During its heyday, The Big Bang Theory was the most popular sitcom in the world, and the breakout character of the show was Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons. Near the series end, the producers greenlit another show Young Sheldon telling the tale of Sheldon in his tweens living in Texas. The season 4 premiere ofYoung Sheldon connected in a touching manner to The Big Bang Theory. Jim Parsons was joined by Mayim Bialik, who played his wife, Amy, to provide a voiceover narration during young Sheldon's graduation ceremony that revealed the name of their son.
Sheldon: In fact, it was the best graduation party I had ever been to, until the one we had for my son. Leonard Cooper. I wanted his name to be Leonard Nimoy Cooper, but Amy wouldn't let me.
Amy: Be happy I let you name him Leonard."
While adult Sheldon might want to pretend that he named his son after the actor who played Spock, fans of The Big Bang Theory will know the name Leonard was actually a tribute to Leonard Hofstadter, Sheldon's roommate for more than a decade, and the best friend he ever had.
The relationship between Leonard and Sheldon was the lynchpin for the entire The Big Bang Theory universe, so it's nice to see the relationship continue to be honored by the writers. Sheldon's character has always been defined by two things, his undeniable genius in matters of science, and his complete incompetence in matters of socializing.
As Young Sheldon shows, the latter point was a problem for Sheldon in his youth as well, when the fact that he was a tween learning college-level physics made him even more of an outcast. While young Sheldon tries to pretend he is not bothered by his lack of friends, a few revealing moments like his tears over no one coming to his party shows he does care about making friends.
Fortunately, while things might be rough going for young Sheldon when it comes to friendships, the finale of The Big Bang Theory showed things did get better for him. On the day that Sheldon stood beside Amy on the world stage to accept the Nobel prize for Physics, he acknowledged the importance of his friends in his life, including Penny, Howard, Raj, Bernadette, and of course, Leonard, who were right there in the audience to support him.
Now that Young Sheldon is in its fourth season, and Sheldon is preparing to go off to college, there are certain plot points mentioned in The Big Bang Theory with regards to Sheldon's childhood that the show will have to address. These include Sheldon and Missy growing apart, Sheldon's father having an affair that his mother finds out about, and most importantly, the death of Sheldon's father.
It will be interesting to see if Young Sheldon chooses to keep to those story beats or decides to ignore them in favor of continuing the storylines from its previous seasons, which show Sheldon and Missy growing increasingly closer, and the marriage of Sheldon's mother and father being presented as a strong and loving one.