The season finale for “The Big Bang Theory” and “Young Sheldon” have delivered a double-whammy of personal development for the two shows’ most popular (or at least most recognizable) character.
Spoiler alert, by the way, for both shows. You have been warned, but let’s face it, this is a sitcom – it’s not like huge plot twists are par for the course.
In “The Big Bang Theory”, we see Sheldon finally tie the knot with Amy. Immediately following this comes an episode about Sheldon in an earlier part of his timeline, as he learns the value of writing interpersonal contracts to help manage his relationship with others.
The significant part of this is a throwaway reference to Sheldon’s future children. With one line, the writers have baited all “Big Fan” fans. Now, debates rage over whether or not we’ll see Sheldon as a young father at some point in the future of the main show.
— Young Sheldon (@YoungSheldon) May 11, 2018
Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened.
Time To Grow Up
Originally, “The Big Bang Theory” was about a group of characters who all, in one way or another, fail to parse the rules of modern society.
The four core nerds of the show, Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj, are all simply too wrapped up in geeky ephemera to understand the real world. Meanwhile, Penny is a perennial failure, unable to progress in her desired career, and constantly suffering from terrible romantic decisions.
This initial premise wore thin very early on, but the show has stayed so culturally relevant because it quickly reinvented itself. “The Big Bang Theory” evolved into a show about perpetual children (ie manbabies) finally being forced to grow up and act as responsible adults.
My personal favorite example of character development in all this comes from Howard and Bernadette. At the start of the show, Howard is thoroughly unlikable, to the point that audiences cringe when he’s onscreen, but slowly, over time, he’s evolved into a mature, responsible, respectful husband and father. Although, admittedly, he still has plenty of flaws, because this is a comedy show, and men being bad at adulthood is one of the most consistent tropes in this genre.
Sheldon Gets What’s Coming To Him
I can foresee Sheldon’s future development going in a similar direction. We’ve already seen him fight to overcome many of his interpersonal issues, as he works on his relationship with Amy. Now, it’s time to take things to the next level, as Sheldon is forced to step up and take on the role of caregiver to a small copy of himself.
For “The Big Bang Theory” to continue to stay relevant through to its twelfth season, the show will need to adapt and change. I like seeing these characters grow up, and I’d be interested to see where the writers could take things if Sheldon were given his own miniature human to raise.
Perhaps I just want to see Sheldon suffer in the same way that he’s made Leonard suffer for the past decade. This seems only fair!