In just a few short weeks, we’ll know how The Big Bang Theory ends. The story of Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, Raj, Penny, Bernadette, and Amy – which could very well be the last really popular multi-cam sitcom ever made, with new developments in streaming and premium cable taking viewers away from broadcast television – will finally be over and we’ll see where they all end up.
Go back to any episode from the first season of The Big Bang Theory and you’ll see how vastly different the characters were then than they are now. Sheldon was a socially awkward genius who was completely indifferent to anyone. Leonard was a geeky nervous wreck who pined after the girl next door. Penny was a Cheesecake Factory waitress who dreamed of one day being a famous movie star. Howard was basically a sexual predator. Raj couldn’t speak to women. And Amy and Bernadette weren’t even there!
These characters are so completely different now than they were at the beginning of the series that they’ve basically become entirely new characters. So, as we head rapidly towards the series finale of The Big Bang Theory, here are 18 Major Ways The Characters Have Changed Since Season 1 (And 2 Differences That Make No Sense.)
Changed: Penny Is No Longer The “Girl Next Door”
Penny started off in season 1 as the most obvious example of the “girl next door” trope who had ever been created. She was the insanely attractive woman who lived literally next door to single loser Leonard, who spent the show’s early days pining after her.
Since sitcoms are designed for longevity, with characters who can supposedly stay the same for hundreds of episodes, it seemed like Penny would be the “girl next door” forever. But now, she’s moved across the hall to live with Leonard. A character who was once Leonard’s “girl next door” is now his live-in wife – she’s literally become the opposite of her initial characterization.
Changed: Howard Is A Family Man
At the beginning of the series, Howard was a pervert who would do anything to trick women into sleeping with him. He secretly filmed Penny while she was asleep and he created a robotic arm for, well, you know what. But now, he is a loving husband and father of two.
All of the characters have been through some tremendous changes on the show, but Howard has arguably matured the most. Sheldon has opened himself up emotionally, Leonard is more confident, and Raj is more independent, but Howard is a completely changed man. Put season 1 Howard and season 12 Howard next to each other and they’re chalk and cheese.
Changed: Leonard Is Married To Penny
This is one of the main changes from the show over the years. In season 1, Leonard hopelessly pined after Penny while she dated a bunch of douchey, muscular meatheads. Now, after a long on/off romance, the two have settled down together and tied the knot.
First, they eloped in Vegas, and later, after everyone kicked up a fuss for not being invited to their wedding, they had a nice ceremony in the park with all their friends and family in attendance. We got an answer to the age-old “Will they or won’t they?” sitcom question posed by the likes of Friends and How I Met Your Mother a lot earlier than we expected in The Big Bang Theory.
Changed: Raj Can Talk To Women
At the start of the series, Raj couldn’t even open his mouth when he was near a woman. Sometime in the early days of the show, he realized he could talk to women if he drank alcohol. But even then, that’s not a permanent solution. He couldn’t just get drunk all the time – you can’t develop a relationship like that.
Now, all these years later, he has no problem communicating with women and has revealed himself to be a hopeless romantic. Some of his closest friends are women. He’s built relationships with Penny, Amy, and Bernadette and spoken to all three of them enough that they’ve gotten to know him really well.