‘Young Sheldon’: How ‘Big Bang Theory’s [Spoiler] Ended Up in Season 4 Premiere
[Spoiler Alert! Do not read ahead unless you’ve watched the season four premiere, “Graduation.” Major events from the episodes discussed below.]
Over the years, CBS’ Young Sheldon has given viewers multiple easter eggs to its origin show, The Big Bang Theory, which ended its 12-season run in 2019. Thursday’s fourth season premiere, which saw 11-year old genius Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage) graduate valedictorian from his high school, also brought back a familiar voice that appeared on the show for the first time.
Normally, it’s the adult Sheldon (Jim Parsons, also an executive producer) who narrates the episodes of the show, but in the final moments of the episode, Sheldon’s wife, Amy, played by Mayim Bialik, who not only joined her husband in closing out the episode, but revealed a new bit of information about their lives: The couple eventually does have a baby — a boy that they name Leonard in honor of Sheldon’s best friend, Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki, who is not seen or heard in the episode).
To find out how the idea of including Amy came about in the first place, and whether Bialik recorded her voice alongside her former co-star, Parsons, TV Insider talked with executive producer Steve Molaro to learn that and more.
Mayim Bialik was quite a surprise, and you broke ranks, since up until now Jim Parsons has been our sole narrator. How did this come about? Is it something you’d wanted to do for a while?
Steve Molaro: It just came up. We were going through the script again to finally get to shoot it because it was halted back in March [due to COVID]. I thought it would be fun to check in and to hear Amy’s voice and hear how they’re doing. We asked Mayim and she was happy to do it.
So if the pandemic hadn’t shut you guys down and the finale was taped in the spring, this might not have happened?
That’s very true.
We also found out that adult Sheldon and Amy name their baby, Leonard. Just making sure — that’s new information, right? We’ve never heard that before.
That is new information, yes. That was in the script that Sheldon’s son was Leonard Cooper and then we added the other stuff a little bit later on.
My first thought in hearing Amy’s voice is, could we start to hear other Big Bang characters? Could we hear Amy again? Or is it a one-off?
It kind of changes the rules doesn’t it? I don’t know, but we’re always open to anything. It is a fun little time machine we have our hands on.
When you dip back into the Big Bang legacy and add things to its history, are there big talking points about doing that in Young Sheldon since you are adding on to the Big Bang lore?
I think so. It’s a fun and potentially important way to keep the Big Bang storyline alive and moving forward in the future from the past.
Did Mayim just record on her own because of COVID, or did she come in to record? How did that work?
She was on the Warner Bros. lot because she’s working on her pilot [Fox’s Call Me Kat] so she was in the building with me, but we were not in the room together. She actually recorded it in what was the Big Bang writer’s room and is currently the Young Sheldon writer’s room. I was down the hall on Zoom and I could talk to her while we were recording it.
Did she record it separate from Jim?
Also in the season premiere, I loved the interaction between twins Sheldon and Missy talking about the changes coming for both of them. Will we still be getting story for them together?
Yes, Sheldon’s not leaving the house and they still share a room, so it won’t be tough. And she has just blossomed, Raegan [Revord, who plays Missy]. That kid is hilarious and just a treat to work with.
There’s also a moment where George gives Sheldon some tough love when he’s freaking out over the goggles. It’s tough, but it also sinks in with Sheldon. How did you get that just right?
When we were shooting it, we got levels of frustration from Lance [Barber, who plays George Sr.] in delivering that line and shutting Sheldon down. What we went with in the final cut were the stronger ones, which I thought felt appropriate for the moment. We wanted to rattle Sheldon to make sure he had been rattled enough so he could lose it during the news interview, and Dad letting him have it helped do that.
What’s coming up beyond the season premiere of Young Sheldon? I know you had told me for our Returning Favorites’ issue that we wouldn’t jump right to Sheldon in college.
Correct. Next up, Sheldon volunteers to be a docent at the train museum and Georgie catches Mary watching a very questionable movie, which is one of my favorite things we’ve ever done.
Of course that makes me want to ask what movie she is watching!
I’m hesitating to say what the movie is because it’s so funny to me, but I will tell you it’s rated R and it’s an ’80s staple.
My mind went right to Porky’s since I remember that being such a big deal for me in the ‘80s.
[Laughs] It is not Porky’s.
Watch the final scene of the fourth season premiere below:
Young Sheldon, Thursdays, 8/7c, CBS