No doubt that grief counselors across America are getting calls or texts over the fact that The Big Bang Theory — the TV show that put the cool into geek — is ending after its forthcoming 12th season concludes next May. Making it even tougher to deal with is the fact that it’s not leaving because of low ratings (it continues to reside right around the top of the charts) or a lack of creative ideas (you’d be hard-pressed to find another sitcom that adapted and changed as much as this one has over the years), but reportedly due to actor Jim Parsons — our very own Dr. Sheldon Cooper — being ready to move on.
And not, it should be emphasized, because of money. In fact, CBS has been pretty open about wanting to keep the show on and had begun negotiating for an additional two seasons. Things had gotten to the point where they were offering each of the actors — between salary and profit participation — a total of $50 million, and everyone was on board… except for Jim, who, bottom line, is allegedly interested in pursuing new career opportunities. And in a sense, who can really blame him? While fellow cast members Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch, and Mayim Bialik may not achieve the same kind of success that they’ve enjoyed on BBT, they will no doubt be able to find work.
Of the entire cast, though, it’s Jim who has the biggest battle ahead of himself in terms of typecasting; of viewers watching him in virtually any role he takes on and still seeing Sheldon there. Think about Leonard Niimoy as Mr. Spock (Sheldon’s hero), who never shook that Star Trek role. Or Christopher Reeve, who first played Superman 40 years ago in Superman: The Movie and is still the Man of Steel all others are measured by. That’s a heavy burden for any actor, and after the series wraps its run next year, it will be up to Jim to try and turn things around.
In 2011, he appeared in the comedy film The Big Year, followed in 2012 by a role in The Muppets and, in 2015, starred on Broadway in the play An Act of God. In June he was seen on the big screen in A Kid Like Jake, which is officially described as follows: “Alex (Claire Danes) and Greg Wheeler (Jim Parsons) struggle with their four-year-old son’s gender identity when they realize he might be transgender. Alex and Greg struggle to figure out what’s best for their son as they apply for him to go to a private kindergarten in New York City.”
If the spin-off prequel series Young Sheldon should continue beyond next year, then the odds are that we would still be able to get a bit of our Jim Parsons/Sheldon Cooper fix as he narrates the story each week (and serves as producer of the show). Now if the spin-off should cease production, we have an idea — pretty much guaranteed that you won’t find anywhere else (’cause our thinking is a little off) — that could keep Big Bang Theory going. What if Leonard, Howard, and Rajesh created a device that could actually snatch young Sheldon (Iain Armitage) from his time period and transport him to the present? If they did that, we — and they — would still have a Sheldon and the show could go on.
Well, it sounded good in the echo chamber of our mind a couple of minutes ago.