From NPR's pop culture blog, "Monkey See" on the topic of male gazing and The Big Bang Theory:
The pilot is terrible. The pilot is really, really terrible. And while there are many reasons for that -- Leonard and Sheldon are too similar, their odd-couple dynamic isn't firing yet, Sheldon's quirks aren't cranked up to heaven yet, and the writing feels very "pilot-y," for lack of a more precise descriptor -- the biggest problem is Penny, the only woman in the core cast, played by Kaley Cuoco. Penny lives across the hall from physicists Leonard and Sheldon, and while she's now Leonard's girlfriend and well-integrated with the guys and their friends, when the show started, Penny was not a person; she was a prop.