Do You Actually Have to Sit Through TBBT to Enjoy Young Sheldon?

Do You Actually Have to Sit Through TBBT to Enjoy Young Sheldon?
Image credit: CBS

The short answer is 'no.'

As for the long answer, well, some people may hesitate to watch Young Sheldon upon learning that it is a spin-off of The Big Bang Theory. This hesitation is understandable, as spin-offs often rely heavily on the original shows, potentially promoting them.

At worst, a spin-off might be nearly incomprehensible to those unfamiliar with the show it is based on, or, in the case of a character-focused spin-off, it may rely heavily on an existing emotional attachment to the character.

Thankfully, this is not the case with Young Sheldon. While it undoubtedly capitalised on TBBT's immense popularity to attract its initial audience and boost ratings, Young Sheldon and TBBT are completely distinct series with somewhat different target audiences. Moreover, Young Sheldon's creators make it a point to maintain their show's relative independence.

Of course, some in-jokes and references scattered throughout Young Sheldon's episodes are aimed at avid TBBT fans. However, the plotlines are entirely independent, and Young Sheldon is a largely self-contained series.

Familiarity with TBBT is merely a small bonus for those watching it, not a requirement.

In fact, it might be better to watch Young Sheldon first. Although some of the jokes might go over your head, seeing how Young Sheldon is, after all, a prequel. Watching TBBT will inevitably spoil its finale and various plot developments.

Most people prefer not to know where characters will end up when starting a series, and TBBT reveals the outcomes for the Cooper family, including some that would normally be considered major spoilers.

Furthermore, it should be noted that although TBBT's run ended just four years ago, it first aired way back in 2007, and some of its jokes have aged very poorly.

In summary, if you find yourself enjoying Young Sheldon after an episode or two, you don't need to sit through The Big Bang Theory. After all, if you like a relatively traditional family-focused sitcom, you won't necessarily like a show following a bunch of caricature geeks, however revolutionary TBBT may have been for its time and however influential it might have become. And while Young Sheldon may not be as popular as its parent show, now in its sixth season, it firmly stands on its own.

By the way, the next episode of Young Sheldon's Season 6 airs on 27 April.