Foreshadowing and symbolism are sprinkled throughout The Big Bang Theory. With 12 seasons under its belt, characters like Sheldon, Leonard, and Penny have dreams they all wanted to achieve in season one. It’s not until fans rewatch the series that they notice small instances of foreshadowing; the inclinations that something the characters say or do end up happening in later episodes.
While some plotlines seemed confusing or far-fetched, it all finally made sense thanks to a few of those foreshadowing moments. From Amy and Sheldon’s wedding to Leonard and Penny’s children, the authors of The Big Bang Theory fit the characters perfectly.
Sheldon was certain a Nobel Prize was in his future
At the start of Season 3, Sheldon, Howard, Raj, and Leonard returned home after spending three months at the North Pole. The group focused on an experiment concerning string theory, to which Sheldon told his mother that a Nobel Prize was in his future due to the success of the experiment.
Leonard kept a huge secret from Sheldon that derailed his experiment, but that moment still foreshadowed the future. By the end of the series, Sheldon has actually won a Nobel Prize.
A psychic prediction
The real-life friendship between Kaley Cuoco (Penny) and Jim Parsons (Sheldon) brought out the bond between Penny and Sheldon onscreen. The two friends were complete opposites and yet they got along better than most on TBBT.
In season 7’s “The Anything Can Happen Recurrence”, Penny took Sheldon to a psychic where the psychic told Sheldon that once he gave himself to Amy, his science pursuits would fall into place. It foreshadowed Sheldon and Amy’s scientific breakthrough once they were engaged and later married.
Amy actually married Sheldon in four years
The timeline of Sheldon and Amy’s relationship was long and dramatic — just like Penny and Leonard’s. But in Season 6, Amy saw a light at the end of the tunnel for her relationship with Sheldon.
While at Penny’s, Amy said she sees herself marrying Sheldon in “exactly four years.” Interestingly, Amy and Sheldon got married in Season 10. If the seasons go by years, then Amy foreshadowed her marriage to Sheldon while fans didn’t take it seriously.
Penny Meets “A Stupid Guy”
Penny wasn’t always smarter than guys, but she was brilliant in social circles. In season three, she was embarrassed by Leonard’s genius when her obsession with a prop ring from the the Lord of the Rings franchise has become global. She said, “I have to go back to dating idiots in the gym.”
Fans didn’t know it, it foreshadowed the future. A few episodes later, Penny broke up with Leonard because she didn’t love him. And soon after, she started dating a stereotypical idiot named Zack.
Penny and Leonard’s relationship
Before Penny gave a hint about dating a “dumb guy,” Penny gave even more inclinations about her unhappiness in her relationship with Leonard.
During this part of Penny and Leonard’s relationship timeline, Leonard was happily dating Penny, oblivious to the fact that Penny was not as happy as he was. However, she made jokes about it, hinting at her true feelings. In “The Einstein Approximation”, Penny made a joke about having to break up with Leonard because of his roommate. Three episodes later, Penny again hinted at a breakup, joking, “Is there a new girlfriend in there because you might need one.” Should Leonard really have been surprised by Penny’s distance from him when she said she didn’t love him and broke up with him soon after?
Penny knew their IQ differences would be the end of the relationship
In season two, Penny and Leonard went on their first date. Penny didn’t know how the relationship was going to go because she had never dated someone as bright as Leonard before. She asked Sheldon if Leonard had ever dated someone like her because she was worried he would miss her.
Fast forward four seasons and Penny’s worries about their compatibility came to fruition when Leonard met Sheldon’s assistant, Alex. Alex was brilliant like Leonard and clearly had a crush on him. He enjoyed the attention, which spooked Penny as it foreshadowed a big problem in their future relationship.
The rabbit symbolizes a baby
In one of the most obvious acts of foreshadowing, Bernadette and Howard’s relationship timeline escalated in Season 9. The two showed they were ready to be parents when they found a rabbit. drowning in their hot tub. The couple panicked when they saw the rabbit, but Bernadette’s maternal instinct kicked in and knew what to do.
Before Bernadette could say she was pregnant, their teamwork to rescue and care for the bunny was a great omen for their future as parents.
Amy’s Love for Little House on the Prairie
In “The Raiders Minimization”, Amy told Sheldon that little house on the prairie was her favorite TV show and that she used to act like she was a character on the show when she was a kid. Little did fans know, she foreshadowed future moments.
In ‘The Troll Manifestation’, things come full circle when Amy wrote little house on the prairie fan fiction to compensate for her loneliness in her relationship. Although she respected Sheldon’s personal space, Amy wanted him to want a physical relationship, which was one of the saddest things in Amy’s history. Later, when Amy and Sheldon are living together, Sheldon threw a Little house on the prairie-themed birthday dinner. This tied into Amy’s initial point of wanting to be transported to this time period.
Leonard and Penny’s kids are said to be smart and beautiful
When Penny moved into the apartment across from Sheldon and Leonard, Leonard was entranced by her beauty. He told Sheldon that if they got together romantically, their babies would be “smart and beautiful.”
Fans didn’t know it was foreshadowing because in Season 12 Penny and Leonard found out they were waiting. And in Sheldon’s Nobel Prize speech, he told the audience that their baby would be “smart and beautiful,” reverting to Leonard’s statement in Season 1.
The Impasse of String Theory
Early in the seasons, Sheldon made it known that his true passion was studying and experimenting with string theory. In “The Jerusalem Duality”, however, Sheldon was puzzled when a child prodigy, Dennis Kim, told Sheldon that his work was moot and a “dead end”. Sheldon threw a comeback at Dennis because he felt different.
This moment, however, foreshadowed Sheldon’s future troubles with string theory. In “The Relationship Diremption”, Sheldon discovered that his research was going nowhere (just as Dennis Kim noted) and felt it was time to refocus his attention on a new area of physics.
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