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Young Sheldon Shows The True Tragedy Of Penny & Leonard's Big Bang Theory Story
2023/07/23

Summary

Young Sheldon finally gives Missy her own narrative, highlighting the disappointment in Leonard and Penny's parenting in The Big Bang Theory. The Big Bang Theory failed Penny and Leonard after they got married, stagnating their story and making them side characters. Young Sheldon has the opportunity to fix the failure of Penny and Leonard's storyline by offering updates on their lives through Sheldon's narration.

Missy's story in Young Sheldon season 6 somehow reveals the true tragedy of Penny and Leonard's romance in The Big Bang Theory. Four years after TBBT ended, its universe continues via its only spin-off.

Young Sheldon serves as an origins story for Jim Parsons' Sheldon Cooper, with the prequel tackling his time living in Texas with his family. While connected to The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon's ties to its parent series are mostly centered on its titular character. In recent years, however, CBS shifted its approach to the show, opting to focus more on Sheldon and the rest of the Coopers, instead of consistently referencing the original show.

Despite its diversified storytelling, Young Sheldon used to sideline Missy. Sheldon's sister was first introduced in The Big Bang Theory season 1, and despite her limited appearance in the original sitcom, it was more than enough for her to make an impression.

Unfortunately, the prequel wasted years of potential by relegating her to a supporting role even though she deserved her own arcs. Things changed, however, in Young Sheldon season 6 when she was finally given her personal narrative. While Missy's personal plot didn't have any direct connection to The Big Bang Theory, somehow it highlighted the biggest disappointment with regard to Leonard and Penny's romance.

Young Sheldon Shows That Penny & Leonard Are Better Parents Than Mary & George

Missy has already tried to run away twice in Young Sheldon. The first time was in the Young Sheldon season 4 finale.

Although she eventually came home, a couple of years later, she tried it again, albeit in a more daring way. Fed up for being constantly overlooked by her parents, Missy stole her dad's truck and went on a dangerous joyride hoping to travel to Florida with Paige. When she was caught and brought back home, both Mary and George were understandably upset. However, instead of also trying to understand where she was coming from, they never listened to her grudges.

This is significantly different from Penny and Leonard handling Sheldon's attempt to run away in The Big Bang Theory season 7 finale. Getting overwhelmed with all the changes going on in his life, he decided that the best way to move forward was to disappear.

Granted that Sheldon had the tendency to be unreasonable, Penny and Leonard tried reasoning with him, and even offered to be there for him through this difficult patch. Granted that they eventually had to let him go since he was a fully grown adult, their approach to the situation was much better than how Mary and George handled Missy in Young Sheldon.

Seeing the difference between the Coopers and Hofstadters, one cannot help but feel disappointed that The Big Bang Theory never got the chance to fully show Leonard and Penny as parents. After months of arguing about having kids, the sitcom rushed the resolution to their storyline by revealing that they were pregnant with their first child.

Regardless of how the plot was executed, the fact that fans weren't able to see the couple living their family life is disappointing, especially knowing how great they would be as parents.

How Sheldon Set Up Penny & Leonard Set Up For Parenthood

Despite being a full ensemble, The Big Bang Theory's big trio was Sheldon, Penny, and Leonard. The sitcom's backbone had always been their relationship. Separately, Penny and Leonard had very different dynamics with Sheldon, but both clearly genuinely cared about him. Together, however, the socially-inept genius functioned almost like a practice child for the couple.

CBS leaned on this idea when Penny and Leonard split in The Big Bang Theory season 3, episode 21, "The Spaghetti Catalyst." As Sheldon was being caught in the middle of the break-up, both were extremely careful to be civil with each other so as not to put stress on their friend. Years of doing this trained the couple not just to deal with childish tantrums but also to be sensitive to how their relationship impacts other people, which is important when raising kids.

The Big Bang Theory Failed Penny & Leonard

Except for Raj, all members of the Pasadena gang had their respective romances.

Howard and Bernadette were the first to get married, while Sheldon and Amy's story was arguably the most focused on. However, The Big Bang Theory's original love pairing was Leonard and Penny. While it took them a while to get together, it was clear from the get-go that they were meant to be together. Granted that The Big Bang Theory was not committed to their romance for years, the emotional investment from fans convinced the writers that it was best to get them together. Unfortunately, once they got married, it was as if CBS lost all interest to develop their arc.

After tying the knot, The Big Bang Theory essentially stagnated the couple's story.

They still progressed individually, with Penny changing careers and Leonard continuing with his scientific pursuits. As a couple, however, nothing much happened to them. Instead, they functioned as side characters to other people's stories, particularly as Sheldon and Amy's relationship went through a rough patch and then eventually became really serious. CBS attempted to make up for this mistake in The Big Bang Theory's final season by introducing a plot line that put their relationship back at the center of its storytelling, but the arc ultimately ended as unearned, rushed, and unsatisfying.

How Young Sheldon Can Fix Big Bang Theory's Penny & Leonard Failure

The Big Bang Theory has been done for a while now. Despite the continued popularity of the show, the chances of it being revived are almost none — at least in the near future. Its main cast members have moved on to other career endeavors. That being said, CBS still has the chance to make up for their massive Leonard and Penny blunder thanks to Young Sheldon. While the ongoing family comedy takes place decades before the events of its parent show, adult Sheldon's narration is able to offer updates about how the Pasadena gang is doing after The Big Bang Theory ended.

Parsons' Sheldon voiceover could offer an update about the Hofstadters — something that he hasn't done in Young Sheldon's six seasons. Whether this is intentional is uncertain, but it's odd that Sheldon won't talk about his best friends. If CBS wants to make a big deal out of this, however, they can even bring Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco for their own voice cameos, which both Simon Helberg and Mayim Bialik have done as Howard and Amy.

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