Kaley Cuoco and Kate Micucci
I love Lucy?
Raj (Kunal Nayyar) might on The Big Bang Theory, but Penny (Kaley Cuoco) sure doesn't — at least at the moment. On Thursday's episode (8/7c, CBS), Raj's socially awkward ex-girlfriend Lucy (Kate Micucci) returns for the first time since she dumped him via text in the Season 6 finale, which, of course, led to him finally being able to talk to women without the aid of alcohol. But before the former lovebirds come face-to-face, Lucy will face the wrath of Penny when they run into each other at the Cheesecake Factory.
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"She lets Lucy know how she feels, for better or for worse. She gives her a piece of her mind," Nayyar tells TVGuide.com. "Amy and [Mayim Bialik] and Bernadette [Melissa Rauch] are there too, and they stand up for Raj. That's how close this group is. They let her know it's not OK what she did to Raj."
The girls aren't the only ones who feel that way. "Sometimes when I'm walking through an airport or something, people are like, 'Why'd you break his heart?'" Micucci says with a laugh. "I'm like, 'I'm sorry! It wasn't my choice!' ... I was sad when Lucy decided to break up with him. People really care and really liked them together. They're looking out for him, just like Penny is."
Unsurprisingly, Lucy is taken aback by Penny's forwardness, which gives her "something to think about," Micucci says. And while Lucy doesn't feel ready for a relationship, Raj, despite the heartache, wants to jump right back in once he catches wind of the run-in.
"He obviously wants to get back together," Nayyar says. "It was the first time he was in a relationship with someone he really cared for and looked out for as opposed to vice versa. And you could tell at the end of Season 6, he was in pain. And he's still in pain. He's just happy if he has any contact with her at all. I don't think that he's thinking that deeply or clearly. It's more, 'How can I talk to her again?'"
But if Penny can do anything about it, he'll be talking to (and dating) someone else — specifically her friend Lizzy (Morgan Hewitt), with whom she later sets Raj up. However, don't think that it will go smoothly just because Raj can talk to the ladies now.
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"Nothing in Raj's life ever goes well when it comes to love, whether he can talk to them or not!" Nayyar says. "He's just been able to talk to women without alcohol, so you can't imagine that he's polished. He's more clueless than anything else. With Penny and the girls, he's obviously very comfortable, but I think he has this false sense of bravado when it comes to dating. And he's still hung up on Lucy."
Regardless of whatever feelings the two may still have for each other, neither Nayyar nor Micucci, think they should start things up again — yet. "These characters' love lives move at a snail's pace. I don't know to be honest if there's a plan in place to give him a girlfriend, but I guarantee you, it's going to be slow and it's going to be painful," Nayyar says. "He's just been able to get over this chronic fear of women, so I don't think he'll be able to waltz in and find the girl of his dreams. I'm fine with that. That's one of the major obstacles for Raj. I'm a big believer in comedy coming from getting over hurdles."
Adds Micucci: "She's got some issues! A lot of issues. She could barely meet his friends last time. They both have things to work through. ... Everybody wants Raj to find love. There's certainly hope in Lucy. I am very hopeful for Lucy and Raj's future. I feel like they can have something together."
Big Bang Theory: Will Raj hit it off with the ladies?
And who knows — maybe if and when Lucy returns, she will have overcome her shyness and will try to win back Raj with a grand gesture, a la Howard's (Simon Helberg) song for Bernadette last month. Micucci penned the ultra-sweet, ultra-nerdy tune, "If I Didn't Have You (Bernadette's Song)", with her Garfunkel & Oates writing partner Riki Lindhome, who played Ramona on the show.
"I would love to sing to Kunal!" Micucci says. "You never know. It could happen with Lucy. I'm always singing. I sing when I'm walking down the street and then I catch myself and have to stop because people look at me weird. But I would totally do it for Raj."
The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8/7c on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)