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I think there is a shallow part of Penny that would have reacted very differently in the restaurant if Leonard looked like Dr. David Underhill.

 

I felt so sorry for Leonard in that episode. It was way back in S2 and they were trying to make it look like he had no chance with her. 

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I so agree with this. Penny always seemed like the type of girl who would march over to her ex and show off her smart successful new boyfriend. It would have been funnier if she'd become competitive about it, instead of indirectly almost putting Leonard down. Penny has no confidence anymore, they have taken it all away. 

This is something I would have like to have seen. Penny showing off Leonard rather than more less pining for a guy who cheated on her would be a first. Penny seems to keep her eye on the door, except when she thinks she might actually lose Leonard. Her default attitude is that she's almost doing Leonard a favor letting him hang around. It is a sign of Leonard's low self-esteem that he puts up with that. Maybe Penny only respects guys that are willing to cheat on her, since they are obviously not concerned about finding someone just as good, keeping her happy or even respecting her. The Penny of the first two seasons would have either not cared about the other couple, or walked Leonard over there to show him off. Maybe the whole loss of confidence is part of the end part of the season, where they need to break Penny with regard to Leonard. Shifting the responsibility for the proposal may be the key, in that Leonard will now never propose. He's made a sincere promise, and I'll bet he keeps it. Leonard could get tenure (I hope, as Sheldon's reaction would be hilarious), be granted a sabbatical to somewhere like Europe, and Penny suddenly has to deal with him being gone for an extended period of time. Penny could follow him, and you would naturally create two plot lines. Penny and Leonard in Europe, and Sheldon having to deal with being alone in the apartment. All sorts of fun could ensue.

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Her attempt to ruin VD in Tangible was also a reaction to her fears because as she said it thing had been going so great.  Now that she realizes that she doesn't want to be the one that ends it she gives him reasons to end it.

While she definitely did her very best at ruining Valentine's Day, I am not sure she truly meant for those efforts to lead to a breakup, initiated either by her or by Leonard. I get the feeling that her relationship with Leonard is so important to her that she has always tried to get it just right, thereby making it unnecessarily complicated and messy. 

 

The reason she gave for not returning his declaration of love in season 3 was, if I recall correctly, that she had said ILY too soon before and it had not turned out very well. So by not saying it until she was absolutely sure it was the "right" moment, she actually believed she was doing the correct thing, in contrast with her past behaviour.

The same idea emerged when she explained her disastrous behaviour in the VD episode : what made her freak out (and sabotage the whole evening) was the idea that she might end up married to Leonard forever without having really thought about it. I remember her saying that as long as things would be fantastic between them, he would keep on proposing relentlessly and she would eventually give in, out of love and a desire to appease/please him. So it seems that her "plan", though I doubt she truly strategised the operation, was to do everything in her power for the relationship to be less perfect so that Leonard would stop proposing thereby giving her extra time to think it through. Basically, she attempted to slow down the relationship's progress, not halt it altogether or destroy it. 

 

The main theme appears to be that Penny wants to do things properly when it comes to her relationship with Leonard. She wants to get it just right, unlike with all her past romantic endeavours. So, instead of just going for it, she thinks, over-thinks, ponders, considers, questions, challenges, doubts, etc. It both proves how valuable the relationship is to her and makes it all the more difficult to maintain. 

She does not want to commit to him fully unless she is absolutely sure she will be good at it. However every relationship requires some sort of irrational leap of faith (Leonard made that clear when he admitted to asking her out in spite of having thought it through).

 

This tension between Penny's circumspection and the devil-may-care-ness necessary to any genuine progress has given birth to a rather funny trend in their relationship : every real breakthrough between them takes place accidentally and without Penny noticing at first. It always happens so suddenly/unpredictably Penny cannot overthink it to death and prevent it from occurring : she blurted out ILY (without noticing) in the middle of an argument; she inadvertently showed how much she cared about Leonard by being jealous of Pryia/Alex; she carelessly admitted she thought of marrying Leonard while they were talking about something else (i.e. prenuptial agreements); she implicitely confessed she would eventually say yes to one of his proposals when made to justify her appalling behaviour on VD, etc. 

 

Considering Penny is more used to "winging it" than to overpreparing, her overzealous attitude towards her relationship with Leonard may be seen as a testament to how much she cares and does not want to repeat the mistakes she made in previous affairs. 

Edited by Chiara
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While she definitely did her very best at ruining Valentine's Day, I am not sure she truly meant for those efforts to lead to a breakup, initiated either by her or by Leonard. I get the feeling that her relationship with Leonard is so important to her that she has always tried to get it just right, thereby making it unnecessarily complicated and messy. 

 

The reason she gave for not returning his declaration of love in season 3 was, if I recall correctly, that she had said ILY too soon before and it had not turned out very well. So by not saying it unless she was absolutely sure it was the "right" moment, she actually believed she was doing the right thing, in contrast with her past behaviour.

The same idea emerged when she justified her disastrous behaviour in the VD episode : what made her freak out (and sabotage the whole evening) was the idea that she might end up married to Leonard forever without having really thought about it. I remember her saying that as long as things would be fantastic between them, he would keep on proposing relentlessly and she would eventually give in, out of love and a desire to appease/please him. So it seems that her "plan", though I doubt she really strategised the operation, was to do everything in her power for the relationship to be less perfect so that Leonard would stop proposing thereby giving her extra time to think it through. Basically, she attempted to slow the relationship's progress down, not halt it altogether or destroy it. 

 

The main theme appears to be that Penny wants to do things properly when it comes to her relationship with Leonard. She wants to get it just right, unlike with all her other romantic endeavours. So, instead of just going for it, she thinks, over-thinks, ponders, considers, questions, challenges, doubts, etc. It both proves how valuable the relationship is to her and makes it all the more difficult to maintain. 

She does not want to commit to him fully unless she is absolutely sure she will be good at it. However every relationship rests on some sort of irrational leap of faith (Leonard made that clear when he admitted to asking her out in spite of having thought it through).

 

This tension between Penny's circumspection and the devil-may-care-ness necessary to any real progress has led to a rather funny trend in their relationship : every real breakthrough between them takes place accidentally and without Penny noticing at first. It always happens so suddenly/unpredictably Penny cannot overthink it to death and prevent it from occurring : she blurted out ILY (without noticing) in the middle of an argument; she inadvertently showed how much she cared about Leonard by being jealous of Pryia/Alex; she carelessly admitted she thought of marrying Leonard while they were talking about something else (i.e. prenuptial agreements); she implicitely confessed she would eventually say yes to his proposals when made to justify her appalling behaviour on VD, etc. 

 

Considering Penny is more used to "winging it" than to overpreparing, her overzealous attitude towards her relationship with Leonard may be seen as a testament to how much she cares and does not want to repeat the mistakes she made in previous affairs. 

 

 

You misunderstand.  Her attempt to ruin VD was not a conscious choice to try and get Leonard to break up with her.  She doesn't want that to happen.  Low self-esteem can drive a person to subconsciously try and sabotage the relationship before the assumed ending hurts even worse.

 

Things going too smoothly for her is a scary thing because it makes her afraid of being blindsided.

 

She did say she ILYed too soon in other relationships but that was not the reason she broke up with him.  She broke up with him because they were at two different places.  They were at two different places because she was afraid.  The scene where he expressed his love showed their relationship at a really great place and they were really clicking as a couple.  At no time did she deny that she loved him she just wasn't ready to take that next step and she felt some pressure by Leonard.  Wheaton gave her an easy out and she took it.

 

Also, the biggest mistakes she has made in previous affairs is picking jerks that mistreat her.  That has nothing to do with Leonard.  This is all about her getting comfortable at every level until the eventual marriage.  Some of it is about taking time and some of it is about her growth as a person.

Edited by Ar Diem
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Penny is an essential character on the show. Without her and her influence the show would be very diffident indeed! (Unaired Pilot; I'm looking at you.)

That having been said: I don't like her, much. She grates on my nerves and basically drives me around the bend. But like I said before -- her character is necessary to making the show work. *Sigh* I just wish in some scenes she would be nicer to our boys. And in others I think she is too much of a pushover. In the beginning for instance: she is a pushover at times. On the later series she is sort of a bitch!

Please may the writers discover a happier balance for this much needed character!

 

 

I am rewatching season 1 right now and I said to me wife today. Wow, Penny was so much nicer then and they have really turned her into a bit of a Bitch! I hate that word and I hate to use it but I do think it is accurate. I do hope the writers soften her up a bit!

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I am rewatching season 1 right now and I said to me wife today. Wow, Penny was so much nicer then and they have really turned her into a bit of a Bitch! I hate that word and I hate to use it but I do think it is accurate. I do hope the writers soften her up a bit!

 

I'm going to go with they write her this way to maintain engagement. If she was sugar and spice all the time we wouldn't be engaged as much, at either pole. I'm now "over" the analysis because the pigeon-holing thing, no matter how artfully done, pales for me.

 

Maybe I'm out on character.

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@ Ar Diem

 

I did not mean to imply Penny had consciously sabotaged the evening. What I meant was that I do not believe she still waits for the other shoe to drop and I do not think this is the motivation for her counterproductive behaviour these days.

 

I am convinced pessimism played a big part in her past attitude towards Leonard. She was used to every relationship blowing up in her face after the ILY stage so she refused to say it to Leonard hoping it would prevent the detonation and, when pressured, she walked away from him, hoping to keep herself from getting injured by what she thought would be the inevitable shrapnel of a future, much more painful breakup.

I do not think she feels the same now. Her behaviour is no longer that of somebody who subconsciously assumes things will turn sour. She is just baffled by the idea that she could end up happily married forever, just like that. Easily. 

 

I believe the end of her little VD tirade was something like "then we're going to be married forever and the whole thing just freaks me out". There is no allusion to eventual unhappiness, no reference to a hypothetical breakup in their future or to her being afraid of the pain she would experience were it to happen. The writers could have stopped at "married" and moved on to "and the whole thing just freaks me out". But no. They went as far as to have her say "married forever" thereby implying that she cannot even fathom their marriage not lasting until one of them dies. 

The part that "freaks her out" is not that they might/could/will break up. It is not that Leonard will tire of her eventually. It is that they surely won't and he never will. It is, to put it simply, sudden happiness.


Due to her disastrous past experiences, she has no freaking clue how happy people behave in the long run. She is not sure she will know what to do with herself once she is stuck pedaloing on this sea of felicity. Therefore she feels the need to test drive the bloody thing, familiarise herself with it before she can fully commit. She wants to do it properly which in her mind means slowly and with a degree of caution that is close to the kind usually displayed by brain surgeons.

 

And I do believe part of this extreme caution of hers has to do specifically with Leonard, not her previous BFs.

Sure, a chunk of it is the result of her past experiences (once bitten...) yet I think another (possibly bigger) chunk is due to her being afraid of shortchanging Leonard. Everything she does in their relationship impacts him. So if she ever does something wrong, like she fears she might considering that she has no freaking idea how
young, happily loved-up/married people are supposed to behave, she will cause him pain.  Not enough for him to leave her but still.
Since I believe she was genuinely sincere when she told Sheldon that hurting Leonard was "the last thing [she] want[ed] to do", I can only assume that she considers his happiness (or lack thereof) her responsibility. So she tries to get it just right not only for her own sake but also for his because their relationship and he truly matter to her. The stakes are very high indeed. The happiness of someone she loves depends on her now, hence the borderline obsessive circumspection. 

Edited by Chiara

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I'm going to go with they write her this way to maintain engagement. If she was sugar and spice all the time we wouldn't be engaged as much, at either pole. I'm now "over" the analysis because the pigeon-holing thing, no matter how artfully done, pales for me.

 

Maybe I'm out on character.

 I just want to see more balance. I don't want to see her become a Pollyanna but nor do I want to see her become a Queen Bitch. Some balance is needed.

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 I just want to see more balance. I don't want to see her become a Pollyanna but nor do I want to see her become a Queen Bitch. Some balance is needed.

Perhaps we should also take age and experience into consideration.

When the show started, Penny was meant to be 21-22 I believe. She was a glorified baby, a bright-eyed kid who thought her big Hollywood career was a mere six months of table waiting away. Six years later, she is a woman with baggage. She has experienced some hardship, has been disappointed by others and herself on quite a few occasions. It seems natural for her to have toughened up in a way. 

 

While I think the real reason for Penny changing in such a way was actually C. Lorre wanting to reinject some of his original heroin's (Katie I think her name was) characteristics into the mix, it still makes sense within the confines of the show : at 26-27 Penny is understandably not the same person she was when barely out of adolescence. 

The writers may have gone too far with it for a while (yes, season 4, I am talking about you) but they have since regained their equilibrium I think. Most of Penny's bitterness has washed away and while she can be a bit bitchy at times, she is now self-aware enough to do something about it and even apologise when required. She is still growing up. 

Edited by Chiara
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@Chiara

 

If Penny were confident she would have never asked if Leonard was breaking up with her.  She went to the worst possible interpretation of what he had just said.  It goes right back to my interpretation that she was subconsciously sabotaging the relationship to protect herself and it succeeded.

 

Look at how comfortable she was with Leonard cheating on Priya during a time Penny was supposedly pining for him.  Given all of her problems in the past if she loved him at that point failing to really discourage Leonard was also an act of sabotage.  Trusting him to be a good guy should have been her highest priority.  There was no reason to help the demise of Lerya since it obviously had some serious cracks at that moment.

 

Most of what you said about shortchanging Leonard is also textbook low self-esteem because it goes back to feelings of unworthiness.

 

Fear of her new identity after they are married is valid but once she realized that this is the path the relationship is on she should have worked through that stage by now.  It is a really simple question that anyone wise asks themselves before they choose to tie the knot.  Am I better and stronger with this person or am I worse and weaker?  I broke up with a girl that I really loved because when I asked myself that question it was the latter.

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@Ar Diem

 

It is really funny because we see the same things yet come up with radically different interpretations. It is like Rashomon all over again :)

 

Confession time : I do not think I have particularly low self-esteem yet if I were in a relationship with a man who undoubtedly wanted to get married and he told me he would never propose to me (again), I, like Penny, would immediately assume that it was a prelude to a breakup. Especially if his little declaration of intent came right after I had admitted the idea of being married forever freaked me out. 

 

In my opinion, Penny did not fail to persuade Leonard to behave like a good man during the Pryia/Alice incident. She acted like the friend he sought to talk to. She presented him with the three options he had (cheat and lie about it, break up with Pryia, never see the new girl again) and after he rejected them all, she pointed out that what he wanted to do (cheat yet still be a good guy who made both girls happy) was completely unrealistic.

Furthermore, she once helped him be a good man at her own expense when she agreed no longer to socialise with him after Pryia demanded it. It cost her a lot but she did it, for his sake. She even refused his compromise of seeing each other "on the down-low" because she knew he was not that kind of guy and she did not want him to become it. 

 

I agree with you that Penny should probably have wrapped her mind around the whole marriage thing by now. But what can I say ? She simply does not feel ready for it. She knows this is where it is going and to a certain extent, she is quite comfortable with it. She did not freak out when Leonard told her she would have to propose and gave her some instructions as to how she should do it. If anything, she was pleased by it. The prospect of marriage does not frighten her as much as the prospect of it happening out of the blue, too quickly and for all the wrong reasons does (as demonstrated by her daydreaming -and dreading- a shotgun wedding in The Recombination Hypothesis). 

Leonard and Penny want the same thing now and are on a level playing field emotionally. Their only problem is timing. Leonard, as he movingly pointed out in season 3, started a relationship with Penny two years before she became an active participant in it; he is also older than her (by as many as ten years if we assume the actors and their characters are the same age); he has a much more stable, organised life than her; he has made it professionally which is not her case... It is perfectly reasonable of Leonard to want to get married now. A wife and children, a house and a dog are the next logical steps considering the state of his life. The same cannot necessarily be said about Penny. 

She needs more time to make sure she will do it properly and for the right reasons. 

 

Of course, she also needs more time because the writers want to milk the bloody thing for all it is worth. But that's incidental. 

Edited by Chiara
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@Chiara

 

The hole in your argument is that you think she wants to do everything "properly" but you also say she should have her head wrapped around marriage by now.  That is very improper considering her BF has proposed to her, in his words, "a lot."   

 

What is left to do before moving in together is proper?  This is also something she is uncomfortable with at the moment.   What makes delaying the inevitable more proper at this stage in their relationship?  I mean the last thing anyone could say is that they would be rushing anything.

 

Penny gets in her own way.  Sometimes she does it without realizing she is doing it until too late like the VD dinner.  She  has a pattern of being self-destructive in how she chooses relationships that can be most easily explained by low self-worth.  Even though she had learned from experience that one night stands end with her feeling shame she still engaged in them as recently as the end of S4 when she went out looking for a rear to bite.

 

I don't really buy that an emotionally invested female can shut it off to be a friend in a situation like Good Guy but we can agree to disagree on that one.

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@Chiara

 

The hole in your argument is that you think she wants to do everything "properly" but you also say she should have her head wrapped around marriage by now.  That is very improper considering her BF has proposed to her, in his words, "a lot."   

 

What is left to do before moving in together is proper?  

The short answer to that, in my opinion, would be simply waiting. 

 

Even if we agregate both the times Penny and Leonard were in a romantic relationship (and quite frankly, I do not think we should because there are so many discrepancies between the two instances), it adds up to about one 20-22 months. 

These days, people tend to wait an average of almost three years before they decide to get married, with cohabitation occuring either shortly before or after the accepted proposal (that is of course just a trend, not an absolute rule, and it obvisouly does not apply to people in long-term relationships who choose not to marry but live together). 

 

There is still a lot of time for Leonard and Penny before they're out of the norm. Penny needs this time : she needs it to grow up a bit more, to feel more confident about herself and her life choices, to make sure big changes in their relationship are made for the right reasons. 

I feel it is quite important at this point to remind ourselves of the ways Leonard has tried to make the relationship move forward so far and the motivations behind them : 

- he asked her to marry him once because he was happy to be having sex again (and a bit caught up in the wedding fever);

- he "offered" cohabitation because he was fed up with Sheldon's excentric behaviour;

- he proposed again because he sensed Penny was upset about her cheating ex getting married before her. 

 

Now, I am no romance expert but "Hey, let's get married because our friends are and my impending orgasm makes me delirious !", "Hey, let's live together because my roomate makes me murderous !" and "Hey, let's get married (again) because your ex is and we just can't let him beat us at the post!" do not sound very romantic to me. It is all the way up there with "Hey, let's wed because you're already preggers !", aka Penny's 5.13 nightmare. 

 

I do not mean to say that Leonard was not sincere when he made those overtures. I am convinced he loves Penny profoundly and truly wants their relationship to progress. However, the timing and reasoning of his offers are always... off, in a way. 

So Penny waits for things to feel right. 

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I agree she is waiting for it to feel right and the most plausible reason is a low self-esteem.  It can't have anything to do with Leonard or their relationship because she has known him for 7 years not just the 20ish months they were romantically involved.  I don't remember when it started but based on Sheldon's comments she has eaten dinner with them for most of at least 4 years.  They have spent a lot of time together and she has learned just about anything there is to learn about him and vice versa.

 

I agree that for the sake of comedy his attempts to upscale their relationship have not always happened at the best times but since we are given the idea that he has proposed more than we have seen we might be able to assume that at least one of the other times was not overshadowed.

 

Growing up more and being more confident are all suggestions of unworthiness and by extension low self-esteem.  Also she is 27-28 now and she has lived away from home for 11ish years.  She is probably as mature as she is going to get.

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I can agree a little on the self esteem issue. One problem Penny has always had was that she thought that Leonard is too smart for her and so will get tired of her and therefore leave her. It has been referred to many times and it does need to be addressed for her to feel comfortable with him.

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I can agree a little on the self esteem issue. One problem Penny has always had was that she thought that Leonard is too smart for her and so will get tired of her and therefore leave her. It has been referred to many times and it does need to be addressed for her to feel comfortable with him.

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I agree she is waiting for it to feel right and the most plausible reason is a low self-esteem.  It can't have anything to do with Leonard or their relationship because she has known him for 7 years not just the 20ish months they were romantically involved. I don't remember when it started but based on Sheldon's comments she has eaten dinner with them for most of at least 4 years.  They have spent a lot of time together and she has learned just about anything there is to learn about him and vice versa.

I am sorry to disagree but I do. 

 

I believe there is a huge difference between getting to know someone within a romantic context and outside of it. The expectations are not the same, the demands are different and so is the pressure. Friends (or exes) do not let on in the same way they do with partners/S.O.s and thereby get to know one another in very dissimilar ways. 

It was made abundantly clear by Leonard when on his non-date with Penny : he admitted that when they were involved romantically for the first time around, he would do anything she said, so afraid was he she would dump him or deprive him sexually. Once "liberated" from those (self-imposed) shackles, he became more assertive and even a bit revengeful. And, very importantly, Penny had no clue : she had no clue he used to model his behaviour after hers when they were together nor did she have any idea he could be so self-confident when less stressed out. 

Different contexts = different behaviours = different types of "knowing someone".

 

Leonard and Penny have only known each other as GF/BF for 20ish months and as potential future spouses for even less (well, in Leonard's case he has been fantasizing about it for longer but reality is always much different from daydreams). 

Furthermore, both their attempts at a relationship are markedly dissimilar : Penny/Leonard 1.0 was the story of a cheesecake-scented goddess benevolently allowing herself to be worshipped by a mere mortal whose behaviour oscillated between that of a self-flagellating priest and that of a Labrador puppy who's just been given a treat. Penny/Leonard 2.0 is about an amazingly imperfect woman being loved by a thoroughly remarkable but a tad pushy man and loving him in return. 

 

I genuinely believe there is still quite a lot for them to uncover, about each other but most importantly about themselves. They still need to adjust to the level of mutual dependency being married implies. 

 

And the writers really need to drag this out because buckets of money are being thrown at them at that point and I am not convinced they want to put an end to it...

 

Growing up more and being more confident are all suggestions of unworthiness and by extension low self-esteem.  Also she is 27-28 now and she has lived away from home for 11ish years.  She is probably as mature as she is going to get.

Crap ! Did you have to tell me that ? I am a bit younger than Penny andn until about five seconds ago, genuinely hoped I would someday be a grownup. Now, it is all gone. 

If this is me at my most mature, I am sincerely sorry for myself and all the people around me. It is going to be a long and repetitive 60ish years until death ;)

Edited by Chiara
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@Chiara

 

I really don't know how you back up your belief that the romance context makes such a big impact on how you get to know a person.  Some of the most important things she learned about Leonard she learned by just being part of his life.  His childhood is a good example.  If anything romance can initially throw up road blocks until a comfort level is reached. 

 

A long lasting relationship is built on compatibility and allowances.  Other than sex almost all of the big things can be learned as friends.  Things like:

 

Ethics

Goals

Spending habits

Politics

Religion

Habits

Motivations

Trustworthiness

Strengths

Weaknesses

Supportiveness

 

I know all of these things about my good friends.  You spend enough time with a person and they will show you their true colors whether they mean to or not.

 

The scenes where Penny realized Leonard gave into her for sex were definite continuity errors.  She knows she can get what she wants with sex and she saw Leonard with Dr. Stephanie.

 

To your comment about yourself...lol...I have never met a person that was immature that realized they were immature so I think you are more mature than you think, at least in the ways that count.  I have been ridiculously mature since I was 13 but that doesn't stop me from enjoying life at times in really immature ways.

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Chiara and Ar Diem,

 

I am enjoying your observations immensely! :icon_surprised:

 

Love that thoughtful insight on the character.

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Chiara and Ar Diem,

 

I am enjoying your observations immensely! :icon_surprised:

 

Love that thoughtful insight on the character.

 

 

I just wish I could read more of your insights.  In other words, POST MORE!

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I just wish I could read more of your insights.  In other words, POST MORE!

thanks :icon_wink:

 

Only if I have something to add to the conversation.

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@Chiara

I really don't know how you back up your belief that the romance context makes such a big impact on how you get to know a person. Some of the most important things she learned about Leonard she learned by just being part of his life. His childhood is a good example. If anything romance can initially throw up road blocks until a comfort level is reached.

What I mean by "different types of knowing someone" is that, depending on the level on which we relate to someone, we use different filters/lenses to perceive them.

One may not share the same secrets with a friend as with a lover, or share them in very different ways (with more or less detail for example). One may be perfectly fine with a friend's quirks but appalled by the same peculiarities if displayed by a BF/GF. And so on.

A stupid example of that would be Penny's rather loud snoring. Leonard has known she is a snorer since the very beginning of their acquaintanceship. He might even have thought it adorable that the girl of his dreams made that kind of noises when asleep. However I wonder if he feels as OK with those deafening sounds now that he sleeps next to her every night... Same thing applies to Leonard's asthma and Penny's reaction to it, of course.

Furthermore, when "just" friends, Leonard and Penny rarely socialised as a duo. They were members of the same gang. The vast majority of their interactions occurred in the presence of at least one (less than silent) witness in the form of a preying mantiss-like humanoid. On occasion, they had little (often drunken) rendez-vous, like when Leonard's mother would come to terrorise the village or when Sheldon'd go on a rampage and Leonard had to flee the apartment. Nonetheless, they spent most of their time together surrounded by other people. Over the years, whatever they might have revealed of themselves during those numerous takeout sessions around the coffee table was FabFour-appropriate.

Now, it is just the two of them. They spend time just with each other. It is a completely different setting in which they get to see and expose things of themselves and each other they do not necessarily want the others to know.

Also, the expectations that go with a romantic relationship are completely different from those associated with a friendship.

Friendship is a day-to-day, no red tape experience. Nobody plans for their friendship to last forever. It does not mean they cannot, for they can, but there is no planning, no structure. People just go with the flow. If it lasts, it lasts and it is great. If it doesn't, most of the time, people just grow apart slowly until they stop seeing each other altogether. No big break up; no drama.

Romance is a completely different ball of wax. There are many questions associated with it (cohabitation, marriage, children). Formal commitment is part of the deal and with it, a timetable both partners have to agree to. It is more intense due to the officiality requirement.

Both Penny and Leonard have to learn to cope with all this new information and the demands that go with it. And, quite frankly, neither seems totally ready to me. Leonard is way ahead of Penny in this department, partly because he is older,more experienced and stable and partly because he knows first-hand what formal commitment is, thanks to Sheldon's roomate agreement.

Penny is still in the process of getting used to Leonard 2.0. It think she is very nearly there, considering her happy reaction to his proposal proposition.

As for Penny being aware of her erotic allure to Leonard, I agree she always knew she could get him to do stuff by suggesting sex would be the reward. She did it on numerous occasions. However the non-date revealed that, no matter what the circumstances, Leonard used to assume sex was always at stakes. He would behave in whichever way he thought would guarantee sexual gratification even though, to Penny, it was obvious sex would occur regardless of Leonard's willingness to watch 90 minutes of Jennifer Aniston drivel. In these instances, she was not motivating him using intercourse as the carrot. She genuinely had no idea what was going on in her BF's head and sincerely thought he liked karaoke.

I just wish I could read more of your insights. In other words, POST MORE!

Firstly, thank you BangerMain. Secondly, join in ! I am slightly starting to fear Ar Diem and I have made everybody run away in terror ;)

Edited by Chiara

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... But I'd like to question the proposition that there actually is a point of readiness. I've been married for decades andI'm still getting caught by things I don't know. If I'd waited for to be ready I'd be living by myself in room with a big tv, a broadband connection and a pile of empty pizza boxes.

From a practical point of view they know each other well enough to take the risk. It's not like they are fresh off the turnip truck. So when you say ready I'd like to hear the distinction between ready to make the choice, which Penny apparently isn't and ready in the sense they could launch anyway and fast track the fixes.

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Plus you have to give them credit for the friend time because they have seen each other at their worst when they were friends. Leonard learned about Penny's temper while they were only friends. Bottom line is they know enough about each other to get married.

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