The Big Picture

  • Young Sheldon
    showed a different side to George Cooper than in
    The Big Bang Theory
  • Sheldon’s perception of his father as a cheater is rooted in a misunderstanding, highlighting the complexity of human relationships.
  • As Sheldon grows older, he learns to see his father in a more positive light, realizing the complexity of people.

It’s no secret that Sheldon judges his father harshly in The Big Bang Theory. One of the most defining moments in his life — and one that explains the three knocks — is when he walked in on his father in an intimate moment with another woman. Henceforth, he made sure to knock three times to give people time to prepare themselves. In Young Sheldon, however, George never cheated. Sure, he fell out of love with his wife, fell in love with Brenda, and later returned to his wife. But he never cheated in the typical sense of the word. Young Sheldon‘s Executive Producer Steve Holland explained to TV Line why there is a discrepancy between what’s canon in The Big Bang Theory and what viewers see in the prequel. And it all has to do with Mary’s visit to Germany.

Mary returned from Germany to find a much warmer marriage, and in Episode 4 of Season 7, George found himself attracted to a character Mary had made up from her time there. Mary dressed up as Helga, and she roleplayed with George. Sheldon walked in on them in the heat of the moment, but he couldn’t recognize who the woman was. He closed the door, and he and his dad never spoke about that day. Sheldon walked away thinking his dad had cheated, while George was unaware of how he was perceived by him. Holland confirmed that Sheldon believes that, to this day, George cheated, but that never happened. He talked about that, saying,

“He [Sheldon] did not know it was Mary. He
thinks he walked in [on his father cheating]. I think that’s a moment where Sheldon
he saw something. He
he saw his dad with another woman, and he
, and there’s a sadness to that, that he’s carried that all these years.”

‘Young Sheldon’ Undoes the Damage Sheldon Had Made To His Father’s Character

Sheldon Cooper hears his father's death in Young Sheldon
Image via CBS

George was the punchline of the joke whenever he was mentioned in The Big Bang Theory. While crafting the character for Young Sheldon, Chuck Lorre wanted George to be painted in a better light than Sheldon perceived him. Lance Barber revealed that the difference between the George viewers saw and the one they heard about was intentional.

“It was clear that he was a bit of a cartoon. George was the punchline. He was described as a redneck Homer Simpson somewhere I read, and the jokes were kind of big. And so, there lay the challenge of grounding this person and making them a human being as opposed to a punchline.”

And maybe all that was needed was for Sheldon to grow older and realize that people are complex. You can’t define someone by one thing you know — or don’t know — about them. “For a long time, I focused on my father’s shortcomings. Now that I’m his age and have kids of my own, I realize he was just a person doing the best he could. And he did a lot. I didn’t say it at his funeral, but I can say it now. I loved my father; I will miss him forever,” Sheldon admits later in life in the episode titled “Funeral.”

Watch all seven seasons of Young Sheldon on Paramount+.

Young Sheldon Poster

Young Sheldon

Release Date
September 25, 2017

Chuck Lorre & Steven Molaro



Watch on Paramount+

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