Why ‘Young Sheldon’ series finale won’t be George Sr.’s funeral

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Young Sheldon, season 7, episode 12, “A New Home and a Traditional Texas Torture.”

The Big Bang Theory fans knew it was coming, and it was only a matter of time before Young Sheldon finally went there with Sheldon’s (Iain Armitage) father George Sr.’s (Lance Barber) death. But showrunner Steve Holland tells Entertainment Weekly that, while the show will deal with the tragic milestone in one of Thursday’s episodes, the series finale won’t be George Sr.’s funeral.

The original sitcom previously revealed that George Sr. died when Sheldon was 14 years old, and since Sheldon reached 14 in the prequel series, viewers were anxiously awaiting the character’s death. It finally came at the very end of last week’s episode, “A New Home and a Traditional Texas Torture,” when Mary (Zoe Perry) learns her husband suffered a heart attack at work and didn’t survive.

“We always knew that George Sr.’s death was important for us to deal with, not just because it was Big Bang canon, but because it’s such an important piece of these characters and also how it impacts their lives moving forward and how it changes Sheldon and Mary,” Holland tells EW. “That was definitely a thing that we wanted to deal with this season, and then it was just figuring out when that will happen.”

Iain Armitage.

Sonja Flemming/CBS


Because audiences knew that the major death was coming, the creative team wanted to find a way to do it while still surprising viewers. “We thought, ‘If we do it earlier than they’re thinking, maybe we can catch people off guard,'” Holland says.

The showrunner explains that the funeral was actually going to be the series finale until creator Chuck Lorre stepped in with a crucial note. “As we were talking about it, it was Chuck who said, ‘This show has been such a positive family show,'” Holland reveals. “‘Let’s not leave the audience wallowing in grief. Let’s give them a little bit of ramp out of it, not do that in the finale, and give the finale room to have a little bit more hope to it.’ That’s how those last two episodes shifted out.”

Thursday’s block of episodes kicks off with “Funeral,” and then continues with the series finale, “Memoir,” in which Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik reprise their Big Bang characters. Holland says they’re “the best episodes” they’ve ever done. “The funeral scenes were the most difficult [to film],” he adds. “There was a lot of tears in the room writing it. There was a lot of tears on set shooting it. There’s been a lot of tears in editing, watching the funeral over and over again. I was really proud of the scripts, but watching this cast perform them was just breathtaking and broke my heart. I hope the cast gets recognized for it — I mean, I think they’ve been great for seven years, but what they do in these last two episodes is phenomenal.”

Mayim Bialik, Jim Parsons.

Bill Inoshita / 2024 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


Ending Young Sheldon after seven years is a difficult feat on its own, but Holland says it also feels like the end of an even longer era when factoring in the legacy of The Big Bang Theory.

“It’s weird — I’ve been lucky enough to now do two long-running shows, and ending them is always a tricky and emotional thing,” he says. “It’s sad. It’s a little bit of a relief to have gotten to the end and feel like we landed the ship really strongly. I’m really incredibly proud of the way we’ve ended this show, and hopefully, audiences will feel that way, too. Hopefully they won’t just be devastated — hopefully there’s some laughs and some hope in there as well.”

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Young Sheldon airs its final two episodes on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.