Johnny Galecki Sizes Up His New Big Bang Romance: Has Leonard Given Up on Penny?

CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (Thursdays at 8/7c) this season is big on romance – or, at least, um, close relationships between members of the opposite sex (where Sheldon and Amy Farrah Fowler are concerned). Most recently, Leonard elected to pursue something of substance with Priya, despite the protests of her big brother, Raj. Will Penny, already bothered by her ex’s meaningful hook-up, have more to say on the matter? And if she does, would Leonard even hear her out?

Big Bang lead Johnny Galecki shared with TVLine his take on his character’s cracklin’ love life, as well as one pairing of characters he believes would be “unforgettable.”

TVLINE | I’ve been enjoying the new arc with Leonard and Priya. What was your reaction when you first got wind of it?
I thought it made a whole lotta sense. She did one episode this season, and we just really loved Aarti [Mann], and her work ethic kind of melded with everybody else’s. And it makes sense as far as the characters. She is Leonard’s sort of intellectual equivalent, so they’re able to communicate more effortlessly than Leonard and Penny (Kaley Cuoco), certainly.

TVLINE | I have to imagine we’ve only scratched the surface as far as Penny’s jealousy.
I don’t know if I would call it jealousy as much as her realization of her own limitations in the ways of love. I don’t think she didn’t return the sentiment of love to Leonard because she doesn’t love him; I just think she’s emotionally incapable of nurturing something like that. They’re young and so without the tools to really connect, especially because they’re from such different universes.

TVLINE | What will an ongoing relationship with Priya do to Leonard’s relationship with Raj (Kunal Nayyar)?
[Laughs] I don’t know, but it makes me laugh so hard. Raj is not handling it well! I love how the writers treat [the boys’] romantic relationships because it’s never fully convenient. The more Raj understands that this is not some cheap fling but a substantial relationship, he’s less bothered by it.

TVLINE | Do you ever look back on early episodes and find yourself with a new appreciation for how much Leonard has evolved?
Absolutely — and the show itself. It’s always interesting for me to watch the pilot of an established show because you see how the writers and actors weren’t really sure what the show was and what the dynamics were. If you look at the pilot for Seinfeld, for example, it’s practically unrecognizable. We’ve always talked about the growth of these characters being extremely slow — a lot of two steps forward, three or sometimes four steps back — but I did feel that Leonard having his heart shattered is a real defining moment in somebody’s life. After something like that, it seemed unrealistic for him to, for example, let Sheldon (Jim Parsons) exasperate him the way he did before. Leonard has now seen worse days than Sheldon being a difficult roommate. He’s maturing as slow as molasses, but he is a maturing character.

TVLINE | Would you say that Leonard is the most well adjusted of the boys?
[Laughs] I think it depends on the topic at hand, or the challenge. That’s what I’m told, but I still feel like he handles most things quite poorly.

TVLINE | As a viewer of Big Bang Theory, which relationship do you most enjoy watching?
I love the Howard and Bernadette relationship. There’s a sweetness to it that I find very, very touching.

TVLINE | Right. As we saw last week, it’s like they have these fleeting instances of “normal” romance, and then things get terribly abnormal.
Exactly. But that’s how we all are. People are complicated; you put two of them together and it’s generally a mess, but hopefully a beautiful mess. I love Melissa Rauch’s work; her readings on things make me howl.

TVLINE | Chuck Lorre told me that he hoped to have Christine Baranski (The Good Wife) back this spring as Leonard’s mother. Have you heard anything on that?
I’ve not, no. That would be wonderful though. I always have a really good time with her, and with Laurie Metcalf (as Sheldon’s mom). I would love to see the two of them together, maybe a Thanksgiving episode where the moms come visit. To watch those two play would be unforgettable.

TVLINE | Do you see Leonard and Penny gravitating back toward each other by season’s end, or is that too soon?
I don’t know if it would be by the end of this season, but I do feel they are the loves of one another’s lives. And with new evidence to show why that might be — and if Leonard had it a little bit more together — he might re-approach her from an angle that would warm her heart some. But I think that as far as Leonard is concerned, he doesn’t have a vote in the matter!

Big Bang fans: Do you want Leonard and Penny back together? Or are you happy to see him dating someone else?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. blue says:

    Pluh-ease! No more Leonard/Penny. I could not think of a relationship more boring than these two!!

    I just couldn’t stand the shallow sex-driven Leonard and the 2-dimensional Penny with no-career!

    Leonard was a jerk when he was with Penny, he was totally not likable. They both just bring out the worst in eachother.
    L/P has no chemistry and no story to tell.

    If the writers would just do something with Penny’s career and give her a freaking last name!

  2. Christine says:

    I love Leonard and Penny together. Yes, they had sex, but what couple these days doesn’t? And it’s not like they hooked up – they knew each other for two years before they did anything. I like it that way. I see chemistry between them and I really want to see them back together. Althoug I am glad that Penny’s dynamic with him has flipped and now she’s the one chasing. That needed to happen. This arc is making me really happy.

  3. Emily says:

    Do I want Leonard and Penny back together? Do I really want that couple back together? The answer is a big fat HELL YES! I really do. My sister and brothers even like them, and the younger brother? Well, he couldn’t care less about most television couples. My entire family and all my friends love them, too. I like the jealous Penny storylines a lot, because she really needs to realize he won’t always be there, but they’ll definitely end up together. And for those of you who don’t like them? Well, you’ll just have to get used to it, because they’re going to keep being like they always have been. Because a large part of this show is them. It’s like going to Cedar Point continuously, but not liking the rides. Then why go? You can go to watch, or to go on a few rides you do like, or to eat, but…well, if you dislike them that much, my advice is to stop watching the show, because they aren’t going away!

    And I’m more than happy with that.

  4. Marion says:

    Leonard and Penny belong together because they simply love each other, however badly suited they are. If she could know what she wants without the help of jealousy. They have already had such an impact on each other.
    Priya tries to change Leonard, and even though that has to do with him needing to be more grown-up, if you feel the need to change someone, you have to ask yourself if you really love them.
    I think that even though Priya will have made Leonard grow, their relationship is doomed. They may be intellectual equals, but they don’t have enough in common. Plus I doubt they (especially she) would make the effort to really dive into each other’s world. She is too much of an outsider, a Yoko Ono.

  5. Fred says:

    Leonard and Penny need to get back together. Their chemistry is phenomenal in its awkwardness, but it’s a chemistry that was slowly growing. As the characters mature, they should be better able to deal with those things which made them separate — those things that made them different — and recognize it’s those differences which make them so perfect for each other as one balances the other out. So yes, Penny and Leonard need to get back together eventually!

  6. nudge says:

    Leonard and Priya are so much better as a couple. The Penny and Leonard relationship has been done to death.

  7. Helen22 says:

    Leonard and Penny suck together!! SHENNY FTW!!

  8. LPJ says:

    Leonard deserves a smart girl but not a snob like Priya. I hate her pretentiousness, and her accent. I’m not being racist because I’m the same race as her.

  9. Martha says:

    Interestingly enough, more women than men seem to want the Leonard/Penny relationship to die. I think that stems from a jealousy on the part of the women! Penny is good-hearted, kind, sweet, and fits in with the group like a glove. Priya doesn’t even show much of a sense of humor, let alone a willingness to accept each of the other men just as they are, as Penny does. If Priya has her way, she would not allow Leonard to retain his friendships with Sheldon, Howard, or even her brother. She is condescending, and not one woman I know likes her.

  10. pennyleonardfan says:

    i hope penny and leonard get together before the last season. i hated how in friends ross and rachel got back together during the last episode of the series. i want to see penny and leonard together a few seasons before the final season and eventually get them married. if your on the same page as me follow me on twitter…. @pennyleonardfan

  11. If the writers keep these two falling in and out of love the show could run for ever. I’d watch every episode. Keep it comming,I watch every show and always will. Classic comedy.

  12. Amanda118 says:

    I’m so fed up with Priya. Ever since she came back into the fourth and fifth season, i find the episodes are getting to be less interesting. The only thing keeping me interested is sheldon and penny. I really do hope that penny and leonard get back together, it as so much more fun, so much to relate to

  13. Precious6491 says:

    Big Leonard & Penny Fan!!!! Hope these two get back together! :)

  14. rebekah. says:

    I think Leonard and Priya hav chemistry, and intellectuall equals.. but Priya needs to accept that there will b culture clashes and a backlash to her relationship…thats the price you pay for love…..or is that a price too high to pay… being the black sheep of the family..

  15. Tiffany says:

    Penny and Leonard!!!! From the very start if the show Leonards’ love and lust for her was such a huge ingredient to the whole story line. When they finally got together it was like YES finally! I think that their characters obviously being 2 polar opposites, adds such appealing dynamics to the show. Plus from the very beginning of the show a huge of story was based on fact that Leonard was in lovewith and lust with Penny and when they finally got together it was like Yes Finally!!!

  16. Tiffany says:

    Penny and Leonard!!!! From the very start if the show Leonards’ love and lust for her was such a huge ingredient to the whole story line. When they finally got together it was like YES finally! I think that their characters obviously being 2 polar opposites, adds such appealing dynamics to the show. I love watching their characters together…so comical and fun to watch and imagine!!!!

  17. John C. says:

    +1 Leonard & Penny. While she’s less intellectual than him, I like it that he stretches her that way (no pun intended). I like that she is shocked to find out less intellectually stimulating people now bore her. I also like the idea that they feel free to give each other “bug reports”; without a lot of ranker. She brings him into a more populist world. What they have in common, is they are both very socially smart.

  18. Fran. says:

    i want leonard and penny back together they make such a cute couple, a physicist and a normal chic is an awesome match. Besides Johnny Galecki is adorable enough for her.

  19. What a material of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable knowledge about unpredicted feelings.