Iain Armitage, the sweet 9-year-old star of The Big Bang Theory spin-off Young Sheldon, doesn’t have much time to watch television. He’s busy starring in the No. 1 new comedy of the fall, going to school (on set), playing with his friends, and reading books instead.
The young actor spoke to Rotten Tomatoes and a small group of reporters on the Cooper family’s front porch (spoiler: it’s located in a soundstage in Burbank, California), where he shared what he’s watching, what he’s reading, and his favorite subject in school.
First things first: Despite starring in one of the biggest new shows of the season, “I don’t really watch that much TV,” he told Rotten Tomatoes. “The extent of my TV is My Little Pony and Mysteries at the Museum.”
Books, on the other hand, he’s got plenty of time for.
“I love The Chronicles of Narnia series. I love Harry Potter books,” he said. “There’s a series called Magic Shop that I’m going to read. There’s another series that I’m going to read soon. I love those kinds of books.”
Armitage plays 9-year-old high-schooler Sheldon Cooper, the 1980s version of Jim Parsons‘ Big Bang Theory character. Parsons narrates the series, which stars Zoe Perry as Sheldon’s mother, Mary (the younger version of the character played by her real-life mother, Laurie Metcalf, on BBT), Lance Barber as Sheldon’s father, George Sr., and Montana Jordan and Raegan Revord as Sheldon’s siblings Georgie and Missy.
Armitage told Rotten Tomatoes that his parents and Sheldon’s parents are very different.
“Sheldon’s mother is really religious, and she can also get very emotional at times; whereas my mother is, not never emotional, but she’s so perfect and awesome. She never ever has, like, a breakdown or gets really sad. She’s just so awesome and perfect, and I love her so much. The dad in the show’s a football coach. And my dad is just the opposite. He’s currently in Hamilton, which I’m really proud of. He’s the best. I love him so much.”
His father is the person in life who makes him laugh, but plenty of other things do too.
“I love watching Young Sheldon, because even though I know all the jokes already, it still makes me laugh out loud,” he said. “And I love awesome videos of cats. And I love videos of dogs that are driving.”
Armitage insists he’s not as smart as Sheldon, but he loves going to school on set.
“I have the best teacher ever. She’s really incredible,” he said. “And also, further proving my point, this happened just today. My two favorite subjects are history and science. She literally said, ‘OK, which one do you want to do now, history or science?’ And I was like, ‘I love them both.’ She’s the best, and she’s a really fun teacher. And she’s really awesome.”
And while he doesn’t necessarily love Sheldon’s 1980s wardrobe, he has fun wearing the clothes.
“I think the 1980s clothes are strange. Definitely not what I would choose to wear on a daily basis,” he said. “But I kind of understand why Sheldon is wearing them.”
If that adorable interview didn’t convince you, here are three more reasons why you should tune in to Young Sheldon for a weekly dose of heartwarming family-friendly comedy.
They like watching My Little Pony, they like playing in the park. The only thing that’s different is now sometimes other kids will approach them on the playground.
“If I am with my friends, like on the street and somebody’s like, ‘Oh, can I have a picture of you,’ and it’s like, ‘OK.’ But, like, if we’re like playing at the park, and we’re like in the middle of something, it’s kind of annoying, I would say,” Revord told reporters on the set visit.
Said Annie Potts, who plays Cooper grandmother Meemaw, “The kids are so grounded. They have fantastic parents. …I think that they’re well prepared to accept the recognition that comes. I think we’re just starting. I think it’s going to be like a tsunami soon, and that will be something new. But they’ve all got their feet on the ground.”
“I think we just wanted to tell a story of a remarkable little boy, and how it challenges his family to be part of that dynamic. It’s a family show,” creator Chuck Lorre said. “Just the very premise of it is how does a family respond to a challenging child, and how does the child navigate that world as well? I don’t think we ever had any political conversations at all about this.”
Added Parsons, “I feel like our show, it’s a multi-colored state connector as far as viewers go. I never feel … any sort of intention other than wanting to entertain the most amount of people possible.”
Said co-creator Steve Molaro, “When we touch on Mary’s religion, just like on Big Bang Theory, we don’t want to make that the butt of the joke. If you identify with her, then we’ll stay true to that. And if you happen to agree with Sheldon’s side — he’s not afraid to disagree with his mother completely — we represent that side as well. [When] Chuck and I are often when coming up with a scene or an episode, it’s more important to us that we’re digging into the characters and who they are and learning more things about them. We’ve always done that on Big Bang Theory, and we’re continuing to try to do that here.”
Young Sheldon airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30C on CBS.