Martin Carr reviews the fifth episode of Young Sheldon…
With the added bonus of a welcome cameo this week Young Sheldon ticks all the boxes which have so far made it a stand out addition to Big Bang mythology. Spanning just twenty minutes this show does more with these nostalgic vignettes than most manage in twice the time. Such is the familiarity of those characters combined with numerous Sheldon specific hat tips, that this younger sibling represents a genuine extension, rather than insubstantial cash into the ratings beast.
There are of course people who think The Big Bang Theory is not the be all and end all of comedic entertainment, but they would appear to be sparse. Having clocked up an impressive eleven seasons without dropping the ball, this expansion of arguably its most popular character was inevitable. That nothing really happens each week is unsurprising, but audiences are not watching to be given anything new, but to spend time with those characters. A basic reason why continually evolving arcs coupled with minor conflict resolution scenarios, remain the foundation of any successful sitcom.
Week on week we are treated to little snippets of a pre-pubescent Sheldon at odds with his environment, trying to reason with teenagers from an adult perspective. Neither annoying, obnoxious, standoffish or played for laughs, what makes this character endearing remains the oblivious state of mind. Parsons developed this over eleven years and Armitage has managed to replicate that performance in pint-sized form. His self-awareness yet childlike frame softens the edges of anything inflammatory or contentious that might be said. A fundamental characteristic which both actors latched on to make Sheldon more relatable.
Zoe Perry and Lance Barber still give commendable support to Armitage while Annie Potts has hit the ground running as the eponymous Mee Maw. Feeling a little like Malcolm in the Middle, this family dramedy is bite sized enough to give you a taste without wearing out the welcome. Young Sheldon is concise, clever, extremely watchable yet demographically specific. All the time that The Big Bang continues dominating ratings this series has an audience. Should popularity diminish at any point then the shelf life of Young Sheldon may prove short-lived. Until that time comes however turn on, tune in and enjoy something guaranteed to make you smile.