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Young Sheldon’s Mary Cooper Casting Kept A Weird Sitcom Tradition Alive
2023/09/11

Summary

successfully recast iconic characters from , giving them more depth and screen time to shine.Zoe Perry, who plays Mary Cooper, previously portrayed a younger version of her real-life mother's character in , making her a perfect fit for the role.Perry's resemblance to her mother allows to portray Mary Cooper with a different personality, making her a more innocent and sympathetic character compared to her portrayal in The Big Bang Theory.

When cast Zoe Perry as Sheldon’s mother Mary, spinoff continued an interesting sitcom tradition that predated both shows. It is not always easy for sitcom spinoffs to recast iconic characters.

Whenwas green-lit, it was obvious that Jim Parsons couldn’t reprise his role as ’s persnickety antihero. ’s entire appeal came from the show’s promise to explore the early life of its eponymous lead character, meaning Sheldon and his family needed to be recast with younger actors. Finding a new face for Sheldon was tough, but replacing his family was arguably even harder.

While repeatedly in its first few seasons, the show still took an admirable stab at recasting the earlier hit’s heroes. fleshed out characters like Sheldon’s mother Mary and his sister Missy, both of whom were more one-dimensional in

. Since they played larger roles in , these characters got more focus and more screen time, allowing them to shine. However, this inevitably put more pressure on their actors. ’s versions of the Cooper family left the stars with big shoes to fill. Fortunately, Mary’s replacement had an advantage.

Young Sheldon’s Mary Is Zoe Perry’s Second Time Playing A Laurie Metcalf Role

casting Perry as Mary Cooper marked the second time that Perry signed on to play a younger version of a character originally portrayed by her real-life mother, Laurie Metcalf. While reused

actors on occasion, the show’s creators took a subtler approach when hiring Perry. Perry had previously played a young version of Jackie Harris in her screen debut, season 7, episode 19, "All About Rosey.” As Metcalf’s real-life daughter, Perry was both a dead ringer for her mother and great at recreating her mannerisms.

Perry isn't the first , either. This has become something of a casting tradition. For example, Tina Fey's daughter, Alice Richmond, brought to life a child version of her character. Meanwhile, Glenn Close's daughter, Annie Starke, portrayed a younger iteration of her character in

This type of casting situation is surprisingly common, perhaps because it's the easiest way to capture what a star would look like at a younger age.

Why Zoe Perry Is Perfect As Young Sheldon’s Mary Cooper

While Perry’s resemblance to her real-life mother made her perfectly suited to playing Mary’s younger self, this doesn’t mean that ’s Mary Cooper was a carbon copy of ’s iteration of the character. Paradoxically, Perry’s resemblance to Metcalf allowed the actor to play a very different Mary while still maintaining an obvious link to

's take on Sheldon’s mother. Since the two characters look so alike, it is not as jarring when ’s younger Mary acts differently. made Mary Cooper’s younger set more naive and less bitter than her earlier incarnation.

Perry and Metcalf’s similarities mean that and ’s versions of Mary both feel like the same character despite having vastly different personalities. This allows to take bigger risks with Mary, making the sardonic, spiteful character from into a more innocent, optimistic figure in the spinoff. If's Mary was as mean to everyone around her, as she was in , this would feel off-putting. However, since Mary is surprisingly sweet in , ’s spinoff can show viewers what she was like before and elicit sympathy for the character.

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