For a show that is ostensibly about ‘nerds’ who have no social skills and struggle to get dates, there’s a whole lot of dating in The Big Bang Theory! Pretty much every main character has multiple relationships (however long or short they may be) and of the main characters, only Raj ends the series unmarried.
Of all these relationships over the years, though, which ones were fans always behind? Sometimes, a pairing would pop up that no one saw coming, whether it works out in the end or not. And sometimes, it was clear from the start that a pair was endgame – or that they should have been!
Rooting For: Raj & Lucy
In the early seasons, Raj barely dated at all, because he struggled with selective mutism and was unable to talk around women unless he was under the influence. Later, this became significantly less of an issue, and he was actually able to have a few decent relationships – and it was rare that fans didn’t root for them to work out. Raj is adorable, and everyone wanted to see him find happiness – and Lucy seemed like a good possibility for that. She was even more socially anxious and awkward than Raj, and it seemed like they were a perfect fit, both completely understanding the other’s fears and issues. In the end, though, these ended up driving them apart.
Surprised Everyone: Penny & Zack
Penny definitely had some less than ideal boyfriends in the early seasons of the show, with a tendency to date men who were physically gorgeous, but intellectually less-than-impressive. Seeing her date the gorgeous-but-dumb Zack, then, wasn’t a huge surprise… but the surprising part of their relationship was how long it lasted, and how they end up being good friends. Fans expected Zack to be a short-term addition to the show, but in the end, he is a true friend to the gang, and is still spending time with Leonard and Penny in the final season.
Rooting For: Stuart & Denise
Stuart is another awkward, lonely guy, and as the show continued, he became more and more of a sad sack… which just left fans rooting for him to find a little happiness!
Luckily, he managed that with Denise, a lovely woman who worked for him at the comic book store. The two don’t always have the easiest relationship, given how anxious Stuart is about the whole thing, but fans knew from the start that they would be perfect together.
Surprised Everyone: Stuart & Penny
On the flip side, when Stuart first appeared on the show, he dates Penny extremely briefly – in a move that definitely surprised fans. Penny’s choice to date a dorky guy who owns a comic book store was an interesting one (and one that clearly upset Leonard!), and completely out of the norm for her (as mentioned, she had a preference for hunks at this point in time). It seemed that she had even intended to sleep with Stuart, as she invited him up ‘for coffee’ and then laughed at his assumption that that actually meant ‘having coffee’, and this only didn’t happen thanks to Sheldon and Stuart’s combined cluelessness.
Rooting For: Raj & Anu
In the twelfth season of the show, Raj decided that he was sick of struggling to find a loving relationship by dating around, and that he would take a more traditional route. He told his parents that he was looking for an arranged marriage, and they set him up with Anu. While some of his friends were uncertain about the idea of arranged marriages, Anu was a great character, and their relationship was incredibly sweet. They both wanted the same things, and could well have made a perfect match. In the end, they almost did, before Raj realized that while Anu was amazing, she just wasn’t quite right for him, and he would rather be alone than settle.
Surprised Everyone: Leonard & Priya
Leonard has a crush on Penny from the very start, but he does manage to have a few other relationships before the two of them get together for good – one of which is with Raj’s sister, Priya. Priya was a great character, and seeing her take on Sheldon was amazing… but at the end of the day, this was a bit of a strange one that fans never got totally on board with. Seeing Leonard with his best friend’s sister was just a little awkward, and while it was funny to watch Priya take Sheldon down a peg, that was never going to be sustainable for a partner for Leonard.
Rooting For: Raj & Emily
Of all Raj’s failed relationships, his time with Emily may be the one that fans were most rooting for – even though it also didn’t work out. Emily was completely different, with her love of all things horror, but she was an amazing complement to Raj, and was clearly happy with him.
They actually managed to sustain a relationship over several seasons (7-9), and it ended after Raj messed things up by trying to date her and Claire at the same time.
Surprised Everyone: Howard & Bernadette
Given how disgustingly Howard behaved around women at the start of the series, seeing him end up in a serious relationship with anyone was a big surprise! Howard thought he was a ladies’ man, but was just creepy and inappropriate – and when Penny finally agreed to set him up on a blind date, it didn’t start out all too well. However, the two quickly connected over their overbearing parents, and from then on, became completely inseparable. By the end of the show, fans love them together, but no one would have expected Howard to be the one to get into a serious relationship first!
Rooting For: Leonard & Penny
Leonard and Penny are the central couple of the entire series, so of course, fans were rooting for them from the start. From the moment that Penny moved in, Leonard was smitten, and seeing them and their on-again-off-again relationship was a huge part of what kept fans coming back. Of course, they had some real ups and downs over the years, but no one really doubted that they would end up together.
Surprised Everyone: Sheldon & Amy
Much like with Howard, fans never expected to see Sheldon with anyone – let alone happily married. In the early seasons of the show, Sheldon has absolutely no time for relationships or romance, he is just not interested (making him the only one in his friend group to feel this way). He only meets Amy in the first place because Howard and Raj sign him up to a dating service as something of a joke. However, it quickly became clear that Sheldon and Amy were meant to be, and Shamy may well be the most loved couple in the entire show.