- Both Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory focused on Sheldon’s academic successes and social ineptitude, rarely addressing his career or university failures.
- Sheldon’s grant database subplot in Young Sheldon season 6 mirrored his failed experiment in The Big Bang Theory season 11 in terms of securing funding.
- Despite Sheldon’s improved ability to separate himself from his collectibles, it was still his teenage self who successfully completed the grant database project in Young Sheldon, highlighting a continuity problem between the two shows.
Young Sheldon season 6’s database story and the grant database failure introduced the finale’s surprising development of Sheldon going to Germany, but the whole subplot oddly mirrored an earlier The Big Bang Theory story. Both Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory always emphasized Sheldon’s academic successes and social ineptitude, instead rarely focusing on his career or university-related blunders. Although The Big Bang Theory sometimes shone a light on Sheldon’s inability to move forward with his research, to the point that he ended up switching specialties, outright failures were rarer. Still, Young Sheldon season 6’s database subplot managed to meticulously rehash one of Sheldon’s few failures in Big Bang Theory.
Despite coming up suddenly and in a field entirely unrelated to science, Sheldon’s idea for a grant database and its development proved to be his main storyline in Young Sheldon season 6. From the database development against all odds to its colossal failure due to users not signing up, the database subplot still got Sheldon where he needed to be in the Young Sheldon season 6’s ending, finally starting out the Germany trip whose anecdotes often appeared in Big Bang Theory. Still, many steps of the grant database story in Young Sheldon season 6 were already used in The Big Bang Theory season 11, with another experiment envisioned by Sheldon.
The Big Bang Theory Season 11 Showed That Sheldon Got Better At Finding Funding
The Big Bang Theory season 11, episode 22, “The Monetary Insufficiency,” similarly saw Sheldon having the idea of an experiment that could prove his theory prompted by a relatively unrelated chat about university mixers being a waste of time. Young Sheldon season 6 also had Sheldon come up with the idea of a grant database by mindlessly talking about how a comic book database would help let collectors secure their missing copies of comic books. However, even the process of securing funds was similar, with Sheldon trying to sell his collectibles or to secure private investors in both Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory.
Although Sheldon’s microscopic black hole experiment didn’t pan out in The Big Bang Theory because he wasn’t able to secure funds, his tries got better. While Sheldon’s first try had always been the university, both experiments weren’t funded for financial reasons. Young Sheldon season 6, episode 20, showed Sheldon organizing a yard sale to get money for Germany, and he couldn’t separate himself from his precious trains. Nevertheless, TBBT season 11, episode 22 had Sheldon successfully giving part of his comic book collection to Stuart to try and fund the micro black hole experiment by himself, something his younger self couldn’t do in Young Sheldon.
TBBT & Young Sheldon Season 6’s Experiments Both Failed, But 1 Actually Got Made
In spite of Sheldon’s increased ability to withstand separating himself from his collectibles and even trying alternative ways to get money like going to Vegas to gamble by applying statistics to his choices, the experiment that ended up being made wasn’t the one he devised as an adult. Indeed, while both were presented as feasible, the micro black hole experiment was effectively too expensive. The Big Bang Theory season 11 might have shown a better Sheldon at devising ways to get funding, but it was still teenage Sheldon who managed to complete the grant database project in Young Sheldon season 6.
Both projects were essentially failures, with TBBT’s micro black holes experiment not seeing the light of day and Young Sheldon’s grant database not earning users, who were necessary for the company that funded Sheldon and Dr. Sturgis’ project to make money off of it. Still, Dr. Sturgis’ presence in its development guaranteed private investors that it was a serious project and Sheldon’s idea was solid despite his young age. Instead, the main reason Sheldon couldn’t secure funds in TBBT season 11 was the absence of the same guarantee, which would have come in the form of money being the investment that big, and which Sheldon couldn’t secure in any way.
The Stories’ Similarities Highlight A Young Sheldon Continuity Problem
With Young Sheldon’s database plot having taken form so many years after The Big Bang Theory developed its short micro black hole story, it would make sense that the prequel series didn’t mention teenage Sheldon’s scientific failure. Still, the two almost identical stories make Young Sheldon’s continuity problem even more evident. After all, The Big Bang Theory recounted multiple stories of Sheldon’s childhood, and yet most of them still haven’t been shown in Young Sheldon, even if some of them should have already happened based on how little time is left between season 6 and George’s death.
The heartbreaking reason behind Sheldon’s three knocks was unveiled in The Big Bang Theory season 10, episode 5, which firmly established Sheldon’s not talking with his father about catching him cheating one of his biggest regrets, as George died soon after that. However, Young Sheldon tiptoed around Brenda and George’s supposed affair, not even showing the Coopers’ reaction to it being discovered. While the two experiments following the same pattern is a less astounding slip-up than avoiding showing the life-altering events that shaped Sheldon, it still makes Young Sheldon’s continuity problem more glaring, especially considering how The Big Bang Theory set the story up.