It kind of feels like opposite day since Leonard was one of the more personable characters on The Big Bang Theory after a while, and yet looking back it’s easy to see how he was kind of problematic as well. Leonard was the type of guy that wasn’t exactly desperate to seek his overbearing mother’s approval, but he was definitely the type to bow down when she imposed her will. In fact, he was that way with pretty much everyone since he was a people-pleaser that loved to see everyone happy and only ever got mad when he’d been pushed too far. That’s not such a bad way to be at times, but the problem is that this never changed over the course of the show. Leonard never really showed a lot of personal growth from season 1 until the end of the show. He was still a people-pleaser, he was still a pushover in some ways, and he hadn’t done much with his work to push forward in any way. It almost feels as though Leonard found a niche and burrowed down, planting roots as each episode went by.
The big issue is that Leonard was actually a pretty easy person to get along with compared to a few of the other cast members that had their own hangups. Howard was just flat-out creepy, Raj had selective mutism, Penny was a ditzy mooch, and Sheldon was, well, Sheldon. Leonard was the guy that people could talk to and actually get along with to start with, and was a perfect foil to Sheldon for a long time since wasn’t as pretentious and didn’t have an arrogant streak a mile long and wide. But over the course of the show his character didn’t really change because he didn’t grow more assertive, he never really stood up to people unless he had a solid reason, and he remained the geeky guy that lucked out and managed to get a girlfriend who later became his wife.
There are plenty of reasons why Leonard appears kind of hopeless, and most of them have to do with issues in his life that he never really solves during the course of the show, such as the fact that doesn’t really stand up to his mother that often, if at all. He also doesn’t do much when it comes to his work since he kind of plods forward without really having a set goal in life. Some might say that’s normal for pretty much anyone, and that’s not entirely wrong, but in a group like Leonard’s, it’s fair to think that inspiration should be able to strike in one way or another since the rest of those he hung around did manage to better themselves in some way. Even Sheldon became far more tolerable than he was at the beginning of the show. But Leonard kind of just stayed the same without really taking on a whole new outlook on life, and to be honest, it might make him the rock of the group, but it also makes him the worst character since pretty much everything about him is as close to the same as it could be without keeping everything one hundred percent the same.
It could be that he was meant to be the one person that didn’t change since he was at a balanced point in his life that wasn’t too horrible or too perfect but was just challenging enough that he wasn’t bound to be too arrogant or too timid. But that doesn’t feel entirely accurate since Leonard was still pretty timid when the show started. He did show at least a little bit of development over the course of the show, but not as much as one might have wanted to see since by the end of the show he was the guy that had progressed the least even if he was still a likable character. He was still pretty snarky though, but that didn’t really change at all throughout the course of the show since he almost always had something to say when the moment presented itself. The difference between his sarcasm and Sheldon’s utterances was that Leonard was more of a people person and he knew all about subtext and sarcasm, so his jabs were usually fully intentional.
When it’s all said and done the fact that Leonard is the worst character on this show doesn’t mean much save for the fact that he didn’t really develop as much as the others. But he was, for the most part, someone that was there to balance out Sheldon and even Penny on occasion and as a result, he fits into the show just fine. Sometimes when one is the worst character on the show it’s not so much of a detriment as it is a way of saying who’s at the bottom of an impressive pecking order.