Young Sheldon, a prequel to the popular CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, follows the life of a young Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons in Big Bang and by Iain Armitage in this series (with narration by Parsons). The series has found its footing, preparing for its third season this year, and has been well-received by viewers. So much so, in fact, that even its worst episodes, according to user reviews, still manage to earn ratings of more than 7 out of 10.
With that said, of the 44 episodes that have aired thus far, a few of them ranked lower than others. Here are the 10 worst episodes, according to IMDb. Note that a few other episodes tied for 10th with a 7.5 rating, but we included the least interesting four on this list.
10 A Math Emergency and Perky Palms – 7.5
This is one of many episodes in the second season that focuses on Sheldon’s relationship with Dr. Sturgis, his professor and grandmother’s boyfriend. The young perfectionist gets upset when Dr. Sturgis marks an answer wrong on his test. He spirals, declaring it a math emergency because clearly he could never get a question wrong!
Meanwhile, Mary takes over at the church when Pastor Jeff falls ills. The episode may have focused too much on Mary and not enough on Sheldon. Much of the episode centered on Mary’s attempts to fill in, including visiting a shut-in and trying to provide comfort to the surly man (who ends up dying!) and counseling a newlywed couple.
9 A Broken Heart and a Crock Monster – 7.5
It seems like an episode heavily focused on Mary’s church activities, and Pastor Jeff doesn’t seem to do well. Viewers want more of Sheldon! In this season 2 episode, Pastor Jeff ends up staying with the Coopers while having marital problems, only later to find out that his wife has officially left him.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sturgis realizes how bad of a gambling problem Meemaw has when he joins her at the casino. Viewers clearly prefer to only hear about Meemaw’s penchant for gambling, never getting to see it in action. This episode might have been a little too depressing for a sitcom, especially one like Young Sheldon.
8 Seven Deadly Sins and a Small Carl Sagan – 7.5
In this season 2, Halloween-themed episode, Mary is in charge of a Halloween Hell House project with the church, and decides, along with the help of the school drama teacher Mr. Lundy, to set up a house with themed rooms that each represent the seven deadly sins.
Georgie’s date Veronica, a wild child, ends up being “saved” and finding God in the house, much to Georgie’s chagrin. Meanwhile, Sheldon goes out dressed like Carl Sagan and, not surprisingly, no one has a clue who or what he is supposed to be.
7 A Therapist, a Comic Book, and a Breakfast Sausage – 7.5
The silly premise of this episode is that Sheldon stops eating solid food after choking on a sausage, and his parents take him to see a psychiatrist. We see that this is where Sheldon begins to take an interest in comic books, a hobby he continued with through his life.
The idea that Sheldon would develop a serious eating disorder then be able to overcome it easily when presented with a piece of licorice seemed inappropriate, and discussing the impact Sheldon’s quirks have on his family seemed far too heavy for a situation comedy.
6 Carbon Dating and a Stuffed Raccoon – 7.4
This episode gave too much attention to Sheldon’s parents and the parents of Paige, a young girl Sheldon meets who is equally as intelligent as he—perhaps even more so. Meanwhile, Sheldon and Paige sneak into a closed area of a museum during a boring lecture on carbon dating that’s discussing everything they already know.
Meanwhile, Meemaw holds a garage sale and gets upset when John (Dr. Sturgis) puts on her dead husband’s jacket. The episode was one of the less interesting of the series.
5 Killer Asteroids, Oklahoma, and a Frizzy Hair Machine – 7.4
Sheldon decides he wants to become an actor, reads up on how to do it, then wows the drama teacher and gets the lead in the school production of Annie, which seems far-fetched and too off-topic from the show's main premise. Sure, Sheldon claims as an adult to be able to pick up pretty much anything and be good at it, but would he really be able to intellectualize acting in such a way that he’d be a natural talent?
Again, another episode that touches on a sensitive subject, his parents don’t like the idea of him playing a female. Sheldon gets stage fright in the end, anyway, and doesn’t end up going on. The whole episode was lackluster at best.
4 Dolomite, Apple Slices, and a Mystery Woman – 7.4
Seeing Sheldon take potential interest in an older female student just seemed weird, especially at just 9 years old. In this episode, he befriends an 11th grader named Libby who shares their interest in geology, and, while not explicitly stated, he seems to be interested in her in a romantic sense, mainly due to her intellect.
While Sheldon sees himself as her equal, though, he soon realizes that she views him as a child, which upsets him. The one good thing that comes from the episode is we learn why older Sheldon never respects geology nor his colleague Bert who researches it at Caltech.
3 Jiu-Jitsu, Bubble Wrap, and Yoo-Hoo – 7.3
Since older Sheldon talks about how he was bullied in Big Bang Theory, it’s only fitting that we see evidence of this bullying on the show. And, up until this point, it seems most of the high schoolers found him more amusing than anything or simply ignored him as they went about their day.
Here, we finally see a bully, but it turns out to be a 6-year-old girl, his neighbour. The episode focuses mainly on how Sheldon and his parents try to find a way to stop the menacing girl from picking on him.
2 Pilot - 7.3
Perhaps surprisingly, while the Pilot episode was still fairly well rated, it is technically deemed one of the worst episodes of the series, compared to the others thus far. In it, we, of course, get introduced to a younger version of Sheldon, as well as his parents, older brother, and twin sister.
The episode focuses on showing Sheldon just as he is when he’s older in Big Bang Theory; questioning his teachers, calling out fellow high schoolers for breaking rules, and dealing with the social pressures of skipping several grades to start high school at just 9 years old.
1 Rockets, Communists, and the Dewey Decimal System – 7.3
It seems like the series needed a few episodes for viewers to finally warm up to it, as this, the second episode, was also rated the worst.
Sheldon finds the book How to Win Friends and Influence People and tries to mechanically use the methods learned to form bonds with fellow students and make friends. He really didn’t care, but it was all to appease his worried mother.
This is where we meet Tam, Sheldon’s only friend in high school, a Vietnamese American who shares an interest in rocketry. Rife with cultural insensitivities, especially when the Coopers invite Tam over for dinner, the episode perhaps didn’t sit well with some viewers.