YOUNG SHELDON returns strong with its third episode, “Poker, Faith, and Eggs.” The episode gives a promising performance with some genuinely funny one-liners and a tone and pacing that feels much more relative to its predecessor show, The Big Bang Theory.
This episode has Sheldon dealing with the question of faith, a question that most of us have gone through at some point in our lives. Is it true? Is it worth believing in? Even though we know that wondering and asking about these questions doesn’t change anything for Sheldon (adult Sheldon doesn’t believe in God) the episode brings a nice dynamism to Sheldon’s character and his beliefs by exploring his experiences with religion and the idea of faith.
We also get to see the experience that led Sheldon to decide never to learn how to drive. His brother, who is only 14 in this show, drives Sheldon and his sister to the hospital to see their dad, and he manages to hit basically every trashcan along the way.
Finally, the show introduces us to Sheldon’s meemaw – Mary’s mother. The woman turns out to be a terrible babysitter who doesn’t seem to really care about her grandchildren. In fact, at one point, she even says she hates them (though, they had stolen her car and driven to the hospital without telling her), With Meemaw being such a mess, it’s a wonder Mary turned out the way she did. She is a complete 360 from her mother, especially when it comes to her kids.
However, that said, Meemaw showed a little bit of her motherly stripes when George went into the hospital. Meemaw not only remains positive about George’s health, but keeps a cheerful, confident attitude for both the kids and Mary. She still doesn’t show a very deep emotional connection to Mary or her grandchildren, and she’s very clearly an alcoholic, but hey, at least it’s something, right?
The episode also pulls in the Cooper’s dopey kid neighbor, who brings eggs from his chicken coop to offer as a gift to Sheldon’s sister, Missy. It’s sort of becoming an every-episode kind of on-running joke that there’s a scene in which this dopey kid interacts with the Coopers, who aren’t exactly sure what to make of this kid. Granted we’re only three episodes in, so I can’t say that with confidence, but that seems to be the trend here.
I will note that, like with all Chuck Lorre shows, the show is starting to tread into the territory of making fun of types of people. Not just making fun of specific characters within the show, who just happen to also be part of a certain group or subculture or what not, but actively amplifying stereotypes and poking fun at them.
For Young Sheldon, it seems to be rural life and “country people.” We have the depiction of the farmer kid with the eggs, who is clearly dumb. As though farmers aren’t smart enough to do anything but take care of animals and grow plants. We also have the illogical pastor with salesman-like demeanor, who seems to only have a surface knowledge of the Bible. Not saying the show has to know anything in depth about religion, but maybe the writers should try going to a church, so that their depiction isn’t all tropes – it makes it difficult to believe that Sheldon’s mother, or anyone else in that community for that matter, would genuinely take this pastor as a correct authority on faith and religion, unless we’re all assuming they’re also dumb country people, which is a stereotype I choose to believe the show isn’t going for.
It’s not even as though we can honestly say we’re seeing these people from Sheldon’s perspective, and not a true depiction. Sure, Jim Parsons (adult Sheldon) does the voiceover for the show, and the voiceover is recounted as though Sheldon is retelling these stories to us from his adult years, but young Sheldon is not in every scene, and even when he is, there isn’t anything about the character depictions that really tells us, “oh, this is how Sheldon views this person, not how they actually are.” So I think it’s safe to assume that any tropes in the show’s depiction of these people are entirely flaws in the way in which the writers depict these characters, not in the way Sheldon views them.
But, the show has a lot of heart – something single cam shows can do much easier and more subtly than multicam – and I have hope that the show will even out and start expanding on the dynamics of our individual characters, rather than building up a background community full of insulting stereotypes and overused tropes.
Season 1, Episode 3 (S01E03)
Young Sheldon airs Thursdays at 830PM on CBS
Tasha is a freelance writer currently based in Los Angeles. Originally from Kansas, when she’s not writing about or watching TV, Tasha is searching for the best BBQ place in LA to fill the KC BBQ hole in her stomach.
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Tasha Cerny | Contributor