Big Bang Theory Finale Disrespected Its True Lead Star (It Isn’t Sheldon)

The Big Bang Theory finale was emotionally satisfying, but it disrespected the show's true lead because it wasn't Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons). After 12 seasons, CBS' long-running geek-centric sitcom wrapped up in 2019. Despite a rather uneven The Big Bang Theory final season, it was still able to stage a memorable and arguably one of the best-executed series finales in recent memory.

Primarily, The Big Bang Theory finale focused on Sheldon and Amy (Mayim Bialik) winning the Nobel Prize in Physics. The overarching narrative started towards the end of season 11 and played throughout its last year. Elsewhere, the CBS sitcom gave the rest of the Pasadena gang their respective plotlines, but all of them were treated as B-arcs, with the focus staying on Sheldon winning the Nobel Prize. Unfortunately, as satisfying as it was seeing Sheldon achieve his life-long dream, his manner of winning was insulting to The Big Bang Theory's true protagonist, because it wasn't him.


Related: Young Sheldon Season 6 Doubles Down On Big Bang Theory Mary Plot Hole

Despite the common presumptions that Sheldon is The Big Bang Theory's main lead, the sitcom's real primary character is Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and the show's 12-year narrative proves this. He is the nexus that brought the whole Pasadena gang together. He was already friends with Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) when he moved to Apartment 4A where he became roommates with Sheldon. While they were initially hesitant to hang out with the socially-inept genius, they eventually all became great pals. Raj and Howard were the ones to set up Sheldon with his future wife, Amy. Meanwhile, Leonard falling in love at first sight with Penny (Kaley Cuoco) led to her becoming a part of his friend group, which then resulted in Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) meeting Howard. Given his role in the sitcom's overall arc, The Big Bang Theory finale badly treated Leonard as he mainly functioned as a supporting character instead of its main one.

Big Bang Theory Was Ignoring Leonard For Years

CBS was already underutilizing Leonard prior to the finale. After The Big Bang Theory tackled Leonard and Penny's tumultuous dating history, the pair finally decided to tie the knot. Since then, the show's main romantic pairing was sidelined. This was also the time when The Big Bang Theory focused on Sheldon and Amy more. In an effort to rectify this persistent issue, CBS introduced a rather big conflict between the couple late in the show's run. Penny and Leonard's final The Big Bang Theory issue about their contradicting stance on having kids was rushed and badly executed that despite having a happy resolution, it felt unearned and inorganic. Had the sitcom continued to actively develop Leonard's story which includes his personal relationships, not to mention his professional arc, it would have been able to set up a much better send-off for the character.

Perhaps it would have been so much better if Sheldon won the Nobel with Leonard instead of Amy. Aside from the fact that they both have the same specialization, it would have also given the show the opportunity to revisit its core relationship which was their friendship. This way, The Big Bang Theory finale would have been able to give Leonard the same importance that it gave Sheldon.