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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Young Sheldon revolves around a precocious 9-year-old boy who begins attending high school. On the good side, Sheldon's family, particularly his strong-willed mom, accepts him as he is and provides steadfast support. Sheldon is also confident and considers himself brilliant, cool, a "special boy." Parents may not appreciate, however, the general insulting, "punching down" edge to the humor, with jokes that target people for their accents, or intellect, as well as constant teasing and bickering between Sheldon and his siblings. Sheldon calls his brother a "monkey," and Sheldon's sister threatens to lick his toothbrush and kick him "in the balls." Cursing and language includes "hell," "ass," and "son of a bitch" (said by a 9-year-old at the dinner table). Sheldon is often threatened with violence, with his sister telling him he'll have his "ass handed to" him at school, and with bigger kids menacing him. Sheldon's dad drinks beer frequently; it's implied that's how he's coping with being depressed due to losing a job.
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What's the story?
Being 9 years old isn't easy, and YOUNG SHELDON Cooper (Iain Armitage) hasn't made it any easier by being 1) startlingly brilliant, 2) socially clueless, and 3) born to a humble sports-obsessed family in East Texas. In a town where Sunday church is mandatory and football is more mania than hobby, a kid who spends his mornings proving physics laws to himself with a Lionel train set is not destined to be voted Most Popular in the yearbook. But at least he has the staunch support of his mom, Mary (Zoe Perry), and the somewhat more grudging support of his football coach Dad (Lance Barber), his football-nut brother George, Jr. (Montana Jordan), and his acerbic twin sister, Missy (Raegan Revord). Sheldon will someday to grow up to be one of the heroes on The Big Bang Theory (which explains Jim Parsons showing up to do narration), but right now, he's just hoping to get through high school.
Is it any good?
If The Big Bang Theory is your family's sitcom of choice, you'll almost definitely want to at least peek at Young Sheldon, since this show shares a similar vibe and tone. It's a little more family-oriented -- 9-year-old Sheldon isn't likely to have sex and marriage plot complications -- and pitched to appeal to younger viewers, who may relate to plotlines about school bullies and fitting in. Or they may not, since the younger viewers who might appreciate such goings on are more likely to be watching YouTube play-throughs than tuning into CBS with Mom and Dad.
There are a lot of predictable jokes -- not all bad -- and predictable plot twists, but surprisingly secure and quirky Sheldon does have his charms, and the show does too. Chief amongst them is the sweet relationship between Sheldon and his mom. When Sheldon volunteers to go to church with his mother even though, as his sister says, he doesn't believe in God, he pipes up, "But I believe in Mom." And she believes in him. And that's a lot of fun to watch, even if Young Sheldon breaks no new ground.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why "fish out of water" plots are common in sitcoms like Young Sheldon. What's funny about putting someone in a place they don't fit in? What dramatic possibilities does it offer?
This comedy is produced by Chuck Lorre, a creator known for producing a particular style of comedy. Have you watched any of his other shows? Can you see similarities between this show and these other shows?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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