Young Sheldon: It's Time to Drop the George/Brenda Sparks Storyline

One of the problems with prequels (both on TV and in movies) is you sometimes need to force a square peg into a round hole just for the sake of maintaining canon. This has been the case with the George Cooper (Lance Barber) and Brenda Sparks (Melissa Peterman) subplot on Young Sheldon.


This prequel to The Big Bang Theory focuses on Sheldon Cooper's (Iain Armitage) life growing up in Texas. And the George/Brenda subplot at least seems to be based on a story the older version of Sheldon (Jim Parsons) described involving him catching his father having an affair. He described it as the reason he compulsively knocks three times on closed doors.

The main problem with this subplot is it really doesn't work in the context of this prequel series because the show hasn't been completely faithful to the source material.

For example, the older Sheldon also described his father as a boorish drunk who was abusive, always arguing with his mother, possibly a criminal and didn't support his interest in science. However, that hasn't been the case with the Young Sheldon version of George. If anything, that version could make an argument for television dad of the year. He helped Sheldon convince his mom, Mary (Zoe Perry) to let him go to college, is always coming to the defense of his kids and, while there have been rough patches between him and Mary, it hasn't been constant and she's often a bigger part of the problem.

There was admittedly a time when the whole Brenda Sparks thing did make sense on the show, when he and Mary were going through a rough patch, and he thought she was having an affair. However, the continued sexual tension between George and his neighbor now just seems forced. Him and Mary are closer than ever, and the divorcee next door seems to be getting her life back together. The timing alone makes this part of the series a bad fit.

At this stage, the show would be better off finding a way to just end that part of the story and take things in a different direction. It's already done this with Sheldon's sister, Missy (Raegan Revord), who is much more intelligent on the prequel than she's portrayed in TBBT. And it might have done this with his brother Georgie (Montana Jordan) by making him a soon-to-be teenaged dad (something that was never mentioned in TBBT, which made it seem like Missy's first child was the first time he became an uncle).

My suggestion would be to play up the "affair" as a misunderstanding, something that would be believable given Sheldon's difficulties with reading social cues. It would also fit with the TBBT version of Sheldon, who obviously saw his father (and every other family member) as something he wasn't and probably shouldn't be taken at his word.

At minimum, the show needs to give the "George cheated" canon a rest for a while and save it for a later season, when the timing makes a whole lot more sense. A George who would cheat on his wife while they aren't fighting just isn't something this George would do.

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