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Leonard And Penny Shippers Thread (Possible Spoilers)


C-Trayne
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Nice loop, sir. A tip of my hat to you.

 

Thank you. Just as a point of information, your analyses are rather fun to read.

 

But would Alex's presence really create extra drama at this point ? More so than Penny's hypothetical male co-star

Leonard and Penny, for all their flaws and mistakes, have reached a level of comfort  around each other that makes me think they can no longer be as bugged as they used to be about representatives of the opposite sex hanging around their S.O.

But, not as bugged as they used to be does not prepare one for a an extended absence. Especially when you are just getting to the point of being comfortable with the other. For example, Leonard was upset when guys were hitting on Penny, with him there. How well will he take it when he knows they will be hitting on her, while he's gone? A three month separation can put all sorts of strain on a relationship, especially one where they two people are just coming to terms with their Jealousy.

 

They have made it clear to each other that they do not want anybody else (Penny in the now famous ILY scene and Leonard after a no-less-famous impromptu cello concert). Can the jealousy card be played once more ? I wonder...

While I think they, themselves, are sure of their feelings toward the other, I suspect that their relationship at this point is still a little fragile, maybe insecure is better. This could be used as something to strengthen their bond, when they realize that the other has the same commitment as they do themselves, even with an absence.

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What if it's as simple as Penny's not sure she wants to move in with Leonard for the summer? She has 'commitment issues', that would be a big commitment. Maybe it takes until the last second for her to decide to go along with him, and they spend most of the episode anguishing over it.

It could be that. However, I believe Penny's commitment issues tend to be triggered by suddenness and "foreverness" (I apologise for this crime against the English language).

 

When Leonard decided it would be a good idea for him to move in with Penny, she freaked out not only because he caught her off guard but also because there was no end in sight ("It's like the happiness will never leave the apartment"). In the same vein, her "flight more than fight" reaction to Leonard's proposals appears to stem from her fear of being eternally trapped in a marriage neither she nor Leonard has really thought through ("And then we're going to be married forever and the whole thing just freaks me out").

 

Even if Penny still has the same commitment issues she had back in February, and I would be tempted to think she has made progress on that front over the last couple of months, I believe she could handle cohabiting with Leonard for a predetermined, negociated, finite period of time. 

But who knows what the writers can and will do ? 

 

Thank you. Just as a point of information, your analyses are rather fun to read.

Yes, sometimes I reread what I wrote and I see all the misspelt words, the wrong prepositions, the bizarre grammatical structures, the long-winded arguments, the tortured logic and I laugh too. Before I start weeping ;)

 

While I think they, themselves, are sure of their feelings toward the other, I suspect that their relationship at this point is still a little fragile, maybe insecure is better. This could be used as something to strengthen their bond, when they realize that the other has the same commitment as they do themselves, even with an absence.

As long as it is used as a means to a more secure and comfortable end, I suppose I can live with it. 

 

The thing with the jealousy theme is that there are only so many times the writers can repeat it before it starts looking like the characters do not trust each other. I understand being a bit upset by attractive people buzzing around one's BF/GF but, after a while, one should just have enough faith in said BF/GF to know they would not cheat, even if presented with the opportunity. 

Penny has never given Leonard any reason to be jealous : when in a relationship with him, she has never been shown to be even tempted to leave him for anyone. The same applies to Leonard. Furthermore, they explicitely told each other they had no desire to ride into the sunset with anybody else. 

 

So, a small dose of doubt would be ok but another splash of self-doubt (complete with nervous hand movements) would be a bit too much, given the emotional comfort the characters appear to have achieved. 

Edited by Chiara
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I'm thinking that this the first time TPTB have played with an external source of peril to their relationship that is not founded on jealousy or commitment issues. They now want to be together and are solid. Penny won't be conflicted internally. She wants to be with Leonard.

Instead they will be faced with (not quite) a Sophie's choice, where they have to sacrifice one thing (their coupledom) to save something else (their careers). And if they choose career how can they stay on mission ("our babies" etc and vacuuming, on screen)?

I'm hoping they won't ever again play the two against each other, rather it will be them against the world (and Sheldon. And Leonard's mum).

(NB: Chairs, I manage to look over the deficits in your writering, so have no bad feels. :) lol . You can dissect my posts for comfort)

Eta. The film "the five year engagement" looked at this (pop culture reference). I'm suggesting they will play that out here in miniature. It ended happy, not "Electra Glide" ish at all.

Edited by Nogravitasatall
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My thought is that the job offer is a catalyst for TPTB to set the course for future seasons.  The spoiler said Leonard is offered an exciting job opportunity overseas, seems like a permanent move to me.  Leonard leaving with or without Penny would fragment the group and they would all go their own ways.  So I do not think that he will accept, but we will not know until next season.   Now question, what if the overseas job is at a Research Facility in India that he mentioned in season 4 TIPF?  I know, it is “She who must not be named”.  

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Unless they completely throw reality out the window, there is no chance that he will get a permanent job offer out of the blue. Universities just don't work that way. He would have to had given a talk there and interviewed with the other members of the department. If they were going to do something like this, it would have been better to have a long buildup like Howard's trip to space. There would be the invitation to visit, the trip to talk about his work over there, then the job offer. It seems like a wasted opportunity if they were going to seriously threaten Leonard being gone. 

 

I'm sure the consultants would tell them this, so unless there are powerful reasons to flout reality this way, my vote is for a three-to-twelve month fellowship. He's already at the best science university in the world, so there's little reason for him to move unless the deal is too good to pass up (tenure, lots of money, new lab, etc.). So unless Leonard's been applying for jobs in secret, I think a permanent job is out of the question. The only possibility would be a fairly drastic call-back to the visit to CERN. Have they reached that far back before?

 

An extended NATO Fellowship associated with his laser grant would make more sense and would not be so dramatic. He would be gone for a while and would be returning. Even this would have to have significant notice.

 

Leonard has already shown willingness to give up a pretty great scientific opportunity for Penny. Simply on the basis of the mixed signals she gave him in "The Monopolar Expedition" he was willing to stay behind to be with Penny on the chance that something was developing. I think it would be a better story if Penny has to make the sacrifice. So far, the only pain she's endured for Leonard was of her own making by breaking up with him

 

She's also been in a reactive mode throughout. Penny has taken no emotional risks. The only time she pushed the relationship was when she kissed Leonard right after he returned from the Arctic. That was no risk, she was merely allowing Leonard to be her boyfriend. She has known that Leonard's been crazy about her since early in the first season. Leonard has had to do everything else. He took the emotional risk to ask her out originally, then again in the "The Beta Test". One could ask why Penny didn't try to restart their relationship after Leonard and Priya broke up. It would have made good sense, as she broke up the relationship in the first place. An apology and a statement that she missed being with him would have been right. Instead, Leonard asks her out in spite of the conclusions of his wargaming. Maybe Penny's commitment issues are more fear of taking an emotional risk. 

 

She reacts strongly to any stressors in the relationship now, so it won't take much to qualify as a "loop". Just simply disturbing the status quo would do the job. Leonard could need to go to Europe for a couple of months, and asks Penny to go with him. Major stressor for her. She now has to deal with change, and whatever she thinks that means. Penny and Leonard, and Sheldon and Amy, are mirror images now in their respective relationships. Penny and Sheldon, while deeply committed to their relationships, both fear rapid change. They react strongly to threats to the relationship. Leonard and Amy both want to upgrade their relationships. They are willing to take emotional risks.

 

I don't think they need something as drastic as a permanent, serious job offer to stir up the situation. Leonard going to Europe for three months would freak both Penny and Sheldon out big time, and something light like this is more in keeping with this seasons tone. In reality not a big issue, but the reaction of Penny and Sheldon is the big issue. I also think that TPTB leak these loaded spoilers to stir the forums, and they usually turn out to be accurate but less dramatic than suggested. 

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Unless they completely throw reality out the window, there is no chance that he will get a permanent job offer out of the blue. Universities just don't work that way. He would have to had given a talk there and interviewed with the other members of the department. If they were going to do something like this, it would have been better to have a long buildup like Howard's trip to space. There would be the invitation to visit, the trip to talk about his work over there, then the job offer. It seems like a wasted opportunity if they were going to seriously threaten Leonard being gone. 

 

I'm sure the consultants would tell them this, so unless there are powerful reasons to flout reality this way, my vote is for a three-to-twelve month fellowship. He's already at the best science university in the world, so there's little reason for him to move unless the deal is too good to pass up (tenure, lots of money, new lab, etc.). So unless Leonard's been applying for jobs in secret, I think a permanent job is out of the question. The only possibility would be a fairly drastic call-back to the visit to CERN. Have they reached that far back before?

 

An extended NATO Fellowship associated with his laser grant would make more sense and would not be so dramatic. He would be gone for a while and would be returning. Even this would have to have significant notice.

 

Leonard has already shown willingness to give up a pretty great scientific opportunity for Penny. Simply on the basis of the mixed signals she gave him in "The Monopolar Expedition" he was willing to stay behind to be with Penny on the chance that something was developing. I think it would be a better story if Penny has to make the sacrifice. So far, the only pain she's endured for Leonard was of her own making by breaking up with him

 

She's also been in a reactive mode throughout. Penny has taken no emotional risks. The only time she pushed the relationship was when she kissed Leonard right after he returned from the Arctic. That was no risk, she was merely allowing Leonard to be her boyfriend. She has known that Leonard's been crazy about her since early in the first season. Leonard has had to do everything else. He took the emotional risk to ask her out originally, then again in the "The Beta Test". One could ask why Penny didn't try to restart their relationship after Leonard and Priya broke up. It would have made good sense, as she broke up the relationship in the first place. An apology and a statement that she missed being with him would have been right. Instead, Leonard asks her out in spite of the conclusions of his wargaming. Maybe Penny's commitment issues are more fear of taking an emotional risk. 

 

She reacts strongly to any stressors in the relationship now, so it won't take much to qualify as a "loop". Just simply disturbing the status quo would do the job. Leonard could need to go to Europe for a couple of months, and asks Penny to go with him. Major stressor for her. She now has to deal with change, and whatever she thinks that means. Penny and Leonard, and Sheldon and Amy, are mirror images now in their respective relationships. Penny and Sheldon, while deeply committed to their relationships, both fear rapid change. They react strongly to threats to the relationship. Leonard and Amy both want to upgrade their relationships. They are willing to take emotional risks.

 

I don't think they need something as drastic as a permanent, serious job offer to stir up the situation. Leonard going to Europe for three months would freak both Penny and Sheldon out big time, and something light like this is more in keeping with this seasons tone. In reality not a big issue, but the reaction of Penny and Sheldon is the big issue. I also think that TPTB leak these loaded spoilers to stir the forums, and they usually turn out to be accurate but less dramatic than suggested. 

 

Superb analysis!

 

TBBT takes liberties with the realities of life at a scientific colossus such as Cal Tech (the guys salaries, teaching requirements, Grant funding, project teams of only one researcher, the tenure process.....) but having Leonard receive a major permanent overseas opportunity out of the blue is a bridge too far. It's not going to happen anyway since that would require the cast dynamic to change.

 

A short NATO fellowship based on breakthroughs in his Laser research would make sense but they have big continuity inconsistencies with this. Leonard said on his "daydream" date with Penny that he was working on a big grant to determine whether high powered laser could shoot down missiles and told Penny the money was good. Then he told Alex this season that he was not working on military applications with his laser. If he did work on military lasers he would most likely be on a secret U.S. Government only basis. Who knows? Some thing at CERN would be the best guess.

 

The writer's have been pretty conflicted on Penny's motivations. .After suffering like Job when Leonard was with Priya, and telling all Leonard's friends (except Howard) how she felt so miserable about dumping him and nearly drinking herself into a coma over it, she was passive beyond belief when Leonard finally became available again. She made one meager attempt to get him to start thinking about her, the "Platonic Date" but once again, she expected Leonard to come crawling back to her and then became rather smug and diffident when he did. As she stated in season 4's "The Boyfriend Complexity"  about how a restoration of their relationship would come about: "I whistled, you came running." As far as Penny is concerned, Leonard requires no emotional risks be taken.

 

That, of course, has changed now. She knows he is actually in a superior position even if he seems not to know it (or won't use it against her). She freaks immediately if she thinks he may get dissatisfied with her. She reacts more like a dependent wife now rather than the object of worship she was before.

 

Any challenge to Leonard and Penny from now on will have to be from an outside source. Their major internal conflicts are almost gone.

Edited by BangerMain
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I don't think they need something as drastic as a permanent, serious job offer to stir up the situation. Leonard going to Europe for three months would freak both Penny and Sheldon out big time, and something light like this is more in keeping with this seasons tone. In reality not a big issue, but the reaction of Penny and Sheldon is the big issue. I also think that TPTB leak these loaded spoilers to stir the forums, and they usually turn out to be accurate but less dramatic than suggested. 

I offed a spherical chicken and read the entrails... both of them are going on the trip.

 

or not.

 

maybe.

Edited by Nogravitasatall

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Well I would hope that with the possibitly of Leonard leaving for a new job (temp or otherwise), pushes Penny into telling
 Leonard how she feels about it and then they can take it from there. Best not to over think this too much, the simple

solutions are usually the best ones and used most often in story telling.

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My Guess:  Long term job, he turns it down.  Short term (summer) she either goes or they promise to stay true and he comes back, begining of S7.  Mutual ILY's in this episode, I think., because they  have been holding that back and this sounds like the type of event they could use to have them do it.

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She's also been in a reactive mode throughout. Penny has taken no emotional risks. The only time she pushed the relationship was when she kissed Leonard right after he returned from the Arctic. That was no risk, she was merely allowing Leonard to be her boyfriend. She has known that Leonard's been crazy about her since early in the first season. Leonard has had to do everything else. He took the emotional risk to ask her out originally, then again in the "The Beta Test". One could ask why Penny didn't try to restart their relationship after Leonard and Priya broke up. It would have made good sense, as she broke up the relationship in the first place. An apology and a statement that she missed being with him would have been right. Instead, Leonard asks her out in spite of the conclusions of his wargaming. Maybe Penny's commitment issues are more fear of taking an emotional risk.

I may be in a bit of an argumentative mood today but I am not sure I entirely agree with this.

I doubt Penny has always known Leonard was "crazy about her". From her viewpoint, his feelings may very well have looked like a mix of gentle lust and friendship, not real love. The writers made sure we, the audience, would know his emotions ran much deeper than mere physical attraction but they chose to leave Penny in the dark about most of it, I believe. She knew he was attracted to her, just like she knew he would not have minded dating her/sleeping with her. She also knew Howard and Raj felt pretty much the same way...

Considering her advantageous physique as well as her personal charm, it would be fair to assume Penny is used to guys being very nice to her, for their own not-entirely-altruistic reasons. Keeping in mind she was not made aware of most of the genuinely generous things (confronting Kurt, agonising over the trip to the North Pole, etc.) he did to secure her happiness/satisfaction before they became an item, why would she have assumed Leonard's feelings were more intense than those of all the other guys ?

Leonard, it is true, did most of the legwork in their couple. But isn't that normal since, out of the two of them, he was the first one to fall in love and therefore want a romantic relationship in the first place ? He hit the nail on the head when, in The Wheaton Recurrence, he said "I have been in this relationship two years longer than you". He started working on it because he was extremely eager for it to happen; Penny, conversely, was not.

From the start, he has wanted her as his girlfriend (wife/mother of his children). At the start (and for a long while after that), she wanted him as a best friend. He suited her and did all those great things because he wanted to. Nobody forced him. He is nobody's victim.

I understand the need for the scores to be settled in a remarkable way. It can be frustrating to see that Leonard seems to be doing all the work while Penny appears to sail smoothly through the whole thing without having to break a sweat.

However, I believe she did take a huge emotional risk when they got back together : she risked losing her best friend (again) by becoming his girlfriend (again). Penny has always been shown to treasure Leonard's friendship and to miss it cruelly after they broke up. Her girl posse is awesome, of course, but her one true friend is him (she will pretty much say so when she declared her passion in life to be him in an upcoming episode).

If this relationship 2.0 does not work out, she will be left without her real BFF to support her through it.

I believe they are as even as they will ever be; they are finally in tune. I hope the writers do not try to inject Penny with an extra dose of neediness/insecurity to prove she truly loves Leonard for we, and he, already know.

Edited by Chiara
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My Guess:  Long term job, he turns it down.  Short term (summer) she either goes or they promise to stay true and he comes back, begining of S7.  Mutual ILY's in this episode, I think., because they  have been holding that back and this sounds like the type of event they could use to have them do it.

That's fair, as long as they aren't exchanging them in the departure lounge and there's only one ticket.

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In the season one finale Penny says that she's been aware of Leonard's "crush" for quite some time. A crush is more than simply lust. It does entail strong emotional feelings as well. She out right says that Leonard isn't a guy would be simply satisfied with a fling. I would disagree that Penny wasn't aware that Leonard's feelings for her ran deep. Sure she wasn't made privy to some of the things Leonard did before they started dating but she knew his feelings for her were strong. Penny's questions were always more about how "could she feel about him" and "how does she really feel about him".

 

Penny's issues when it comes to this has always been a "how I feel" vs "how he feels" scenario. This has always been the major crux of conflict regarding the problems that their relationship faces because Leonard has always been ahead in the relationship when it comes to what he's emotionally ready for. He was the first one to ask her out on a date. He was first to say "ILY", and he was the first to bring up the notions of co-habitation and even taking the relationship to a more permanent commitment level with marriage proposals. Penny has always been more wary about the speed of progression of their relationship because the due to her being hurt badly the last time she committed on the level that Leonard is to her. She cares enough about him not only not want to be hurt again, but also because she doesn't want inadvertently hurt Leonard the way she was hurt by Kurt, who was her last truly long term committed relationship before she got to know Leonard.

 

I think there's a strong possibility that this overseas position will be used to generate enough anxiety in Penny to have her really decide that she's really ready to commit and declare her love to Leonard openly without it being a kind of emotional slip like the "43rd Peculiarity" or even her "passion" speech because including Sheldon and her other friends is still kind of a safety net emotionally for her because it still doesn't do enough to really separate her feelings for Leonard from that of the other people in her life despite the fact that her love for Leonard DOES in fact go much deeper than the love that she feels for Sheldon and the others.

 

Even from a thematic point of view it would the the fitting conclusion to her over story arc for season six. To finally have her unequivocally and openly declare her love to Leonard would bring her full circle, and IMO is something that needs to happen that hasn't yet.

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@chiara, I'm game for a discussion. I maintain that Penny has accepted no emotional risk that wasn't forced on her.

 

Penny has known explicitly since the last episode of the first season that Leonard was very taken with her and had known for most of the first season. She stated that she knew "for some time, he's a had a little crush on me". Sheldon's response was to point out that it was no little crush, and compared it to one of the great Classical romances. She's hinted interest in him from "The Hamburger Postulate" on. In fact, many have suggested in this forum and tvtropes.org that he could have slept with her that night (see Above The Influence reference there). Penny displayed jealousy when his relationship started with Leslie. She was glad when his relationship with Leslie blew up.

 

As to differentiating Leonard from the other guys, in "The Peanut Reaction" when she went to the guy's apart to plan the surprise birthday party, she is greeted by Sheldon. His immediate response is that Leonard had stepped out, with the implication that she would not be coming in for any other reason. Howard and Raj were there too. As we all know, Sheldon's a smart guy, but a little slow on the social stuff. But even he got that Penny never comes looking for anyone other than Leonard. She can't talk to Raj unless he's drunk, and she thinks that Howard is disgusting. Sheldon only tolerates her. So just as with Sheldon, she's accepted by the group due to her close relationship with Leonard. She's never displayed any interest in dealing with the other guys, as evidenced by Sheldon's greeting. This was repeated in the next episode with the hall walk leading to Sheldon explaining Schrodinger's cat.

 

In Season Two, she got into a "kissing" battle with Leonard in the hall with her date, when Leslie restarted their relationship with him. Even Leslie picked up on the jealousy immediately and helped. Penny deconstructed Dr. Stephanie stealth moving in with him. Was she doing this to show how clueless Leonard was, help a friend, or secretly sabotage the relationship? Walking into his apartment with his girlfriend there in her underwear? She never did that before or since (and it was definitely underwear - silk short shorts with lace, not her normal dress for even the first season). The whole dating Stewart thing has been widely interpreted as a way to find a similar guy to Leonard. Crying out his name while making out with Stewart is another example. Stewart was a stand-in for Leonard. Has she actively been trying to develop the relationship? No. If anything, she's been fighting her feelings ever since the beginnings of the first seasons. It is almost Biblical, as in the stories of the recruitings of prophets. They resist their fate, and suffer. 

 

Jumping forward to the beginning of Penny and Leonard 2.0, when Leonard asked her out in the 100th episode, she was trapped. The BFF option was gone with that statement. Leading up to it was the attempt at the platonic date, which ended with the conclusion that they were not able to just be friends. I found this episode very interesting. She found out all the things he did to try and make things work between them, including completely fund the relationship, friend or otherwise. It was couched in "to get sex" terms, but is Leonard so clever socially as to fool the house expert in social situations? I doubt it. As a hot girl that guys have been trying to get with all her post-pubescent life, if she didn't pick on the fact that Leonard was doing these things to make her like him (and have sex, if one must insist according to the writer), then she's far stupider than I would have ever thought. What Leonard knew with laser beam accuracy was that to say the real reason he did these things. He loved Penny, and very carefully observed and noted her likes and dislikes. He remembered, and did them because he loved her. Any good partner notes these things, and just does them because they want to do these things for the person they love. He knows she won't order fries, but will eat all of the burnt ones. He lets her, even though he likes them too. Why would he do this? But of course he knew that if he said because I love(ed) you, it was likely she would be out of there like The Flash. So he said, to get sex, since it was the safe thing to say. 

 

When at the bar, she tries to pickup a guy to burn Leonard for trying to treat the relationship as platonic and pointing out all the things he did to please her. Did he really do anything wrong, other than be a little snarky about it? He hates that she would try to get even by picking up another guy. It was quite cruel of her, and is likely due to the fact that she realizes he was right. Clearly she couldn't stand it when he started chatting up another girl. The missing scene in my opinion was her looking over to see Leonard with the girl, and her blowing off the hipster dude. Leonard asking her out in "The Recombination Hypothesis" could be a direct result of his conclusions of the "experiment" in "The Ornithophobia Diffusion". It didn't work for them to just hang out, so it was either start dating again or drift apart. Penny was forced into a choice - either try dating again, which she basically wanted to do, or lose Leonard. There was no BFF option remaining. Refusing Leonard at this point would have been the final rejection, and quite frankly, Leonard should have stopped having anything to do with her after that. It would have just meant pain for him.

 

At this point in Season 6, Leonard has nothing else to risk. He's all in, having proposed "a lot". In "The Tangible Affection Proof", he put it all on her, and even said "if you decide you want to get married". The only thing left is for him to decide how long to wait for her to make a move, if she ever does. The closest she's ever come to risking anything was when she asked him to be her Valentine, but that wasn't a risk. They just finished a discussion about marriage, so asking him to be her Valentine was cute and adorable, but no emotional risk. I loved the scene, as it is clear that Leonard has no idea where she's going, having just taken getting engaged off the table for some time to come. It was the tiniest, deliberately taken step toward a commitment on her part. I believe that this is the only time that she's taken such a step that wasn't as a result of confronting a burning crisis.

 

Twenty episodes ago, she was ready to dump him. What boggles my mind about this still is that she was ready to lose Leonard entirely, since dumping Leonard at this point for no reason would have been grounds for Leonard to PNG her from the apartment. She would have lost everything, as the girls would have lined up with Leonard or risk their boyfriend's or husband's good regard. I still don't really see the point of this episode, except to remind us that their relationship is still pretty fragile. Leonard hadn't done anything, it was just Penny getting weird and stupid. It was right up to the point where she was starting to say the words. She had decided to break up with him, searched for an opening, and finding none, started out cold to break up with him. I still can't believe that they would write the character to do this. They tried to make it funny with the puppy dog eyes thing, but given that Penny was ready to pull the trigger ON HER PERSONAL LIFE twenty episodes ago is just hard to believe.

 

Now these same writers have given us the rest of this wonderful season, but the existence of "The Decoupling Fluctuation" leads me to need more reassurance that Penny is permanently committed to Leonard. Twice she's been willing to dump him for basically no reason. While I don't need a formal proposal or wedding, she needs to put all the chips on the table. And not an at the last minute in the airport kind of thing. One, it has been done to death. Two, that is still Penny reacting to a crisis. It should be more like:

 

Leonard: "Wow, Terrific University In France has offered me a really great job. And I didn't even apply."

Penny: "Great. When do I put in my notice to the Cheesecake Factory? We might need to buy some extra suitcases for my shoes and your action figures."

Leonard: "You mean that you will give up your acting chances here in California?"

Penny: "Of course. I never want to leave you, and I can act in France. We'll be learning French anyway, and I'm still really cute. Maybe they'll dub my hemorrhoid commercial into French."

 

Maybe that is a little excessive, but Penny staying with Leonard should be treated as a given, not a crisis.

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I don't think Penny can say outright that she will go with Leonard, she will have to think about it and probably talk to her girlfriends over it. I think they will both suffer over it before its over.

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In the season one finale Penny says that she's been aware of Leonard's "crush" for quite some time. A crush is more than simply lust. It does entail strong emotional feelings as well. She out right says that Leonard isn't a guy would be simply satisfied with a fling. I would disagree that Penny wasn't aware that Leonard's feelings for her ran deep. Sure she wasn't made privy to some of the things Leonard did before they started dating but she knew his feelings for her were strong.

I am terribly sorry, and it may be that my understanding of nuances in English is far from perfect, but isn't a "crush" supposed to be the same thing as an infatuation ? And Penny even goes as far as calling it a "little crush"... Now, if she had known who Menelaus and Helen of Troy were, Sheldon's little comment would have set her right immediately. Regardless, her description of what she thought were Leonard's feelings makes me think she genuinely did not know how strong they truly were.

Had she been aware of the real intensity of his feelings, she would have had to make a call (either let him know she was ok with it or turn him down once and for all) much quicker. Anything else would have been cruel. Now, as the protagonist's love, she cannot be malicious so I doubt she was written as privy to the full spectrum of Leonard's emotions back in season 1 (and maybe even season 2).

She knew he was "into" her, like a highschool boy is "into" a highschool girl. Puppy love, if you wish. That I can buy she was completely aware of. And even reciprocated. She thought he was very much fond of her (and sexually attracted to her) much like she was very much fond of him (and quite sexually attracted to him too). I believe she definitely could have gone for a "friends with benefits" sort of thing but sensed that may not be his thing : as a matter of fact, it truly was not considering how chaotic his experience with Leslie turned out to be.

Quite crucially, Penny never heard the "smart and beautiful" comment or any other such remarks from Leonard. We did but she did not, not until the dreaded Wheaton Recurrence's ILY which pretty much threw a spanner into the works.

Jumping forward to the beginning of Penny and Leonard 2.0, when Leonard asked her out in the 100th episode, she was trapped. The BFF option was gone with that statement. Leading up to it was the attempt at the platonic date, which ended with the conclusion that they were not able to just be friends. I found this episode very interesting. She found out all the things he did to try and make things work between them, including completely fund the relationship, friend or otherwise. It was couched in "to get sex" terms, but is Leonard so clever socially as to fool the house expert in social situations? I doubt it.

Amusingly enough, I do not doubt it. :)

Leonard, on their non-date, pretty much admitted to shaping every single aspect of his behaviour in such a way as to ensure Penny's gratification and gratitude. Granted, everybody tries to be on their best behaviour when dating but to the point of fashioning even the most minute of their responses so as not to displease their SO in any way ? That is not entirely normal. And I, for one, would be surprised if I were to find out a boyfriend of mine ever did this.

Make an effort ? Yes. Downright lie (as Leonard did whenever he said he liked hiking and karaoke) ? A bit weird.

Leonard could have made it clear when they were together that he, personally, did not enjoy these things but was willing to do them for her sake. It would have been perfectly fine. That is what Penny used to do : she would participate in the gang's (and Leonard's) activities to be nice but did not mind telling them when she had had enough. Leonard did not. He pretended his way through it all. I thought Penny's surprise was not faked. Especially when he displayed a rather interesting amount of bitterness about it, as if she had made him do those things, as if she had victimised or forced him in some way.

However I do agree with you wholeheartedly about The Ornithophobia Diffusion serving as a wake-up call for both of them : they realised they could not go back to being "just" friends possibly because, ultimately, they had never been "just" friends, at least not to Leonard. It was either romance or nothing, from then on.

Which brings us neatly to the matter of commitment. I may completely off here but I do not see Penny as fundamentally afraid of commitment per se, either in general or in relation to Leonard in particular. What frightens her appears to be commitment for the wrong reasons.

Her daydream in The Recombination Hypothesis embodied just that : she did not have a nightmare about marrying Leonard; she had a nightmare about having a shotgun wedding with Leonard. Similarly, in the VD episode, she was afraid she would end up accepting one of Leonard's proposals for all the wrong reasons (momentary contentment, not wanting to hurt his feelings). The moment he put her in the driving seat, even with strong recommendations, she immediately relaxed. Had she been uncomfortable with the idea of marriage itself, she would not have. Same deal with the Spoiler Alert Segmentation and Leonard moving in unexpectedly : his main reasons for wanting to change their living arrangement were that Sheldon is annoying and that it made sense financially. Now, I may not be the most romantic soul on this Earth but even I can tell that is not a good set of selling points for such a radical change.

She is committed to Leonard. Of that, there is no doubt. Since she finally remembered why she fell for him in the first place ("Sometimes I forget how smart you are", The Holographic Excitation), there has not been much of a trace of shilly-shallying in her behaviour : she wants to marry Leonard (she agreed to propose, in the way he demanded) and will do so, for the right reasons (not just because she does not have it in her to disappoint him or because contraception failed or because an ex of hers is about to wed).

The way they have handled the L word since the ILY episode (6.08, I think) appears to indicate they have said it to each other in private on quite a few occasions : they can even say it in front of others (Leonard's "I love you but there are certain things a man does not share with his girlfriend" in front of Sheldon) and to others (Penny's "I don't want to break his heart. I love him" to... Sheldon again). They do not live their relationship in a more casual way thanHoward and Bernadette who are married and have said ILY to each other many times over.

Clearly, the writers have been saving the onscreen, mutual ILY for a big occasion, which may very well be this season's finale. But everything seems to point towards the characters having already exchanged those when the cameras were not around...

In short (I wish), I think Penny's chips already are all on the table. They may not be very spectacular, shiny chips but they are all there for everyone to see.

Her wanting to go with Leonard on a three-month trip would not, in my opinion, add to her level of commitment : after all, she was willing to go with him to Switzerland back in season 3. Admittedly, it was a shorter stay but she was nowhere near as devoted then as she is now. At best, it would only confirm what has already been shown on numerous occasions.

I believe part of me would enjoy watching them cope with the disappointment of not being able to go together like the mature people they have proven themselves to be during the second half of this season. Mind you, I am absolutely not opposed to Penny leaving with Leonard, as long as it is motivated by a genuine interest in his work and mutual desire to be together and not by some needy, co-dependent, "how can I be sure you will not leave me for someone else if I am not around you 24/7 ?" stuff.

The devil is very much in the details here ;)

Edited by Chiara
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Damn @Hammerman55, you are on fire!  A "Like This" is just not strong enough!

 

I think you have provided the explanation for Leonard's odd "I did it for the sex" exclamations in "The Ornithophobia Diffusion". It bothered me that he would make his feelings for her seem so crass when he did so much for her when he was NOT having sex with her for most of their relationship. The writers were paying attention to their history. Penny would easily except that Leonard would do things for her for sex but she would freak out if he said he did it because he truly loved her. It is perfectly on point with her mind set that men only do things for her to use her as a sex toy.

 

I think of 6.02, "The Decoupling Fluctuation" as simply a device that the writers used to show the changing of Penny. After going through hell being without Leonard no way she would realistically break up with him. The Penny of the start of season 6 was pretty shallow on purpose to contrast the growth that they had planned for the Penny we see now.

Edited by BangerMain
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Damn @Hammerman55, you are on fire!  A "Like This" is just not strong enough!

 

I think you have provided the explanation for Leonard odd "I did it for the sex" exclamations in "The Ornithophobia Diffusion". It bothered me that he would make his feelings for her seem so crass when he did so much for her when he was NOT having sex with her for most of their relationship. The writers were paying attention to their history. Penny would easily except that Leonard would do things for her for sex but she would freak out if he said he did it because he truly loved her. It is perfectly on point with her mind set that men only do things for her to use her as a sex toy.

I am sorry (I promise it is the last post of the day) but I seem to recall that, on their non-date, Leonard mentioned all the things he used to force himself to do when they were seeing each other. I believe Penny asked him "while we were going out, how often would you pretend to like things just to have sex with me ?" to which he answered "All the time".

So, technically, sex was on the table, unlike in all the cases in which Leonard did nice things for Penny before they started dating.

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I am sorry (I promise it is the last post of the day) but I seem to recall that, on their non-date, Leonard mentioned all the things he used to force himself to do when they were seeing each other. I believe Penny asked him "while we were going out, how often would you pretend to like things just to have sex with me ?" to which he answered "All the time".

So, technically, sex was on the table, unlike in all the cases in which Leonard did nice things for Penny before they started dating.

 

The clarification was why did Leonard claim on their platonic date that the only reason he did things for her was to have sex. I find it hard to believe he would change his reasoning for doing things for her because he was having sex doing the time they were dating. He catered to her even after she dumped him and sex was off the table.

 

This was noted by Howard in 4.02, "Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification"

 

Penny (after Raj whispers to Howard and they both laugh): What now?

Howard: He’s just expressing his admiration that you don’t even have to put out to get free stuff.

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The clarification was why did Leonard claim on their platonic date that the only reason he did things for her was to have sex. I find it hard to believe he would change his reasoning for doing things for her because he was having sex doing the time they were dating. He catered to her even after she dumped him and sex was off the table.

 

This was noted by Howard in 4.02, "Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification"

 

Penny (after Raj whispers to Howard and they both laugh): What now?

Howard: He’s just expressing his admiration that you don’t even have to put out to get free stuff.

Leonard was playing a long game at this point. As long as neither he or Penny was in a permanent relationship he could afford to keep the prospect of a reunion alive. Leonard had to know on some level that his relationship with Pryia (which was still in the future at this point ) wouldn't last (not unless he could win over her parents). For all we know he's changed his aftershave to match Penny's father's to help things along (as per Beverly's suggestion).

Edited by eirwinrommel
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(Just so you know, in Paris it is 00:08 AM so technically it is tomorrow and I am not breaking my promise... Yes, I am a massive hypocrite).

 

The thing about Leonard and all the very nice ways in which he has always treated Penny is that sex has never really been "off the table". From the moment he first laid eyes on her, he has wanted a relationship with her. One that included babies, therefore sex (unless Leonard is even weirder than Sheldon is this department). 

 

So most, if not all, of the absolutely charming things he did for her were as many attempts at making her like then love him. He did it before they started dating so she would fall for him, he did it while they were dating so she would stay with him; he did it after they broke up so maybe she would come back to him.

The only time when Leonard was not, in one way or another, trying to get Penny to keep on liking him was when he was with Priya. And then, Penny was the one who did something very nice for him by accepting not to socialise with him any longer so as not to cause problems in his new relationship. 

 

Leonard has always had an ulterior motive. It does not make him a bad person at all for his motive was quite noble. But his actions were not entirely altruistic. I believe this is what the writers tried to make clear with the whole "I did it for the sex" gimmick in the Ornithophobia Diffusion : they reminded everyone Leonard does have a backbone, is not a pushover and is more than capable of doing what it takes to get what he wants. 

 

With Leonard and Penny, sex (as well as smart and beautiful babies) has always been on the table. 

 

ETA eirwinrommel beat me to it in a much more concise and to the point post. Read above ! 

Edited by Chiara
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(Just so you know, in Paris it is 00:08 AM so technically it is tomorrow and I am not breaking my promise... Yes, I am a massive hypocrite).

 

The thing about Leonard and all the very nice ways in which he has always treated Penny is that sex has never really been "off the table". From the moment he first laid eyes on her, he has wanted a relationship with her. One that included babies, therefore sex (unless Leonard is even weirder than Sheldon is this department). 

 

So most, if not all, of the absolutely charming things he did for her were as many attempts at making her like then love him. He did it before they started dating so she would fall for him, he did it while they were dating so she would stay with him; he did it after they broke up so maybe she would come back to him.

The only time when Leonard was not, in one way or another, trying to get Penny to keep on liking him was when he was with Priya. And then, Penny was the one who did something very nice for him by accepting not to socialise with him any longer so as not to cause problems in his new relationship. 

 

Leonard has always had an ulterior motive. It does not make him a bad person at all for his motive was quite noble. But his actions were not entirely altruistic. I believe this is what the writers tried to make clear with the whole "I did it for the sex" gimmick in the Ornithophobia Diffusion : they reminded everyone Leonard does have a backbone, is not a pushover and is more than capable of doing what it takes to get what he wants. 

 

With Leonard and Penny, sex (as well as smart and beautiful babies) has always been on the table. 

 

ETA eirwinrommel beat me to it in a much more concise and to the point post. Read above ! 

Something else occurred to me. In the episode where Beverly advises Leonard to change scents (interestingly, a tactic used by deer [or in this case dear] hunters) {2-15}. Penny says:

 

"I mean, do you know where I was all morning? Auditioning with 50 other blondes for some stupid antidepressant commercial. And for what? So I’ll finally get my daddy’s approval?"

 

If she really wants her 'daddy's approval' she knows all she has to do is marry Leonard. Even if that's not on the tip of her brain, it has to be lurking there somewhere.

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I am terribly sorry, and it may be that my understanding of nuances in English is far from perfect, but isn't a "crush" supposed to be the same thing as an infatuation ? And Penny even goes as far as calling it a "little crush"... Now, if she had known who Menelaus and Helen of Troy were, Sheldon's little comment would have set her right immediately. Regardless, her description of what she thought were Leonard's feelings makes me think she genuinely did not know how strong they truly were.

 

Two things.   First, there is a difference (at least in the US) between the usages of the idiom "crush" and the word "infatuation".  Crush usually indicates a deeper more intense feeling than infatuation.  Infatuation implies more of a light hearted attraction.  Technically, by the definitions, you are correct.   It's more of a difference in the usage, of the two words, than a straight definition thing.     

 

Second, if you watch the scene, there is a change in Penny voice on the word "little".   It's a tonal flip of the meaning of the word.   While she says "little", her vocal change indicates she is aware that Leonard has a big crush on her.   It could be considered a form of sarcasm, something Sheldon, not surprisingly, missed.  

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"I mean, do you know where I was all morning? Auditioning with 50 other blondes for some stupid antidepressant commercial. And for what? So I’ll finally get my daddy’s approval?"

 

If she really wants her 'daddy's approval' she knows all she has to do is marry Leonard. Even if that's not on the tip of her brain, it has to be lurking there somewhere.

 

As Penny had not been in a steady relationship with Leonard in season two, I don't think that Wyatt was aware of Leonard, other than as a neighbor.   They didn't begin their relationship until the third season and Penny mentions that Leonard was the first boyfriend her father approved of in season four.   And besides, Wyatt's yelling at Leonard may have given Penny a quite different idea of his approval of Leonard, after his visit.   And marrying someone to please one's parents is not a good reason to get married.  

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As Penny had not been in a steady relationship with Leonard in season two, I don't think that Wyatt was aware of Leonard, other than as a neighbor.   They didn't begin their relationship until the third season and Penny mentions that Leonard was the first boyfriend her father approved of in season four.   And besides, Wyatt's yelling at Leonard may have given Penny a quite different idea of his approval of Leonard, after his visit.   And marrying someone to please one's parents is not a good reason to get married.  

I'm talking about now, not season two. I agree marrying someone to please a parent is not a good reason to get married. However doing things 'to get my daddy's approval' isn't something you set out to do (she probably got that insight from Beverly, as they'd just had a talk about her relationship with her father earlier in the episode). I'm just saying the concept is probably lurking in the background and another factor to be considered. Leonard could have followed Beverly's advise about changing his cologne. ("If you want to have intercourse with that girl, find out what kind of cologne her father wore.") After the meeting Wyatt to reinforce the association, in the same way Amy used the Mario Brothers theme, Strawberry Quick, etc. on Sheldon. You could also argue that in season two, Leonard was the 'rebound guy', and even though she was attracted to him their relationship was doomed at that time. That would explain why they had so little problem going back to friends for most of season two.

Edited by eirwinrommel
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