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Why George Cooper Sr. From Young Sheldon Looks So Familiar

"The Big Bang Theory" had its fair share of recurring gags throughout its tenure. However, few would become as relevant as the many wild stories that Sheldon (Jim Parsons) would tell about his family growing up in Texas. From Sheldon's stories, we got a picture of a dysfunctional, if not humorous, group of countrified southerners who couldn't be more different than the timid and analytical Sheldon.

However, it wouldn't be long until fans got a firsthand perspective of Sheldon's family with the spin-off series "Young Sheldon." Here, Sheldon's father is more like an average sitcom dad than the crazed drunk who used his wife's favorite cookware for shooting practice. Instead, "Young Sheldon" portrays him as a simple, blue-collar football coach who (in addition to enjoying the odd beer) does his best for the family he loves even if he makes mistakes.

The two versions of George Cooper Sr. don't always line up, but neither one is strictly bad. In fact, actor Lance Barber makes the most out of playing George on "Young Sheldon." However, George Cooper is far from Barber's only role. Throughout his career, he has played a number of other characters that may make George Cooper Sr. from "Young Sheldon" look familiar.

Lance Barber is a career character actor, and he's okay with that

One thing Lance Barber has no delusions about is his level of fame. Barber has been a career actor for over 20 years but has rarely held the spotlight. Instead, like many actors in Hollywood, Barber made his living playing a series of smaller roles. The first of these was in "ER," which was followed by "What I Like About You," "Yes, Dear," and "Come to Papa."

"I was a character guy, I was heavy, I was likable, I guess," Barber told the Battle Creek Enquirer in 2014. "So I had the opportunity to play best friend guy to the lead guy." He also said that, despite his lack of mainstream notoriety, he still loves being an actor: "I feel very lucky. As an actor we all want more work, and more quality work. But I have zero complaints."

That being said, being Sheldon's dad isn't Barber's only recognizable performance. Years before "The Big Bang Theory" even debuted, Barber landed a recurring spot as the antagonist in one of HBO's most underrated series.

He played Hollywood's biggest jerk in The Comeback

In 2005, HBO came out with its own mockumentary-style sitcom, called "The Comeback," about an aging sitcom actress named Valerie Cherish (Lisa Kudrow) who allows a film crew to document her return to show business. Like "The Office" and "Arrested Development," "The Comeback" reveled in creating awkward moments between its characters.

On the show, Lance Barber played the role of Paulie G., the showrunner of Valerie's latest sitcom gig, "Room and Bored." The two maintain an ongoing feud throughout "The Comeback" and remain in animosity even after the fictional sitcom was canceled.

Unfortunately, unlike "The Office," it never reached a high degree of mainstream popularity, resulting in its cancellation after just one season. That is, until "The Comeback" made a comeback. Over the years, the series had garnered a cult following on the Internet, and in 2014, the show was revived for a second season, where we are reintroduced to the main characters nine years later. In an interview with Bustle, Barber called the show's return "a dream come true."

After nine years, Barber once again stepped into his most iconic role. But this time, Paulie G. is different. When we meet him in 2014, he's gotten clean following his addiction to heroin during the events of Season 1 and seems much more willing to work with Valerie instead of against her — though it isn't long before new tensions arise in their relationship.

Barber played an even bigger jerk in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Aside from "The Comeback," the latter half of the 2000s saw primarily bit roles for Lance Barber. He had one-episode arcs in "Joey," "Thick and Thin," "The Middleman," "The Mentalist," "Monk," and "CSI: Miami" and in the 2010s showed up in series like "Grey's Anatomy," "Key and Peele," "How I Met Your Mother," "Bob's Burgers," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and "Black-ish." Between 2014 and 2016, he even had a recurring role as Lucas on the show "Faking It." His most recognizable role during this time, however, was as Bill Ponderosa in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

Like most characters on the series, Bill Ponderosa is a certifiable scumbag. Although Dee (Kaitlin Olson) once had a crush on him in high school, he is a hedonistic narcissist in the present day. He cheats on his wife, abuses his kids, and is addicted to practically everything under the Philly sun. He also briefly becomes Dennis' brother-in-law after Dennis marries — and then divorces — his sister, Maureen. Bill was last seen in Season 13, where he is invited by Frank (Danny DeVito) to attend the Super Bowl.

Before he was George Cooper, he played another Big Bang Theory character

Long before "Young Sheldon" was announced, Lance Barber actually made another appearance on "The Big Bang Theory." Like most of his roles over the years, however, it only lasted a single episode. That being said, it's interesting to note that whenever you see George Cooper Sr. being a well-meaning dad on "Young Sheldon," you're also looking at Leonard's (Johnny Galecki) high school bully, Jimmy Speckerman.

Speckerman shows up in 2011's "The Speckerman Occurrence," which focuses on Speckerman's failed attempts to make amends with Leonard. However, Speckerman himself isn't actually that well-meaning, only apologizing to Leonard while drunk and then denying his actions the next day. Sheldon, who would never have missed an opportunity to share such a fun fact, doesn't point out that Speckerman looks exactly like his dead dad. However, he does help Leonard eventually stand up to the aged bully.