By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Insults, language, sweet family support in so-so sitcom.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Sheldon's family mostly accepts him as he is and fights for his happiness and success, which sends a strong positive message to young viewers who are quirky and don't fit in. On the other hand, most characters relate to each other in a teasing way, calling each other names and poking fun at foibles. Jokes "punch down" -- at Southerners, "hobos," other disadvantaged groups.
Positive Role Models
Parents are present and caring: Sheldon's family understands how unusual their son is, and supports him. However, parents may not appreciate all the bickering they do. Family members tell each other to shut up, call each other "monkey," throw food at the dinner table. In one scene a sister threatens to lick her brother's toothbrush. Sheldon is arrogant and insults others for their lack of intelligence.
Violence & Scariness
Bullying is a big plot point in this show, with lots of references to violence. A sister says her brother will get his "ass handed to him" at a new school and threatens to kick him "in the balls"; siblings have a food fight at the dinner table; a mother says she'll "knock out" the "lights" of a lady who says something rude about Sheldon at church. A bigger kid threatens Sheldon with a scary chicken.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Rude jokes about body parts: "When we get home, I'm going to kick you in the balls." "You can't, they haven't descended yet."
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Cursing and language includes "hell," "ass," "son of a bitch" (uttered by a 9-year-old at the dinner table), "balls." Characters tell each other to "shut up" and call each other names like "doofus."
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Products & Purchases
Prominent mention of brands like Radio Shack and Eggos is integrated into plotlines.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Sheldon's dad is frequently shown with a beer in his hand; a child jokes about him drinking too much because he's depressed over his career.
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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?
How does Sheldon show courage by attending school with much older kids? Why is this an important character strength?
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?
- Premiere date: September 25, 2017
- Cast: Iain Armitage, Annie Potts, Jim Parsons
- Network: CBS
- Genre: Comedy
- Character Strengths: Courage
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: May 19, 2023
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