Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady took sitcoms on a wild ride in 2007 with the successful release of hit-series, The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Raj (Kunal Nayyar), Howard (Simon Helberg), and later Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) brought humor and heartfelt moments across an impressive twelve seasons, with the series transitioning from a comedy about nerds to a coming-of-age series for the characters.
In 2017, The Big Bang Theory fans were delighted to learn that a prequel spin-off, Young Sheldon, had been green-lit, providing the backstory of the eccentric Sheldon Cooper and the origin stories of his peculiar ways. Iain Armitage stars as the younger version of Sheldon, who lives in Texas with parents George (Lance Barber) and Mary (Zoe Perry), older brother Georgie (Montana Jordan), and fraternal twin sister Missy (Reagan Revord). Young Sheldon fills in the gaps in Sheldon’s life across six seasons, with one more set for release sometime in 2023. From the first time “Soft Kitty” was sung to a voiceover that revealed what happened in Sheldon and Amy’s future, these are the 10 most memorable connections between The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon.
Young Sheldon immediately explores Sheldon’s germaphobic nature, and in “A Sneeze, Detention, and Sissy Spacek,” he goes to extreme measures to avoid the flu as it passes through Medford. But, when he inevitably catches the flu, The Big Bang Theory fans enter the first moment that “Soft Kitty” is sung.
While Penny sings it first, the prequel shares the tender moment when Mary sings “Soft Kitty” to Sheldon to make him feel better. From that moment, “Soft Kitty” became a form of comfort when Sheldon was sick.
The Relationship Contract
The Big Bang Theory viewers are well-aware of Sheldon’s well-thought-out, detailed agreements — from the roommate agreement with Leonard to his relationship agreement with Amy. Becoming a somewhat running gag within the series, Sheldon’s extensive rules are put into place for his comfort and guidelines while attempting to understand the framework clearly.
In the Young Sheldon episode “Vanilla Ice Cream, Gentleman Callers, and a Dinette Set,” Sheldon becomes invested in the relationship between Connie and Dr. Sturgis (Wallace Shawn), where he creates his first relationship agreement for them.
A link between the younger Sheldon and his adult self is his unrequited love for Professor Proton (Bob Newhart), explored in The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon. Professor Proton was first introduced in The Big Bang Theory, as Leonard and Sheldon frequently mention the childhood television show that made them want to pursue the science field.
In Season 6, the friends learn that the retired entertainer is available for rent for parties and are shocked to discover that he isn’t as well-versed in science as they are. He then appears in other episodes within the series. Young Sheldon showcases Sheldon’s love for the show, with many arguments with his family over his educational show over mindless entertainment, as well as a signed poster in his bedroom.
When fans think of The Big Bang Theory, the most notable character has to be Sheldon Cooper, who is intellectual but socially inept. His most distinguishing phrase, “Bazinga,” has become a catchphrase for the fanbase.
In Young Sheldon, “Bazinga” is finally given an origin story in Season 2, episode “A Stunted Childhood and a Can of Fancy Mixed Nuts.” After relentless teasing by Missy and Paige (Mckenna Grace), Sheldon sets out to prove he has a childish side, where he buys joke pranks from a brand called “Bazinga” — utilizing the brand name as his catchphrase.
The Nobel Prize
The biggest crossover between The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon occurred as two episodes aired back-to-back: the last episode of TBBT and the Season 2 finale to Young Sheldon, “A Swedish Science Thing and the Equation of Toast.” In The Big Bang Theory finale, fans are delighted to see Sheldon and Amy be awarded for their contributions to science with a Nobel Prize, where Sheldon recognizes his friends, family, and Amy for their love and support.
In the following Young Sheldon episode, Sheldon invites the entire school to a listening party to hear the announcement of the latest winners of the Nobel Prize, but his happiness diminishes when no one shows up — not even his mentor Dr. Sturgis. In a voiceover, Sheldon admits that he had never felt so alone but reflects on the fact that he would one day be surrounded by friends. During this ending, a montage of younger versions of The Big Bang Theory cast is shown.
In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard attend CalTech — a private research university in Pasadena, California. Many episodes are filmed in that location, showing the research each character is working towards and their fights — particularly in the cafeteria.
In Season 3, Episode 16 of Young Sheldon, Sheldon and George head to Pasadena to attend a lecture by Stephen Hawking. Sheldon reflects on the university and, in the final scene, is shown looking into the cafeteria, where he will sit with his friends in the future.
The Bathroom Schedule
One of the more obscene aspects of Sheldon Cooper’s personality is his regimented bathroom schedule. Outlining specific timeframes that the bathroom will be occupied by him every day of the week, the bathroom schedule caused tension between himself and Amy when they finally move in together in The Big Bang Theory and endlessly irritated Leonard.
In “Cape Canaveral, Schrödinger’s Cat, and Cyndi Lauper’s Hair” (of Young Sheldon), Sheldon’s bathroom schedule becomes a bonding moment between Sheldon and George. Taking his sons on a trip to see a spaceship launch, George is grilled by Mary about his supposed inability to take care of Sheldon properly. And, when he can recite Sheldon’s bathroom schedule, fans realize that George pays a little more attention than originally thought.
A Hot Beverage of Comfort
One of the softer sides to Sheldon is his attempts to comfort people he cares about. While he may not always have the right words, he learned to offer people a hot beverage of comfort from a young age. In The Big Bang Theory, the first person Sheldon offered a hot beverage to as comfort was Leonard in Season 1, “The Middle-Earth Paradigm,” makes him tea after Leonard was embarrassed at a party in front of Penny.
Young Sheldon explored the origin of his method in “Body Glitter and a Mall Safety Kit,” he realizes Paige isn’t dealing well with her parents’ divorce and offers her a cup of tea when she cries. George walks in on his son making the tea and tells him he is proud of him.
Sheldon’s relationship with his father was never particularly close, especially compared to his and Mary’s relationship. George didn’t often take the time to understand or connect with Sheldon as he tried with Georgie, but the moments they shared were special to Sheldon.
Fans of The Big Bang Theory will know that Sheldon’s dad passed away when he was fourteen from heart complications, with Georgie feeling like he had to take care of the family as the next man of the house. Although the current seasons of Young Sheldon still show George alive, fans interpret that the upcoming season, indicative of Sheldon’s age, will kill the character off.
Sheldon & Amy’s Future
In The Big Bang Theory, fans were delighted when Sheldon and Amy were wed in the final season. Watching the growth of Sheldon falling in love, being intimate, and learning to compromise was the highlight of the series.
After The Big Bang Theory, fans were left in the dark about the success of “Shamy,” but Young Sheldon luckily shed light on their current situation. During “Graduation,” adult Sheldon reflects that his high school graduation party was the best one he had ever attended, asides from his son’s. Sheldon then reveals that their son is named Leonard, after his best friend and Leonard Nimoy. He teases that his son’s name should’ve been Leonard Nimoy Cooper, and Amy quips back that he is lucky that the name Leonard got chosen.