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Young Sheldon - A Research Study and Czechoslovakian Wedding Pastries - Review - Poking and Prodding

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A chance to collect a little extra spending money turns into a learning opportunity for the Coopers, and the spotlight escapes Sheldon to shine for a moment on Missy. Dr. Sturgis brings up a study that a university is doing on twins, with compensation.

George Cooper Sr. is quite the fibber, as he tries to persuade Mary to let the twins take part in the study. He mentions putting aside the money for college, but George really hopes to use it on a boat. There are bodies of water in Texas, you know. Mary is reassured there will be "no poking and prodding" and gives in. Sheldon is euphoric at getting to take tests and be studied. Missy doesn't like the idea of being compared to her brother. Her concerns are swept under the rug with a Dairy Queen bribe. Dr. Sturgis reminisces about the time his parents took him to be studied, because they thought he was "clinically insane." This is off to a good start.

Once at the university, the doctors speak with Mary, George, and Meemaw first to get insight into the twins' upbringing. They ask if there was anything unusual about her pregnancy. That question prompts this divine exchange.

"Nothing at all."
"You cried for seven months."
"Those were tears of joy."

The twins sit down to take a variety of tests, as their parents and Meemaw watch on a monitor. They don't have two monitors, so they have to switch back and forth between the twins, a device that works well for comic timing and framing. Sheldon is almost intolerably smug about the entire process.
"Kudos on the question 'Which train gets to St. Louis first?" He chirps that out matter-of-factly, and it's unclear if he's making a genuine compliment or being sarcastic. It's probably a mix of both. He proudly puts his smarts on display. Missy, however, approaches the situation differently. She asks personal questions of the doctor interviewing her, making style recommendations and outing the other doctor's crush.
"When you're not looking, he stares at your tushy."

The tests take a turn when they move away from facts to more psychological and personality-related elements. The twins are shown a series of pictures and asked to analyze what is happening. Sheldon reacts with disbelief and derision that he is being shown such silliness. He is frustrated when asked to theorize what is happening in the pictures and becomes rude. Sheldon demands to know why they aren't measuring his intelligence like they were with the written tests.
"There are different kinds of intelligence." The researcher counters. Iain Armitage perfectly times his reaction and delivery. Sheldon is positively aghast. He can barely speak, just managing to splutter out:

Missy, though, leans in and carefully studies the facial expressions and body language. She provides a rather likely interpretation for what is going on in each character in the picture's head and even points out a picture of a monkey not shown with the others. This must be the Meemaw monkey Missy figures.
"She's not at the party, so she must be bowling or dead." Looking at the monkey family and the succeeding pictures prompts Missy to make another observation. She talks about how her dad does football with Georgie, so "they're like a a team." And her mom and Meemaw always fuss over Sheldon, so they're a team.
"So no one's on your team," the researcher asks gently. Missy isn't really sad, as much as resigned to this. Earlier, Mary talked about how Missy never caused any problems like the boys did. Drama free, she fell through the cracks. Raegan Revord really sells this scene with only a few seconds to show Missy's vulnerability and loneliness.

Of course, with the parents watching, Mary reacts in the moment by letting Missy pick the restaurant for the family to eat at. Sheldon whines about not getting to choose, but Mary puts him in his place. It's satisfying, even knowing that this won't last. Sheldon and Georgie will always suck up the air in the room with their drama and antics, and Missy capable of taking care of herself will get overlooked. It's realistic and bittersweet for being so. But that's when Young Sheldon is at its best, when it looks at dilemmas like this through a humorous filter.

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