Is Leonard Hofstadter Useless?

Graham Host

The Big Bang Theory has been going strong for nine full seasons now. Over that time, the characters have evolved from their purely nerdy selves into more understanding people. Penny and Leonard finally tied the knot, Amy has slowly forced Sheldon from an obnoxious tool into somebody relatively nice. Surprisingly the first to get married, Howard is about to become a father and the originally mute Raj is now dating two women at once. But does Leonard actually serve any purpose anymore?

The original cast

Over the first few seasons, Leonard operated as something of a barrier between the world and Sheldon. The brilliant yet misunderstood physicist didn’t quite get the world and the world was nowhere near ready for Sheldon. Since meeting the feminine side of the group, Sheldon has slowly been taught a better understanding of humanity. After being able to spend several weeks riding the rails up and down America, it appears that he can function almost entirely by himself. Now that help he provided to Sheldon is practically nil, there’s no real reason for Leonard to actually be in the show anymore.

The Big Bang Theory Leonard Sheldon

Raj was the one who couldn’t talk to girls but is now the womaniser of the group. Sheldon was outright irritating at the start but is now loveable and amusing – and irritating. Howard began as a guy who would flirt with anything that had a pulse but is comfortably settled into his marriage with a kid on the way. But Leonard? Leonard began as an understandably whiny little man who had to live with Sheldon to make rent and ended up a whiny little man with a gorgeous wife who earns twice what he does. Oh, and he still chooses to live with Sheldon and continues to whine about it. Over the years, Raj discovered a small planetary body, Sheldon has made progress in several fields and Howard is currently negotiating an offer from the US Air Force for his revolutionary guidance system. And Leonard? I’m not entirely sure what he’s actually done since showing Penny his board in the first episode. It was only with Sheldon’s help that he wrote the paper on Penny’s idea.

So, he whines about living with Sheldon – which he does by choice. Science would barely notice his departure but for the sudden increase in talent. Penny practically only ended up with Leonard because he spent years tailing her around in an almost creepy fashion. Leonard’s not the funny guy, the intelligent one or there for his looks. No dramatic backstory, practically ignored by the vast majority of plotlines and only kept around by the grace of his funny and world-wise wife. Really, what point does Leonard Hofstadter even serve anymore? I vote we bring back the slightly significantly underused Stuart to replace him and swing by the comic book store again. It’s been far too long since we visited our friendly neighbourhood nerd and his kingdom of geeks.

Graham Host is a member of the Fan Contributor program. In his spare time, he enjoys the works of Terry Pratchett, DC Comics and a wide assortment of video games. Under no circumstances should he be fed after midnight.
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