When we first heard a prequel spinoff to The Big Bang Theory, one based on Sheldon Cooper of all characters, was coming out, we’ll admit we had our doubts. After all, how do you make lightning strike twice?
We’ll tell you how: by making the Young Sheldon a nostalgic family comedy, changing the overall tone and turning it into a period piece. Pure gold, as the ratings (and a second-season renewal) will tell you.
Now that Young Sheldon is coming back to CTV this fall (Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET), we had the opportunity to speak with Zoe Perry, the woman who plays Sheldon Cooper’s mother Mary. And during the course of our chat she revealed something small yet massive about the series that kind of blew our minds.
“[Our show] has this narration by the older Sheldon (Jim Parsons) but who knows how old he is when he’s giving us these anecdotes,” she mused when thinking about the prequel in relation to the original sitcom. “It seems like there’s a different level of appreciation for how things happened and how we feel about things in retrospect versus when we’re younger and through that prism. There’s a lot to unpack.”
What? For some reason every time we’ve tuned into the show and heard Sheldon explain his childhood, we’ve thought he was the current-day Sheldon we all know and love. (Or mostly love, given some of his tendencies.) We’ve never stopped to think that maybe it’s a 70-year-old Sheldon writing his memoirs, or maybe even recounting stories of his youth to, say, his own kids or grandchildren down the road.
“Right! Right. Who knows? It could be either,” Perry added. “But clearly there’s a difference. There’s a different understanding of what his relationship was to his father and even just who his parents were, than some of what we’ve gotten on The Big Bang Theory.”
Fair enough. We mean, even though Perry is the actual, real life daughter of Laurie Metcalf, who plays The Big Bang Theory’s version of Mary Cooper, they are two totally different characters too, which Perry pointed out.
“What I kind of love about playing it — and it might sound so odd considering that I’m even doing a version of something established by my mom — is that every episode feels kind of like a new discovery,” she adds. “The writers just have such a way of giving every character a viewpoint. So even when our respective characters can’t seem to understand each other or find resolution in moments, the viewers get a really good glimpse into what makes each person tick and why they come at any particular difficulty or joy in the way that they do.”
Sounds like we’ve got a lot to look forward to in season two. In the meantime, let’s let the theorizing about narrator Sheldon’s age commence.