Despite existing in the same reality, The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon have significantly different takes on George Cooper (Lance Barber) — why? The whole Cooper family had visited Sheldon in Pasadena throughout the geek-centric sitcom’s 12-year-run, except for his dad. By the time the events of The Big Bang Theory started, George was already long dead, preventing him from physically appearing in the series, although he made a creative cameo through its one-time crossover with Young Sheldon.
Even if George never appeared on The Big Bang Theory, he became an established character in the franchise thanks to Sheldon and Mary’s stories. According to the socially-inept genius, his father was mostly an ignorant parent who didn’t do anything but drink and be lazy. His mom backed up these claims, even going as far as not missing any opportunity to rag on her dead husband. Coming into Young Sheldon, there was an assumption that this was going to be the case. Instead, the spin-off introduced a flawed but committed family man in George, causing confusion for audiences.
The different depiction of George is deemed as one of, if not the biggest Young Sheldon inconsistency with The Big Bang Theory. As it turns out, however, there’s an official explanation for this. As explained by co-creator Steve Molaro (via TVLine), this discrepancy can be chalked up to the nature of the spin-off, and the fact that future Sheldon narrates the Young Sheldon episodes. This version of the character “is older now and has children of his own, [so is] seeing his parents in a different light for the first time. That’s why this narrator is choosing to tell us some of these stories, in part because he’s figuring it out now. ‘Oh, I had an idea about who my dad was, and now that I look back and I’m the age that he was then…’ You start to have a different perspective on things.” In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon was single for the most part, only getting married in the penultimate season. Despite maintaining a long-term relationship with Amy (Mayim Bialik) and slowly honing his social skills, he didn’t have the same perspective as his older counterpart because he didn’t have kids yet. Sheldon didn’t relate to the struggles of his parents, particularly his dad, so he was fixated on his flaws, not understanding how difficult really it is to raise kids.
Is Young Sheldon’s George Really A Good Or Bad Dad?
Molaro’s quote explains the different versions of George, but he didn’t say which is the definitive one. While most of Sheldon’s stories about George in The Big Bang Theory were unflattering, one was clearly the worst. When Sheldon explained his odd knocking habit to Penny (Kaley Cuoco), he revealed that he developed it when he accidentally barged in on his dad having sexual relations with another woman. This traumatized him, hence why he adapted the annoying habit. Despite all of George’s good qualities in Young Sheldon, cheating is wrong. The family comedy has yet to tackle this narrative, although it has been quietly setting it up. George’s image hinges on whether or not CBS will move forward with this rather dark plot line for the family sitcom. Despite the expectation that George will start an affair with Brenda Sparks (Melissa Peterman), the pair hasn’t really done anything that’s technically wrong. Perhaps, the Cooper patriarch’s mistress from Sheldon’s story isn’t even their newly-single neighbor.
This effectively explains Sheldon’s differing views of his father. Perhaps his negative memories of him were also motivated by Mary’s disdain for George in Big Bang Theory. For some reason, the Cooper matriarch had nothing good to say about him whenever she visited the socially-inept genius in Pasadena. In Young Sheldon, however, George has been mostly patient and dedicated to his wife.