You sound exactly right but they (the writers) wouldn’t do this as what would they do with the next three seasons? (with Leonard and Penny’s relationship) They would have to break up and get together again or some complication has to happen.
Wouldn’t want to put them back together so soon? I think they only scratched the surface in season 3 of potential storylines featuring Leonard and Penny together as a couple. And just because they’re together doesn’t mean that there won’t be complications, there has to be, but a complication doesn’t have to result in another breakup.
And there is always the possibility that instead they will string out the will-they-won’t-they. But since the writers made a point of stating that they were trying to avoid that trope when they put Leonard and Penny together so soon in season 3, I’m hoping they won’t follow that path now.
I was thinking recently about how the Leonard/Penny storyline has been progressing, and how there have been a few callbacks in recent episodes to earlier seasons, and I started to see some parallels.
In The Wheaton Recurrence (3x19), while talking about Penny’s reluctance to say “I love you,” Leonard says, “So we’re in two different places emotionally. So what? And maybe I’m a little ahead of you. That’s fine. You know. In fact, it makes sense, ’cause let’s face it, I’ve been in this relationship two years longer than you.”
It’s true that he has always been slightly ahead of Penny in regards to their relationship, but I propose that difference is only one year, not two.
In short, this is how I see it:
Season 1 - Leonard falls for Penny. Penny starts to fall for Leonard, but is hesitant.
Season 2 - Penny accepts that she’s fallen for Leonard.
Season 3 - Leonard falls in love with Penny. Penny starts to fall in love with Leonard, but is hesitant.
Season 4 - Penny accepts that she’s fallen in love with Leonard.
“But this time, Penny is the one whose heart is shattered at the thought that Leonard, her ex, is smitten with someone else. For Penny, it’s not just that she’s lost her soul mate; it’s that she’s lost him to someone more impressive than she is.”—LA Times