Young Sheldon: Every Big Bang Theory Hint Setting Up George Sr Cliffhanger
While Young Sheldon season 4 ended on a big cliffhanger, The Big Bang Theory actually set this up by providing clues regarding George Sr. (Lance Barber) and Mary’s (Zoe Perry) current situation. While the sitcoms technically exist in the same reality, there are a lot of inconsistencies between them. This can be chalked up to Young Sheldon‘s lax (and plot-hole-creating) approach to preserving continuity previously established by its parent series.
That being said, leading to The Big Bang Theory‘s end in 2019, the offshoot began to more actively cite events previously referenced in TBBT. This was part of Young Sheldon‘s effort to appeal to the original sitcom’s massive fanbase. Season 4 specifically featured various Easter eggs, including an unexpected voice cameo from Amy Farrah-Fowler (Mayim Bialik), in which narrator Sheldon revealed that they have a son in the future named Leonard Cooper. Throughout the year, there were also references to the socially inept genius’ weirdest creation — the Mobile Virtual Presence Device or MVPD — and an indirect explanation as to why he always makes fun of Howard and engineers in general.
That said, Young Sheldon season 4 was arguably laying the groundwork for George’s cheating narrative, which was established in TBBT. For years, the spin-off danced around the subject and understandably so, considering that it could be too dark to tackle in a family sitcom. But, it’s imperative that the series explore this particular plot point because it had a massive impact on Sheldon’s well-being and future. So, in the sitcom’s latest finale, titled “The Wild and Woolly World of Nonlinear Dynamics,” the slow breakdown of the Coopers’ marriage was established with the couple getting into a serious argument that could ultimately result in George starting an affair with their newly single neighbor, Brenda Sparks (Melissa Peterman). Interestingly, The Big Bang Theory actually offered some hints as to what audiences can expect for the couple’s rocky road ahead in Young Sheldon.
Long before plans for Young Sheldon were put in place, some of Sheldon’s family members were introduced in The Big Bang Theory, including Mary. Played by Laurie Metcalf, the Cooper matriarch first made her appearance back in the original show’s debut year. She became a regular guest in Pasadena; at one point, Sheldon and the rest of his guy friends even found themselves in her house in Texas. Like her prequel counterpart, Mary often talked about her faith as a devout born-again Christian. But, since she was also used to speaking her mind, she never missed an opportunity to throw shots at her husband, even though he was long dead. She described him as an incredibly foolish and irresponsible family man, which contradicts the version of the character in Young Sheldon. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Mary was harboring some ill feelings towards her husband that may have been because of his infidelity later on.
For someone who likes to prove himself right, Sheldon has some aversion to people arguing — especially when it involves those closest to him. In The Big Bang Theory season 3, episode 7 titled “The Guitarist Amplification,” all of his friends get into arguments. Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) fight about her ex-boyfriend coming to town, while Raj (Kunal Nayyar) and Howard (Simon Helberg) have their own disagreements. In the outing, Sheldon revealed that getting in the middle of all their verbal sparrings makes him feel like he was back in his childhood Texas home, where all his parents did was argue with each other. This hasn’t really been the case yet in Young Sheldon; while Mary and George have had their disagreements, it’s nothing as consistent and pervasive as their son claimed it to be. But, it could eventually come to fruition after the Young Sheldon season 4 finale, especially if George decides to actually cheat on his wife.
Like Mary, Sheldon gave the impression that he never really liked his father in The Big Bang Theory. He also described him as a negligent parent who did nothing but drink alcohol. Based on his stories, it sounded as if Sheldon had a better relationship with his twin, Missy, although he admitted that he learned some practical things from the Cooper patriarch. One key takeaway that hints at the destruction of his parents’ marriage in Young Sheldon was George’s supposed low regard for the opposite sex.
On more than one occasion in The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon shared anecdotes from his father that were straight-up demeaning and insulting for women. In TBBT season 5, episode 19, titled “The Weekend Vortex,” the genius claims that his dad said that “Shelly, women are nothing but flipping pains in the bottom.” A year later in season 6, episode 12, “The Egg Salad Equivalency,” Sheldon quotes his father saying that a woman is like an egg salad sandwich on a warm Texas day (which got him in trouble at CalTech). Admittedly, none of these have been tackled in Young Sheldon, but it’s difficult to argue with the Cooper middle child given his eidetic memory. So, assuming that George did say these things about women, it makes sense that he also didn’t respect his wife — hence why he cheated.
Arguably the biggest indicator and perhaps even the driving force behind Young Sheldon season 4 cliffhanger is Sheldon’s story about his dad cheating. In The Big Bang Theory season 10, episode 5, “The Hot Tub Contamination,” he explained to Penny the reason why he knocks three times before entering a room. Apparently, when he was 13 years old, he accidentally caught his dad having sexual relations with another woman when he came home early from college. Given the timeline, the spin-off still has a couple more years before this incident supposedly takes place, but it already needs to lay the groundwork for this storyline since it’s a sharp turn from George’s current arc. Unfortunately, even if Young Sheldon doesn’t really want to navigate this plotline, it doesn’t have any choice since this was an important juncture that changed the course of Sheldon’s relationship with his father. Skipping it entirely would be unacceptable especially because the offshoot has already contradicted established continuity in The Big Bang Theory several times.