Since Sheldon Cooper has always been a remarkably gifted child, despite his wacky quirks that drive everyone around him crazy, it made sense that he would soon outgrow ordinary schooling. In this episode from the first season, Sheldon's principal arranges for him to be sent to a school for the gifted in Dallas.
Hilariously, his teachers, and family, are all a little relieved to have some time away from his exhausting ways. However, in a trope seen in The Big Bang Theory too, no matter how much Sheldon annoys those around him when he's not around, it's also impossible not to miss him too. That's exactly what happens after he leaves, leading his father to impulsively drive to Dallas and bring him home, much to his twin sister Missy's delight.
In the Season 3 premiere, after Sheldon's mentor, Dr. Sturgis, is hospitalized for his psychiatric breakdown, Sheldon's mother, Mary, begins to worry that her brilliant son might be headed down the same path one day. The episode saw Sheldon's early experiments at trying to find ways to maximize his focus and concentration, the kind of things he did as an adult too. However, as a child, younger Sheldon first tried to achieve this by practicing meditation while wearing mittens and a blindfold.
His reasons were understandable since one of his heroes, famed scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla, tried a similar approach by isolating himself and using other sensory deprivation techniques. However, Tesla was also later driven a little mad by his obsessive habits and ended up befriending a pigeon. Meanwhile, Sheldon and Missy's older brother, Georgie, tries to get the family to invest in his latest scheme to buy cheap snow globes from a store that's going out of business and resell them at a profit.
By this point, Sheldon had already developed his famous love of comic books. However, in this hilarious episode from the latter part of Season 1, Sheldon wants to play a video game that Mary feels he isn't old enough for yet. After taking away his comic books when he runs his mouth, Sheldon is enraged and decides to stop living under her thumb and begins to care for himself.
He soon learns that it's difficult being an adult and begins to miss all his mother does for him. The funniest part is of course the contrast between Sheldon and Missy, since while he's getting in trouble for reading comic books, she's the cause of all the problems since she first gets caught reading Cosmo. Both twins learn the value of their mother the hard way when a tornado warning reminds them of it.
Fun fact about Sheldon's mother in the show — Mary Cooper is played by actress Zoe Perry, who's actually the daughter of Laurie Metcalf; the acclaimed actress who among many other stellar roles, played the original Mary Cooper on The Big Bang Theory.
By the end of Season 4 of the show, some of the darker aspects of his childhood that the adult Sheldon Cooper jokes about in The Big Bang Theory began coming home to roost. This episode may not have been one of the funniest, but it was certainly one of the best. By this point Missy is dating, Mary is working late at the church, George is feeling overrun and ignored by his wife, and Sheldon is, well, just being Sheldon.
However, this all leads to a melting pot of emotion in the family that causes division and fights. When Missy gets blamed because Mary takes Sheldon's part as usual, she runs away from home. Thankfully Sheldon tracks her down at a shack in the woods and comforts her. Meanwhile, Mary's treatment of George causes the first spark that possibly pushes him toward another woman.
Much has changed in the Cooper family by Season 6 of the show. In keeping with the anecdotes about his dysfunctional family older Sheldon would sometimes give in The Big Bang Theory, by this point in the show, both his parents are secretly nursing feelings for other people and his father has already developed a heart condition.
In this episode, Missy gets a job at a comic store and uses the knowledge she learned from hearing Sheldon talk about comics to impress people there. Sheldon isn't pleased since he knows she's only feigning interest in them. He later pitches Star Trek ideas to his family but no one is interested. Hilariously, he also hits upon the idea of cryptocurrency decades before it becomes a reality, but again, no one cares and he forgets the idea.
Coming in only the second-ever episode of the show, this was one funny episode that perfectly captured the nuances of the Coopers being a typical patriotic, God-fearing Texan family, who also have a Sheldon. When his mother is worried that he has no friends, Mary is later delighted when he makes a friend named Tam, and insists he invite Tam over for dinner.
However, since Tam is Vietnamese, the family inadvertently acts in a culturally insensitive manner. Tam and Sheldon also cause a stir when their mutual interest in rocketry winds up landing Sheldon on the FBI's watch as he tries to buy uranium.
When Sheldon does his parents' taxes, he comes across a discrepancy linked to a mysterious $300 payment. George forces him to not talk about it and Sheldon's famous anxiety over secret-keeping is born, causing him to go spend the night at Tam's house out of fear of facing his mother.
George and Sheldon's grandmother, Meemaw, get into one of their funniest verbal tussles as it emerges that the mysterious payment was because of a fine she had to pay for a DUI charge even though George was driving at the time. Since her story gets out, Meemaw takes revenge by telling Mary that George once peed in the vegetable garden at their church.
In the finale of Season 5, the Coopers have begun to hit upon hard times. George impulsively quits when his job is offered to Coach Wilkins. This leads him and Mary to start job hunting. Mary later gets a job at the bowling alley with their neighbor Brenda, whom George almost had a marital indiscretion with. Meanwhile, Georgie is going to be a father and gets Meemaw to tag along with him to Mexico to get a supply of cheap cigarettes for resale.
They wind up arrested at the border and have to call George. Sheldon is facing his first experiences with puberty as he gets a pimple and later becomes emotional about a dream that makes him feel like all the adults in his life are miserable. Luckily Missy calms him and gets him to accept the new phase of his life, a phase he ends up embracing by finding his new style when he buys his first Flash t-shirt.
Mary worries that Sheldon is interested in a "demonic" figure when he plays Dungeons & Dragons with Tam. This leads her and Pastor Jeff to push Sheldon toward studying theology, However, it backfires when he begins researching all religions and concludes that none are to his liking.
The episode was hilarious, but also a poignant one for the character as it showed how he eventually became an atheist as an adult, much to his mother's disappointment. He later had a dream that inspired him to start his own religion called "Mathology." According to Sheldon, in Mathology, there's only one deadly sin — being stupid.
In the finale of Season 2, Georgie gets into a war of wills with his father when he starts earning his own money and installs cable for himself. His father gets him back by presenting him with a bill for his services. Sheldon is gutted when no one understands him at school and his birthday party isn't attended by anyone.
He later cries and feels that he will be friendless all his life. The episode and the season end on a delightful note since it's narrated by Jim Parsons, who plays the adult Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, and his final words are, "Thankfully, I was wrong." The scene then cuts to a montage of a younger Leonard, Penny, Howard, Raj, Amy, and Bernadette, and what they were all doing at that exact moment in their own lives.