Although “Young Sheldon” is often much more dramatic and sometimes darker than its predecessor, “The Big Bang Theory,” there is a secret reason for this approach. Ever since “Young Sheldon” debuted in 2018, the show has been trying hard not to be an exact copy of “The Big Bang Theory.” Despite sharing the main character with an earlier hit, the Young Sheldon made great strides in this endeavor, abandoning the multi-camera setup of the “Big Bang Theory” in favor of a single-camera style.
The young Sheldon also gave up laughing from the “Big Bang Theory” and turned from a party show into a family sitcom, which further distinguishes it from an earlier hit. However, now that the teaser of the 6th season of Church’s “Young Sheldon” suggests that the series will only become more dramatic as the series continues, it’s worth wondering why there are so many more emotionally charged storylines in the spin-off of “The Big Bang Theory” than in its predecessor. One of the reasons may be that Young Sheldon wants to avoid comparisons with another similar series.
Related: Season 6 of “Young Sheldon” May Lead to a Character Flaw in “The Big Bang Theory”
“Young Sheldon” is a nostalgic family sitcom about coming of age, which takes place in the 80s and tells about the struggle of a boring outcast with his domineering mother and dysfunctional family. In the spin-off “The Big Bang Theory” there is an older brother character, a dumb but good-natured, and hot-tempered father who loves his smart son, but, despite this, can never find a common language with him. Thus, the sadder and more dramatic storylines of young Sheldon are used to hide the fact that without this additional drama, the series could easily have become a clone of the “Goldbergs”.
Young Sheldon’s Drama Disapproves of Comparisons to Goldberg
“The Goldbergs” is a warmer and sillier show than “Young Sheldon,” which leans toward drama more often and as a result looks less like a fake of an earlier sitcom. The Goldbergs rely more on a comedy with broad characters than on a Young Sheldon, in which plots about infidelity, money problems and teenage pregnancy are interspersed with the standard teenage hardships of the protagonist. As a result, “Young Sheldon” managed to effectively distinguish itself from “The Goldbergs”, despite the fact that these two shows have a lot of creative DNA in common, primarily because the tone of the two sitcoms seems different. Some of the best episodes of “Young Sheldon” detail lighthearted, low-stakes misadventures, such as Sheldon heading to a comic book convention without permission, but the “Big Bang Theory” spin-off had to supplement these plots with more dramatic content to be different from the “Goldbergs.”
Of course, like any long-running sitcom, the Goldbergs are known to sometimes tell sadder stories. The upcoming 10th season is likely to be tougher than ever before as the show finally comes to grips with the absence of former star Jeff Garlin, who played the patriarch of the family in seasons 1-8 before he was fired from the series. Currently, the show is (somewhat awkwardly) coping with this by editing Garlin in episodes of The Goldbergs, although it is likely that in season 10, the Goldbergs will abandon this approach and simply kill the character. Whether this means that The Goldbergs will become as dramatic as the Big Bang Theory spin-off Young Sheldon remains to be seen, but it’s clear that the two shows are now sufficiently established that viewers no longer need a tonal mismatch to distinguish them.