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September 1, 2014

'Big Bang Theory' Set Visit: Are Leonard and Penny Headed for a Big Break-Up?

by Laura Prudom, posted Mar 24th 2010 3:00PM

From Ross and Rachel to Booth and Brennan, "will they/won't they" couples have become a staple part of our TV diet, with shows often dangling the carrot of love above viewers' heads right up until the very last episode. But CBS' geektastic comedy 'The Big Bang Theory' is way too smart (literally) for that, deciding to forgo the frustration and get right down to the romance after finally hooking up nerdy Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and vivacious Penny (Kaley Cuoco) at the start of season three.

But the course of true love never did run smooth. AOL TV recently stopped by the 'Big Bang Theory' set to get the inside scoop from all five 'Big Bang' cast members, and we think fans will be surprised by what they had to say. Check out our spoilertastic interview after the jump.
From Ross and Rachel to Booth and Brennan, "will they/won't they" couples have become a staple part of our TV diet, with shows often dangling the carrot of love above viewers' heads right up until the very last episode. But CBS' geektastic comedy 'The Big Bang Theory' is way too smart (literally) for that, deciding to forgo the frustration and get right down to the romance after finally hooking up nerdy Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and vivacious Penny (Kaley Cuoco) at the start of season three.

But the course of true love never did run smooth. AOL TV recently stopped by the 'Big Bang Theory' set to get the inside scoop from all five 'Big Bang' cast members, and we think fans will be surprised by what they had to say. Check out our spoilertastic interview after the jump.

Fans aren't the only ones who were relieved by the quick resolution of the Leonard/Penny tension; the actors who play them were equally eager to get the ball rolling on the relationship. "I think it's great," enthused Cuoco, dressed pretty in pink on the set. "It's more realistic, I think. I love the first episode they got together, when they were drunk -- I'm sorry, but it happens! You get drunk, you make out with your friends, it gets weird, then it's not weird. I think it was brilliant."

Galecki was quick to agree: "[It's] been done so many times when it comes to romantic dynamics within a cast, and it's been done really well. I was a bit surprised [it happened so early], but pleasantly."

Although the entire cast tried to stay coy on the subject of spoilers, a few hints slipped out that spell trouble for the show's star-crossed couple. "There will be some turmoil ahead for Penny and Leonard ... beyond that I don't know what I can say, I have to be vague about it!" Galecki teased, though he at least had the decency to be apologetic.

Cuoco, on the other hand, threw caution to the wind when she revealed, "It has to end at some point. [There are] troubles ahead -- I think it's Penny more [struggling] at this point. She's starting to deeply realize that maybe he is the one, but not right now. She's not so sure of what she wants, and I think the minute she loses Leonard, she's going to regret it for a long time."

Yikes. Sounds like a case of "when," not "if," on a split between beauty and the geek, but all is not lost -- Galecki was optimistic that the relationship will ebb and flow and bring the pair back together eventually. "I think they're still very far from being able to truly click. They both have so much to learn before they can meet on equal territory," he observed. "I think they'll stray and then rekindle with newfound lessons learned and newfound confidence -- I hope so."

But what will a break-up mean for the group dynamic we've all come to know and love from the 'Big Bang Theory' gang? The charming Kunal Nayyar (who has no trouble talking to women, unlike his shy alter-ego Raj) pointed out just how codependent this group has become. "The five of them can't live without each other; these guys can't live without Penny either now."

Cuoco confirmed that the writers are working hard not to lose the relationship between all five characters that makes up the heart of the show, but there is one group member in particular who will take the break-up harder than most. "We have an episode coming up, Johnny and I are fighting in it, so it's kind of like, who has custody of Sheldon?" she laughed. "It's funny 'cause we don't realize how much of a big part of Sheldon's life Penny is now -- she's really become a mother to him."

We've seen Penny attempt to tone down Sheldon's wardrobe, take care of him while he's sick, drive him around on comic book errands and sing him creepy lullabies. "She's probably the only person that's that nice to him," Cuoco noted. "Even the guys can't stand him [sometimes], but she really has a soft spot for him and the audience loves that."

The actors apparently love it too. The genial and effortlessly eloquent Jim Parsons was full of praise for the scenes he is able to play opposite Cuoco. "Any time they stick Sheldon with Penny, I really enjoy it, it's so fun to do," he said. "I think that they write really well for those two characters together ... there's something about acting with [Kaley] that's just really easy. She's a wonderful verbal dancing partner."

But fans hoping for a Sheldon/Penny hook-up in the wake of her break-up with Leonard are liable to be disappointed; Cuoco was quick to quash any wishful thinking. "They love [the thought] because it's so not realistic; it's not going to happen, so they want it to happen," she said. "Then if it did, they wouldn't want it anymore. I always imagined it might be in a nightmare sequence -- but nothing more than that!"

Leonard and Penny aren't the only couple that might be on the rocks. The slightly homoerotic bromance between Raj Koothrappali and Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) is also suffering a few setbacks, since Howard finally found himself a real girlfriend.

"I think there could be some jealousy on Koothrappali's part," Helberg wryly agreed. "They've been delicate with that, because I know it's a fine line between the bromance and then the closeted relationship! You'll see [Raj] start to reach out to Leonard or Sheldon as a wing man because I'm gone. And we're probably not spending as many Sundays in the park or fighting about who left the toilet seat up, or whatever."

"He's just sad and he's alone, and I think he takes it out by being whiny and bitchy like a little girlfriend," Nayyar said with a smirk. "He's stuck with Sheldon, who doesn't want to pick up girls. And Wolowitz is his life, his bromance with Wolowitz. It's teetering on ... you know, it seems like they are going to make out or something." Nayyar gave a nonchalant shrug. "I'll go there, I mean, I'll do anything for the show."

Helberg wasn't quite so enthusiastic about the prospect of locking lips with his on-screen BFF. "Bill [Prady, one of the show's creators] was telling us [that] there are literally will-they-or-won't-they blogs about Koothrappali and Wolowitz," he confided, shaking his head. "I don't want to disappoint, but I am not a piece of meat!"

As for a romantic interest for Sheldon outside of Penny, Parsons doesn't think fans should rule it out entirely, even if he's not interested in serving as Raj's wing man. "There's a certain out-of-control element to falling in love, to the whirlwind of it. I think it would be fun, as a viewer, to watch this character get swept up off his feet when very little surprises him," he mused. "I think ... he would enjoy that, and we would enjoy watching him do that, and I would enjoy playing it."

In addition to that cavalcade of dating spoilers, we were also able to unearth some hints about the reappearance of Sheldon's greatest nemesis, actor Wil Wheaton. "He puts something into motion that has drastic consequences," Nayyar teased, before amending, "Well, not drastic, but he definitely puts something into motion. It's Wil Wheaton! He's conniving, I'll tell you that much."

Parsons admitted that one of the best aspects of Wheaton's recurring role was that finally, someone is able to beat Sheldon at his own game: "Sheldon wins a lot of the time, so it's nice to have a good person come on and always get the best of him, because the rest of them don't always," he observed.

The fact that Wheaton is such a genuinely great guy -- according to all of the cast -- only makes his position as Sheldon's foil more ironic, in Parsons' opinion.

"Of course one of the main enemies in Sheldon Cooper's life is such a nice person – with all the real evil in the world, he's gone after Wil Wheaton," Parsons sighed exasperatedly. "The things Sheldon will concern himself with and then not concern himself with amaze me. Love isn't worth the time of day, but a 20-year-old hate grudge against Wil Wheaton is worth exploring in a couple of different episodes."

With only a few episodes to go until the season finale and all this drama left to unfold, it sounds like 'The Big Bang Theory' more than qualifies as unmissible television in the weeks to come. Will you be watching? Extrapolate your 'Big Bang' love in the comments below!

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