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Young Sheldon Debunks Big Bang Theory’s Worst Sheldon Explanation

Young Sheldon’s season 5 winter premiere debunks The Big Bang Theory’s poor explanation about why Sheldon’s friends put up with his bad behavior.

Warning! SPOILERS for Young Sheldon season 5, episode 10.

CBS debunks The Big Bang Theory‘s worst attempt at explaining why Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) friends put up with him through Young Sheldon. The network’s premier sitcom returned with a brand new episode after its mandatory winter break, and, in it, Sheldon (Iain Armitage) realized one drawback of being in college: managing big breaks in one’s schedule. He managed to find a resolution, but he had to involve East Texas Tech’s president to do it. 

As Young Sheldon season 5 slowly inches towards its narrative midpoint, it needed to start shifting its focus back on the series’ titular character. Sheldon has been pushed to the sidelines so that it can focus on other members of the Cooper clan in earlier episodes of the sitcom’s current outing. George (Lance Barber) continues his flirtatious relationship with Brenda (Melissa Peterman). Meanwhile, Mary (Zoe Perry) gets caught up with her work at church and her attraction to Youth Pastor Rob (Dan Byrd) — something that she shares with Young Sheldon‘s Missy (Raegan Revord). Meemaw (Annie Potts) and Georgie (Montana Jordan), on the other hand, team up for their illegal gambling den. 


Related: Why Young Sheldon Explains Sheldon’s Major Penny Flaw

The Big Bang Theory spin-off has been making strides in putting Sheldon back at the center of its storytelling. In Young Sheldon season 5, episode 10 titled “An Expensive Glitch and a Goof-Off Room,” Sheldon struggled with long gaps in his class schedule. Since he doesn’t live on campus, it leaves him without anywhere to do or go during his daily breaks. Fed up with his situation, he reached out to the school’s president and basically pestered her with his problem until he was loaned an on-site dorm room that he can use to hang out while waiting for his next lecture. As they parted ways, Sheldon mentioned the power of complaining, meaning that it has never failed him when working on getting something he wants. Adult Sheldon’s narration in Young Sheldon backs this up, saying that it’s a theory that continues to work for him even in the future. This indicates that unlike what Sheldon’s friends said in The Big Bang Theory, he knew exactly what he was doing when hassling them.

Sheldon Big bang theory

It was Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) who summed it up the best. In The Big Bang Theory season 5, episode 21 titled “The Hawking Excitation,” she explained that “Sheldon doesn’t know when he’s being mean because the part of his brain that should know is getting a wedgie from the rest of his brain.” Knowing full well that Sheldon has weak social skills, his hurtful actions were supposedly done subconsciously. It’s really a poor attempt to explain why The Big Bang Theory’s Pasadena gang rarely called Sheldon out on his behavior. Now, Young Sheldon is revealing that Sheldon has known all along that complaining and being difficult overall allow him to get what he wants. He’s secretly manipulating people around him. The worst part is that, given adult Sheldon’s voiceover, it reveals that he continues to do this in the far future. Even if he is no longer in constant contact with his old friends from The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon could be very well still doing to Amy (Mayim Bialik).

Having spent more than a decade with Sheldon, it’s curious why his Pasadena friends never saw right through him. Penny (Kaley Cuoco) would stand up for herself occasionally, and Amy, in later seasons, would call him out for his misbehavior. However, for the most part in The Big Bang Theory, they just tolerated Sheldon’s behavioral quirks and oddities — even the harmful ones. 

More: The Big Bang Theory: Stuart Killed Howard’s Mom — Theory Explained

Young Sheldon airs every Thursday on CBS.

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