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It’s a wonderful ride: Lance Barber on playing Sheldon Cooper’s father

It’s a wonderful ride: Lance Barber on playing Sheldon Cooper’s father
July 15
16:38 2019

NEW DELHI: What has a beginning has an end but there are many moments to explore in between, says “Young Sheldon” star Lance Barber, who took on the role despite knowing that it came with an “expiry date”.

In the show, a prequel to hit CBS show “The Big Bang Theory”, Barber plays George Cooper Sr, the father of young Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage).

The show’s fans already know that George died when Sheldon was 14 as it was revealed in the seventh season of “The Big Bang Theory”, which concluded its twelve season run in May.

Barber said he is looking forward to George’s journey and where it takes him in the coming seasons of “Young Sheldon”.

“I know that George Cooper Sr. is somebody that has an expiration date and history in the show. But I think we have a lot of stories to tell before we get to that point. And if we get to that point, it will be a wonderful ride getting there,” Barber told PTI in a telephonic interview from Gold Coast, Australia.

“So we’ll see how the writers and the producers approach that. Obviously, we can’t see the kids forever. I think they can let it go for as long as they can before it’s obvious that the kids are getting too old,” he added.

“Young Sheldon”, which streams on Amazon Prime Video in India, follows nine-year-old Sheldon and his Texas-based family members who are often befuddled by his intellectual capabilities.

Now that “The Big Bang Theory” has concluded, there is some pressure on “Young Sheldon” to replicate the success of the parent show.

Barber believes the show has developed into its “own thing” and can survive without the original one.

“We were lucky that we had the first two seasons of ‘Young Sheldon’ to kind of establish our own thing. It will always be attached to ‘The Bang Theory’ and we want to honour the legacy of that show. It is a spin-off of and based around that character.

“It will be a test and I’m nervous about it. But I am curious to see how we do without ‘The Big Bang Theory’ to lead it… I do feel like we’ve garnered our own audience and hope that we can continue to pay homage to the original.”

The actor says the USP of the show is Sheldon’s family as the audiences are able to relate with their experiences.

“In almost every episode, you’re going to find grounded moments of family dynamics that are to some degree touching. I think that also bolsters the comedy of the show. We care about these people through those moments. And we enjoy the comedy even more by knowing and liking these characters.”

And it is not just the happy moments, the show depicts the struggles of the family as well, particularly George Sr, who often finds taking care of Sheldon a task.

“There’s a universal thing with family. Often we have all experienced, in smaller or greater ways, that you are forced to do the hard work of loving somebody, even though you’re very different from them. Maybe you don’t have the tools to navigate or identify with those people in your family.

“And when it’s your own child, it makes for a great story. Even if it’s not as extreme and exceptional as Sheldon, parents know that ‘your kid’ is not you. And you have to eventually realise that they’re a different person. And you have to have a perspective on them as just a different human being. So I think there’s a lot of room to explore in the show.”

As a father of two in real life, Barber said, he tries to incorporate his own experiences in his performance.

“I think it’s easily applicable to take your experiences as father in real life and use them for a character’s development. Most actors do so and that’s an easy route to go. I do the same thing. I just don’t have any kids that are as exceptional as Sheldon. So we rely on the script and, and the promises of these kids who do it so well,” he said.

“But I do feel super lucky that I am a father in real life and also playing a father on TV. So this is a positive and enjoyable experience for me,” he added. PTI

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