Foreshadowing and symbolism are sprinkled throughout The Big Bang Theory. With 12 seasons to its name, characters like Sheldon, Leonard, and Penny have dreams they all wished to achieve from the first season onward. It wasn’t until fans rewatched the series that they noticed small instances of foreshadowing; inclinations that something the characters say or do eventually come to be in later episodes.
While some plot lines seemed confusing or far-fetched, everything made sense in the end thanks to a few of these foreshadowing moments. From Amy and Sheldon’s marriage to Leonard and Penny’s children, the writers of The Big Bang Theory set the characters up perfectly.
Updated on August 29, 2022, by Lynn Gibbs: The Big Bang Theory had plenty of time for foreshadowing throughout 12 seasons. Characters like Sheldon, Leonard, and Penny grew throughout the series, becoming well-rounded and better friends in the end. Along the way, the writers of the series foreshadowed a few things that fans weren’t expecting. From relationships to job changes, the writers of TBBT were smart with bringing these storylines back to the series.
Sheldon Was Certain A Nobel Prize Was In His Future
At the start of season 3, Sheldon, Howard, Raj, and Leonard came home from spending three months at the North Pole. The group focused on an experiment regarding String Theory, to which Sheldon told his mother that a Nobel Prize was in his future because of how successful the experiment had gone.
Viewers learned that Leonard kept a huge secret from Sheldon that derailed his experiment, but this moment still foreshadowed the future. By the end of the series, Sheldon did, in fact, win a Nobel Prize that had no tampering from Leonard.
Raj’s Parents’ Divorce Was Hinted At
Raj had plenty of smart quotes on TBBT. After all, he was just as witty and intelligent as his friends. However, when it came to his parent’s relationship, he missed a hint from his dad that their marriage was never meant to last.
In season 5, his dad got mad at Raj for how he handled a breakup. He told Raj, “You’re an idiot. Love doesn’t last.” Awkwardly, his wife was sitting right next to him when he said it. This could have been foreshadowing for what was to come because, in season 8, Raj was shocked when he found out his parents were divorcing. In this case, love did not last.
Howard Listened To Bernadette And Didn’t Let His Nickname Stop Him
In season 5, Howard had the opportunity to go to Space. While he wanted his astronaut nickname to be something cool, like Rocket Man, he wound up being called Froot Loops instead.
Howard hated his nickname and felt bullied by his fellow astronauts. Bernadette tried to get Howard to see the power in his new name and told him to lean into it — be proud of it. He didn’t seem too interested in Bernadette’s idea, but in ‘The Sales Call Sublimation,’ a still of Howard’s screen proved otherwise. As it turned out, his Fortnite screenname was Fr00tL00ps511. Bernadette’s advice foreshadowed Howard’s future potential.
Sheldon Hinted That Amy Was “The One” Early On
Sheldon and Amy’s romantic moments weren’t always outlandish. Most of their gestures were subtle and unlike that of Leonard and Penny. A great example of this was in ‘The Hook-up Reverberation’ when the men wanted to invest in Stuart’s comic book store.
Sheldon thought it was silly of the men to invest in the store without talking about the financial aspect with their partners. He told them, “I know that if I had a wife or a fiancée, I’d ask her first before I invested money in a comic book store.” A few scenes later, Sheldon was seen asking Amy if he should invest money in the shop. Considering the two didn’t get engaged until season 11, this was foreshadowing that he saw Amy as “the one.”
A Psychic Prediction
The real-life friendship between Kaley Cuoco (Penny) and Jim Parsons (Sheldon) made the bond between Penny and Sheldon stand out on screen. 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 him that once he gave himself to Amy, his scientific pursuits would fall into place. This foreshadowed Sheldon and Amy’s scientific breakthrough because once they got engaged and married, the Nobel Prize came knocking.
Amy Did In Fact Marry Sheldon In Four Years
Sheldon and Amy’s relationship timeline 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 complicated, yet frustrating, union with Sheldon.
While at Penny’s, Amy said she saw 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 wedding to Sheldon while fans didn’t take it seriously.
Penny Dating A “Dumb Guy”
Penny wasn’t always smarter than the guys, but she was brilliant in social settings. In season 3, she grew embarrassed by Leonard’s geeky side when his obsession with a prop ring from the Lord of the Rings franchise became all-encompassing. She whispered to herself, “I gotta go back to dating dumb guys from the gym.”
Little did fans know, that foreshadowed the future. A few episodes later, Penny broke up with Leonard because they were moving too fast. And shortly after that, she started dating a stereotypical dumb guy named Zack.
Penny & Leonard’s Relationship
Before Penny gave a hint about dating a “dumb guy,” she gave even more inclinations about her unhappiness in her relationship with Leonard.
During this part of Penny and Leonard’s relationship timeline, he was happily dating Penny, unaware of the fact that she wasn’t as happy as he was. However, she made quips about it, hinting at her true feelings. In ‘The Einstein Approximation,’ Penny made a joke about needing to break up with Leonard because of his roommate. Three episodes later, Penny hinted at a breakup again when she joked, “Is there a new girlfriend in there ’cause you might need one.'” Leonard shouldn’t have been surprised by Penny’s distance from him when she said she didn’t love him and broke up with him shortly after.
Penny Knew Their Differences In IQs Would Be The Relationship’s Demise
In season 2, Penny and Leonard went on their first date. Penny was unsure how the relationship was going to play out because she had never dated someone as smart as Leonard before. She asked Sheldon if Leonard ever dated someone like her because she worried he would grow bored with her.
Fast-forward four seasons and Penny’s worries about their compatibility came to fruition when Leonard met Sheldon’s assistant, Alex. Alex was just as smart as Leonard and had an obvious crush on him. He enjoyed the attention, which scared Penny because she foreshadowed this issue in their future relationship.
The Bunny Symbolized A Baby
In one of the more 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 drowning bunny in their hot tub. The couple panicked when they saw the bunny but Bernadette’s maternal instincts kicked in and knew what needed to be done.
Before Bernadette could say that she was pregnant, their teamwork in saving and caring for the bunny was a great piece of foreshadowing 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 from the show as a kid. Little did fans know, she was foreshadowing future scenes.
In ‘The Troll Manifestation,’ things came full circle when Amy wrote Little House on the Prairie fan-fiction to make up for her loneliness in her relationship. As much as she respected Sheldon’s personal space, Amy wished he wanted a physical relationship, which was one of the saddest things about Amy’s storyline. Later when Amy and Sheldon live together, Sheldon threw her a Little House on the Prairie-themed birthday dinner. This connected to Amy’s original point of wanting to be transported into that time period.
Leonard And Penny’s Children Would Be Smart & Beautiful
When Penny moved into the apartment across the hall from Sheldon and Leonard, Leonard was in a trance by her beauty. He told Sheldon that if they got together romantically, their babies would be “smart and beautiful.”
Little did fans know, this was foreshadowing because, in season 12, Penny and Leonard found out they were expecting. And in Sheldon’s Nobel Prize speech, he told the audience that their baby would be “smart and beautiful,” circling back to Leonard’s statement in season 1.
String Theory’s Dead End
In the early seasons, Sheldon made it known that his true passion was studying and experimenting with String theory. In “The Jerusalem Duality,” however, Sheldon was stumped when a child prodigy, Dennis Kim, told Sheldon that his work was theoretical and a “dead end.” Sheldon threw a comeback at Dennis because he felt differently.
This moment, however, foreshadowed Sheldon’s future problems with String Theory. In ‘The Relationship Diremption,’ Sheldon found out that his research was going nowhere (just as Dennis Kim said years prior) and felt it was time to refocus his attention on a new area of physics.
NEXT: Sheldon’s 10 Best Comebacks In The Big Bang Theory, Ranked