Brenda Sparks (Melissa Peterman) may be intentionally seducing George (Lance Barber) to seek revenge against Mary (Zoe Perry) in Young Sheldon. Ever since the CBS comedy floated the idea of the Cooper patriarch potentially starting an affair with his newly single neighbor, fans have been wondering if this effectively sets up Sheldon’s cheating story in The Big Bang Theory. Admittedly, it’s far too early to confirm since it’s supposedly a few more years before this heartbreaking incident happens. Nevertheless, Young Sheldon seems to be setting up George’s affair so that the shift from a loving father to a cheating husband doesn’t feel unbelievably abrupt.
CBS has dropped clues here and there about the future collapse of George and Mary’s marriage, but it wasn’t until the Young Sheldon season 4 finale that it straightforwardly addressed the looming tragedy. The episode titled “The Wild and Woolly World of Nonlinear Dynamics” started off with Missy (Raegan Revord) dealing with boy troubles, but, by the end of the outing, the issue became so much larger than that. The commotion at home led to her dad confessing for the first time that he is miserable and deeply unhappy. Not wanting to make things worse, the Young Sheldon season 4 finale ended with George abruptly leaving home and going to a pub where he coincidentally met Brenda. They decided to hang out, heavily implying that this could be the start of a potential affair.
CBS has already released a few teasers in light of Young Sheldon season 5’s nearing release. Several of those official sneak peeks support the notion that George begins an extramarital relationship. What’s interesting, however, is that Brenda seems to be the one initiating contact, which is odd, considering that Mary has been nothing but supportive to her ever since her own marriage broke down. It’s possible that this could be the very reason why: she’s intentionally pursuing George to hurt the Cooper matriarch.
Brenda and Mary have had a contentious relationship in Young Sheldon. They have clashed about a lot of things; Brenda didn’t particularly like Mary’s self-righteousness, and she felt as if her neighbor was too judgmental of her and everyone else in general. To be fair, Mary could really be overbearing (something that was more amplified in her appearances on The Big Bang Theory). Brenda may feel inadequate or even resentful compared to her, especially given Sheldon’s academic achievements in relation to Billy’s (Wyatt McClure). After a while, however, the pair seemingly bonded over their shared issues, specifically with regard to their kids and their futures. The hostility has largely resolved, and Mary even stepped up to be a source of strength for Brenda when her husband left. Still, it’s likely the original issues Brenda had with Mary are still simmering under the surface.
While Mary and Brenda are fundamentally different, their relationships with their respective husbands are similar. Both tend to yell at and nag their spouses; George and Herschel Sparks (Billy Gardell) realized this, so they developed an unlikely friendship. Granted that it wasn’t fully explored in Young Sheldon, it’s clear that the show wanted to draw a parallel between the men. Moving forward, however, the sitcom won’t be able to properly revisit this burgeoning relationship. As revealed in season 4, Herschel left Brenda after going through some marital problems. It’s unclear what specifically caused the separation, but the breakup doesn’t seem mutual, with Brenda still reeling from the loss. Meanwhile, the Coopers remain together. Granted that they go through their own difficulties, but neither one of them has given up on their marriage — at least thus far. Despite Mary’s ways, George continues to be a devoted husband to her and a good father to his kids.
Given the state of her marriage compared to her neighbor’s, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Brenda has developed some kind of resentment towards Mary. As a proud woman, she doesn’t want pity — especially when it’s from Mary who could be annoyingly sanctimonious. Initially, no one knew about Herschel moving out, but Brenda eventually told Mary after the Cooper matriarch checked on her neighbor when she heard about Billy struggling at school. Young Sheldon didn’t show how their subsequent conversation went down, but Mary seemed really concerned about Brenda — so much so that she even arranged a girls’ night out with her and Meemaw (Annie Potts) afterward.
While Brenda seems appreciative of Mary’s efforts, it’s still possible that she is ticked off by the fact that at the end of the day, the Cooper matriarch is a reminder of what she has lost. Not only that, but Brenda may feel jealous of Mary’s marriage. While she understands that Mary has nothing but good intentions, spending time together can be secretly harrowing for Brenda. And since she’s too prideful to admit this to Mary, she has been going along with it, causing her to grow bitter.
There are many ways to mess with Mary. For starters, Brenda can target her insecurities on being excluded and start getting more one-on-one time with Pastor Jeff (Matt Hobby). This is sure to drive Mary Cooper insane as she was filled with jealousy when she found out that the pair went on a walk without inviting her back in Young Sheldon season 4. If Pastor Jeff isn’t a viable option, perhaps Brenda can target Meemaw instead. She and Mary’s mother seem to have a lot of similarities, and after spending some time together during their girls’ night out, it won’t be that awkward to hang out again. That being said, arguably the most effective way to bring down Mary is to destroy her marriage — something the season 4 finale set up.
Knowing full well that the Cooper matriarch is too uptight to do something foolish that will result in her separation from her husband, Brenda can go after George instead. As seen in the Young Sheldon season 5 trailers, she is very forthcoming in luring George into making the catastrophic mistake of cheating on his wife. If she successfully splits up Mary and George, Brenda can then find solace in the idea that she’s not the only one who has a broken family. It could also be an ego boost to know that a committed family man like George would be willing to have an affair with her.