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Young Sheldon Is Trying Too Hard To Justify George’s Cheating Scandal
2023/07/28

Summary

Young Sheldon portrays George Cooper Sr. as a sympathetic and misunderstood character, justifying his decision to cheat on Mary despite his negative portrayal on The Big Bang Theory. The show suggests that George's cheating was a result of his family's mistreatment and lack of appreciation for him, pushing him towards finding fulfillment elsewhere. Young Sheldon attempts to rationalize George's decision to lie about his affair by showing his belief that he is sparing his wife from pain, further complicating the moral implications of his actions.

CBS' Young Sheldon is trying to justify George Cooper Sr.

(Lance Barber) cheating on Mary in the TV show, but why did Sheldon's dad cheat in the first place? Adult Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and his mom always poked fun at and criticized his father in The Big Bang Theory. George was always described as a no-good dad who was negligent and lazy. To make matters worse, Sheldon even revealed that he caught George having an affair behind his mom's back. Do Sheldon's parents get divorced? They clearly do, but Young Sheldon is not making it easy for people to disapprove of George.

The revelation on TBBT came while he explained to Penny (Kaley Cuoco) how he barged into his parents' room and saw his dad cheating with another woman.

Just a year later, George died of a heart attack. The Young Sheldon season 4 finale laid the groundwork for this when George was propositioned by his newly-single neighbor, Brenda Sparks (Melissa Peterman). Before anything could happen, George suffered an emergency health scare that saw him rushed to the hospital. Since then, the pair has maintained contact, and it's clear that there's some attraction between them, which could have led to George's cheating scandal on Young Sheldon.

How Young Sheldon Tried To Make Cheating George The Victim

In Young Sheldon season 5, episode 5, "Stuffed Animals and A Sweet Southern Syzygy," the Cooper patriarch was depicted as a great dad who tries hard to please his kids. But after his inadvertent meddling in Missy Cooper's (Raegan Revord) love life went awry, she ruthlessly chastised her dad, blaming him for her humiliation. Instead of George standing up for himself and not allowing her to disrespect him, he walked away, defeated. The moment sends a message that the children's lack of appreciation for their dad factored into his decision to cheat. Adult Sheldon's narration acknowledged this.

This point was further emphasized when George's heartwarming conversation with Billy Sparks after he was dumped by Missy later on.

The Cooper patriarch took the time to check up on Brenda's son. Unlike his own daughter, Billy was actually receptive to George's advice about dealing with heartbreaks while Brenda watched George with starry eyes. Since Young Sheldon finds George disrespected or completely ignored at home, it follows that Sheldon's dad's eventual cheating was his way to find fulfillment and validation elsewhere. It attempts to justify his decision to be unfaithful because his family treats him poorly despite everything he does.

Did Season 6 Further Try To Justify George's Cheating?

Things didn't get any better in Young Sheldon season 6. It even tried to explain more excises for the answer to "Why did Sheldon's dad cheat?" It seems that the affair might have already started, but is happening behind the scenes. While Sheldon and George never got into his cheating after the young man walked in on his dad, the two still had a relationship after that happened. There was a moment where George explained to his son that it is sometimes okay to lie to people if it means sparing someone's feelings. It shows how he might rationalize not mentioning his cheating to his wife because he thinks he is saving her from pain.

That almost makes what George did worse, especially if he is telling himself that he is doing the right thing, all while cheating on his wife. In season 6, George continued to make it clear he was unhappy in his life and feels trapped in his marriage and family life. This was made worse, as George ended up seeing his marriage fractured even further from Mary, spending less time with his wife, and seeing more reasons why he might believe he deserves better than what he has.

Season 6 also threw a wrinkle into the George cheating scandal. On Young Sheldon, Mary told Brenda she thought she was having an affair with George.

However, Brenda was pretty adamant that she was not messing around with Mary's husband, and the two made up. Based on the timeline, Sheldon will walk in on his dad soon, and if he is not cheating with Brenda, that means there might be another woman involved that no one knows about. While George believes he deserves something more, Young Sheldon has a long way to go to make him look as bad as Sheldon sees him in The Big Bang Theory.

The Big Bang Theory Universe Can Be Super Problematic

Neither Young Sheldon nor The Big Bang Theory is known for their progressive approach to their female characters.

George's cheating scandal in Young Sheldon is talked about in The Big Bang Theory in a very different way. Even so, many have accused TBBT of being overtly sexist, particularly in the early seasons. It seems as if Young Sheldon is repeating its parent show's mistakes regarding George cheating on Mary. Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) in TBBT is the biggest perpetrator of them all. He has a satisfying character arc when he becomes a father, losing much of his perverted attitude over time. In the beginning, Howard was the embodiment of the male gaze.

The Big Bang Theory used the "nerd" archetype to further its sexist tendencies as a sort of scapegoat.

It was presented as acceptable whenever Leonard and the gang were misogynistic because they "didn't know any better." The female characters on the show are somewhat complicit in their degradation, fully accepting whatever the boys dish out. This changed when Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) started fighting back against Howard in later seasons. However, most characters seemed incapable of growth. Since Young Sheldon's in the same problematic universe, it's unsurprising the misogyny would translate by making George the victim in his affair.

Though George's cheating, as revealed in The Big Bang Theory, is still wrong, getting yelled at by Missy and showing how dejected he is after her over-the-top emotional outburst makes George more sympathetic. Obviously, there's a disconnect between The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon's depiction of George. Eventually, CBS will have to reconcile the vastly different versions of the character. But Sheldon's memories of his father have been colored by his own experiences, and the spinoff show tries incredibly hard to provide a fuller perspective of George Cooper's infidelity.

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