When Stuart debuted in season 2 of The Big Bang Theory, he cast Penny, an act that later seasons’ version of him would never have been able to pull off.
Running a sitcom for 12 seasons takes more than just a cast of popular main characters. It also needs great secondary and recurring characters to help fill out the stories. This was certainly the case with Stuart on The Big Bang Theorywhich has gone from recurring to main over the years, but that’s not the only way it changed as the fan version of Stuart in his early days was a far cry from what he became.
At the heart of The Big Bang Theory were the nerd inclinations of Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and Howard. While they were all successful scientists and engineers, their real passions were science fiction, comics and games, so they needed a place to explore it all for most of the year. , and that place was the Comic Center in Pasadena, California. .
Debuting in Season 2, Episode 20, the Comic Center was owned and operated by Stuart Bloom. A friend of the guys, Stuart was an aspiring comic book artist who made a day-to-day living by running his store. In many ways, Leonard and company were very envious of him, as Stuart was deeply connected to much of the entertainment they were so passionate about.
As the seasons passed, Stuart’s life turned out to be very different from what the guys thought. Running the comic book store and being an artist brought him into contact with interesting people like Wil Wheaton, James Earl Jones and Stan Lee, but the store was perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy and his personal life was lonely. It hit a new low when the Comic Center burned down in Season 7 Episode 24, an act many people assumed Stuart did on purpose.
The unlucky, clumsy Stuart was very different from the version of him fans initially encountered in Season 2 Episode 20. This version of Stuart managed to pick up Penny and take her on a date. Sheldon may have unwittingly ruined the date, but Stuart still managed to get a second chance with her in season 2, episode 22. He was much more successful than Leonard had been with her until that time.
However, things changed pretty quickly for Stuart. His descent into poverty and sadness happened in the background of the series, becoming something of a running gag on the show. However, the last two seasons have actually given him a redemption arc. Season 11 Episode 21 saw Comic Center become a hit thanks to a tweet from Neil Gaiman, and Stuart finally found a healthy relationship with Denise in Season 12.
For any longtime fans who met Stuart when he debuted in Season 2, seeing who the character became must have been a bit of a shock. He was much more confident at first, enough to seduce Penny. Watching him fall apart over the years was a strange direction to take with the character, one that no one saw coming. While it worked on some levels, Stuart deserved better luck much earlier in the series.
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