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TBBT Fans Wonder What Happened To The Lessons Sheldon Learned In Young Sheldon

As a prequel to "The Big Bang Theory," one of TV's longest-running sitcoms, "Young Sheldon" has a big responsibility to maintain continuity within the established story. Sheldon's (Iain Armitage) childhood reveals key moments from the brainiac's past that inform the character's portrayal in the original series (by Jim Parsons). However, some fans feel Sheldon is forgetting some of the valuable lessons he learned in the spin-off, leading to an interesting debate on Reddit.

Sheldon's younger years in Texas show us how he became the unfiltered intellect we see in "The Big Bang Theory," with memorable storylines featuring his loving family. It even depicts Sheldon navigating complex emotional situations that he also struggles with in adulthood. This leaves fans questioning whether or not he retained these experiences or if his later trauma in life affected his emotional development.

On Reddit, u/IIIPandaIII purposed the idea that the two series offer a conflicting portrayal of Sheldon, "Based on the experiences he had when he was young, he should have a much better understanding of emotions, sarcasm, and human interactions. In "TBBT," adult Sheldon acts like he's been raised by crows and has absolutely no clue when it comes to any form of human interaction." Others were quick to remind him of the devastating event and years in isolation that followed Sheldon when he first left his family in Texas, which may have changed his behavior.

The death of Sheldon's father definitely impacted him

One of the biggest lessons we learn as kids is that our parents may have a completely different perspective, leading us to look at things differently. This often occurs in "Young Sheldon" with the titular scientist's conflicting views that may inform the way each family member perceives a specific event. On top of that, a formative tragedy likely changed Sheldon in his teenage years, which led to the more emotionally immature version we meet at the beginning of "The Big Bang Theory."

Many fans cited the death of Sheldon's father George (Lance Barber) as a setback for his development. One user noted the tactic Sheldon utilizes to avoid feeling emotional pain — as u/Smooth_Loan3610 said, "Adult Sheldon says he learned to turn off his emotions by behaving like Spock so that might've happened in his teenage years. And also his father's passing would have most likely impacted the way he behaved from that point on." The tragic event, coupled with Sheldon's emotional suppression, could definitely bring us to the iteration of the character we meet in the original series.

Another user had similar thoughts as u/TheUltimatenerd05 wrote, "Sheldon at the moment seems a bit ahead of where he started in 'Big Bang Theory' but I think George's death explains that fairly well as that probably causes a lot of issues for him that he doesn't handle well." Fans seem to unanimously agree that his father's untimely passing will cause a lot of inner turmoil for the adolescent genius, especially as he spends his time isolated away from his family in an unfamiliar setting.

His time spent alone definitely didn't help either

Other viewers pointed out the time Sheldon spent by himself when he first moved to California, which could've damaged his emotional composure. Reddit user u/zoemi provided an astute observation, "Don't forget that Sheldon is going to be spending his teens isolated away from his family and others his own age. And there's still puberty." His years spent alone, after such an overwhelming loss, definitely would've had an enormous impact on Sheldon, especially without any friends to help see him through it.

A lengthy analysis by u/MajorZombie7204 further dove into the time Sheldon spent away from his family, which was only made worse by the death of his father. They also point out how alone he would've been at school as the unique child prodigy, who is still several insurmountable years younger than his classmates. This would leave Sheldon even more isolated and he would even "emotionally regress," as the user puts it, from the optimistic and intuitive self we see in the prequel.

Another fan even brought up the interesting fan theory that connects the two series in a perfect way, which explains why Sheldon may appear differently on "Young Sheldon." On Reddit, u/King_of_nerds77 elaborated on why the documentary theory would portray Sheldon in a kinder light, "This is why his history is far more sanitized than the times he recalled his past in the show, why he often narrates with information from after 'TBBT,' and ultimately why young Sheldon is far more likable than adult Sheldon." This aspect would explain away the rose-colored lenses through which the series is sometimes told.