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Young Sheldon - Legalese and a Whole Hoo-Ha - Review

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After a brief hiatus, Young Sheldon returned this week with its fall finale, which left a lot to be desired and did not give viewers a lot to look forward to in the new year. The intent may not have been for it to be a standalone episode, but it definitely felt like one. Sheldon’s character arc has been separate from those of his family members since last season, which has resulted in the other storylines becoming much more compelling. This episode felt like the writer’s were trying to bring the focus back to Sheldon, by centering the episode around his grant database idea, shelving the other storylines for the week. The problem with this is that Sheldon’s database idea is not that interesting, which made for a bit of a snooze fest. Thankfully, Connie, Mandy and Georgie had a sub-plot in this episode that provided some much needed comedic relief. 

The episode started with President Hagemeyer attempting to monetize Sheldon’s grant database idea. She meets with Mary and George to discuss the idea and the legal contract, but the Coopers are not impressed that Sheldon will only get 10% of the profits, with the rest going to the University. Mary and George visit their own lawyer, who is exactly what you’d expect. His office is above a Chinese food restaurant, and he admits that he doesn’t typically handle Intellectual Property claims since he is an accident claim attorney. Meanwhile, Sheldon is upset with all the back and forth between his parents and the University. He just wants to get the database started and focus on Science. Adding more drama to the mix is Dr. Linkletter, who decides he wants some of the profit since it was his conversation with Sheldon that led to the database discovery. Dr. Hagemeyer is an expert at dealing with Sheldon, and knows all the right things to say to get him to agree with her. She tells him that the legalities are standing in the way of Sheldon being able to start the database. Hagemeyer gets Sheldon to talk his parents into agreeing to the 10%, by offering to name a Science building at the university after him. However, Mary and George are seeing dollar signs and they attempt to talk Sheldon into agreeing with them by manipulating him using their proven methods, including adding extra cut up hotdogs into his spaghetti. 

Later in the episode, the Coopers and their lawyer meet with President Hagemeyer and her attorney to sign the contract. Sheldon once again affirms that he does not care about the money, that he just wants to focus on Science and storms out of the meeting. Mary follows him and softens, telling him that he should do what he feels is best. Sheldon states that he is going to find private investors to fund his project instead of the university. The whole idea that Sheldon does not care about the legal aspect of the project is completely contradictory to the Sheldon we came to know in the Big Bang Theory. Sheldon loves legal documents and contracts, in fact the episode started with a voiceover of present day Sheldon talking about how much he loves “legalese,” which is the language of the law. To write him as upset by the legalities of the database project is not only contradictory to his entire character, but nonsensical. The entire storyline with the grant database is uninteresting and certainly not compelling enough to captivate viewers for an entire episode. I found myself wanting to fast forward Sheldon’s scenes to get to the best part of the episode, the sub-plot with Georgie, Connie and Mandy. 

Thank goodness for the sub-plot in this episode! Georgie, Connie and Mandy provided the comedic element that this episode so desperately needed. The writer's choice to focus on the control that the church has over the small town of Medford is timely and accurate. Mandy has fully accepted Connie and Georgie’s casino business, and is working at the video store. Mrs. Howard, a regular church goer, comes in to return the movie “Basic Instinct,” claiming it contains sexual content and should be banned. Of course the news that the video store is carrying inappropriate movies spreads to Pastor Jeff, who confronts Connie at her home. As viewers well know, Connie is not one to back down from a fight and this is a fight she is committed to, considering the way the church has treated her daughter. Pastor Jeff stages a protest outside the video store, and Connie hilariously uses a fire extinguisher to get rid of the parishioners. Georgie is not interested in fighting with the church, since he feels that this could expose the real money maker- the gambling room behind the video store. Unfortunately for Georgie, Mandy has taken Connie’s side and the fighting continued. 

Connie visits Pastor Jeff and confronts him for having his own copy of Basic Instinct, a direct contradiction of what he is fighting against. Pastor Jeff tells Connie he will come to the video store and destroy all of the inappropriate movies, which only prompts Connie to order even more dirty films to add to the store’s collection. When the media shows up at the video store, Connie has no choice but to pull the films from the shelves. This, however, does not mean that Connie is backing down from the fight. She goes through the store’s records and finds out that Pastor Jeff’s wife and other members of the congregation, have a history of renting inappropriate films. This finally gets Pastor Jeff to back down off his high horse and stop looking for trouble when his own closet is full of skeletons. The entire storyline was a timely example of censorship and the control that churches have on censoring content that they deem inappropriate, which is especially true in small towns like the fictional town of Medford. The writers did a good job of keeping it light with the comedic element and Annie Potts’ brilliant comedic talent. 

This episode was certainly a miss, which is disappointing since the season started off strong. Hopefully the writer’s will get back to the storylines that the viewers really want to see when the show returns in January. The reality is that Sheldon is not the draw-in for a lot of regular viewers anymore, but that is not a negative thing. The writer’s have done a great job of developing the other characters and their story arc’s so well, that Sheldon doesn’t need to be the focus anymore. We just need the show runners to realize this and be okay with it. Over to you, Young Sheldon fans: What were your thoughts on the episode? Do you think Sheldon’s story arc is interesting enough to carry an entire episode? What do you hope to see when the show returns in the winter? Let me know your thoughts below and follow me on Twitter @miss_c_almeida.

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