Young Sheldon shouldn’t end with George’s death

Jasmine Valentine
George in Young Sheldon

While creators have confirmed that George’s death will be addressed in Season 7, that doesn’t mean Young Sheldon should end with it. 

Young Sheldon hasn’t had the best handle on The Big Bang Theory’s lore, but one storyline it’s really stuck with is George Cooper Sr.’s death. Fans of the main series will remember that adult Sheldon alludes to his dad dying when he was 14 — something that is later reiterated through voiceover in Season 1 of the prequel. Yet six seasons later, when Sheldon is that very age, George’s death still remains to be seen.

With Season 7 currently airing, George’s life has arguably never been better. His marriage to Mary seems unbreakable, he’s closer to his kids than ever before, and Meemaw’s keeping things civil. It would be an incredibly dramatic and cruel move to lose George when the going is so good… but perhaps that’s the parting note that CBS is looking for. 

However, I don’t think George’s death should happen in Young Sheldon, let alone close out the show. The show’s creators have assured us that what happens to George will be addressed in some way, and fans have been speculating how he’ll die. However, whatever happens in the Season 7 finale, it probably won’t do George justice.

Fans are right — George’s death shouldn’t be onscreen

George in hospital in Young Sheldon

One of the most popular fan theories is that George’s death won’t actually be shown on screen at all. Instead, Sheldon’s voiceover might mention it in passing, hinting at what happened after the events of the prequel in a flash-forward involving his future children. 

It might seem a bit twee, but this is probably the ending that George deserves if the creators are intent on exploring what happened. Steve Holland has stated that Young Sheldon doesn’t feel a need to be bound by every detail in The Big Bang Theory, so could this be a worthy compromise?

Given that the prequel is striving for a family-friendly feel, showing a death explicitly might be a step too far, regardless. Even through George’s earlier health scares there was an element of humor, with the Cooper kids stealing Meemaw’s car in order to visit him at the hospital. If George died during the show, there would be no winners, with each member of the family he leaves behind inconsolable. It’s hardly the right note to end seven seasons on — and if it airs before the finale, viewers likely won’t tune in again.

Arguably then, the best-case scenario would have been to leave George’s death completely out of Young Sheldon. With so much time in between the prequel and TBBT, George’s final months could have been left offscreen. Sometimes, things are better left to the imagination, and Young Sheldon could have helped itself out by not leaning into years of inconsistencies. However, Young Sheldon is where it is, meaning George needs to go out with a sense of dignity, positivity, and acknowledgment of his character development in recent years. 

Young Sheldon needs a clean, simple ending 

George Cooper in Young Sheldon

Leaving George’s death out of Young Sheldon’s ending is the best decision, if only for one reason — to best honor the journey that the prequel has been on, its ending needs simplicity. The small moments where the Coopers are arguing around the dinner table, squabbling over the TV remote, and taking on the horrors of high school are when Young Sheldon is at its best, with fans appreciating when the show focuses on the mundane. To keep the tone the same while not veering too much into Big Bang Theory territory, Young Sheldon’s ending needs to be notable but not upsetting.

The best storyline to prioritize in order to achieve this is Sheldon’s start at Caltech. Not only would it seamlessly bridge the gap between the two shows, it would do so while ruffling the least amount of feathers. With the support of his family behind him, fans can witness the change from snarky teenager to snarkier adult, transforming Sheldon Cooper into the man fans first fell in love with. That’s not to say the entire TBBT cast needs to return for the finale — even if Jim Parsons is already confirmed — but bringing the focus back to the show’s titular character does George an incredible service.

Quite rightly, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on George through Young Sheldon Season 7. Yet, going forward, this doesn’t have to be the case. Letting George ride his high and find his end off-screen is the definitive ending he and the fans deserve, with each not having to experience the heartbreak of loss more than they need to. Fans are already losing the entire show; why does the knife need to be needlessly twisted? 

While you wait for the next episode, you can catch up with our other Sheldon content, like our Season 7 theories, filming locations, how to watch Season 7 outside the US, and when Season 7 will be coming to Netflix.

You can also check out all the best new TV shows coming out this month.

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