Pseudo-Matriarchal Storytelling: Big Bang Theory/Young Sheldon.

Since 2013, I have actively worked on Matriarchal Storytelling: a way to get away from the single style of storytelling we have always had, namely, Patriarchal Storytelling.

Norman Lear understood Matriarchal by having strategic spin-offs of his flagship sitcom All in the Family. He knew how to move away from the protagonist and then told stories that had nothing to do with them. The Jeffersons were former neighbour who moved on up. Maude was related to Archie Bunker's wife Edith.

The key feature of Matriarchal is the ability to move away from a flagship character enough to allow supporting characters to shine.

The Big Bang Theory seems to have a big cast, but it is not just a sexist show, but a Patriarchal one.

It may have been the initial idea to have Leonard as the protagonist, but it is Sheldon Cooper who stole the show, and then kept it there. Leonard still Leonard after all these years, but the transformations happened to Sheldon alone. Patriarchal.

Once there were complaints of an all-male cast, the girls were allowed in the clubhouse -- but only as love interests for the guys. They prop up the guys, and far from elevating the show, it reinforced its principle flaw, but did manage to fake an more egalitarian perspective.

It is still patriarchal, and all characters bow to the One. Sheldon Cooper.

Then came the spin-off Young Sheldon -- a show dedicated to explaining away and justifying Sheldon's behaviour.

Normally, this would be something you would see in a Matriarchal structure, but not in this case.

It is still about the One. The characters in the spin-off all prop up the unexpected protagonist.

Far from being a Matriarchal structure, it is a visual annotated notes of the One. Everything revolves around Sheldon. The difference is the show has expanded by thirty minutes, nothing more.

The Big Bang Theory is a prime example of using tricks and techniques to keep a stale storytelling concept seem fresh, the way old fish is slathered in cajun spices to hide the fact it is old fish.

It is an old school show with old school sensibilities. It is an interesting case study of how entrenched the Patriarchal is in Hollywood -- and that they will do everything they can think up to keep outdated story styles in play rather than experiment with different -- and fresher techniques..