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The Entire Young Sheldon Timeline Explained

It's hard to believe it's over, but after seven hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking seasons, "The Big Bang Theory" spin-off "Young Sheldon" has finally wrapped. The prequel series did a deep dive on the titular character (played here by Iain Armitage) and his family, giving fans a fascinating insight into how their favorite theoretical physicist was shaped over the years. "Young Sheldon" lets us grow up with the Coopers and immerse ourselves in Sheldon's childhood in the town Medford, Texas. "The Big Bang Theory" had already introduced us to some of the characters featured in the show, but the incredible cast of "Young Sheldon" managed to add new depth to them without negating the versions of their characters that we'd met before.

What's interesting is that some of the characters are nothing like what viewers would have expected from watching "The Big Bang Theory." We learn in the series finale that the adult Sheldon (the returning Jim Parsons) has been working on a memoir about his childhood, though some of the stuff that happens on screen isn't exactly how he remembered it. It might make you question the validity of some of the stories Sheldon told in "The Big Bang Theory" — for example, his dad is far from the bad guy he's painted as in the original show. Sheldon is clearly an unreliable narrator to a certain extent, which doesn't help when you're trying to keep a mental timeline of events. But don't worry, because we've been back over the whole story so you don't have to. Here's our breakdown of the entire "Young Sheldon" timeline.

Meet the Coopers

The first season of "Young Sheldon" kicks off with the titular character's first day of high school. It's 1989, and Sheldon is in for a bit of a bumpy ride. Even at nine-years-old, Sheldon stands out like a sore thumb, and his older brother Georgie (Montana Jordan) isn't exactly thrilled to have his kid brother attending the same school. The first season also introduces the other important members of Sheldon's family: There's his father George (Lance Barber) and mother Mary (Zoe Perry), who both care deeply for their younger son, even if they aren't always sure how to relate to him. There's also Sheldon's grandmother Connie (Annie Potts) and his far-more-normal twin sister Missy (played by the talented Raegan Revord).

As Sheldon's school year gets underway, he starts learning more about how to relate to the people around him. He's presented with some great opportunities to dig into his scientific interests when he meets a physics professor named Dr. Sturgis (Wallace Shawn). Unfortunately, he's also exposed to some of his greatest fears, as the show introduces Sheldon's mysophobia and cynophobia — paranoias about germs and dogs that fans of "The Big Bang Theory" will definitely recognize. By the end of Season 1, it's 1990 and Sheldon is in his second semester of high school.

Young Sheldon enters the '90s

The '90s are well underway by the time Season 2 gets going. Sheldon is still taking college physics with Dr. Sturgis, but suddenly he's no longer the only kid in the class: A girl named Paige Swanson (Mckenna Grace), who's slightly younger than Sheldon, joins in the second episode of the season. Suddenly, Sheldon finds himself with a new rival. Despite Sheldon's feelings, his parents invite Paige's family over for dinner, and Sheldon's siblings get along with Paige quite well. Later, in the episode "Carbon Dating and a Stuffed Raccoon," Paige and Sheldon meet at a museum, where she tells him that her parents are fighting all the time and might get divorced. In "A Stunted Childhood and a Can of Fancy Mixed Nuts," Paige and Missy become friends and bond at a sleepover, much to Sheldon's chagrin.

It's not just Paige's family that goes through some struggles around this period, with the Coopers also having a hard time. Mary gets pregnant, but sadly has a miscarriage. Georgie struggles with bullies at school. Connie has some relationship problems with her now-boyfriend Dr. Sturgis. And, toward the end of Season 2, Sheldon scores a perfect PSAT and starts getting tons of attention from various colleges — it's great news in theory, but it causes some strain for his family, who aren't quite ready for him to leave home yet. Sheldon simply presses on with his interests, even though he's starting to think that his academic obsessions might prevent him from ever having a group of friends.

Sheldon's first graduation

Colleges are hotly pursuing Sheldon in Season 3, and he's starting to find some new interests. He becomes obsessed with solving the unified field theory that once managed to stump Einstein, and he sets his sights on attending Caltech. Sheldon's parents manage to convince him that it's too early for him to leave home just yet and urge him to become a full-time college student under Dr. Sturgis, who recently broke up with Connie.

Everyone else is also keeping busy. Missy learns how to throw a baseball, and, with some help, she also manages to convince the local coach to let a girl play on the team. Georgie is juggling two different love interests, and his dad is mulling over competing coaching offers from the local college and Sheldon's high school. Paige returns in the episode "Body Glitter and a Mall Safety Kit" and reveals that her parents have divorced, leading her to shake up her style and give up her dedication to school work.

Season 4 opens around May time in 1991 with the episode "Graduation" and sees Sheldon and Missy celebrating. Missy is graduating from elementary school, and Sheldon is the valedictorian of his high school class. He suddenly gets nervous about the whole ordeal, but Missy manages to talk him through his anxieties. At the end of the episode, the adult Sheldon comments on his son Leonard's high school graduation and we learn that he wanted to name his firstborn Leonard Nimoy Cooper. The idea was shot down by young Leonard's mother.

Sheldon starts college

The summer of 1991 is a busy time for everyone. Georgie is getting closer with his girlfriend Jana (Ava Allan), but the two of them have a bit of a scare when they briefly think that Jana might be pregnant. Meanwhile, Sheldon and Missy are sent off to Bible camp, where they reunite with Paige. Sheldon's rivalry with her immediately reignites and Paige ends up punching him in the face when he says that she must feel guilty about her parents' divorce.

In the fall, Sheldon is preparing to head to college when he learns that Dr. Sturgis has taken a job working on the Superconducting Super Collider. Despite not having his mentor there anymore, Sheldon decides to forge ahead and go to college anyway. While there, his philosophy teacher, Professor Ericson (Melanie Lynskey), accidentally sends Sheldon into an existential crisis and he begins to question the validity of scientific inquiry.

Sheldon recovers from his crisis just in time for the college's president to ask for his aid in recruiting Paige as a new student. While helping out, Sheldon realizes that he has a crush on Paige, but when she just makes fun of him more, he decides that he's gotten over it. Missy is having her own relationship problems after finding her boyfriend holding hands with another middle school girl. Sheldon comforts her, and Season 4 ends with the two of them talking together in the woods while their parents are in the middle of a huge fight back home. At this point, it's 1992.

Georgie drops out of high school

Season 5 picks up right where Season 4 left off — it's 1992, and things are still tense. After getting into a huge fight with Mary, George is at a bar playing pool with a woman named Brenda Sparks (Melissa Peterman). There are some feelings there, but before things go any further, George has a heart attack and is sent to the hospital. George makes a full recovery, but he doesn't tell Mary about what almost happened between him and Brenda. The guilt eats away at him, especially later in the season when a dire financial situation causes Mary to get a job at the bowling alley where Brenda also works.

Georgie makes a dramatic decision and drops out of high school to work full time. At first, his parents aren't at all happy, but they let him move into the garage and start paying rent. Not long after that, Georgie meets a 29-year-old woman named Mandy (Emily Osment), lying about being in his twenties to get her to go on a date with him (she also lies about her age at first, claiming to be 25). The two start seeing each other regularly, and Mandy ends up getting pregnant. Georgie's family is shocked, but overall they're supportive, especially after Mandy's family disowns her. Sheldon is still piecing together the intricacies of interpersonal relationships, but he's maturing. To his alarm, he gets his first pimple in the season finale and realizes that adulthood is coming for him.

Sheldon develops a database

It's still 1992 when Season 6 gets underway, and the fortunes of the Cooper clan haven't improved. Connie and Georgie are in custody along the U.S. border after trying to bring 400 cartons of cigarettes into the country. They were hoping to sell the cigarettes at Connie's secret casino to help with the family's money problems, but that does pan out. George and Connie's on-and-off-again partner Dale (Craig T. Nelson) come down to bail the two of them out. Georgie goes on to put his energy into preparing for Mandy's baby, and Missy decides to get her first job to help with the family finances instead.

Sheldon is going through his own financial struggles at the school. While getting wrapped up in a potential comic book sale, Sheldon develops the idea for a large database that could help scientists find funding for their research. Both the college and Dr. Linkletter (Ed Begley Jr.), a rival of Dr. Sturgis, want to cash in on Sheldon's idea, but when they suggest taking a 90% cut of any profits, he decides to search for a private investor. That search gets off to a rough start, but Sheldon eventually gets connected with an eccentric investor who offers enough money for Sheldon and Dr. Sturgis to start working on the project together.

The Coopers welcome a new family member

Sheldon's database project turns out to be a huge flop, and he's disillusioned by the entire ordeal, even though Dr. Sturgis tries to encourage him to take the failure as a learning moment. The rest of the family's attention is primarily on Georgie, who's expecting a daughter any day now. Shortly after Mandy gives birth, Georgie proposes to her, but she turns him down. Georgie's unwilling to give up on their relationship, though, and after a day together at a spa, Mandy says yes.

As all this is going on, Missy is becoming frustrated by the lack of attention she's getting from anyone. She gets left at school and misses the birth of Georgie's daughter Cece, and in protest she steals her dad's truck. Missy meets up with Paige and the two of them decide to run away. The girls get caught and Missy is grounded, though that's not enough to discourage her from continually sneaking out. Worried about his sister, Sheldon rats Missy out one night and the two have a huge fight when their parents ground Missy for the entire summer.

For Sheldon, the summer is shaping up to be quite different: He's presented with the opportunity of spending part of it at a German university. It turns out that Dr. Sturgis and members of the local church managed to collect enough money to send Sheldon to the study abroad program. Mary goes with him, but the bad luck continues at home — the day that they leave, a tornado hits town and destroys Connie's house.

George's cheating incident finally happens

Everyone is still reeling from the tornado at the start of Season 7, which opens in 1993. Mary wants to take Sheldon home, but he convinces her to stay in Germany long enough to finish his classes. For the first time in his life, Sheldon isn't the smartest person in class, but he learns to deal with that discomfort and enjoy the new experience. Back in Medford everyone is trying to put their lives back together. Connie is searching for a way to earn enough money to pay for the house repairs that her insurance won't cover. Missing Mary, George starts writing letters to Germany, while Missy essentially takes over the running of the house. Georgie and Mandy decide that there's no reason not to get married anymore, and they set a date to head down to city hall.

When Mary and Sheldon get back from Germany, "Young Sheldon" finally reveals the truth about George's so-called affair. In "The Big Bang Theory," Sheldon says that he caught his father cheating on Mary, and in the episode "Ants on a Log and a Cheating Winker," it finally happens — at least, Sheldon believes it does. In a welcome turn of events, it's revealed that Sheldon is actually mistaken about what he sees: He accidentally walks in on his parents when his mother is wearing a wig and role-playing as a German woman named Helga. Sheldon never learns the truth, but the incident inspires him to start knocking three times before entering a room, something fans of "The Big Bang Theory" have seen many times.

The devastating death of George Cooper

By the end of Season 7, it's 1994 and everyone is getting ready to move on with their lives. Georgie and Mandy get married at the courthouse, and though they still have some tension with Mandy's family, they're learning to deal with the issues together while raising Cece. Sheldon has a flood of offers from different schools, and, surprisingly, he opts for MIT. While reluctant at first, his father takes him to Boston, where they're met with a snowstorm. Seeing the difference in the weather first hand, Sheldon decides that Caltech is actually the right place to go.

Meanwhile, Connie spends a good chunk of time dealing with the legal system. She got arrested when her secret casino was discovered, forcing her to work with a probation officer named Rhonda (Octavia Spencer) to avoid going to jail. The rest of the family helps out, of course, but they're getting ready for a big change, too. George is offered his dream job coaching football at Rice University, so the family decides it's time to move to Houston. Sadly, it's not to be.

At the end of the episode "A New Home and a Traditional Texas Torture," the Cooper family is dealt its most devastating blow by far: They learn that George suffered another heart attack, and this time, he didn't recover. George's final "Young Sheldon" line makes his death even more heartbreaking: He simply told his family, "See y'all later." Mary's anguish is hard to watch, but everyone ultimately deals with their grief in their own way. Sheldon imagines a sweeping speech covering all the things he never got to say to his father.

The Big Bang Theory and beyond

The series finale sees Sheldon's family still recovering from George's death. Mary has decided that she wants her children to be baptized, and because of his many phobias, Sheldon only agrees to go through with the baptism while wearing a scuba suit. Missy and Sheldon get to have one last heart to heart in their childhood home before the family moves out and Sheldon makes his way to Caltech. The finale also gives us a peek at Sheldon's life sometime after the end of "The Big Bang Theory." Sheldon is writing a memoir about growing up in Texas that presumably features many of the stories told throughout "Young Sheldon."

After having all this time to reflect on how his parents raised him, Sheldon feels inspired to spend more time with his wife Amy and their two children. He and Amy go to their son's field hockey game while talking about enrolling their daughter in acting classes thanks to the influence of Penny, who babysat for her. As they leave, Sheldon has one last flashback to the moment that he arrived on the Caltech campus, and he remembers feeling like he truly belonged there from the get-go. Seeing how everything worked out for him after that, it's easy to say he was right.