No TV couple is perfect. Even when two characters would never work out in real life, viewers love seeing them come together on the screen for many reasons.
Sometimes, they inject a little fantasy into our lives. Other times, we love the characters and want to see them fall in love and find happiness, regardless of whom they end up with. And because of this, we tend to ignore the clues that point to the fact that a TV couple has a plethora of relationship issues to work through.
There is a lot to love about Penny and Leonard from The Big Bang Theory as a couple. They mature together over the seasons and end up making each other happy, for the most part, which is all that matters. But if we analyze them in depth, it seems that there are quite a few aspects of their relationship that are at least a little odd to us.
When an ultra-intelligent nerd and a blonde aspiring actress get together, there are bound to be a few bumps in the road! The beginning of their relationship is clouded with awkwardness, and their attitudes towards each other over the series sometimes make us question whether they’re really meant to be together, and whether or not they really love each other.
Check out these 25 things about Penny and Leonard's relationship that make no sense!
25 They Majorly Lack Chemistry
On a show like The Big Bang Theory, where science is apparently so important, you would think that chemistry between two lovers would be a given. But Penny and Leonard just don’t seem to have that connection pulling them together.
They don’t have a lot in common, and at no point do we feel like there’s a spark between them that means they’re meant for each other despite logic. Instead, it just seems like they were put together to give both characters a happy ending.
24 Their Values Differ
At the end of the day, Penny and Leonard have different values. Good couples don’t have to agree on everything—we know that. And differences between them can actually add spice to the relationship.
But Penny and Leonard seem to disagree about the fundamental things that make all the difference, such as having children. Penny wants to focus on her job and wait until later in life, while Leonard is ready to have them straight away, and they disagree on this before they’re even married. That, and other issues, should be big roadblocks.
23 They Keep Things From One Another
You don’t have to tell your partner everything to consider your relationship healthy, but Penny and Leonard might just have one too many things hidden from one another to keep track of. Something big that Penny hides from Leonard is her credit card debt. And given Penny’s past, we’re sure there’s more debt where that came from!
We’re not talking about little white lies here—debt and other big-ticket items are definitely the kind of thing you should discuss with the person you’re in a long-term relationship with.
22 Perhaps Penny Is Too Oblivious For Leonard?
Overall, Leonard seems more invested in the relationship than Penny, and it doesn’t seem like they're really equal or meeting each other halfway the way they should be. We can see this with all of Leonard’s proposals. He tries to ask Penny to marry him more than once, even going to the trouble of having a sky-writer organize a proposal in the sky.
But Penny says that she did not look up and totally missed it. This makes her seem too oblivious to the world around her, or just not emotionally invested enough in the relationship enough to look out for things like that.
21 Awkward Guests Sometimes Stay At Penny’s Apartment
Penny has ex-boyfriends sleep on her couch from time to time. We know what you’re thinking—she’s allowed to maintain her friendships, and being with Leonard doesn’t mean she can’t have who she wants to have on her own couch.
But the thing is, Leonard is super insecure about the other men in Penny’s life. Rather than being sensitive to his feelings and letting him know when she’s seeing exes or friends, she casually lets them sleep on her couch and only explains it after the fact.
20 Leonard Tipped Her A Lot
This doesn’t necessarily make Leonard and Penny a bad couple—it’s just a strange dynamic to their relationship. For the majority of the series, Penny supports herself by working as a waitress at The Cheesecake Factory. The guys like to eat there, and she always serves them.
So we can assume that Leonard was giving her big tips because he was low-key romantically interested in her. And if that’s the case, it might cause a few awkward moments down the track. After all, he's practically been paying her bills for a while now.
19 Penny Marries Someone Else
While Penny and Leonard are apart, Penny heads to Las Vegas with her boyfriend Zack, and after a few drinks, the two head to a drive-thru wedding. Penny and Leonard may be broken up when Penny ties the knot with Zack, but the fact that the couple is still legally married afterward is just another obstacle to Penny and Leonard’s happiness.
This situation has Ross and Rachel vibes written all over it, and that’s not a good thing. If Penny was truly in love with Leonard, would she really have married Zack on a whim?
18 They Have To Rely On A Relationship Agreement
If you have to have a relationship agreement drawn out to help you maintain your relationship with someone, then you have to wonder whether you’re meant to be with that person in the first place! After they get married, Penny and Leonard feel that their relationship has changed, and so they ask Sheldon to create a Relationship Agreement for them to rely on and live up to.
Don’t get us wrong, the agreement makes some positive changes, like the fact that Leonard can no longer play video games in his underpants while Penny is home, but it seems like a lot of effort to go to so early in their marriage.
17 Penny Beats Leonard At His Own Game
In this relationship, Leonard is the smart one and Penny isn’t. There might be problems with those tropes, but that’s another issue. Despite their clear roles and personalities, Penny is still able to beat Leonard at chess.
She’s not necessarily in the wrong for doing that, but imagine how it feels to be bested by your partner at something that you’re supposed to be better at than them! We were kind of happy to see Penny win, though. Especially after all the jabs at her intelligence by Leonard and his friends!
16 Leonard’s Mother Doesn’t Like Penny In The Beginning
Another reason why Penny and Leonard probably weren’t meant to be is the relationship between Penny and Leonard’s mother. In the beginning, Dr. Beverly Hofstader doesn’t like Penny. She believes she is weak-minded and enjoys making her relive the tough times she went through in her younger years. She even makes her cry!
Eventually, Penny and Leonard's mom end up bonding, but their relationship also has that element of tension to it. That can’t be easy for either Penny or Leonard to deal with long-term!
15 Leonard Almost Defines Penny
This issue stems back to the way Leonard and Penny are written. Although their relationship makes a lot of viewers smile, it’s almost as if Leonard comes to define Penny. Before she becomes his girlfriend, and eventually, his wife, she doesn’t have her life together. She’s a struggling actor and is never explored as deeply as Leonard is.
Penny seems to only be thought of as valuable, whole and complete once she is with Leonard, and in this way, he ends up defining her as a person.
14 Penny Takes A Long Time To Say She Loves Leonard
It takes quite a long time for Penny to tell Leonard that she loves him. We’re not sure whether Penny just takes a while to find the courage to tell him the truth, or whether she doesn’t know how she feels about him, or whether it actually takes her a long time to fall in love with him.
Either way, the difference between the two characters when it comes to saying 'I love you' again highlights the possibility that Leonard is more invested in the relationship than Penny is.
13 Leonard Insults Her Intelligence
It’s one thing for couples to tease each other about things here and there, and it’s another for one to criticize the other. The issue of intelligence seems to be a point of tension for Penny and Leonard—his mom looks down on her because she’s not smart enough, and she even feels inadequate due to his extensive education, which leads to their first breakup.
Rather than making her feel more secure in herself, Leonard calls Penny unintelligent at one point and brings her a brochure for a city college.
12 Penny Might Have Low Standards
Penny is the character that seems to have the upper hand in many ways in the relationship, as it’s always Leonard doing the chasing. He proposes marriage more than once, and he’s quick to tell her how he feels about her, while it takes her a while to do the same. But that doesn’t mean she’s being treated properly.
Leonard kisses another scientist during his expedition at sea, and when he finally tells Penny this, she doesn’t even react that strongly. Really? Your man kissed someone else, Penny!
11 Leonard Doesn’t Support Her Acting Like He Should
If there’s one thing that strong couples always do, it's supporting each other. Penny isn’t the most successful actress in the world, but we think that Leonard could still give her more support and encouragement than he gives her.
Maybe she would be more successful if she felt that her man stood behind her? Leonard proves that he doesn’t have faith in her acting ability when he questions her decision to leave her waitressing job and pursue acting instead, whereas a truly supportive boyfriend would tell her to go for her dreams.
10 They’re Able To Treat Each Other As Just Friends
Friendship is often the basis for the best relationships. At the same time, though, people who are truly in love often struggle with being just friends. Although they’re often best friends, they find it challenging to remain at the distance of friendship.
So when Leonard and Penny put their relationship on hold, and Leonard is able to treat Penny as a friend and watch her become involved with other men without getting upset by it, you have to question whether he really feels that strongly about her or not.
9 Leonard Was Bullied, And Penny Was A Bully
This is another dynamic that just makes their relationship even stranger. It is revealed throughout the series that Leonard, like his friends, had a tough time in school due to bullies. And Penny comes to the realization that, even though she didn’t know it at the time, she was a bully at school.
Of course, victims of bullying and former bullies can fall in love, but it’s just an odd concept. Wouldn’t Leonard be uncomfortable by the fact that his wife used to be one of the people he despised?
8 Penny’s Ex Is Problematic For Leonard
Who hasn’t got at least one problematic ex? In the early days when Penny makes her first appearance on the show, it is revealed that she has a big, mean ex-boyfriend who is keeping her television.
Leonard and Sheldon, the white knights that they are, go to retrieve it for her and end up with an experience that rivals what they used to go through in the schoolyard. Penny’s ex is super problematic and aggressive, and we hope he never pops up again in their lives! But really, what woman gets her new BF to confront her ex for her?
7 It Seems Like They Don’t Really Love Each Other
There, we said it. When you look at all the evidence, it just doesn’t seem like Penny and Leonard really love each other. There’s no chemistry. Their values are different. Their interests are different. They don’t support each other as they should. All the signs point to the strong possibility that there’s no love there.
But if they don’t love each other, what are they doing together? According to Cinema Probe, Leonard wants a wife who’s pretty, and Penny needs a guy with a decent bank account.
6 Penny Takes Leonard For Granted
Even though Penny overlooks a few things that Leonard does to her, we still think that she is the one in the relationship who’s in the position of power and is taking him for granted. Right from the beginning, Leonard makes most (if not all) of the effort. He goes out of his way to make her happy and impress her while she always gives off this cold, indifferent vibe towards him. S
Penny even says that it’s his job to make her happy, and hers to let him make her happy in every possible way. Yikes!
5 Their Relationship Sends Out All The Wrong Messages
There are a few problematic messages that viewers might receive from Penny and Leonard’s relationship. If it’s true that they don’t really love each other, then they’re a couple who are using each other—one for her looks, the other for his money and security.
So that basically sends the messages that girls can find the happy ending they’re looking for if they work on their looks, while guys are taught they scoring a pretty girl is a prize for being smart (or whatever other quality they value).
4 Their Differing Levels Of Experience Might Make Them Incompatible
Two people who have differing levels of experience might work out, but there’s also a chance that they’re going to be incompatible. Before she becomes involved with Leonard, Penny has a string of relationships. Sheldon even hypothesized that she had dated 193 men.
Leonard, on the other hand, is much less experienced and only has two serious girlfriends in his past. He seems to be especially inexperienced with dating and flirting. If nothing else, surely this must create something of a barrier for his relationship with Penny.
3 They Insult Each Other Through “Bug Reports”
All couples argue from time to time, but Penny and Leonard take it to the next level by insulting each other through their bug reports. This is something that they come up with to alert each other to problems in their relationship, but it went farther than that.
Rather than actually helping their relationship, the bug report makes them both feel really bad about the things they do that bother each other. It’s basically an excuse to insult each other and might actually show the deeply rooted cracks in their relationship.
2 Penny’s Heart May Not Have Been In The Wedding
For most of the series, many viewers question whether Penny is as into Leonard as he’s into her. And that doesn’t change when they actually get married. While Leonard comes prepared with his vows to tie the knot with Penny, as all spouses should, Penny does not.
It makes for good television that she recites a song from Toy Story for him rather than reading her vows. But IRL, this would be a major red flag. What guy wants to marry a woman who doesn't bother prepping her vows before their big day?
1 Leonard Doesn’t Know Vital Things About Penny
From what we gather, Leonard just doesn’t know Penny that well. At least, not well enough to call her the love of his life. There are certain things you should know about someone, especially if you’re going to marry them, but Leonard remains in the dark.
Penny’s maiden name is something that Leonard should know quite early on in the relationship, but he doesn’t, and that’s pretty odd! Based on this, we’re sure there are other vital things about her that he isn’t aware of, either.
Sources: Cinema Probe, Screen Rant, She Knows