While Young Sheldon season 6 is due to kill off George Sr. soon, a particularly moving scene in The Big Bang Theory's spinoff has proved once and for all that the series needs to retcon this storyline. Over the years, Young Sheldon has gradually moved away from The Big Bang Theory's canon. As a single-camera family sitcom with no laugh track, Young Sheldon was already a radical departure from the multi-camera hang-out setup of The Big Bang Theory when the spinoff debuted. However, as Young Sheldon increasingly leaned into the complexity of the Cooper clan, the spinoff distinguished itself even further from the tone of The Big Bang Theory.
This has not always been a good thing for the spinoff. Young Sheldon proved The Big Bang Theory wasted Missy by turning the original show's one-note character into a fully fleshed-out, engaging heroine, while the spinoff also proved with many heartwarming storylines centered around the irascible, but ultimately decent, George Sr. that Sheldon's relationship with his father was more complicated than he ever conceded as an adult. Of all the story details shared by both Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory, however, it is George Sr.'s fate that underlines the biggest issue with the canon of the two shows.
The Big Bang Theory's canon states that George Sr. died sometime in Sheldon's early teens. However, in Young Sheldon season 6, episode 13, "A Frat Party, a Sleepover and the Mother of All Blisters," George Sr. and Mary's sweet conversation when the pair could not sleep due to worrying about Missy proved that the spinoff cannot kill off George so soon. Paige returning in Young Sheldon afforded Missy and Sheldon a rare opportunity to work together, but the episode's most disarming moment came when George Sr. and Mary reminisced on their parenting struggles, and Mary reminded George Sr. he could soon look forward to becoming a grandfather.
Canonically, George Sr. will likely not survive to see the birth of Mandy and Georgie's child. However, this Young Sheldon scene proved that the spinoff should change continuity. When The Big Bang Theory established how young Sheldon was when his father died, it would have been impossible for the show's creators to predict how compelling a character George Sr. would become in Young Sheldon. Elements like the Young Sheldon Jim Parsons narration show just how much the spinoff's earlier seasons leaned into its connection to The Big Bang Theory, but George Sr.'s more complicated, surprisingly sympathetic role proves that the series has since changed its tone entirely.
Young Sheldon's biggest laughs and, crucially, most poignant moments of drama come from the interplay between Cooper family members. Mary and George Sr.'s attempts to keep their marriage together, Sheldon's struggles with his siblings, and Georgie's attempts to prove himself are all at the dramatic core of Young Sheldon, and killing off a central figure of the spinoff like George Sr. would throw this balance into disarray. Whether it is the Meemaw relationship explaining Sheldon having trust issues later in life or Georgie's attempts to impress his parents eventually curdling into bitterness, the spinoff has set up stories that pay off years later in The Big Bang Theory.
However, this does not mean that Young Sheldon season 6 must stick to the canon established by The Big Bang Theory if this results in jeopardizing the spinoff's own plots. Prioritizing the lore of an earlier show over the story of an existing series could be a fatal mistake for Young Sheldon season 6 if the spinoff kills George Sr. Already, Young Sheldon has proven that George Sr. was a more understanding father and a better husband than Sheldon and Mary claimed. While killing him off could be a sad justification for Sheldon having a bleak worldview in The Big Bang Theory, keeping George Sr. around would be a much more palatable alternative.
Since Young Sheldon has never followed its predecessor's canon to the letter, there is no reason season 6 needs to be when George Sr. dies. The spinoff could instead keep him around a little longer by rewriting The Big Bang Theory's canon. It would be entirely in character for the emotionally detached Sheldon to forget something as monumental as the time of his father's death, and this could allow the spinoff to utilize George Sr. for more storylines before ending his time in the series. Not only couldThe Big Bang Theory's spinoff get away with this, Young Sheldon needs to do it for the sake of its characters.