Since the lovable characters of Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, Raj and Penny first came to our screens in 2007, we haven’t been able to get enough of them. It’s no surprise that the sitcom is still running, as there are new additions to the cast and more developments in the awkward relationships of the nerds we’ve grown accustomed to seeing on screen. The Big Bang Theory is regarded to be one of the greatest sitcoms ever made. Its ratings are just ridiculous, and the actors have become superstars because of it.
Kaley Cuoco was pretty much an unknown at the time the show first hit our screens. Sure, she’d been in other stuff, such as 8 Simple Rules, but her career really took off when got cast as Penny in The Big Bang Theory. It’s a role that made people fall in love with her and made Kaley become one of the biggest actresses around. Her fan following increased exponentially, and it’s all because of her brilliant portrayal of Penny, the hot aspiring actress who started off living across the hall from the socially awkward geeks.
While Kaley plays the role of Penny superbly, it doesn’t mean that Penny’s one of the best characters. I know plenty of you will be raising your eyebrows or shaking your heads in disgust at that statement. But hear me out. Think about it, and perhaps you’ll change your perceptions as you go through this article. Of course, she’s integral to the success and longevity of the show, but Penny isn’t actually a nice person, and she possesses quite a few nasty character traits, and things that just get on everybody’s nerves, making her one of the worst characters of the sitcom. But again, it’s what makes her so important for the show. So, without further ado, these are 15 reasons why Penny from The Big Bang Theory is actually one of the show’s worst characters.
15 She Was A Bully And A Criminal
Penny grew up in a town just outside of Omaha, Nebraska. She was a small-town girl with big city dreams, and tales of what she got up to when she used to live back home have been divulged throughout the seasons. Some of her antics are things that have really shocked Amy and Bernadette. They would shock most people, and rightly too, because the way she has described her raucous activities makes Penny come across as a bad person. She used to bully people in the past. Penny didn’t just pick on people and call them names. She did that too, but from the sounds of things, she bullied an old classmate pretty severely. One of her classmates got really good grades, so she and her girl squad kidnapped her, took her to a field and left the poor girl bound and gagged. What’s staggering is that when Penny was narrating this incident to her friends, she was smiling and seemed genuinely unaware of the seriousness of the situation. Amy and Bernadette were bullied at school too, so learning that their friend was a bully, and a pretty hardcore one at that, probably made Penny fall down a tad in their estimations of her.
14 She Is Really Mean To Her Smarter Friends
This kind of works two ways on the show. The dudes on the show aren’t always polite about Penny, her lack of education, and her poor scientific understanding. They’ve teased her numerous times on the show. In a way, it’s their way of feeling superior. But you have to say that Penny’s been mean much more often. It’s often she who instigates the battle of words with snide little comments. Sure, Penny and the science gang are very different people, and it’s these different personalities that are part of the fun of the show. But Penny does have some rather mean traits. Fair enough, some of the stuff the science crew do is just downright weird, but there’s no need to be mean about them. She’s even mean to Leonard. She definitely wears the pants in that relationship. Penny can have Leonard eating out of the palm of her hand should she so please, and that power has resulted in the high and mighty Penny developing some rather unpleasant character traits.
13 She Is A Busybody
Leonard and his cronies do gossip, there’s no doubt about that. But mostly, they stimulate their minds by engaging in intellectual conversations – well, they deem their convos to be intellectually stimulating, anyway. There’s this great saying by Eleanor Roosevelt: “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people.” Penny definitely belongs to the last of the categories. Nothing delights her more than talking about people. She is a real busy body, and just loves to get in on people’s business. They may not have asked for her input, but she’ll be there and chime in anyway, and very often, her advice doesn’t exactly help. It’s because she deems herself to be socially superior to the rest of her friends. She feels she can handle things in a certain way, so she very often gossips and imparts her wisdom, which isn’t always warranted.
12 She Has An Awful Dating History
There always seems to be this character in sitcoms: the young-ish ditzy blonde who’s aspiring to make it big, who makes bad decisions, is constantly falling into the arms of men and sleeping around. Unfortunately for Penny, she holds true to that stereotype. Kaley seems to be typecast as that character. But she owns it and makes it work. But looking at the character of Penny, you would have thought that she would’ve learned from her errors in judgment. Perhaps she has now that Leonard’s finally worn her down and they’re hitched. But before she became someone’s spouse – actually, during, because she was married to Zack while she was dating other guys – she was a serial dater, and her dating history’s pretty awful, Zack included. He’s made out to be this big bumbling buffoon, and those are the types of guys that Penny generally went for. But you could throw a few oddballs into the mix too. Her dating history is awful, but the fact that she slept with one of Leonard’s best friends, Raj, makes her an awful character. She knew Leonard was pining after her, and so to do that was cruel.
11 She Is Too Blunt
You’re all probably nodding your heads in agreement at this one. Sure, Sheldon puts his foot in it a hell of a lot. But Sheldon doesn’t really know he’s doing it, because of his various issues. But when Penny does it, she’s very aware of what she’s doing. Again, this ties into being mean, and it certainly is not the best part of Penny’s character.
It’s fair to say that Penny probably isn’t the most considerate person when it comes to other people’s feelings. There have been plenty of instances when she has offended her so-called friends, because she just can’t hold it in. Very often there’s no tact with the way she just expels what’s on her mind. Sometimes what’s on her mind isn’t exactly nice or helpful, and she can come across as being downright rude. Her group of friends are sensitive souls, and so being that blunt should be reserved for a different group of people.
10 She Is Self-Centered
Penny doesn’t really care for anyone but herself. Sure, now and again she’ll offer up bits of advice and make a sort of attempt to help her friends out, but that’s normally for her own gain or to help her feel better. I must admit, she has gotten better as the seasons have gone by. Initially, she really did just care only about herself. She gave very little to others, and the topic of conversation was always about her, her life, her problems, and the guys didn’t really mind either – aside from Sheldon, of course – because she was so hot. They’d happily listen to Penny talking about Penny until the cows came home, so Penny landed herself in a perfect situation when she moved in across the call. Like I mentioned, she has gotten better throughout the seasons. But still, she tends to see herself as the center of the universe.
9 She Relies On Her Looks
As mentioned previously, Kaley tends to be typecast as the ditzy blonde bombshell who relies on her looks to get by. Well, if you’ve got it, flaunt it, and Penny certainly does just that. From the moment she moved in across the hall from Leonard and Sheldon, the science geeks and their cronies have been infatuated with her. They’ve never exactly hidden it. Penny knows that, and has used that to her advantage. She could get them – again, aside from the odd-ball of the group, Sheldon – eating out of the palm of her hand should she so please, and some would say she has, especially to Leonard. Penny’s hot, and it’s a major part of how she manages to get by. We’ve learnt that her acting stinks. So, it’s fair to say that the few roles she’s been cast in, she’s gotten because she’s a bit of eye candy. Also, when she’s having a night out, she doesn’t exactly need to open her purse. People are willing to pay for her food, drinks, taxi ride – it’s the Penny effect. She’s hot and resourceful with it. Some would say she’s actually pretty clever and that that’s a good thing, whereas others would say using feminine wiles in order to charm people for her own personal gain is a pretty nasty trait to have.
8 She Loves A Drink A Bit Too Much
There’s nothing wrong with having a drink. Penny’s had a tough time of things, particularly in the first few seasons, and so having a drink now and then to take the edge off is understandable. Except for the fact it wasn’t now and then. It seemed like every time the sun went down – sometimes she didn’t even wait for the end of the day – Penny would be swigging back the booze. It has led some people to believe that she’s an alcoholic. Sure, as her character’s matured, her drinking has lessened. Painting the town red, letting your hair down and becoming boozy Suzie – there’s nothing wrong with that. But Penny did it all too frequently, and there is something wrong with it if you wake up the next day with a new dude by your side in bed and you don’t have a clue how he got there. It’s also not exactly a great habit to ease the stresses and strains of your life by drinking. Penny used to drown her sorrows in a bottle pretty regularly, and it’s led to her doing some pretty stupid stuff too, like marrying Zack in Vegas or sleeping with Raj.
7 She Is A Freeloader
This entry is kind of an expansion on the whole Penny being self-centered thing. Penny only cares about herself – well, mostly cares about herself – and really doesn’t give much back. This was especially the case in the first few seasons. She would just take, knowing that Leonard in particular would just continue giving because he was a nice guy and just generally because of how he felt about her. She would borrow money from Leonard for pretty much everything: to get her car fixed, pay rent, etc. Penny didn’t have to pay for dinner either – she’d regularly go across the hall and eat for free. She leached on her neighbors for pretty much everything, including their internet. Leonard was never going to bring it up, but it’s led to Sheldon to change the Wi-Fi password several times, to things such as “Penny is a freeloader,” and “Penny already eats our food she can pay for wifi.” That just about says it all. Freeloader, gold-digger, call it what you will. The fact is that Penny’s known more for taking, and she doesn’t give much back in return.
6 Her Relationship With Leonard Is Toxic
Most Big Bang Theory fans were delighted when Leonard and Penny finally got hitched. Leonard had been pursuing her for a hell of a long time. They’d had ups and downs, especially plenty of downs, and Leonard finally got the girl in the end. A happy ending, right? Well, it wasn’t for fans of the show who don't like Penny. And they’ve got a point. That’s because Penny generally treats Leonard pretty poorly. Some may even be under the impression that she used to use him for her own personal gain. I’ve mentioned how she used to be a freeloader. Well, when she finally began making more money than Leonard, she wanted the world to know. She was bragging way too much – poor Leonard just had to keep quiet and deal with it. Then there’s her lack of sentiment. She’s gotten rid of meaningful gifts that Leonard’s bought her, without any thought of how it might affect Leonard. She knows she’s different, but doesn't really try to change. Poking fun at your spouse is one thing, but many people feel that Penny goes way too overboard.
5 She Talks Behind Other People’s Backs
Penny’s pretty blunt and says what she thinks directly to people’s faces. We’ve established that she might be a bit too blunt for some people’s liking. But she also talks behind people’s backs and can be quite catty, too. This again ties into that whole gossip thing – Penny really does love to gossip. Perhaps it’s because she’s surrounded by so-called science geeks. She can’t really join in with any sort of stimulating scientific conversation, so she talks about others instead. It’s a way to bond for Penny. For most, it’s idle chit chat, but for Penny, it’s what gets her going. Is Penny talking behind people’s backs in an intentionally cruel way? Probably not. But it’s still not a very nice character trait. Amy Farrah Fowler does this a hell of a lot, but she’s socially awkward. Penny should know better.
4 She Makes Awful Decisions
Everyone makes poor decisions that they look back upon with utter contempt. But Penny’s life seems to be riddled with these seriously poor errors in judgment. Right from her high school years, we’ve learned that she’s been making these poor choices. Not only does she make bad decisions, but she also relies on people to put out fires for her. When she was younger, it was her dad. When she met Leonard, it became his responsibility – or at least he took it upon himself to do so. You’d have thought that she’d have learned by now. And to be fair, now that she’s got a job and is in a committed relationship, she has matured, and is certainly making these awful decisions less frequently. But during the first few seasons, it was almost every other episode that we’d tune in to learn of another awful mistake she made.
3 She Had A Severe Post-Marriage Personality Change
Penny’s had what many people would deem to be pretty awful character traits, which have made her the worst Big Bang Theory character in many people’s eyes. But at least there was something about her that made her entertaining to watch. Penny was a new concept, and her interactions with the science crew were hilarious and never got old. It’s partly why millions tuned in to every episode. But Penny’s character has become stale. Perhaps it hasn’t just become stale – it’s actually changed, and changed for the worse. The fish out of water thing in Nerd Land has been replaced by a moody individual, someone who’s still adjusting to married life, a proper job, and doesn’t seem to be enjoying things one bit. This is especially the case with Penny post-marriage. Just look at her and you’d say that it hasn’t all been sunshine and roses. Since getting hitched, she’s actually become a pretty dull character. It’s a miracle if we get a sincere smile out of Penny, her lines aren’t anything special, and she’s always dour-faced. Lucky Leonard.
2 She Is Always Complaining About Her Life
Penny makes awful decisions, and it’s fair to say that she’s screwed up pretty much every aspect of her life. Boy, do people know all about it. Initially, all she used to do was mess up and then vent to anyone who’d hear her out. Things have now started to fall into place, but for some reason, the whining hasn’t stopped. It’s as if she’s got the weight of the world on her shoulders, and wants everyone to know about it. Penny really does love to complain, constantly complain. At times, it’s incessant, drives her buddies and often us as viewers of the show around the bend. You just want to shake her and yell “get a grip!” Penny’s someone who wallows in self-pity, and she’s found the perfect man to hear her out, give her a hug, put up with her whining, and help her out in whatever way he can.
1 She Is Super Neurotic
Go through the cast of The Big Bang Theory. They’re all slightly weird in their own unique ways. They all have things that are unique to them that make them tick. If you were going to pick a cast member with the most neuroses, it’d be a no-brainer – Sheldon, of course. It’s little wonder people are dubious about his mom getting him tested when he was a kid! Penny might be more like the average person than Sheldon, but if you think about it, she actually has more neurosis than Sheldon and anyone else for that matter. Her problems are more relatable, but she’s still got a ton of issues: daddy issues, commitment problems, being like a closed book, having an inability to display emotion effectively, and she’s got a bit of an inferiority complex going on, too. Add everything up, and some may say that she does actually make Sheldon appear to be relatively normal. On second thought, nah, he’s still our favorite lovable nut job, but Penny’s not far behind.