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TBBT’s Next Spinoff Risks Dropping Young Sheldon’s Best Choice
2023/08/20

Summary Young Sheldon's unique tone and style allowed it to flourish as a spinoff of The Big Bang Theory, winning over a large audience with its focus on character drama. The decision to drop the laugh track in Young Sheldon was a departure from the traditional sitcom format of The Big Bang Theory, but it was a good choice that allowed for more serious plotlines and emotionally resonant scenes. The next spinoff in The Big Bang Theory franchise needs to make similar changes to feel fresh and original, finding a new take on sitcom humor that differentiates it from both The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon.

The Big Bang Theory's second spinoff is likely to forget one of Young Sheldon's most pivotal changes. When Young Sheldon debuted in 2018, there was a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the sitcom spinoff's potential. While Jim Parsons made Sheldon an unforgettable comedy hero in The Big Bang Theory, the character was still only part of a larger ensemble. Thus, a show that relied entirely on Sheldon and didn't even have Parsons reprising the role seemed like it had to the potential to be a disastrous failure. Fortunately for the spinoff's creators, this was not the case since Young Sheldon's unique tone and style soon allowed the show to flourish.

Young Sheldon soon won over a large audience as the series introduced its version of the Cooper family. As Young Sheldon's focus expanded to include more characters, the show proved that it was a worthy follow-up to The Big Bang Theory precisely because the spinoff didn't feel like a carbon copy of its predecessor. Young Sheldon dropped most of The Big Bang Theory's formula, resulting in a show that felt like something new. However, the news that The Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre is working on another spinoff may result in this new series switching back again and reverting to The Big Bang Theory's style.

Young Sheldon Changed TBBT's Style (For The Better)

When Young Sheldon dropped The Big Bang Theory's laugh track, the spinoff made the differences between the original series and its follow-up clear. Getting rid of the laugh track signaled that Young Sheldon was a nostalgic, single-camera family sitcom whereas The Big Bang Theory was a broader multi-camera hang-out show. The humor of The Big Bang Theory was sharper, while Young Sheldon devoted more screen time and story focus to character drama. This made the two shows feel distinct from each other and gave Young Sheldon a chance to win over viewers who might have otherwise seen it as a pale imitation of The Big Bang Theory.

The decision to drop the laugh track was a big departure for series co-creator Chuck Lorre, but a good choice all the same. More serious plot lines like Young Sheldon's Georgie and Mandy romance would have been hampered by the classic sitcom format, and many of the spinoff's more emotionally resonant scenes wouldn't have worked if The Big Bang Theory's follow-up had kept the original show's format. Unfortunately, even the outsized success of Young Sheldon is unlikely to stop The Big Bang Theory's next spinoff from returning to a more familiar approach. Old habits die hard and Lorre's career has proven how popular the traditional sitcom format is, so it makes sense to revisit it.

TBBT's New Spinoff Is Likely To Drop Young Sheldon's Style

Before Young Sheldon, Lorre had years of experience with Roseanne, Two and Half Man, Dharma and Greg, Mom, and other multi-camera laugh track-backed sitcoms. He is unlikely to diverge from formula again, particularly when his post-Young Sheldon projects already brought back laugh tracks. Both Bob Hearts Abishola and United States of Al debuted after Young Sheldon and the two shows feature laugh tracks alongside a style reminiscent of The Big Bang Theory's milieu. Even though Young Sheldon dropping its original premise and incorporating more character drama improved the series, Lorre's undeniably impressive track record means that the producer may not repeat its risky experiment when it doesn't seem necessary.

TBBT's Next Spinoff Needs Young Sheldon's Changes

The reason Young Sheldon feels so different from The Big Bang Theory is because of the ways that the spinoff changed the original show's familiar formula. As such, the next spinoff must make similar changes to feel fresh and original. Ultimately, The Big Bang Theory's next spinoff will have to try something entirely new as the series can not simply revert to the tried-and-tested format of The Big Bang Theory. The Big Bang Theory's original run ended only four years ago, so it's too early for a reunion.

However, another series set in the same world and bearing all of its stylistic hallmarks would also come with problems, as it would remind viewers of The Big Bang Theory too much.

Much like Young Sheldon had to drop The Big Bang Theory's darker jokes to make its story work, the second spinoff in the franchise must develop its own identity to succeed. This was comparatively easy for Young Sheldon since the series could switch to a single-camera style from The Big Bang Theory's multi-camera setup. However, now that Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory have utilized such different approaches, the second spinoff in the franchise needs to find another, third take on sitcom humor. This will be tough, but if anyone can pull it off, it would be the minds behind The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon.

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