Young Sheldon: Why There's A Cow In The Opening Sequence

Here's why a cow appears in the opening sequence of Young Sheldon. In the spinoff prequel to The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon recounts the childhood experiences of prodigy Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage). Set in the late 1980s, the show sees nine-year-old Sheldon attend high school in Medford, Texas, while navigating real life with his above-average intelligence and social ineptitude. Young Sheldon tries to encapsulate all of its titular character’s personality quirks, which are also exhibited in its opening sequence.

Young Sheldon’s title sequence plays to the 2003 Steve Burns song “Mighty Little Man.” The intro first shows Sheldon’s cowboy boots walking on desert ground, presumably in Texas, then pans over his outfit, consisting of a checkered shirt, bow tie, and shorts. Sheldon, who takes after his dad George (Lance Barber), looks proudly far ahead, but his reverie is disturbed by a cow, forcing him to move away from it before posing triumphantly once more. In some episodes, instead of a cow, a tumbleweed rolls towards him, prompting the same reaction from Sheldon.

Related: Young Sheldon Creates A Big Bang Theory Season 1 Plot Hole

At first glance, the opening sequence might be a departure from the sitcom's themes, especially with the cow’s presence in the scene. However, the clip fulfills a bigger purpose. First, it establishes the series’ setting, and as Texas has the largest cattle population in the United States, cows are a common sight in the area. Moreover, Young Sheldon showcases Sheldon’s personality. Despite his intellectual stature, he is afraid of most things, particularly animals — a trait carried over into The Big Bang Theory, as well. Regardless, he does not see his fear as a weakness, because he still stands tall after being scared away by the cow.

The song playing in Young Sheldon’s opening sequence also hints at a deeper meaning. Performed by former Blue’s Clues host Steve Burns, “Mighty Little Man” acknowledges the persona’s strength and potential to accomplish anything. As the lyrics, “I am a Mighty Little Man” are repeated in the background, Sheldon moves away from the cow. This offers a little ironic yet humorous moment of humanizing a child prodigy like Sheldon. Apart from that, it displays Sheldon as a fish out of water — a forward-thinking, citified child in the middle of rural, cowboy Texas.

However, starting with Young Sheldon season 3, the opening sequence includes the entire Cooper family. Together, they stand in the desert and simultaneously step away from the cow. Although it may have been simply done for a change of pace in the show, the revamped title sequence proves how willing Sheldon’s family is to adjust for and give their support to him and his endeavors. As Young Sheldon progresses, its opening sequence might still change, signaling the change in its characters, but the cow will always be a significant presence.

More: Young Sheldon Undermines The Big Bang Theory’s Happy Ending

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