“Endings Are Always Really Difficult”: How “Young Sheldon” At Last Reached That Heartbreaking Moment

“Endings Are Always Really Difficult”: SPOILER ALERT: The following interview covers the events of the May 10 Paramount+ streaming of the “Young Sheldon” episode “A New Home and a Traditional Texas Torture.”

Saying farewell to one of “Young Sheldon’s” original cast members wasn’t any easier even though we knew it would happen because it was hinted at on “The Big Bang Theory.” The Cooper family learned that their curmudgeon patriarch George Cooper (Lance Barber) had died of a heart attack in the closing seconds of the second of two episodes that aired back-to-back on May 9.

"Endings Are Always Really Difficult": How "Young Sheldon" At Last Reached That Heartbreaking Moment

“Endings Are Always Really Difficult”: The fate of George passing away at this stage of Sheldon Cooper’s journey does have roots in “The Big Bang Theory,” where we were told that adult Sheldon (Jim Parsons, who plays “Young Sheldon” and will co-star with Maim Bialik in the finale episode next week) lost his father when he was fourteen years old. That is the age of prodigy Sheldon (Iain Armitage) in the prequel series, and although producers had promised that this significant death would be covered in the show’s last season, they had not specified when it would really occur.

Having suffered this devastating loss, “Young Sheldon” will now bid farewell to the rest of the cast (though its spin-off “Georgie and Mandy’s First Marriage” is scheduled to air this fall on CBS) and send Sheldon off to his future at Caltech in back-to-back episodes airing on May 16. Executive producer Steve Holland describes the way we ended this episode as being quite poignant. Doing it made me feel something. The characters are experiencing strong emotions. Reliving it is emotional.

Holland also discusses how the writers determined how to depict George’s passing, how Barber reacted to learning that his character was dying, and what additional details from “The Big Bang Theory” needed to be included.

You guys finished “The Big Bang Theory” and did this before. But was scoring every point you desired before the series ended really difficult?

“Endings Are Always Really Difficult”: It’s never easy, and I believe endings are always quite tough. There is a lot of expectation on the endings, so eventually you have to set aside what you believe the public wants to see and concentrate just on the conclusion you believe is good, hoping that they would share your opinion. Because we had a strike-shortened season this year, we had to hit all we intended to in 14 episodes rather than 22. At the end of the day, though, I don’t think we missed anything we wanted to do.

"Endings Are Always Really Difficult": How "Young Sheldon" At Last Reached That Heartbreaking Moment

“Endings Are Always Really Difficult”: Since you’ve been questioned about it for the last seven years, preparing George’s death, did you guys know this is how you wanted to play it? Or was that something you kept going back and forth on?

We always knew we were going to confront it this season. We always thought we were going to get to the funeral this season. And we never wanted to see George die on screen because we knew it would happen off screen. It was just a question of when. There was a version of this, as we talked about it early on, where it would have been:

The ending would have been the death and the burial. I remember it was Chuck [Lorre, executive producer] who stated, “This is mostly a positive, uplifting show. Let’s not leave the audience deep in their pain. Let’s watch the family start to pull itself back together, and let’s end with a little hope.” So then that re-shifted when we were going to do it.

And then secondly, simply because we know some people are anticipating it, I know there’s a lot of speculation about whether it’s going to happen or not going to happen, but people who know “Big Bang” are expecting it. We wanted to do it in a way that was hopefully a bit shocking. So that’s why it happens at the end of [Episode 12] – we thought maybe we might catch folks off guard. Even though they know it’s going to arrive, maybe they won’t see it coming then.

“Endings Are Always Really Difficult”: Touching on “Big Bang,” we’ve known that George died when Sheldon is 14, but were there other elements from the show that you had to live up to?

It was essentially only his age. To tell the truth, not even the “Big Bang” canon is perfectly consistent. It leveled off. It was fourteen years ago, and we also know that Sheldon leaves Georgie and the rest of the family behind to mourn and immediately heads to Caltech. We knew those two bits.

"Endings Are Always Really Difficult": How "Young Sheldon" At Last Reached That Heartbreaking Moment

“Endings Are Always Really Difficult”: Given that Lance Barber anticipated something like this would happen, was the talk difficult?

He has known George Sr. had an expiration date from the start of the program. We somewhat slowed down time. We extended it, in fact, because Raegan and Iain, our real-life cast members, are sixteen years old. To keep Lance alive as long as we could, we extended one year into a few seasons. Yet he was aware of this approaching.

Although I believe that being the final season made it a little easier for him to know that he wouldn’t be missing any future seasons, he was excellent because he truly wanted to be there.

Episode 12 finds George with an opportunity to coach at a college that would take him and his family to Houston. What did that narrative reveal about the family and the character?

I believe George was awarded a small victory. He turned down a comparable offer in an episode from perhaps Season 2 since the family wasn’t ready. It was to express gratitude, for example. All he had given up for the family, and perhaps finally things were beginning to work out for him.

“Endings Are Always Really Difficult”: Knowing how the episode would conclude and that there will be another one about something else made it feel like a decent kind of bait and switch. It also makes it hurt a little bit more because, at last, things are going well for them. With the exception of Sheldon, who can be a little conceited, of course, we really wanted to see him triumph and recognize what he had given up for his family and them kind of rally around him.

Talk to me about the last time George was seen alive by the family. He’s just going to go to work like any other morning, nothing spectacular. Why?

“Endings Are Always Really Difficult”: We discussed that a great deal. It was remarkable how much labor we put into a scenario where nothing very fascinating happened, and we continued making sure that remained the case. We gave a lot of care to the fact that, coming into these events, you are unaware of their significance. These are only significant events that you realize in hindsight. And dad getting up to go to work happens every day. Nobody has any cause to pause and consider how unique this moment is. It simply seemed really real, and we also believed that going ahead it left them feeling a little bit more guilty for not appreciating those times.

"Endings Are Always Really Difficult": How "Young Sheldon" At Last Reached That Heartbreaking Moment

“Endings Are Always Really Difficult”: We even backed out where no one bids him farewell. Nobody got a moment since we were constantly removing stuff from the scene. When he offers Missy a ride to school, she replies she will take the bus. Sheldon barely looks up. Mary is pressing him to make sure he won’t be running late later. Nobody even bids him goodnight.

In episode 712, we see a handful of the school’s teachers and Sheldon’s childhood friend Tam (Ryan Phuong) return. Was much discussion about who you would bring back?

Ay, simper. Given how significant they have been to the program, there were undoubtedly some characters we wanted to honor. Bring back Jason Alexander, who we adored who played Sheldon’s teacher Gene Lundy in five episodes, would have been wonderful. It made no sense in the narrative and certain things just didn’t work out practically.

But Tam had played a significant role in the narrative, working with Sheldon’s friend to preserve “Big Bang” canon when Sheldon leaves for Caltech and Tam stays behind with his fiancée. Making an effort to imply to Sheldon that they are still great buddies. Then Mr. Givens, who is played by the wonderful Brian Štěpánek.

Naturally, Missy, Mary, and Connie lose it right away in the final scene of the show when they learn that George has passed away. Was there much talk, though, regarding Sheldon’s response. Or was that an obvious decision considering the guy and his emotional management style?

“Endings Are Always Really Difficult”: We understood Sheldon was not an outwardly expressive guy and that he would absorb things inwardly. It was therefore essentially a matter of minutiae, such as whether he was standing or sitting previously. Getting the precise moment for him required a great deal of fine tuning those little nuances. But no, the character was always designed with the idea that he would not publicly acknowledge his loss.

Given that they had all knew this momentous day was coming, was it difficult for Iain Armitage to simply let go?

Because each person was interpreting the event differently, it was fascinating. We were also approaching the stage in the production of the performance where we were entering the sequence of lasts as it was coming to a finish. Everyone had had their final scene with Lance, and a great deal of real-life sorrow and feelings about the show were emerging in many forms. Raegan sobbed uncontrollably during the rehearsal of the scene [when they learn George had passed away].

"Endings Are Always Really Difficult": How "Young Sheldon" At Last Reached That Heartbreaking Moment


“Endings Are Always Really Difficult”: And I believe Ian was attempting to maintain a lighthearted attitude—which is, oddly, a little Sheldon. Unlike several of the other characters, he was not allowing himself to become mired in the pain. Observing them all process the event was fascinating. It was nearly more difficult for them to hold back their tears in the early going of the scene than it was for them to cry during the difficult sections.

Expectations for the last two episodes, which will air on Thursday of next week?

The Coopers, you know, have to work over their loss of George Sr. Sheldon also has to be ready to start his academic adventure at Caltech in California.

Article Source variety

About Arthur

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *