‘The Big Bang Theory’: Was Leonard Hofstadter Overrated?

Leonard Hofstadter was one of The Big Bang Theory’s most beloved main characters. Fans connected with Leonard on a variety of different levels. While the geeky physicist had some great qualities, he may have been a little overrated. Leonard, just like his friends, Sheldon Cooper, Raj Koothrapalli, and Howard Wolowitz, was incredibly flawed. Fans, however, seemed to ignore some of his more troubling qualities.

No one seemed to notice that Leonard was kind of awful to Penny

Penny was supposed to be the woman of Leonard’s dreams. He fantasized about dating her, but when it finally happened, he was actually kind of awful to her. Not only did he treat her like a prize he had to win, but he underestimated her intelligence just because she didn’t have a fancy degree. Leonard was also incredibly clingy and jealous.

Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco)
Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

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When things with Penny didn’t work out, Leonard couldn’t let it go. Instead, he sabotaged Stuart, engaged in seriously toxic behavior, and threw tantrums. Yes, Leonard was supposed to be a flawed character, but his treatment of Penny occasionally ventured into the downright creepy territory.

Leonard was a bad boyfriend in general

Penny wasn’t the only girlfriend to have a hard time with Leonard, though. While he could turn up the romance when necessary, Leonard definitely was not a perfect partner. In fact, there were moments when he was a terrible boyfriend.

Leonard went out of his way to get together with Priya, Raj’s sister. The relationship spanned almost an entire season, and while Leonard seemed to be into her, originally, he really didn’t care when they broke up. He also happened to cheat on Priya, just like he cheated on Penny.

Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter
Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter | Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

Leonard was also weird when it came to Leslie, his coworker that he briefly hooked up with. In fact, it seemed as though Leonard was just using Leslie to make Penny jealous. While that type of behavior isn’t particularly uncommon, it’s still not cool.

Leonard never dealt with his mother issues

Leonard’s childhood was weird. Fans were well aware of that fact. Throughout 12 seasons, pretty much every one of Leonard’s problems could be traced back to how his cold and distant mother treated him. Family issues are common, and it is true that a person’s upbringing could color the way they see the world and how they interact with other people, but at some point, Leonard could have addressed the problem instead of continuing to act out because of it.

Sheldon Cooper and Beverly Hofstadter
Sheldon Cooper and Beverly Hofstadter | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

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Psych Central points out that Leonard was pretty self-aware. He knew what his problem was, but he never bothered to get help for that issue. Sure, his interactions with Sheldon and his mother were interesting, and often hilarious, but seeing Leonard grow by getting some help would have been great, too.