Martin Carr reviews the twelfth episode of Young Sheldon…
Marital unrest, late Eighties technology and vast amounts of alcohol form the backbone of this week’s dip into Young Sheldon. With word that The Big Bang Theory might only be airing for another year due to financial wrangling, this seems a perfect opportunity for this miniseries to cement its position. Balanced perfectly between situational dramatics, nostalgic teenage preoccupation and pint sized moments of genius, what continues to do is give us something concisely entertaining.
Similar to Australian soap operas so popular in the Eighties, Young Sheldon is carefully contained, completely self-sufficient and therefore ideal television content. That lack of reliance on continuity, background knowledge or tonal importance makes this all about character. Moments are built up, crafted, finely tuned and resolved within twenty minutes with minimal plot progression. This specific skill has a lot to do with the fact that these minor life events are told in perpetual flashback. What Lorre and Molaro have done through the inclusion of that voice over from Jim Parsons is given everything a rose tinted hue.
These versions of Sheldon’s mother, father, grandmother and siblings are idealised. He may be able to remember everything but there still has to exist a certain about of subjectivity. That being the case Barber, Perry and Potts then become exaggerated home loving versions with only small imperfections in evidence. Which means the times Sheldon is not in the room is a purely hypothetical version of events drawn purely from imagination. For a series which is based solely on the recollections of that adult version there has to be a level of inconsistency. Which is why the dramatic content of this show remains low key as it would tarnish the memory were things any more volatile.
Whether this is subjective or otherwise the fact remains that Young Sheldon is charming, clever, audience friendly and whips by at pace. There is never a wasted minute of screen time as one situation either perpetuates another or ties things off before moving on. After years of Big Bang creation there are hundreds of memories to be mined and many seasons for this idea to run. Plus as Armitage grows up the series will grow with him, similar to Tom Holland with his Spider-Man incarnation which could build as he comes of age. For these showrunners there seems to be no limit in terms of longevity and opportunity which is no bad thing.