Mary always criticized her husband in The Big Bang Theory, but she never talked about George’s cheating scandal – and Young Sheldon explains why.
Warning! SPOILERS for Young Sheldon season 5, episode 6
Why Mary Cooper (Zoe Perry) never brought up George Cooper Sr.’s (Lance Barber) cheating in The Big Bang Theory may have been explained in Young Sheldon. Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) parents supposedly had an imploding marriage. Every time his mom visited him in Pasadena, she never missed a chance to talk bad about her husband despite him being dead for years. Suffice to say, Mary was very angry at him. Interestingly, however, she never mentioned anything about George’s extramarital affair in The Big Bang Theory.
It was established early on in The Big Bang Theory that the Cooper patriarch was a negligent father. Both Mary (Laurie Metcalf) and Sheldon regularly commented on how stupid or lazy he was. Arguably, the worst story about him was revealed later on when Sheldon shared with Penny (Kaley Cuoco) that he caught his dad having a sexual relationship with another woman when he was 13 years old. Ever since then, fans have been curious about the whole incident, especially since it gave birth to the genius’ signature knocking ways. There’s an assumption that Young Sheldon will eventually tackle this plotline properly. However, aside from revealing what exactly happened that day, it could shed light on how it went down from Mary’s perspective.
As hinted by Young Sheldon season 5, episode 6 titled “Money Laundering and a Cascade of Hormones,” George may not be the only one who had been unfaithful in the Coopers’ marriage. In the outing, Mary started having a crush on Youth Pastor Rob (Dan Byrd), to the point that she even dreamed of sleeping with her younger colleague. The attraction was confirmed the next morning when she gave in to her impulses and started checking him out at church, implying that her feelings may not just fade away that quickly. Mary understandably feels bad about this, but she can’t do anything to stop herself either. At this point, it’s unclear if something ever comes out of this new plotline, but just having these illicit thoughts could be the reason why Mary didn’t talk about George’s infidelity in The Big Bang Theory. She knew that she, too, at least thought about being in an affair. Given how religious she is, fantasizing about another man was enough to make her feel very guilty.
What’s so interesting about this new Young Sheldon narrative is that the sitcom doesn’t seem to have any issues explicitly depicting Mary’s attraction towards Youth Pastor Rob. In The Big Bang Theory, there was no mention of her cheating while she was married to George, and considering her strong faith, it sounded all the more improbable. Meanwhile, the prequel has been very careful about how they depict George’s expected infidelity. For years, it has danced around the plotline due to its dark nature, not to mention the fact that George has been nothing but a decent family man in the spin-off. There hasn’t been any indication that he had been attracted to other women. Young Sheldon may even be trying too hard to justify his future affair by making him more empathetic. If Mary ultimately cheats with Youth Pastor Rob or anyone else in the future, it’s curious if it will impact how her husband’s affair is tackled in the prequel.
Depending on how Young Sheldon paces its storylines, it’s possible that Mary could engage in an extramarital relationship even before George does. That’s assuming that he’s not secretly seeing Brenda Sparks (Melissa Peterman) behind his family’s back. If this is the case, then it makes perfect sense why out of George’s flaws, Mary wouldn’t bring up his cheating in The Big Bang Theory.