Regardless of how things started off between its central characters, The Big Bang Theory has settled into a show about three different couples’ relationships and seventh wheel Raj. But while Bernadette and Howard are living it up as happy new parents, this season will cap things off by throwing a wrench into the spokes of Sheldon and Amy’s love. And before that, even, we’ll apparently watch even more cracks form for Penny and Leonard thanks to her ex-boyfriend Zach reappearing to offer her a job. According to showrunner Steve Molaro:
Leonard is definitely uncomfortable with the thought of Penny going to work for her old boyfriend. I don’t know if he thinks she’ll be unfaithful, but according to Koothrappali, she’s gonna leave Leonard eventually — why not get it over with.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, Steve Molaro. Let’s hold the phone here. In the first place, I don’t think he should really be quoting Raj in any capacity when it comes to speaking objectively about the characters in his show, especially in this case. I mean, he’s no doubt doing it humorously, but it’s still a little strange, since Penny and Leonard and their relationship are such core elements of Big Bang Theory. In fact, had Molaro not said that, I might have just brushed Zack’s reappearance under the rug. But now…
This isn’t the first time that actor Brian Thomas Smith will return to The Big Bang Theory to reprise the role of the earnest doofus Zack, whom Penny first dated back in Season 3 after she and Leonard had temporarily broken up. He came back a few times in Season 4, once in Season 7, and was last seen in Season 9 for that wine tasting. And while Penny was definitely into him in the past, she’s since admitted that Leonard made it so she’s no longer attracted to dumb guys, of which Zack is definitely a card-carrying member. One can’t imagine that working with Zack on a daily basis would get Penny interested him even more, but it won’t help things if Leonard is at home doing nothing but complaining about it all.
Signs have arisen that Penny and Leonard’s relationship might not necessarily be a match made in nerd heaven, even though they’ve officially gotten married twice in the past two years. (And there are more seasons to come, so maybe there’s another wedding coming, just for kicks.) For one, Leonard is no longer as romantic as he once was, and an old flame is always going to look better in that respect. As well, Penny has been spending a lot of her time with Raj since he moved into the apartment, accounting for his words coming out of Steve Molaro’s mouth. But it looks like that domestic situation is getting changed up soon, as Molaro told TVLine that Raj time living with his two friends is now limited. And what’s next for Raj?
Maybe he’ll be able to get that room back if Penny and Leonard do split up at some point, but that’s hardly a scenario we want to give real consideration to, so we’ll just wait to see what happens. The Big Bang Theory airs Thursday nights on CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET. To see when everything else is heading to the small screen in the near future, head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide.