The Big Bang Theory has become known for running gags, ranging from "Bazinga!" to nobody sitting in Sheldon's seat on the couch. One of the most beloved running jokes is the use of "Soft Kitty" to soothe characters when they're sick. The song was introduced by Sheldon when he had a cold as something from his childhood his mom used to sing to make him feel better. Plenty characters have sung the song, but we never got to see its origin. Luckily, Young Sheldon was able to give a look at a sick pre-teen Sheldon and his mom. Take a look!
Kudos to young Iain Armitage for pulling off the sick look so well! Sure, he may not have had to flex his acting muscles all that much, but how many of us know that feeling of being too miserable and uncomfortable to move other than to speak? If I didn't know better, I'd almost suspect he was a method actor who managed to give himself a temperature of 102 degrees for the sake of the episode.
It was certainly sweet to see Sheldon in this video actually letting his mom get through the whole song without interrupting her. On The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon frequently stops his friends' renditions halfway through the first verse because he thinks they're doing something wrong; his mom back when he was a little boy apparently gave him high standards.
All things considered, this origin of "Soft Kitty" isn't really something that would have worked on The Big Bang Theory rather than Young Sheldon. The absence of a live studio audience and/or laugh track makes the song feel more heartfelt and less like a punchline, which is truly fitting for a tune that has stuck with Sheldon into adulthood.
Interestingly, there was once a time when it wasn't guaranteed that The Big Bang Theory could continue to use "Soft Kitty," let alone pass it over to Young Sheldon. Back in 2015, the daughters of the poet who wrote the original rhyme on which "Soft Kitty" is based filed a lawsuit, intending to claim a share of the show's profits and prohibit Big Bang from ever using the song again. Fortunately for the show (and lovers of "Soft Kitty"), the lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in 2017, and "Soft Kitty" can continue on both The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon.
Check out a handy montage of the many times "Soft Kitty" has been featured on The Big Bang Theory and young Sheldon:
You can catch new episodes of Young Sheldon on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS. Hopefully we'll get to see a crossover of sorts with The Big Bang Theory. Season 2 of Young Sheldon is already officially on the way. If you're still in the market for other shows now and in the not-too-distant future, be sure to swing by our midseason TV premiere guide.