The events of The Big Bang Theory‘s finale could make Penny more like Leonard’s mother, Beverly. CBS’ long-running sitcom ended almost abruptly after it was announced that its 12th year would be its last despite the show still garnering high viewer ratings for the network. Its final 24 episodes were mostly focused on Sheldon and Amy’s work on Super Asymmetry which resulted in them winning the Nobel Prize in Physics. But it also tackled other running plot lines such as the Hofstadters’ pregnancy debacle.
From the get-go, it was clear that The Big Bang Theory was building towards Leonard and Penny eventually becoming a couple. As the only female main character initially in the series, all the boys were immediately smitten by Penny except for Sheldon. But while both Howard and Raj tried their lucks in pursuing a romantic relationship, it was still Leonard who married her. However, following their wedding, the couple’s arc became stagnant. Unlike Howard and Bernadette who proceeded to expand their family by having kids, Penny and Leonard’s story seemingly ended when they tied the knot.
That’s until The Big Bang Theory season 12 introduced a new dilemma for them — to have or not have kids. Leonard Hofstadter is naturally all for the idea, saying that he’s long wanted to have children, but Penny is significantly less on board with the idea, as she’s not really interested since she’s happy with the way their life was going. In hindsight, this made sense considering how much Penny went through when it comes to her personal and professional story. She had to give up and accept that having a career in Hollywood wasn’t really going to happen for her, and thus changed career paths to become a medical sales rep, which she eventually learned to love. Having a child would drastically change her priorities, and – having worked hard to reach a point in life where she was content – this didn’t seem like something that she wanted to do. After debating all-season long, however, The Big Bang Theory finale revealed that she got accidentally pregnant, and for some reason, she’s thrilled with it. This drastic change in her perspective could ultimately backfire in the long run, making her the unaffectionate and cold mother that Beverly was to Leonard.
Ever since she was established in The Big Bang Theory, the Hofstadter matriarch was known to be an insensitive mother who has very little concern for the well-being of her kids. She mainly used them as subjects for her books and scientific observations as a neuroscientist and psychiatrist. While the show never really showed his siblings, there’s an assumption that Beverly was particularly hard on Leonard, mostly not taking into consideration what he feels and sometimes even downright demeaning him in front of his friends. Since the pregnancy news came as a surprise, the show didn’t really give Penny the chance to come around on her own about the idea, and the significant alterations to her life this would bring subsequently. The changes that come with having a kid could result in her being resentful towards them, potentially making her cold and bitter the way her mother-in-law was.
It’s worth noting that throughout season 12, she was adamant about her initial decision, and the sudden change of heart simply because she accidentally got pregnant was not only off-putting but also dangerous in terms of what her character becomes moving forward. While it’s not exactly impossible for Penny to realize that she did want to have kids, there was no indication about this throughout The Big Bang Theory‘s final year. In fact, it’s the reason why the plot line lasted so long, as she and Leonard couldn’t find a middle ground.