Young Sheldon: Every Big Bang Theory reference

Kayla Harrington
Iain Armitage as Young Sheldon

With Young Sheldon Season 6 now on Netflix and Season 7 on the way, you might be wanting to delve into The Big Bang Theory lore – so, here’s your guide to the best TBBT references in the prequel series.

Right at the tail end of The Big Bang Theory’s 12 season run, the creators of the series developed a spin-off prequel series titled Young Sheldon.

The spin-off focuses on the childhood of Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage, originally played by Jim Parsons), the awkward yet brilliant child prodigy who grows up to be one of the key players in The Big Bang Theory.

Young Sheldon premiered in 2017 and is coming to an end in May of this year with its seventh season, but a lot of new viewers have found the show through its recent Netflix deal. And many have wondered if the spin-off series ever referenced its predecessor, so here’s your guide to all of the Big Bang Theory references found in Young Sheldon.

Wil Wheaton feud

One of Sheldon’s biggest arch nemeses in The Big Bang Theory is Stark Trek actor Wil Wheaton, who periodically shows up in the series to get under Sheldon’s skin.

Young Sheldon hints at the feud to come when Sheldon’s twin sister, Missy, refuses to watch Star Trek with Sheldon after gushing that Wheaton is super cute.

As audiences learn in the original show, Sheldon doesn’t have the best relationship with his twin, so it’s safe to say that some of the ill will he harbors towards the actor comes steam from his complicated feelings towards his sister.

Cal-Tech career

In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon and his friends work as scientists at the California Institute of Technology, or Cal-Tech.

And it seems like he ended up at the institution thanks to someone in his childhood as, in Young Sheldon, his school Careers Counselor suggests that Cal-Tech would be a good place for him to flourish his career in the future, but the young prodigy says that he’s not interested in working there.

Future friend group

The very core of The Big Bang Theory as a whole is Sheldon’s relationships with his friend group which includes his roommate, Leonard, his neighbor, Penny, his work friends, Raj and Howard, and eventually Howard’s wife, Bernadette, and Sheldon’s wife, Amy.

In Young Sheldon, the young version of the scientist feels incredibly defeated when he organizes a party to listen to Nobel Prize winners and no one from his school shows up, but it then flashes to his future friend group as children, signaling that their destinies were already written.

Professor Proton obsession

As adults in The Big Bang Theory. Leonard and Sheldon talk at length about their love for Professor Proton, a scientist turned children’s show host who is known for using household objects to experiment with scientific principles.

And, in Young Sheldon, he can be seen watching the kids’ show at various times throughout the series, though his siblings make fun of him for it.

Soft Kitty song

Whenever Sheldon was sick or hurt in The Big Bang Theory, he would ask one of his friends to sing the song “Soft Kitty” while rubbing his chest.

And it seems like this tradition was started by his mother, Mary, who can be seen singing the same song when her son is sick in Young Sheldon.

Hot beverage comfort

One of Sheldon’s most interesting quirks is that he isn’t the most empathetic person but, throughout The Big Bang Theory’s 12 seasons, he is often seen offering his friends and peers hot beverages as a way to comfort them, even if they don’t want it.

So, it’s not surprising that Sheldon’s younger self was just as bad as his older version when it came to helping others but, in Young Sheldon, he can be seen giving his frenemy and fellow child genius, Paige, a hot beverage to cheer her up when it’s revealed that her parents are getting a divorce.


The most discernible Sheldon trait that constantly came up during The Big Bang Theory’s run was his trademark catchphrase “Banzing!,” which he would say whenever he was pulling a trick on someone or letting others know that he’s just joking.

While most viewers thought the catchphrase was something Sheldon just made up, it’s revealed in Young Sheldon that the phrase comes from a company called Bazinga Novelties. Sheldon brought prank toys from them in order to look cool and, as he’s checking out, he reads the company motto which states, “If it’s funny, it’s Bazinga.”

Young Sheldon returns to TV with its seventh and final season on February 15, 2024 — you can read more about the series here.