Is Young Sheldon's Mary Done With The Church? Here’s What The Executive Producer Says

Mary Cooper in Young Sheldon on CBS
(Image credit: CBS)

Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Young Sheldon episode “Four Hundred Cartons of Undeclared Cigarettes and a Niblingo.” Read at your own risk!

Young Sheldon has returned for Season 6, and when reflecting back on Season 5, there is a lot to revisit. Georgie and Meemaw were detained at the Mexican border for trying to bootleg cigarettes, all so Georgie could support his child on the way. We also saw some follow-up on the church congregation learning of Georgie’s situation, and shunning Mary and the family as a result. The real surprise came when Mary stormed out of the church after rude behavior by fellow churchgoers. Is the devout Mary Cooper done with the church?  

Executive producer Steve Holland confirmed that while we know Mary will eventually become as religious as she’s ever been in The Big Bang Theory, things will be different in Young Sheldon. Holland spoke to TVLine about Mary’s exit and how long it will continue: 

It’s sort of the through line [of Season 6]. We know from Big Bang that Mary finds her way back to the church and ends up more religious than ever, but it gives us a chance to tell other stories and show some other sides to Mary’s character. She’s not just a religious scold. There’s a lot more to her, and we’re having a really good time exploring that.

Young Sheldon is making another big change to a character, but not one that breaks canon. Instead, the series is trying to show another side to Mary Cooper, and that she’s more than a "fire and brimstone" devout Christian. Fans will likely be happy to see Mary get some added dimension to her character and a chance to rebel a bit against her religious ways. 

Speaking of characters breaking from their usual tendencies, Young Sheldon threw a real curveball when Sheldon stood to call out the hypocrisy of the church congregation in shunning his mother. The moment seemed odd, considering that Sheldon is a noted atheist in both shows, but Steve Holland noted it’s about more than religion:

He doesn’t care about religion, but he cares deeply about his mother and the way that she’s been treated. Sheldon is in his own world a lot [of the time] and says whatever he is thinking, whether or not it comes off rude. We’re always looking for those moments where you see that he is also really loyal and really caring. I think it goes a long way when you see that, deep down, there’s a lot of love there — especially between he and his mom.

Sheldon Cooper may never be in a spot where he’s considered “religious,” but fans know he’s a mama’s boy through and through. Given that, it’s little surprise Sheldon decided to stand up for his mother, or that he stood up to the church congregation. 

The episode had some laughs, but by and large continues with the more serious tone Young Sheldon first adopted in Season 5. It’s fitting considering all the characters are growing up, but also because we know the clock is ticking towards George Sr.’s untimely affair and his eventual death. The fun is going to come to a grinding halt with both of those incidents anyway, so it seems like a good idea to pepper in this seriousness until those fateful days. Season 6 is already off to a heavy start (and features more t-shirts), so this could be the season when it all happens. 

Young Sheldon airs on CBS on Thursdays at 8:00 pm EST. It’s one of many great shows airing during this fall season, but with so many arriving each and every day, it can be hard to keep track. Stay up to date with our 2022 TV Schedule, which is loaded with all the new and returning shows worth watching or recording in the coming months. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.