Lance Barber and Zoe Perry play parents George and Mary to 11-year-old Sheldon Cooper, who is a young gifted genius trying navigate the world.

As we delve into season 3, Barber and Perry talk about how their characters have come since the first season. In the interview transcript provided by Warner TV, the duo also share their thoughts on their TV son, Annie Potts’ Meemaw and 80s music.

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After two seasons of Young Sheldon, does your on-screen family feel a bit like a real family now? You guys must spend a lot of time together.

Lance: Yeah, I think with any work you do, if you’re with people that many hours a day, it does feel like that. Inevitably, whether it’s contentious or happy, there’s going to be some elements of family feel. Luckily, we all like each other and get along, which isn’t the case always. So, it is a lucky thing that we all do get along and like each other, and the kids are comfortable and affectionate with us. And I’m a parent and Zoe is so phenomenal with kids, so it all worked out very well. It does feel like family.

Zoe: Yeah, totally. I think it is something that we’ve felt very privileged about and that we had luck of having an instant chemistry with one another right off the bat. It was wild, because you don’t always get that.

Do you feel like you’ve taken on any of the traits of your characters? Are there some similarities?

Lance: Yeah, being a dad. He’s a different dad than I am, in regards to a time and a place. He’s from a certain culture and a man of a certain time, and a certain fathering paradigm – I think that mine’s a little more contemporary and modern, and a little more thoughtful. But that’s what I love about George – he doesn’t have those tools, but he’s trying. He’s trying to deal with somebody he really doesn’t understand. And I think that’s noble and charming. He could have been all different kinds of things, you know?

Zoe: Mary’s a bit more straight-laced (than I am), sometimes more rigid than I am.

Sheldon is of course incredibly quirky and has a lot of peculiar habits. Do you have any comparable Sheldon-like quirky habits?

Lance: I feel like when I was a kid, I may have had. I was a bit introverted as a kid. I was one of those. When you’re an actor, either you’re an extrovert, like Iain Armitage, who plays Sheldon, or you’re an introvert who is shy and maybe a little uncomfortable, and you found a community and some comfort by getting into the arts. Which was my story – I think that’s a common story as well.

Tell me about working with Annie Potts who plays Meemaw. She seems like an absolute delight.

Zoe: She’s awesome!

Lance: She’s phenomenal! She’s every bit as Annie Potts-y that you would think that she is. She’s just wonderfully talented and wonderful to be around. She’s someone that I grew up watching and admiring. It’s such a thrill that at this point in my life, I get to work with her. When I was a young kid, I was watching her and thinking she was so terrific in things like Ghostbusters and Pretty in Pink. To get to work with her is a trip and she is a firecracker, man. She’s really fantastic!

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Zoe: Yeah. Class act, that Annie Potts.

 

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3 cheers for seasons 3 and 4! 🎉 #YoungSheldon has been picked up for two more seasons!

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George is rarely seen without a beer bottle in his hand. What do they actually put in those bottles? Because your character drinks a lot of them!

Lance: Oh, it’s real. You know, I’m hammered about halfway through the day. [Laughs] It’s water. It’s just water. Again, George is a man of a certain culture in a certain area. He’s a beer drinking dad. He’s got a beer gut. And part of my physicality is that they hired me because I looked the part. He needs beer every day. After work he’s in the fridge for it, and that’s just one of the little things about George.

Zoe, is it strange for you to be playing the younger Mary Cooper since your mother Laurie Metcalf played the older Mary Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory”? That must feel a bit surreal.

Zoe: Yeah. When I first heard about the existence of this pilot, I remember my mom saying, “Well, you have to audition.” And I thought, well, yeah, we’ll see – hopefully. And the fact that it just turned out this way was very surreal. I feel like I’ve had a great privilege to get to step into her shoes. Also, just playing with this time of life for Mary Cooper, it gives me some freedom to kind of explore this character in a different stage of life because she’s a bit different than the Mary that Big Bang audiences know, so it’s fun. You get to play in both worlds.

Lance Barber

“Young Sheldon”’s a comedy, but what’s wonderful about the show is that there’s dramatic weight to certain storylines as well, like when Mary has a breakdown when she learns a young girl she knew has died in a car crash, or when George has a heart attack. As an actor, is it enjoyable to have that level of drama in there too?

Zoe: Oh, totally. You always crave stretching as an actor, right? And our writers are incredible – they give us so many opportunities, and it’s fun to get to explore different dynamics with each character. In a few recent episodes, Lance and I had some really sweet moments together – that was new for us.

Lance: It’s enormously important to me and a joy to have a job that allows that, for sure. It’s a different tone of the show. I do believe that it is a big factor in the success of the show, that we have moments with heart that are grounded – that makes the comedy pop even more because we like and care about this family. You get to play those great parts, especially with people as wonderful as Zoe Perry – some of the stuff that we’ve gotten to do is fantastic. It’s a joy and a privilege.

There’s lots of great ’80s songs in “Young Sheldon”.  Do you have a favourite ’80s track that you hope might wind up getting used in the show?

Lance: Because it’s Texas they do a lot of rock and roll, which is appropriate for anywhere in America in that era. But I always want them to push country, because country music is huge, and certainly in that era and that area of the world. So, I wish they would use a little bit more country stuff.

Zoe: Oh gosh, I’m always impressed with what they come up with. I want to see Raegan dancing to some more Cyndi Lauper soon. That was fun.

“Young Sheldon” season 3 is slated to premiere same day as the US on Warner TV (Unifi TV Ch 451 and Astro Ch 719) on 27th September 2019 (Friday) @ 8:35pm. New episodes follow every Friday @ 8:35pm.

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Justin
Usually awkward & quiet, but gets talkative once the conversation revolves around movies, TV shows, music, and entertainment. (Contact: [email protected])