Leonard Hofstadter would probably think of himself as a kind-hearted man and a good guy. He’s a loyal friend, proud of his wife, and a stellar scientist. However, over 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory, Leonard has proven that he’s not as angelic as he thinks he is.
There are some things that Leonard did that fans cannot let go of. As brilliant of a man as he is, he sure has had his inarticulate moments. From lying to cheating to causing a scene at work, Leonard is brilliant but not perfect.
His Cheating Side
Leonard is not a confident man and always thinks the women in his life are going to leave him. This stems from his intense issues with his mom. What’s contradictory about his fears is how he acts like he needs to shoot his shot with any girl that looks his way, even when he has a girlfriend. He flirted with Sheldon’s assistant Alex when he was dating Penny, he cheated on Penny while he was at sea, and he cheated on Priya when she was in India. As much as Leonard loves playing the victim, he has no one to blame but himself.
He Falsified Sheldon’s Important Project
In “The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation,” the guys are back from the North Pole feeling satisfied with their three months of research. While Sheldon felt like his research led to a huge scientific discovery, Leonard, Raj, and Howard were just happy to be home. There was only so much time they could spend with Sheldon.
Sadly, Leonard admitted to falsifying Sheldon’s research. According to Leonard, Sheldon was acting like a dictator and Leonard couldn’t stand his constant worrying. To get Sheldon in a better mood, Leonard used an electric can opener to alter Sheldon’s findings. This act of betrayal was a deep cut to Sheldon.
He Threw Physics Under The Bus
When Leonard got asked to do an interview on his work at Caltech for NPR, Leonard was excited to talk about his field. However, when he was asked if his team was close to ever breaking grounds on his research, Leonard denied it. While laughing about it, Leonard admitted that he felt like they were wasting donors’ money and that they weren’t even close to solving some of physics’ toughest questions. His failure at putting the physics department at Caltech in a good light almost got him fired.
He Went Behind His Friends’ Backs… A Lot
When things get uncomfortable, Leonard tends to lie instead of communicating through the issue. In a lot of ways, Leonard’s ego gets in the way of him becoming a good guy. A great example of this was when he met Dr. Stephanie Barnett.
She was on a date with Howard and yet she ended up making out with Leonard by the end of the night. The two went on to date in secret before Stephanie eventually told Howard. Really, it should have been Leonard that told him Likewise, he did the same thing with Raj’s sister, Priya, and Sheldon’s friend, Dr. Plimpton.
He Threatened Penny’s Classmate
When Penny was ready to take college courses, no one was more supportive than Leonard. He believed in higher education and knew Penny was smart enough to pass. But when she had a class project and invited her classmate, Cole, over to help, Leonard panicked. He imagined Penny cheating on him with Cole and wanted to end it before it started.
As Cole was leaving Penny’s apartment, Leonard followed him downstairs and essentially warned him about Penny’s crazy boyfriend… Penny saw the whole thing and was embarrassed that Leonard didn’t trust her.
He Spent How Much On A Distraction For Sheldon?!
When the guys were working on a secret project for the United States Air Force, Sheldon found a way to make their invention smaller. The problem is, they weren’t planning on making it smaller and it would change the entire course of their project. To distract Sheldon from blowing their cover, Leonard gave Sheldon the gifts of all gifts: an entire train experience worth $4,000. That’s right, Leonard spent $4,000 on a distraction for his roommate.
He Proposed To Penny During An Odd Time
Considering how flaky Penny can be in relationships, it’s shocking how over-the-top Leonard is in his commitment. He knows his dedication to their relationship can scare Penny but he can’t help himself.
In one episode, Penny stormed out of the bedroom in an oversized t-shirt, yelling at Leonard for killing the mood. In the middle of having “coitus,” Leonard asked Penny to marry him. What’s worse is that after Penny freaked out at the proposal, Leonard took it back. It was a very awkward situation.
He Was Mad That Penny Was Successful
When Penny was a struggling actress, Leonard begged her for years to go back to school. It was Penny’s choice, of course, and it had to be done on her own time. When she was ready to move on from acting, Leonard was proud of her when she got a job at Bernadette’s company.
But as soon as Leonard found out that Penny made double what he made, he hated it. He wanted Penny to quit her job and go back to acting so that he could be the savior in the relationship. See how egotistical he was during Wil Wheaton’s podcast with Penny and her career was eye-opening.
He Gave The Grant To Himself
In “The Grant Allocation Derivation,” Leonard was asked to distribute grant money to a number of qualified applicants. After listening to each person’s project and how they would use the money, Leonard felt like he was put in a hard position. Howard and Raj were two of the applicants. He didn’t want to make it unfair, so instead of giving to who he truly felt deserved it, he gave the grant to himself for his own projects.
He Dated A North Korean Spy
Even though Joyce Kim has only been seen once in flashback, her name is brought up a few times in the show because of her background. She wasn’t just Leonard’s ex-girlfriend; she was a North Korean spy. If it wasn’t for Sheldon being so annoying, Joyce would have hung around long enough to steal information from Leonard. This could have ruined Leonard’s career, credibility, and life as he knew it.