TBBT: 10 Most Confusing Storylines In The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory narrates a situational comedy among four ‘nerdy’ friends. Despite its popularity, the series had some confusing storylines

After 12 seasons, The Big Bang Theory ended on a high in 2019, with Variety reporting 18 million viewers tuned in to say goodbye to the much-loved characters. The series begins with a simple storyline of a socially-awkward physicist trying to improve his social skills when he comes across an attractive neighbor, but later evolves into a gang of friends facing complicated situations in their endeavors to find love and happiness.

While the plots were situational and (mostly) wholesome, some moments confused audiences. The show could have probably done without them, as, for the most part, they added little to the overall journey of TBBT. But despite these baffling moments, the show remains high on fans’ re-watch lists.

Tampering With The North Pole Experiment

Sheldon and the gang after the Monopolar Expedition in TBBT

“The Monopolar Expedition” was one of the few episodes that showed the gang’s scientific experience outside of their labs at length. Despite this episode being significant in Leonard and Penny’s relationship, the overall plotline was slightly hazy, particularly around how the experiment failed.

Leonard, Howard, and Raj claim the main reason for tampering was that Sheldon’s failures were making him impossible to live with, so they gave him a false success. However, it’s hard to understand why they would do this when they would surely know of its consequences. Also, considering Leonard was used to Sheldon’s annoying personality and tantrums, it was puzzling for the audience to think of Leonard going to such lengths as to tamper with the experiment.

The Timeline Of The Broken Elevator

Leonard and Penny converse in front of the broken elevator in TBBT

The story of the broken elevator was a significant plot point in multiple episodes of TBBT. In the episode “The Staircase Implementation,” Leonard tells Penny how he became roommates with Sheldon and the circumstances that led to the broken elevator. Despite the incident leading to Sheldon saving Leonard’s life, the gang was ultimately responsible for the broken elevator.

RELATED: The Best Character In Each Season Of The Big Bang Theory

However, this story did leave the audience questioning things. For example, an explosion of that size would have surely led to a police investigation, and Leonard and building management would have certainly used stronger phrasing than just saying the elevator “doesn’t work.” The timeline of the elevator’s broken state was also quite confusing. In season 1, it’s stated to be two years since the elevator broke, but season 3 changes this narrative, giving a different timeframe altogether.

Leonard’s Relationship With Stephanie

Leonard and Stephanie sit together on the couch in TBBT

Leonard’s feelings for Penny were evident from the moment the pair met. Their relationship did have ups and downs, as illustrated by Leonard and Penny’s relationship timeline, but they were ultimately meant to be. However, despite being unlucky in love, Leonard did have other relationships before his romance with Penny blossomed.

Before Penny, Leonard had a sweet relationship with Stephanie. Despite the couple being almost perfect for each other, it ultimately didn’t work out. Leonard breaks off the relationship for “moving too fast” when he comes to the bizarre realization that Stephanie has moved into his apartment without him realizing. While Leonard is characterized as not very emotionally intelligent, it would arguably be difficult for someone as smart as him not to pick up on this – although this could also be seen as an intentional exaggeration of his naivete with relationships.

Sheldon’s Inconsistent Relationship With Wil Wheaton

Wil Wheaton sits next to Sheldon holding a flag on TBBT

Sheldon certainly had a lot of enemies. His annoying and condescending attitude, one of the many things about Sheldon that have aged poorly, usually didn’t sit well with the people around him Mentioned in the early seasons was his rivalry with Star Trek actor Wil Wheaton. Sheldon even considered Wheaton to be his arch-nemesis.

The backstory of how Wil had missed an appearance when Sheldon had high hopes to meet the Star Trek celebrity left him angry. When they met years later in Pasadena, Sheldon and Wil seemed to go back and forth from enemies to almost close friends – and Wil even attends stag parties with the gang. It’s strange that they would even maintain this connection, let alone that it would flip flop so intensely and quickly – and is clearly included to give Wheaton more cameos (which fans loved).

Raj’s Relationship With Penny

Raj may seem like the odd one out in the gang, but he was pure-hearted and a great friend to the rest. However, the poor guy did not have much luck with women, being the only one of the core group that didn’t have an “endgame” relationship in the series. He did, however, have some romantic encounters, and one of the most confusing was with Penny.

In the cliffhanger at the end of season 4, Raj and Penny are seen waking up in bed together. The implication being that they hooked up. However, the details of their relationship are never resolved. In fact, fans were still asking the question “did Raj and Penny really sleep together?” even after the series ended.

TBBT: Penny’s Unanticipated Career Switch

Penny looks sad in The Big Bang Theory

Introduced as an ambitious and confident woman, Penny actually underwent a confusing career change. While the initial seasons saw her as a struggling actor. As the series progressed, her career switch from actress to sales was something fans did not anticipate – or understand.

RELATED: 10 Most Unexpected Things To Happen In The Big Bang Theory

The actress gig wasn’t financially lucrative, which may go some way to explain the change. However, the storyline saw her later realizing her potential as well as her disinterest in sales. The introduction of this big change in her professional field created some instability in her relation with Leonard. Since she earns more than him and is more successful – which was a great story arc. Though the plot was practical and realistic, it was baffling to see this change affect her character so much.

TBBT: Stuart Moving In With Howard’s Mother

His character arc did get messy toward the end of the series, but Stuart did manage to find his way. After the comic book store burned down, he found himself struggling financially and without a place to live. While he had to wait for insurance to handle the situation, he moved in with Howard and Bernadette. During this time he forged a close relationship with Mrs. Wolowitz, but after Mrs. Wolowitz’s death, his staying with Howard seemed confusing. His storyline didn’t seem to add much to the gang’s plot and could often feel forced.

TBBT: Raj’s Luck In Love

Raj and Anu in TBBT smiling at each other

It was sad to see Raj not get his dream ending after all. He was a kind, loyal, and emotional guy who genuinely wanted to settle down. His relationships never lasted long and nearly always came to an uncomfortable end. Raj’s relationships with Emily, Claire, or even Anu seemed genuine, but the writers had something else planned. His relationship with Anu was one of the few that showed reality. Both knew there was no romance, yet they tried to make it work.

Penny Accepting Her Pregnancy

Since the early seasons, it was evident that Penny wasn’t fond of kids and didn’t like being around them. But, in one of the things that have aged poorly about Penny. It’s only after they tie the knot that she tells him she doesn’t want kids.

After Leonard and Penny both came to accept that their relationship wouldn’t include having children. It was quite a surprise for the fans to see Penny reveal her pregnancy in the final season. Penny accepting her pregnancy seemed out of character and left fans confused about the woman they’d come to know and love across TBBT‘s twelve seasons.

Leonard Tolerating Sheldon All Those Years

Sheldon and Leonard sitting on the bench in TBBT

The sitcom started with Sheldon and Leonard. The characters were nerdy and socially awkward but lovable in their own way, and they certainly captured fans’ imaginations. The 12 seasons explored all the ups and downs in terms of their friendship and their character development.

However, the most confusing aspect of the show and its plot is perhaps. Was why Leonard would want to stay friends with someone as annoying and condescending as Sheldon for all those years. Granted, Sheldon did save Leonard’s life but tolerating him and being bound to the “roommate agreement” seemed far-fetched.

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