third season, is a spin-off/prequel to the popular CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, showing the childhood life of one of the main characters, Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons. Odd, eccentric, socially awkward, and brilliant, if viewers were curious to find out what a young Sheldon might look like, this show, set in the late’80s/early ‘90s, delivers with a fabulously believable performance by Iain Armitage.
The stories and casting are, for the most part, perfect, right down to Laurie Metcalf’s real-life daughter Zoe Perry playing the younger version of her as Sheldon’s mother Mary, perfect casting for Missy, his twin sister (who was seen in her adult form in an early-season episode), and even appearances by Sheldon’s childhood idol Professor Proton, a la CRT TV. That said, there are some glaring inconsistencies.
Correction (September 10th): An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed an issue with Sheldon's triple knock.
9 Sheldon Said His Dad Was A Raging Alcoholic
Sure, Sheldon’s dad George clearly loved his beer. He was usually seen having one, maybe two every night; sometimes three on Fridays. While this is a lot of beer, it doesn’t really make him an alcoholic. To a young Sheldon’s eyes, it might have seemed that his father drank a lot. So perhaps it isn’t an inconsistency insomuch as it is a young boy’s perception being carried over to his adult life.
This was even proven, to some degree, when Sheldon unearthed an old VHS tape of his father giving a pep talk during an episode of The Big Bang Theory and realized with the help of Amy that sometimes things can be “observer-relative.” Who knows, maybe the drinking got worse over time, and we’ve yet to see it. But either way, it seems like Sheldon’s dad was a man who drank a lot of beer, but didn’t really have a problem with alcohol, per se.
8 Sheldon Claimed To Be Bullied A Lot
We’ve seen glimpses of how Sheldon was picked on at school, but it seems as though he mainly kept to himself and wasn’t really tormented and bullied as much as he describes later to his friends in The Big Bang Theory.
Maybe there are things we don’t see in the series, and there’s still more story to tell. But from what has been depicted thus far, while Sheldon didn’t really have many friends, most of the high schoolers just gave him weird looks and rolled eyes. His biggest bully was the dimwitted neighbor Billy Sparks and the little girl who’s bullying seemed to stop as soon as it began.
7 He Said He Didn’t Have Any Friends
Tam surely must be hurt to know that Sheldon told all of his friends in adulthood that he didn’t have any friends when he was younger. Meanwhile, it seems like he and Tam hung out every day, eating together, studying in the library, and sometimes even getting together after school.
A grown-up Tam did appear on The Big Bang Theory, showing that Sheldon sort of blocked out their friendship after getting upset that Tam moved away. So this could explain that inconsistency.
6 Sheldon’s Parents Seem All Good
While Sheldon often discussed how his parents’ marriage imploded, with his father’s cheating and staying out all night, we haven’t seen anything of the sort yet on the show. Sure, they don’t exactly have the perfect marriage; they have their arguments. But, for the most part, his father George seems like a doting, hard-working father.
So did things go terribly wrong at some point and it simply hasn’t happened yet on Young Sheldon? Or did Sheldon really not perceive his childhood accurately? We’ll have to wait and see. But if it’s the former, we might be in for a really dark season this year.
5 Where Is The House on Blocks?
In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon mentions one time that his mother had to return home to Texas because their house was slipping off the blocks again, which would imply that they lived in a trailer park. They clearly live in a lovely home in Young Sheldon, so when exactly did they move to this type of home on blocks?
It could have been after Sheldon’s father died, which is when he was 14 or 15. Or maybe it was after George lost his job. Perhaps this means the Young Sheldon story will take a bad turn at some point this upcoming season, and the family will lose their home. Or maybe Mary and Sheldon didn’t mean the comment literally. Also, their actual house could possibly be “on blocks,” a cheaper method of building a foundation versus poured concrete.
4 Meemaw Seems Very Different
Sure, during her one appearance on The Big Bang Theory, Meemaw, played by June Squibb, was a hit, hilariously ragging on Amy. But there was no resemblance between her and the Meemaw in Young Sheldon, played by Annie Potts, both in appearance and attitude. Though she did present as the true Meemaw when adult Sheldon poured her a whiskey instead of wine and declared “I made it just how you like it – a lot in a glass.”
It’s possible that Meemaw became old-fashioned and stern as she aged, but people don’t usually change so drastically, especially strong-willed, free-thinking women like Meemaw. But we find it hard to believe that Meemaw shifted so rapidly from the wild and unconventional grandmother she was 20+ years prior to the wholesome woman she appeared to be in the present day.
3 Where Is Pop Pop?
Speaking of Meemaw, where is Sheldon’s grandfather, Pop Pop? In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon credits his grandfather for getting him into science before he passed away. On Young Sheldon, it has presumably been about four years since the grandfather died, which would mean Sheldon was five years old when he passed away.
Sure, five is probably old enough to start developing an interest in particular hobbies, so it’s quite possible that someone as intellectually advanced as Sheldon got the science bug from that age. But he never really talks about his grandfather in Young Sheldon, nor about him being an inspiration. You’d think we’d hear more about the character, but perhaps Sheldon had buried his feelings about Pop Pop deep down by that point.
2 Sheldon’s Dad Was Leonard’s Bully
OK, so this isn’t entirely true, but eagle-eyed fans noticed as soon as Young Sheldon was released that the actor who plays George, Sheldon's father, is the same who played Jimmy, Leonard’s high school bully, in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. In season five, Jimmy, played by Lance Barber, reaches out to Leonard, and Leonard finally has the chance to stand up to him.
Meanwhile, Barber returned to the BBT family to play George, and fans noticed. Sure, it was only a small role way back then. But for the sake of believability, it’s something you can’t unsee once you know.
1 How To Win Friends and Influence People
In an episode of Young Sheldon, the librarian hands Sheldon the self-help book called How to Win Friends and Influence People, which he then goes on to read and attempts to follow in an effort to, well, win friends and influence people. His tactics don’t quite work.
So where does the inconsistency lie? In The Big Bang Theory, decades later, an adult Sheldon comes across a mention of Dale Carnegie and this book and he seems unfamiliar with it. For someone with an eidetic memory, this isn’t something he would forget.