The Young Sheldon finale wasn’t about George or Sheldon at all

Jasmine Valentine
George and Sheldon Cooper in the Young Sheldon finale

Sure, the Young Sheldon finale needed to send Sheldon to Caltech and properly do George’s death justice. But maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t about them at all.

The beauty of Young Sheldon is that the series has always been an ensemble piece. Much like The Big Bang Theory, when Sheldon gets that little bit too insufferable, there’s a wealth of lovable characters to fall back on. Now that’s all been cruelly snatched away from fans, with the Season 7 finale a painful goodbye to both George and Sheldon.

George’s death shocked fans at the end of Episode 12, with the Kleenex box empty during his emotional finale funeral. The spotlight then shifts to adult Sheldon, figuring out that he isn’t so different from his own father and that he needs to pay more attention to his own son. As Jim Parsons’ Sheldon dares to put on a hockey jersey for his kid’s team, Iain Armitage’s Sheldon heads off into the Caltech-based sunset. 

But what if the Young Sheldon finale wasn’t actually about George or Sheldon at all? At the center of every conflict — both in Season 7 and before — there’s only one person who knows exactly how to handle whatever is thrown their way. That person is Meemaw, and Episodes 13 and 14 are really the biggest thank you to her.  

Young Sheldon’s finale was the ultimate thank you to Meemaw

Meemaw, Missy, and Sheldon in Young Sheldon

Grandmother, joker, gambler — Meemaw is the woman you want to be and want to have around you. Since her introduction to Young Sheldon, she’s been the master of the reframe, offering vital context to Mary’s bad memories of her childhood (think Reba’s “A single mom who works two jobs” vibes).

Living down the road from the Cooper gang, she has the advantage of objectivity, combined with the hindsight of living an incredibly colorful life. As a result, she’s the go-to gal for problem-solving. Need Sheldon to come out of the garage after he isolated himself in a hazmat suit? Meemaw’s on it. Need Missy to stop playing Sinead O’Connor on repeat while she’s heartbroken? Or Mary to chill out for once in her life? You get the idea.

Where many of the Coopers spent most seasons misunderstanding each other, Meemaw could quickly cut through the crap and get to the root of the problem. She gets the best out of her own family, especially when it counts — including narrowly saving George’s funeral when Mary loses herself in grief.  

As the light relief to an incredibly dark time in the Sheldonverse, the Young Sheldon Season 7 finale is the perfect reminder that Meemaw is the jewel in the Cooper crown. Single-handedly convincing each family member to take the path that leads to their growth, Sheldon’s memories don’t just reframe his memory of George, but they honor the role his Meemaw had.

Sure, this all goes south by the time fans get to The Big Bang Theory, with June Squibb’s portrayal a cantankerous u-turn of the woman who always cracked a joke, swigged a beer, and called out BS. In full retcon mode, Annie Potts proves that losing her house, belongings, and illegal business didn’t make Meemaw cranky, but the example her family needed.

You can check our breakdown of Young Sheldon’s actual ending, as well as details about Georgie and Mandy’s spinoff, and other binge-worthy TV shows to add to your list.

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