Sheldon finally fixes in the Young Sheldon season 6 finale, but it only makes its The Big Bang Theory continuity worse. The Big Bang Theory spin-off was originally intended to be Sheldon Cooper's origins story. Inspired by the socially-inept genius' penchant for sharing childhood anecdotes from his time in Texas, CBS gradually grew Young Sheldon's fan base. Now, it's currently TV's number 1 comedy. As it diversified its storytelling in the last couple of years, Sheldon's time under the spotlight was significantly reduced. That may have been for the better, however, since it felt like somehow, the show felt like it didn't know what to do anymore with the character.
CBS' change in storytelling approach is most obvious in Young Sheldon season 6. Throughout the year, each member of the Cooper household is given their respective arcs, which means that Sheldon is no longer the sole center of attention in the show. While the socially-inept genius has his own arcs including his attempt to launch the grant database project at East Texas Tech, they feel disconnected from what the rest of his family is going through back in Medford. To make matters worse, not only is he isolated from the Coopers, many of his personal plots are less compelling compared to what else is happening in Young Sheldon season 6.
Aside from underwhelming storylines, it doesn't help that Sheldon has also become so unbearably annoying in Young Sheldon season 6. The character has always been odd and eccentric, making it difficult for everyone else to deal with him. For some reason, however, CBS seems to dial up his quirks, which effectively highlights all his less-than-ideal qualities.
There are two particular instances in Young Sheldon season 6 that perfectly exemplify this. Firstly, in Young Sheldon season 6, episode 14, "A Launch Party and a Whole Human Being," where he keeps harping on his grant database while Mandy is in labor and his parents fight about their potential affairs. Secondly, in Young Sheldon season 6, episode 15, "A Stolen Truck and Going on the Lam," where he sneaks his own agenda while the rest of the family comes up with a plan to find Missy.
Surprisingly, however, CBS takes a different creative route with its depiction of Sheldon in the Young Sheldon season 6 finale. After an unusual series of mini-breaks throughout 2023, The Big Bang Theory prequel makes up for missing so many episodes by staging a super-sized send-off, airing back-to-back outings in "A Romantic Getaway and a Germanic Meat-Based Diet" and "A Tornado, a 10-Hour Flight and a Darn Fine Ring." They primarily revolve around Sheldon's upcoming trip to Germany, but CBS is also able to move forward certain narratives, including the socially-inept genius' relationship with Missy where he leans into his emotions.
Sheldon's worst crime in the Young Sheldon season 6 finale is ratting out about Missy sneaking out at night despite promising that he will keep his mouth shut about it. Unexpectedly, however, his decision to blab about it stems from his genuine concern for his sister. Considering how ruthless Sheldon can be, this is a positive change for the character. Aside from actually caring for Missy's well-being, he's also unusually apologetic to her after she gets seriously angry at her twin for what he did — as if he truly feels bad for getting her in trouble despite the fact that it is solely her fault.
It's great to see Sheldon show some emotions, especially after a year of mostly being a brat to everyone. There are times in Young Sheldon season 6 that it's actually difficult to watch the character, considering how annoying he has become. Unfortunately, there's just not enough time to redeem him in the two-episode send-off. This is by no means Iain Armitage's fault; the young actor has been nothing but phenomenal in the role. Instead, it's how Young Sheldon utilizes Sheldon.
Sheldon becoming unbearably annoying in Young Sheldon season 6 cannot be pinpointed to a single event. There's no instigating incident for him to become worse, although he was met with some personal challenges throughout the year. While this may be detrimental to Young Sheldon's storytelling, the change in Sheldon actually checks out with regard to The Big Ban Theory's established canon. As the prequel series moves up the established timeline, getting closer to the events of its parent series, CBS needs to gradually reconcile its version of the character to his The Big Bang Theory counterpart.
Young Sheldon's version of its titular character has always been tamer. It's one of the reasons why the family comedy has been able to stage more dramatic moments compared to The Big Bang Theory. However, making the socially-inept genius more in touch with his emotions in the Young Sheldon season 6 finale doesn't fit with the franchise's overall arc for him. Sheldon was at his worst at the beginning of The Big Bang Theory. Granted that he was already friends with Leonard, but that was because his roommate was just tolerating him. Sheldon's poor treatment of Penny was a more accurate depiction of his character at this point.
Young Sheldon is a bit of a conundrum with how it approaches Sheldon moving forward. If the prequel continues to make him annoying, then it could be detrimental to its overall storytelling. As seen in season 6, Sheldon's antics are no long endearing, and if the prequel leans on him, it may fully turn off some viewers. On the other hand, if the show humanizes him, Young Sheldon will be contradicting The Big Bang Theory, yet creating more plot inconsistencies with its parent series.
At this point, CBS needs to decide which show it wants to prioritize. Considering the growing popularity of Young Sheldon, however, it may be better if they do what's best for the prequel, especially if they are thinking of extending its run beyond season 12. For what it's worth, Young Sheldon can use George's cheating storyline and subsequent death to explain the drastic change in Sheldon's attitude. They're a justified reason why he became more skeptical and rude in The Big Bang Theory.