10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Big Bang Theory': Are Leonard and Penny Made for Each Other?
Leonard and Penny 2.0 officially kick off Thursday when CBS' The Big Bang Theory picks up on the heels of its risky 100th episode that saw the pair reunite -- but is the couple made for each other?
After envisioning -- and over-thinking -- what could happen should he ask her on a date and, despite the horrible outcomes, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) took the big step anyway at the end of the 100th episode and went for it.
"Some of the stuff he imagined doing he actually chooses to do," co-creator Bill Prady tells The Hollywood Reporter. "He's trying to go into this relationship more aware and it's a real journey for him to be present in a relationship."
At the end of last season, Penny (Kaley Cuoco) confessed to Raj (Kunal Nayyar) that she wished she hadn't broken up with Leonard, the result of an ill-timed "I love you" -- and the meddling of Evil Wil Wheaton. In addition, she put up with Leonard's relationship with Priya (Aarti Mann), much to her own chagrin, and is now ready to approach her relationship with the geek across the hall differently, executive producer Steve Molaro tells THR.
"I don't know if they're made for each other, but I think that Leonard and Penny help make each other into the people that they'd like to be," Molaro says. "I think Penny is there to take this sheltered guy and make him more worldly and cooler than he ever hoped he could be."
The EPs note that the 101st episode, titled "The Beta Test Initiation," will see the couple experiment with dating and find a "nontraditional way" to begin the relationship that will allow them to correct their errors: beta testing like Leonard proposed last week.
"For [Penny] to be involved with a sweet, smart, sensitive guy who over-thinks everything instead of the idiots she met at the gym in the past also elevates her to someplace she'd rather be," Molaro says. "Who knows if long-term is in the cards, but I think they feed off of that and they're drawn to that from each other."
Watch a preview for Thursday's episode below. How do you think Leonard and Penny's beta test will work out? The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.