Young Sheldon Season 6 Proves The Show Doesn’t Need Jim Parsons’ Narration
Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Young Sheldon season 6.
While Young Sheldon needed Jim Parsons to narrate the spinoff at first, the presence of The Big Bang Theory’s star is no longer necessary, and may even be hurting the prequel. Young Sheldon might be a spinoff of The Big Bang Theory, but the two shows have very different tones. The Big Bang Theory is a silly, over-the-top hangout sitcom with a traditional multi-camera setup and a laugh track. The Big Bang Theory’s characters are broadly drawn archetypes who often live through outlandish plots and only seldom face grounded, emotional storylines.
In contrast, Young Sheldon is a nostalgic, coming-of-age single-camera family sitcom. With no laugh track, Young Sheldon’s stories have more emotional stakes and less absurd, larger-than-life comedy. There is still a lot of silliness in Young Sheldon, but the spinoff has a hard-hitting emotional subplot in most episodes, whereas The Big Bang Theory’s sad stories, like Georgie fighting with Sheldon, only came around once or twice per season. This tonal contrast between the two shows has deepened over time, as Young Sheldon gained an increasingly unique tone, and The Big Bang Theory spinoff’s season 6 is its heaviest yet.
Young Sheldon Season 6’s Tone Means It Shouldn’t Copy TBBT
Whether it be Mary’s excommunication from the church, Mandy’s pregnancy, George Sr.’s affair and impending death, or Sheldon being betrayed by his colleague, Young Sheldon season 6 is full of dramatic stories. The Big Bang Theory spinoff’s plots have become dark in comparison to its earlier, sillier seasons and, as a result, the lighthearted narration by Sheldon’s adult self feels more out of place than before. The spinoff’s version of Sheldon has his own personality thanks to Ian Armitage, and stories like Dr. Linkletter double-crossing Sheldon after dating Meemaw justify the Big Bang Theory character’s foibles better than his own narration can.
Young Sheldon’s status as a more dramatic, less over-the-top series means the spinoff does not share the tone of The Big Bang Theory. Jim Parsons’ narration comes from the point of view of Sheldon’s adult self – a sillier, more exaggerated character whose detached observations feel strange in a show filled with teen pregnancy, infidelity, unemployment, backstabbing, and even death. While Young Sheldon season 6’s stories can justify a lot of Sheldon’s strange character quirks, his adult self narrating the spinoff does little to facilitate this. Instead, plots like Meemaw’s relationship with Linkletter organically show how The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon struggled to trust Amy.
Why Young Sheldon Originally Needed TBBT’s Jim Parsons
Jim Parsons’ involvement gave Young Sheldon some much-needed legitimacy as a spinoff of The Big Bang Theory and, in early episodes, his presence established a connection between both versions of the title character. The Big Bang Theory star’s involvement was vital in the early years of Young Sheldon, which explains why the show utilized his narration even in plots that did not necessarily need additional explanation. However, as Young Sheldon’s tone grows more dramatic, the need for a grown-up Sheldon to narrate The Big Bang Theory’s spinoff becomes less pivotal and more of a distraction.
Young Sheldon season 6 showed clearly that Missy foreshadowed her Big Bang Theory story when she revealed she knew of her mother’s relationship with Pastor Rob, as this could have contributed to Mary’s future dislike of her daughter. There was no need for Sheldon to explain this connection via voiceover. Since the adult character’s Young Sheldon narration rarely offers useful tidbits that add to the main narrative, its presence is increasingly irrelevant in season 6.
Why Young Sheldon Season 6 Hasn’t Dropped Sheldon’s Narration
Young Sheldon season 6, episode 12, “A Baby Shower and a Testosterone-Rich Banter,” opened with Sheldon explaining his preferred sort of celebrations, only to cut to a tense argument over who would be present at Mandy’s baby shower. If Young Sheldon embraced the sitcom nostalgia that many similar shows are now engaging with, the spinoff could utilize Parsons’ narration the way The Goldbergs uses its older hero to set up each episode’s story. Here, however, Sheldon’s lighthearted commentary felt tonally discordant when the next scene focused on Mandy admitting her estranged parents likely wouldn’t attend her baby shower even if invited.
That said, there is no reason to think that this tonal problem will lead to Young Sheldon season 6 dropping Parsons’ narration from the spinoff any time soon. Ultimately, Jim Parsons’ performance as Sheldon is deservedly seen as sitcom royalty, so Young Sheldon is unlikely to end his involvement any time soon – no matter how tonally jarring it might be at times. Even though Young Sheldon season 6 seldom uses the device to comment on serious storylines like Georgie eventually resenting Sheldon, this does not mean the spinoff will drop The Big Bang Theory star’s narration from Young Sheldon’s formula.