Entering the Young Sheldon premiere on CBS, we weren’t entirely sure what to think about the idea of it. This was a single-camera prequel to a multi-camera sitcom that was about one of the most over-the-top characters on television: Jim Parsons’ Dr. Sheldon Cooper.
We imagine that for some viewers who love the flagship The Big Bang Theory, its big jokes, and its laugh track, we have a feeling that this show will be a little too jarring. It’s a family comedy that feels almost like The Wonder Years meets A Christmas Story meets Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. The pilot episode largely revolved around Young Sheldon’s attempts to fit in at school, which was going to be difficult for him for so many different reasons. For one, he was a young kid surrounded by classmates much older than him, and to go along with that, he also had to contend with bullies, a tough family, and also his own shortcomings. That lack of a filter? Well, that’s been there for Sheldon for his whole life.
Through his mother Mary, we learned how much she loved him and how far she was willing to go in order to care for her. Meanwhile, through his brother we got a sense of the jealousy and the pain that he felt. Having a genius for a younger brother can be a major detriment, as he spent a good part of the episode being called the “dumb” brother.
There were some good homages to present-day Sheldon in the episode, including a reference to Professor Proton, his childhood hero who he later met (played by Bob Newhart).
You can argue that the story itself was predictable given that most of the episode was basically a longer version of the trailer that was already put out there by CBS. Nonetheless, it did still offer up a sense as to how Sheldon’s family operates and how his struggle to fit in there, even with support, really is a microcosm for his whole life.
Our CarterMatt Verdict
While we don’t necessarily think that Young Sheldon revolutionizes television by any means, it proved to be a surprisingly entertaining and original take on childhood and nostalgia. The part of the show that remains the most interesting to us is the relationship between Sheldon and his father George (read our full review with Lance Barber here), who we know dies before the events of the present-day show. We know him to be a flawed man, but he does care about his son on some level.
Was the premiere funny enough? Save for a line about why he doesn’t want to be a musician, you can argue that it needed a greater number of laughs, but those could come in due time. Our concern mostly is that this is an episode that critics could end up loving more than fans.
What is your take on the Young Sheldon premiere?
Be sure to share in the comments below! You can read some additional news about Young Sheldon episode 2 and its return date now over at the link here. (Photo: CBS.)