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The Big Bang Theory Fans Aren't Convinced Young Sheldon Portrays The Same Sheldon

Whether he's claiming his "spot," incessantly knocking on the door of neighbor Penny (Kaley Cuoco), or struggling to comprehend sarcasm, Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) is the main focus of "The Big Bang Theory." Over the course of the show's 12 seasons, Sheldon occasionally reflects on his Texas upbringing, providing some insight into his quirky personality. Viewers learn about how he began high school at the age of 9, was raised by an extremely devout Baptist mother, and often felt like an outsider, among both his peers and his family, with the exception of his beloved grandma, Meemaw (Annie Potts).

Many of Sheldon's stories heard on "The Big Bang Theory" are brought to life on the CBS prequel series "Young Sheldon," which follows the boyhood years of the future theoretical physicist. As a whole, the show accurately depicts the memories that Sheldon shares with Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Raj (Kunal Nayyar), Howard (Simon Helberg), and Penny. It also helps that Parsons provides the narration for a majority of the episodes and actually pitched the idea of the show to "Big Bang" co-creator Chuck Lorre (via Vanity Fair).

Like his adult counterpart, the younger version of Sheldon (Iain Armitage) has his share of quirks. For example, he immediately makes himself a target for bullying on the first day of high school by sporting a bow tie. He's also very particular about certain things, like having high-quality bread for his sandwiches. Despite these similarities between young Sheldon and adult Sheldon, however, a number of fans feel that there's a disconnect.

Fans think the younger version of Sheldon is more mature

Some viewers of "The Big Bang Theory" and "Young Sheldon" don't think the prequel series accurately depicts what Sheldon would be like as a boy. On Reddit, u/LemonPie678 said, "The expressions, the mannerisms, the essence of the character...I just don't see it."

Many agreed that young Sheldon is more mature and independent than his older self, who is sometimes treated like a child by his friends. Remember when Penny takes him to Disneyland and Leonard warns her not to fill him with sweets? Redditor u/RVarki said, "I genuinely can't see how these are the same people, and if they are, Sheldon clearly went through a very rough patch after his adolescence, leading to him completely regressing."

Sheldon does, in fact, go through a very rough patch, as pointed out by u/MajorZombie7204. In the years between "Young Sheldon" and "The Big Bang Theory," he loses his father and moves to California, where he has no support system. According to this user, he likely remains isolated throughout the rest of his teen years until Leonard comes into his life: "Sheldon went into a state of suspended adolescence for a long time. So when we meet him as an adult he has a lot of lessons to learn and in [some] cases re-learn."

In an interview with Deadline, Chuck Lorre revealed that the differences between the two Sheldons are intentional. "The character of Sheldon can be despicable. He is so difficult and hard on his best friends. And yet somehow ... the audience forgives him. But take those same qualities and ask a 9-year-old to bring that – it's a brat," explained Lorre, who wanted Iain Armitage's character to experience the world from a less cynical perspective.