Another season has just finished of one of the few good shows left on television. Young Sheldon is not only a full seasons (22 episodes) but it was renewed a few years ago for 3-4 episodes in advance. Despite this great billing, there are some issues with this season as well as with the show overall. But, it’s still the best show on tv anymore. Especially given the new nature of putting out only half seasons and spreading those out with several years between each installment.
So, let’s jump into all things young about Sheldon Cooper and find out what it’s all about….
Great Tv Show Based on Another Great Tv Show
I was really excited when I first discovered there was going to be a spin-off of the wildly popular Big Bang Theory. I honestly can’t remember the first time I watched BBT. I don’t think I started watching when it first came out. I do remember watching the first pilot that was never aired. It had a different Penny and Sheldon and Leonard were actually very different personalities. To be honest, it was not as good as the BBT that we actually got.
But then to find out they were doing a spin-off of the show with Sheldon being a kid, it was perfect.
The series started off quite well I think. With Leonard’s high school rival playing Sheldon’s dad was a perfect fit, though there are some inconsistencies between how George is portrayed on the BBT and how he appears on Young Sheldon.
The mother also was a great choice I think. The actress is actually the daughter of the actress that did the role of Sheldon’s mother on the BBT. She does a great job of capturing that Southern Baptist caricature. Though it is pretty clear, if you know anything about biblical Christianity, she is far from a biblical woman or biblical wife. She is a cause of a great deal of her problems in her marriage. Not only that, but the George character actually gets a sympathy vote from me, given that he married a worldly woman. They were sleeping together before they were married. They were drinking. They got knocked up and that was the reason they got hitched in the first place. It wasn’t until she had the twins and Missy got sick that Mary vowed to become a Christian (if God would help her kid). This is actually a terrible reason to become a Christian, and typically leads one to outward mimicry with no internal transformation of the soul or the indwelling of the Spirit of God. This is pretty apparent in Mary later in this seasons as we see her “committing sins” that aren’t even sins, we see her being just as guilty as George when it comes to infidelity (though they sanitized both individuals’ dalliance for the PG nature of the show).
By the time we get through the fifth season, Georgie (their eldest son) has gotten his girlfriend pregnant. I found it quite interesting that the church they attended so quickly turned on their family, even though it is clear George is not a believer, Sheldon is not a believer, and neither is George JR. Missy is moving that way, too, and has little interest in the artificial culture of the church, with its prohibitions against dancing and dating boys and the limited ways they are allowed to dress.
But, I think it’s important to remember, this show is a portrayal of a Christian family by the worst kind of people – Hollywood. So, the view of Sheldon and especially the religious side of his experience will be rather biased.
I have to admit, the show has been limping along for a few seasons now. The fact that he’s now in college, that he’s got an on and off girlfriend (its subtextual) in Paige (I think Sheldon should have ended up marrying Paige instead of Amy), all were attempts to distract us from the fact that the show is now on a clock that is running out. We have until the end of Season 7, at which time I think George will finally die of a heart attack and Sheldon goes off to college (either in Germany or in California). Not sure how their going to put Sheldon and Tam back together again so they can keep parity with BBT, but they might just ignore it entirely.
One thing I truly, truly dislike about the this season was the incessant attempts to spread the show out over several months, skipping weeks or even a full month until new episodes came out. It was ridiculous. Just drop the entire season already. I have to say, for an industry whose main objective is to passify the masses into simply staying in front of their devices and tv screens indefinitely, they are doing a terrible job at it. Not only is the scheduling off, but the overall quality of the stories is way down, too. Again, I’m not faced with two weeks or more of absolutely nothing new being released that’s worth watching. Many of the shows I’ve started in the past have petered out. I can’t watch Blindspot or Fear the Walking Dead, or the Walking Dead, or Ozark, or even past series like the Flash, Supergirl, the Originals, or Van Helsing. The quality is just too poor and the writing too boring.
How Could This Possibly End?
So, how do I think Young Sheldon will end? Well, I think Georgie is going to convince his girlfriend to marry him (but they’re not going to get into his later divorce). I think we’re going to see a much different Melissa than the one portrayed on the BBT. That one was a little upscale but then turned out to be a little trailer-trashy as the seasons went on. I think on Young Sheldon, she’s going to separate herself completely from the Church (probably having a lot to do with how the church treated her family and her mother over Georgie’s behavior).
George has to have an affair. At this point, he’s not actually jobless but he might as well be. He is really feeling a lot of regret about how his life has turned out. He made the comment that he has more in common with his mother-in-law than he does with his own wife.
Believe me. It takes a toll.
Marriage is difficult enough when the two people are equally yoked (either as believers or as non-believers). But with Mary becoming a devout Christian after they had been married for several years, and then she expects her family to follow her into that religion, it illustrates a lot of pride and stubbornness in her. Not to mention the fact that she is in rebellion – wanting to have a job, smoking and flirting with the Youth Pastor. It’s pretty clear Mary has taken up with the cult of American Evangelicalism rather than with a biblical faith. Time and again she finds herself arguing with George, ascribing to him a need to follow “christian” virtues and behaviors, despite the fact that George is not a Christian. She does this also with her children and with her mother.
By the end of the fifth season, Mary is practically kicked out of the church she has been involved with for many years. Oddly, this is because of the actions of her 17, near 18, year old son who’s only profession to faith he’s made in his life was several years before and that was to get baptized in front of the church so he could kiss Veronica.
I can testify. Parents have very little control over the behavior of their children. I’ve learned this by being a 17 year old young man. I’ve learned this by raising pre-teens as well. It is a brutal experience that has very little in the way of appreciation (from the children or anyone else) and yet you are responsible for everything that goes wrong.
I might feel differently if I ever have children of my own some day. But, for that to happen, God has got a modern day miracle on his hands that he will need to perform. He has already returned my desire to share my life with a biblical wife. He has even taken away all my excuses and prohibitions against having children. But, he now has what will certainly be the arduous and humanly impossible task of convicting a young woman first to be a biblical woman (a rare unicorn in this day and age of feminine rebellion), and then to convince her to willingly take me on with all my faults and all my medical issues and my myriad of psychological traumas from my first marriage. As I remarked to one co-worker who asked me one day if I wanted her to fix me up with someone, I said, “You know, I would actually feel kind of bad for anyone who was willing to go out with me.”
That was several years ago, and though I’m in a different place today than I was back then, I still feel the same way. God might have told me recently to prepare myself for a future wife, but so far my preparation has been a disaster.
If he actually goes through with this it will truly be a modern miracle.
Problems with Consistency
So, as I mentioned, there are some consistency issues that have to be dealt with or just ignored. One of them is the presentation of Meemaw in BBT compared to the Meemaw in Young Sheldon. I can’t imagine the woman we saw jumping in the middle of Amy on that episode where Meemaw comes to visit is the same lady that we see on Young Sheldon. They are really two very different characters.
The other depiction that seems to disagree is the description of Sheldon’s dad (by Sheldon in the BBT) and his portrayal on Young Sheldon. On the latter, he seems a little more even, steadier. He certainly has reasons for looking around (not that there is any justification to cheat on your wife), and he’s not the womanizing drunk that Sheldon on the BBT made him out to be. There have been attempts that I’ve read stating that Sheldon had exaggerated his descriptions of his father. But there is no way to exaggerate coming home at 15 and finding your dad having sex with a blonde lady in the bedroom.
My marriage was similar, though opposite. My wife claimed to be a believer when I married her, but as time wore on it became clear that she had just said that so I would marry her. It’s different than George’s situation, as he and Mary were both non-believers when they married, and it was several years after that she converted. She wanted to bring her husband and children to the Lord along with her, but she appears to attempt so through fear, intimidation, and guilt rather than as the Bible states, through prayer, fasting, and chaste conduct.
George is seen in Young Sheldon as someone struggling, not with temptation of the flesh as much as with abandonment by his Christian spouse. As Meemaw stated in response to Mary’s protest that she had the right to grow as a Christian, “Grow together or grow apart?” She did not marry George under the confines of the Christian faith. That’s obvious. But, upon her confession, she willingly put herself under the yoke of Christ, and that brings the obligations of submitting to her husband, even if her husband is not a Christian.
But, overall, they seem to be doing a pretty good job of tying together loose or disparate ends. It’s the best I guess Hollywood can do, given their agenda.
Sadly, I’ve read that the producers of the two shows have little to no interest in making any more spinoffs of the original Big Bang Theory. I could see an easy one of Sheldon as a teenager as he goes off to grad school. I’m sure his younger life afterward would not be television worthy and quite boring (before he met Leonard). I could also see a spinoff about Georgie and his many wives and children as he makes his way through young adult life and how he became the Tire Doctor of East Texas.
Unfortunately, those who are in the know have no plans for such shows.
In the end, this is one of the best shows on television. I have the entire series on my external drive (along with the BBT) and watch them every year, sometimes multiple times a year. BBT has 12 seasons worth of watching. Young Sheldon only has 5 so far and, as I predict, it will end after season 7 with the death of George and Sheldon going off to college. I guess the rest of Sheldon’s life will require an exercise in our imaginations because I think what we have currently is just about all we’re going to get.
Until my next review….
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Excerpt from Ashen Monk Mountain:
There was an old elm tree near the end of the lawn, with a circular picnic table and several short benches.
“This looks like a lovely spot,” Mr. Eckey said, taking a seat.
He set his briefcase on the picnic table and flipped the latches, opening the lid.
Christopher took a seat opposite him and removed his hood, folding his arms in front of him.
“I have a tablet and a pen here somewhere,” Mr. Eckey said. “I had it when I left, that is. Not sure if I can find it in this disorganized briefcase of mine…”
He chuckled at himself.
“So – ”
Christopher ran a hand over his short cropped scalp.
“I’m confused about all this. I’m not sure I understand why exactly you wanted to meet with me.”
Mr. Eckey nodded.
“How long have you been a novitiate here?”
“Going on seven months now.”
He glanced up at Christopher as he fetched his notebook and ink pen.
“How are you liking it at Saint Joseph’s?”
“It has been – ”
Christopher thought about the question for a moment.
“ – wonderful.”
“I would assume it much different than – ”
Mr. Eckey flipped the first page over, scanned handwritten notes he had on the second page.
“I received some background from the Precept’s office, as well as from Abbot Greenly. You grew up in – North Platte, Nebraska? Is that correct?”
“I’m native of the Boston area myself,” Mr. Eckey said. “Tell me a little about how you came to the decision.”
Mr. Eckey smiled.
“To become a monk. It must have been quite a journey from Nebraska.”
“Not really. I guess. I just – ”
Unwanted images flashed through his mind.
Mr. Eckey took a deep breath before speaking again.
“Mr. Ward, I don’t actually know a whole lot about this request, to be perfectly honest. As you know, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Apostolic Life – that’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it – we are entrusted with monitoring abnormal behavior among those called to the consecrated vocation.”
He tapped his pen on the tablet.
“Tell me, what do you like about Saint Joseph’s exactly?”
“It’s the – well – I feel at home here. Like I belong. I very much enjoy the silence.”
“Yes, I know the Trappists to be quite ardent in their devotion.”
Christopher nodded in agreement as Mr. Eckey took a few notes.
“I enjoy the early mornings, the worship, the offices. The undivided devotion.”
“To God?” Mr. Eckey asked.
“Yes,” Christopher said. “Exactly.”
The stranger focused on his notes for several seconds, silently mouthing the words he wrote.
“Tell me, how does your life now differ from your previous one?”
Mr. Eckey stopped writing.
“Your military career.”
“Oh,” Christopher said, looking down. “I guess – I – I don’t know. There are lots of differences. I’m not – sure I – what is this inquiry about exactly?”
Mr. Eckey put his pen down.
“Mr. Ward,” he said. “The Vatican apparently has interest in your particular gifts and abilities for a – call it – a special appointment. I guess that’s the best way to put it.”
He shifted his weight on the hard bench.
“Normally, the Congregation does not get involved in appointments or a particular monk’s vocational choices. But, sometimes, when the need arises, special arrangements can be made.”
“Are you talking about another monastery?”
“Actually – ”
Mr. Eckey picked his pen back up.
“It’s an entirely different Order.”
Christopher leaned forward as a gust of wind billowed the long sleeves of his tunic.
“I don’t really understand,” he said. “Are you saying the Vatican wants me to move to a different monastery – to a different Order? But…I…”
Mr. Eckey waited a moment.
“Tell me, Mr. Ward, about your military training.”
“What about it?”
“Your experiences. You were a special operator, is that correct?”
Christopher shot him a quizzical look.
“How do you know that?”
“You were part of the 7th SFG? Assigned to operations in Afghanistan for the majority of your enlistment, surrendering your commission as a Captain. Is that correct? What did you like or dislike about your military career? Why was it you left?”
Christopher looked out over the cornfields in the distance.
“Sir,” he said, wringing his hands together. “I don’t really understand why you’re asking these kinds of questions. To be honest, they’re making me a little uncomfortable. I think I – ”
“Please, Brother Christopher,” Mr. Eckey said, putting up a hand. “I don’t mean to pry. As I said, this is a peculiar and rather sensitive situation, not at all normal procedure. So, I do apologize for my rather tactless approach. Let me explain a little, if I can – ”
Christopher tried to relax.
He struggled to repress the memories rising in the back of his mind, the bloody and gruesome images of dead bodies, a horrible, yet all too familiar wave of fear and dread washing over him.
A wave of putrid death enveloped and permeated everything.
He took a deep breath, tried to ignore it.
Mr. Eckey put down his pen again.
“There is a remote monastery in British Colombia. It is of a separate Order, not Cistercian, but similar. It’s rather distinctive, as I am led to believe.”
“What is the Order?” Christopher asked.
Mr. Eckey shook his head.
“You would not be familiar with it,” he said. “There is actually only one monastery in the Order. But it has had a long, and quite fascinating history, to say the least. And, somewhat of a fantastic service.”
“So, why me, then?” Christopher asked. “I’m a novitiate. I don’t have much to offer. I’m not sure what you are asking of me.”
“The Vatican is asking a favor of you, Brother Ward. They are requesting that you take a leave of absence from Saint Joseph’s and visit this other monastery for a time.”
“I’m – I don’t – ”
“I’m honored that the Vatican has called on me,” he said. “I really do feel settled here, though. I would not wish to – ”
Mr. Eckey interrupted.
“Consider it simply a sabbatical of sorts. Without strings attached. We are interested solely in God’s working here in this matter.”
“Are you wanting me to relocate?” Christopher asked.
Mr. Eckey smiled.
“How about we say the Vatican is open and interested in the Father’s call on your life. We simply wish to – test the waters – see if this would or would not be a good fit.”
“So, if I go, and it is not a good fit?”
“Your place here at Saint Joseph’s would be available to you at any time you see fit. Like I said, no strings attached.”
“I would not feel comfortable going without Abbot Greenly’s blessing,” Christopher said.
“You have it,” Mr. Eckey said, his smile widening.
Christopher said nothing.
“Think of it as a vacation. Though, if I’m hearing you correctly, you really are in no need of one. But, then again…. ”
The man shrugged.
“May I – ”
Christopher pondered his words.
“Is it possible to consider this awhile before I decide?”
“Certainly,” Mr. Eckey said. “Because of the situation, though, we would need you to go sooner than later. Is there anything upcoming that you are thinking about in particular?”
Christopher shook his head.
“No,” he said. “I would just like to sit with this for a day or two. Pray about it. How long would the visit be?”
“As long as you need to decide,” Mr. Eckey said. “Preferably a month to start. Longer is encouraged. Like I said, it is a unique situation, so tradition does not really lend itself easily. But, I would ask – ”
He put his notepad and pen back in his briefcase and closed the lid.
“Because of the sensitive nature, the Vatican has requested that you do not discuss this with anyone except me. Not the other monks here, your family, not even Abbot Greenly.”
“But, how – ”
Mr. Eckey put up a hand.
“I’m heading back to discuss the situation with Abbot Greenly before I leave the grounds. He will certainly not have an objection. Not that I can imagine, anyway.”
He fished out a business card from the inside pocket of his blazer.
“Here is my contact information,” he said, handing him the card. “You can reach me on my cell phone any time. Whenever you decide, one way or the other. There is a great need, though, so I do hope you will consider at least visiting.”
Christopher took the card, looked at it, then looked up at Mr. Eckey.
“What kind of need, exactly?”
The man just smiled.
“All in due time,” he said. “Just let us know as soon as you are able.”
Christopher looked back at the card.
“Thank you, Brother Ward, for your time. I do think I can find my way back to the abbot’s office from here.”
He briefly looked around the grounds.
“I do envy you a little,” he said. “What a majestic space you monks have created here. It’s like a slice of Eden. Really.”
He got up, shook Christopher’s hand, then left him there alone, as the stranger retraced his steps to the abbot’s office.
Christopher took a deep breath, then sighed.
The wave of putrid death still lingered as another wind gust blew across the fields, dredging up memories he would have altogether wished could have remained buried, soaking him again in the blood of the past.
He stayed there for a long time, just watching as the endless sea of cornfields waved in the winds.
Buy my book Ashen Monk Mountain to find out what this cryptic and mysterious appointment is the Vatican is asking Christopher to take on. An unheard of monastery, hidden deep in the Canadian Rockies? A secret mission and call? What in the world could be going on?
Click here and grab your copy today! Whatever you do, don’t let this fantastically epic story get away!
But, trust me when I say, you’re not going to believe the truth even when you discover it for yourself. Find out what secrets lay hidden underfoot at Ashen Monk Mountain!