Young Sheldon’s Series Finale Failed To Justify The Big Bang Theory’s Meemaw Character Change


Although Young Sheldon’s series finale seemed perfectly positioned to explain Meemaw’s character change in The Big Bang Theory, the spinoff’s final episode ended up making this shift less understandable. Young Sheldon’s cast of characters all changed between the spinoff and The Big Bang Theory. Georgie grew up to bitterly resent his little brother, while The Big Bang Theory’s Mary was meaner after Young Sheldon saw her husband, George Sr, die suddenly. Some of these character changes were less clearly justified than others, like Meemaw’s shift from a carefree rebel into a more sedate, stern presence.

For years, Sheldon’s beloved Meemaw was discussed by The Big Bang Theory’s heroes but never seen onscreen. When she finally appeared in season 9, episode 14, “The Meemaw Materialisation,” Meemaw turned out to be a pretty traditional, taciturn presence. Despite this, Young Sheldon portrayed Meemaw as a feckless daredevil who drank heavily, spoke frankly, and ran an illegal gambling room in the back of her laundromat for years. Although Young Sheldon’s series finale could have explained why and when she changed, the spinoff instead seemed to imply that Meemaw would stay the same in the future.

Ironically, Meemaw’s newly stern demeanor in The Big Bang Theory makes less sense after Young Sheldon’s series finale since she took the death of George Sr. in her stride. Meemaw was worried by Mary’s intense reliance on prayer after the traumatic event, and season 7, episode 14, “Memoir,” saw her confront her daughter about her increasingly zealous faith.

Surprisingly, Meemaw decided to live and let live when Mary shut her down, and Sheldon’s grandmother even encouraged him and Missy to get baptized just to appease Mary’s grief.

This didn’t fit her firm, self-serious persona from The Big Bang Theory at all.

Having already gone through a similar tragedy when she lost Mary’s father years earlier, Meemaw seemed confident that Mary, Georgie, Missy, and Sheldon could handle George Sr.’s death. This was a sweet sentiment, but it meant that “Memoir” never explained why Meemaw became so much more reserved and stoic in her later years. Young Sheldon’s finale justified The Big Bang Theory’s George Sr. jokes, but the spinoff’s last outing couldn’t explain what made Meemaw so much less rambunctious in the earlier series. This was ironic considering her role in “Memoir” effectively shaped Mary’s future character arc.

Young Sheldon Season 7 Already Hinted At Meemaw’s Character Change.

Meemaw’s Arrest And Meeting Rhonda Changed Her.

When she confronted her at George Sr.’s grave, Meemaw told Mary she needed to get back to spending time with her kids. Meanwhile, she told the kids that they needed to give their mother’s grief some space. These approaches both backfired badly, with Mary doubling down on her prayer in defiance of Meemaw and Sheldon’s decision to get baptized only strengthening Mary’s faith. Although Young Sheldon season 7 fixed some Meemaw problems, the spinoff’s finale also proved that she was woefully ill-equipped to handle the aftermath of a tragedy like George Sr.’s death.


The obvious conclusion of this character arc would have been Meemaw taking a more active role in helping out Sheldon, Missy, and Georgie after George Sr.’s death, since Mary was busy praying.

Earlier in season 7, Young Sheldon had already hinted at the potential causes of Meemaw’s character shift before The Big Bang Theory began. Meemaw seemingly calmed down after her arrest, while her strict parole officer Rhonda forced her to take things seriously for once. The obvious conclusion of this character arc would have been Meemaw taking a more active role in helping out Sheldon, Missy, and Georgie after George Sr.’s death, since Mary was busy praying. Through this, Meemaw could have shed her blasé attitude and become more like Mary in time for her role in The Big Bang Theory.

Young Sheldon’s Series Finale Missed An Opportunity For The Big Bang Theory’s Meemaw.

The Spinoff Could Have Justified Meemaw’s Big Bang Theory Persona.

If Meemaw had sided with Mary and become more devout or if she had taken over Mary’s role as a parental figure to Georgie, Sheldon, and Missy, Young Sheldon’s series finale could have explained Meemaw’s new personality in The Big Bang Theory. Instead, she stayed the same, so it still seems bizarre that she was so different in the earlier series. Meemaw didn’t even break up with her long-term boyfriend Dale, which seemed like it could have been another potential catalyst for her less outgoing older self.

Although Young Sheldon almost justified Meemaw’s character shift with Rhonda’s role and her arrest, the show dropped the ball in its last outing. A few tweaks to Meemaw’s attitude, especially as a result of such a huge and unexpected tragedy, would have made her stiffer demeanor in The Big Bang Theory feel entirely earned. When the series did so much to set this up, it felt like a missed opportunity for “Memoir” not to take the story to its logical conclusion. Sadly, Young Sheldon’s finale ignored this setup for The Big Bang Theory’s version of Meemaw.