Young Sheldon Shows The Issue With Penny & Leonard’s TBBT Ending

The latest episode of Young Sheldon season 5 shows the issue with Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard Hofstadter’s (Johnny Galecki) ending in The Big Bang Theory. After their inappropriate flirting, George Cooper (Lance Barber) and Brenda Sparks (Melissa Peterman) continue to try to keep the details of their night out a secret. But after Meemaw (Annie Potts) sensed that there was something sketchy happening between the pair, she started snooping around — which, unfortunately, brings her son-in-law and his neighbor closer together.
In the Young Sheldon season 5 episode titled “Snoopin’ Around and the Wonder Twins of Atheism,” Meemaw coincidentally bumped into Brenda at the grocery store. She began asking about what really went down the night that George had a mini heart attack. But instead of answering her queries, Brenda panicked and bolted out of the conversation. This alarmed Meemaw, who then subtly asked her son-in-law about the same thing. Suspiciously, George was equally evasive, which made things worse. This resulted in an emergency meeting involving George and Brenda at the latter’s chicken house. What was supposed to be a discreet and brief conversation, however, turned into a lengthy chat.

Among the few other things the pair discussed was the subject of the Cooper patriarch’s workmate choosing his wife as his best friend. Both George and Brenda were perplexed about the notion, but in the end, concluded that the reason why George’s coworker has such a relaxed and consistently happy marriage is because there are no kids. This indirectly highlights the potential issues in Leonard and Penny’s The Big Bang Theory ending: As heartwarming as it was to see the couple happy with the news that they’re expecting their first child, Penny had been previously adamant about wanting to be child-free. In fact, this was their core conflict in the show’s final season as Leonard wanted children. Despite several back-and-forths regarding the matter, they never really found a resolution. Instead, she was just revealed to be pregnant in the finale.

Although it’s possible the TBBT lead just changed her stance about the issue off-screen — since Penny looked happy about it — nothing in the series demonstrated that Penny was ready to become a parent. As Brenda and George recently implied in Young Sheldon, having kids significantly changes couples’ dynamics for the worse. This issue could be much more detrimental for the Hofstadters’ future since they originally had contradicting thoughts on the matter. Instead of The Big Bang Theory properly developing this arc, the finale offered an easy (and frankly, lazy) solution to the problem.
Once the excitement of learning that she’s pregnant wears off, Penny could realize that she still doesn’t want kids or isn’t ready to settle down and become a parent — but since it’s far too late for that, she would be stuck in her situation while Leonard gets what he always wanted. This could result in her being resentful toward her husband. Had the series showed more conversations between Penny and Leonard sorting through their differences, perhaps, it wouldn’t be this concerning. Overall, The Big Bang  Theory’s finale was nostalgic and heartwarming. However, the focus on Sheldon and his bid for the Nobel Prize in Physics was too much. It essentially relegated the rest of the main cast as supporting characters. That includes Penny and Leonard, who were given a less than satisfying, and questionable, send-off.

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