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Penny deserves a better boyfriend on 'Big Bang Theory'

Jan. 10, 2014 at 10:38 AM ET

Image: "Big Bang Theory"
Monty Brinton / CBS
Who would've thought it'd be Leonard who'd be a jerk to Penny, and Sheldon the supportive guy?

Penny made a drastic decision on "The Big Bang Theory" Thursday: She quit her job!

But she did not quit Leonard.

It was definitely touch-and-go for a while there. "The Occupation Recalibration" began with the couple on shaky ground after their huge fight, when Penny's big scene was cut from "NCIS" and Leonard was — let's be honest — a big jerk. Not only did he express his doubts about her acting career, but he snubbed her marriage proposal.

Although Leonard was relieved — and even cried a little — when Penny said she didn't want to break up, he still needs a serious attitude adjustment. Penny deserves a better boyfriend ... and she got one!

His name, ladies and gentlemen, is Dr. Sheldon Cooper.

Yes, the narcissistic physicist showed a surprising degree of empathy and support for Penny — exactly what she needed and wasn't getting from that other next-door neighbor who claims to be in love with her.

Too harsh? Consider this: Although Leonard told Penny he supported her decision to leave the Cheesecake Factory and devote herself full-time to her acting career, he told his friends that he thought it was the wrong move. The jig was up when she called him from the restaurant. Mistakenly believing she'd gotten her job back, he blurted out all his misgivings. Then Penny told him she was just returning her uniform.

Oops.

(Is anyone going to miss that mustard-yellow vest? The stars of "Orange Is the New Black" have more flattering duds. Perhaps Penny will land a role on "Downton Abbey" — she deserves something lovely and lavish.)

So with two strikes already against him, maybe Penny should've called Leonard "out" on their relationship after his latest dis.

Fortunately, she had Sheldon to lean on. Forced by the university to take some unused vacation, he had to endure his version of torture: time off. He begged Penny to let him ride shotgun while she ran errands, and he returned the favor by encouraging her to follow her dreams. And unlike his roommate, Sheldon's encouragement was heartfelt and sincere.

Later, while Penny was practicing yoga with Sheldon (who'd thought it was "yoda"), Leonard started another argument! This time he petulantly complained that she didn't consult him before making such drastic decisions. Why? So he could once again crush her self-esteem?

In the end, Leonard kind of apologized and said he was "proud" of Penny. But for viewers who saw him convince Amy earlier with this very same speech, it was hard to celebrate their reconciliation.

Penny's waitressing days are hopefully over. Maybe it's time she gave Leonard notice too?

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