Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Young Sheldon season 6, episode 16.While The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon could often come across as thoughtless, the real roots of the character’s tragic struggles with socializing are unearthed in Young Sheldon season 6. Sheldon Cooper is a complicated character. Most of the time, he is depicted as a somewhat thoughtless and callous figure in both The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon, passing remarks without considering the emotional impact they will have on others and unashamedly acting in his own self-interest. However, at other times, both The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon show Sheldon expressing extreme generosity, warmth, and concern toward his loved ones.
While Young Sheldon season 6 has been hard on Sheldon, the spinoff’s outing has been almost equally tough on his twin sister Missy. This prompted some rebellious acting out from the teen, and George Sr forgetting to pick his daughter up after school when Mandy went into labor proved to be the last straw. At the end of Young Sheldon season 6, episode 15, “Teen Angst and a Smart-Boy Walk of Shame,” Missy drove off into the night alone in her father’s truck. In Young Sheldon season 6, episode 16, “A Stolen Truck and Going on the Lam,” the Coopers attempt to locate her, accidentally exposing some Sheldon backstory as a result.
Sheldon Really Does Want To Help (In TBBT and Young Sheldon)
Early on in the episode, there is a scene where Sheldon tries to help with locating Missy. His approach highlights both Sheldon’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as his motivation. His list of places that would be “of interest to teenage girls” is hilariously silly, listing malls among the demographic’s most beloved locations. However, crucially, it is also more helpful than anything the rest of the Cooper family do to find Missy, and it is aggressively rejected by them nonetheless. Mary, George Sr, Georgie, and even Young Sheldon’s Meemaw tell Sheldon his attempts to help are ludicrous while they stand in the kitchen doing nothing.
This casual dismissal of Sheldon’s intelligence and his genuine concern for his missing twin sister is an interesting insight into Sheldon’s eventual attitude toward his family in The Big Bang Theory. As an adult, Sheldon looks down on his family, mocking his mother’s religious fervor and dubbing his siblings “mouth-breathing idiots.” However, when he sincerely attempted to help them during a crisis with a clever, original plan of action, his family preferred to stay doing nothing (beyond waiting for word from the police). If it weren’t for dumb luck, the Coopers wouldn’t have seen their daughter again, and Sheldon is the only one ambitious enough to act upon this.
Young Sheldon Makes Sheldon’s Meaner TBBT Self Add Up
Sheldon’s cold demeanor in The Big Bang Theory makes a lot of sense when considered alongside his treatment in “A Stolen Truck and Going on the Lam.” It is understandable that the character would refuse to act friendly with strangers when his attempts to solve a dangerous, stressful situation were met with ridicule from his own family. The gormless non-reaction that the Coopers have to disaster alienates Sheldon who, it is worth noting, recently endured his worst professional failure in Young Sheldon’s grant database storyline. Sheldon bounces back from his failure once he realizes Missy is missing while, in contrast, his family fails to appreciate his attempts to help.
Young Sheldon Season 6 Should Address This Backstory
Not only doesn’t the Cooper family consider Sheldon’s plan, but they also don’t appear to do anything to ensure Missy’s safe return home outside of calling Paige’s mother (which was also Sheldon’s suggestion). Their inability to think outside the box or even consider action, combined with their mockery of Sheldon’s flawed-but-ambitious action plan to help locate Missy, makes it more believable that The Big Bang Theory’s hero would dismiss his family’s intelligence and their life choices. Not only is Sheldon justified in feeling his family has done nothing to solve Missy’s problems in Young Sheldon, but he’s also right to feel rejected by them.
Sheldon rarely points out that his family isn’t understanding or helpful, but does look at them with disgust in The Big Bang Theory. With scenes like this, Young Sheldon season 6 is starting to show how he developed this attitude to cope with rejection. Sheldon may even be justified in arguing that his family failed to appreciate his genius when it wasn’t limited to theoretical physics. When faced with a real-life problem, his family froze and froze him out, while Sheldon handled the problem as best he could. Ultimately, Young Sheldon’s title character is correct to feel that his family failed him, and The Big Bang Theory’s spinoff should lean into this interesting idea.