The Big Bang Theory has become one of the most popular TV shows over the past few years, ever since it made its debut in 2007. It is centered around four scientists called Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard, as well as their neighbour Penny, who is an actress but actually works at the Cheesecake Factory because it seems that she isn’t all that good at acting.
The show is still popular more than 10 years later, with the original cast now growing from just five characters to seven when it was decided that Howard and Sheldon should have love interests at the end of the third season.
The main love interest of Leonard and the only original female cast member has been Penny, who is played by former Charmed and 8 Simple Rules actress, Kaley Cuoco. Penny and Leonard have had a rollercoaster of a relationship over the past 10 seasons, and the couple finally married. Despite always living opposite Leonard and Sheldon and adding many of the comedic moments that the show needed, there are a number of things about Penny that don’t actually add up.
The following list looks at just 15 things about the character Penny from The Big Bang Theory that have failed to make sense, so much so that many fans have had to comment on some of the gaps in the storylines of the show.
15. How Can Penny Work In A Bar With Her Wine Addiction?
Penny has an unhealthy relationship with wine. This is one of the running jokes throughout the series, but it reaches the point where Penny actually gets quite drunk on a number of occasions when she is out with Bernadette and Amy, who both seem quite worried about her.
It’s easy to see that Penny got her drinking problem from her father, who consumes a number of beers when he comes to California for his daughter’s wedding, but Penny’s wine problem should also be a problem for her working life. There are a number of scenes where Penny is working behind the bar in The Cheesecake Factory and giving advice to the other members of the cast, while also drinking herself, something she shouldn’t be doing. If Penny knew that her father had a problem with alcohol, then why would she accept a job where she is regularly in contact with alcohol and tempt fate?
14. Penny’s Drastic Haircut
Penny’s looks are one of the reason’s why she worked so well as the main female character on the show for so long, but at the beginning of season eight, Penny decided to cut off her hair. Obviously, it was Kaley Cuoco who made the decision and stated that it was something that she had wanted to do for a long time, and the writers then wrote the show around it.
The haircut is mentioned at the beginning of season eight before it is forgotten. It isn’t until an episode in season 10 when the characters finally all address the fact that Penny’s haircut was a bad idea. Amy states that she’s always been jealous of Penny’s looks, which is why she was happy that she cut her hair off. Considering how obsessed Penny had always been with her own looks, did it really make sense for Penny to cut her hair that short? She could have worn a wig instead, as it was just a huge change for fans to get used to after eight years.
13. Given Her Brother’s History With Substance Abuse, Why Would Penny Want To Work With Her Family?
Penny’s family doesn’t play a big part in the show until the later seasons, but it is known that she has a brother and sister, and her brother is in prison. He is later released from prison and is able to attend her wedding, but it is said that he is a drug addict at this point.
Penny has been keeping in touch with her brother because it is mentioned in the first episode of season 10 that Penny had been sending him cigarettes, so she would know what kind of shape he was in. Knowing that her brother has become addicted to drugs and the fact that he is able to visit her, why would Penny think it’s a good idea to be working around him? She obviously inherited her father’s drinking problems, which proves that she is prone to addictions, so why tempt fate?
12. Where Was Penny’s Mother When She Was Growing Up?
Penny mentions her strained relationship with her father a number of times throughout the show and the fact that he always tried to raise her like a boy, which is why she is so good at the things that the men in the show can’t actually do, but Penny never mentions where her mother was while she was growing up.
Penny’s mother does appear on the show in season 10, and while it’s made obvious that her father drinks a lot and her brother is a drug addict, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with her mother Susan. Why wasn’t she around much for her daughter growing up, and why hasn’t she been able to visit her in California for the past 10 years? There seems to be a huge part of Penny’s backstory that is missing.
11. The Roles In Her Relationship With Leonard Seem To Switch
At the beginning of the show, Leonard is obsessed with Penny. He will do anything for her so that he can eventually one day ask her out on a date. He is in awe of her the more time they spend together and he is the one who says “I love you” first.
Despite this, in season eight, it is revealed that Leonard cheated on Penny when he kissed another woman, and it left fans unsure of whether or not they would go through with the wedding. Considering Leonard always thought that Penny was too good for him, why would he cheat on her? And considering Penny once saw Leonard as the disposable friend who helped her when she needed food, why would she forgive him? It seems that the roles in their relationship had completely switched at this point, and Leonard now saw Penny as the disposable one. Luckily, they solved their differences and married in the following season, but considering Leonard cheated before the ring was on her finger, it doesn’t exactly bode well for the future.
10. She Dropped Out Of College But Can Still Land A Job In Pharmaceuticals
Penny is always portrayed as the least intelligent member of the group, unless the focus is switched to Howard, who is “only” an engineer. This is what adds the comedy to the show during the first few seasons. Penny admits to Sheldon that she dropped out of community college but she was too scared to tell Leonard.
Despite the fact that she has been working as a waitress for a number of years, doesn’t have any references, and isn’t considered to be very smart, Penny is still able to land a job in pharmaceuticals. This job usually requires a person to be well versed in medicine and have a university degree, so that they are aware of the side effects of all of their products. It makes no sense for Penny to easily be able to walk into this job just because Bernadette has good contacts in her own industry.
9. Why Did Sheldon And Penny Become Friends?
Sheldon didn’t like Penny for a number of years after she moved into the same building as him and Leonard. Many of Penny and Sheldon’s best sarcastic comments came from the fact that they really didn’t like each other.
Penny ruined everything about Sheldon’s routines and he believed that she was bad for Leonard and that they would never be happy together, so he refused to get along with her. Penny was confused by Sheldon throughout the early seasons and was never able to fully understand what he was saying. Somehow in the middle of all of this, Sheldon and Penny ended up becoming friends and they actually care about each other now, which has taken away a huge element of the show. Sheldon and Penny could have continued their dislike for each other for many more seasons. There was no need for the writers to make then friends.
8. Penny Never Tries To Learn About Her Husband
Leonard and Penny are always destined to be together. From the first episode of the show, it’s obvious that the writers are trying to create a world where the pretty girl can fall in love with a nerd. The problem is that Leonard is so much smarter than Penny, and while that makes for a number of comedic moments throughout the first few seasons, Penny still doesn’t try to learn so that she can fit into the group.
Penny still thinks it’s embarrassing in society to be seen as a nerd and won’t accept that it in 2017, being a nerd is actually considered to be cool. That being said, she still refuses to learn about what her future husband does for a living or anything remotely scientific so that she can add her opinion to their discussions. Yet, she is threatened by any woman who knows about science and goes anywhere near Leonard.
7. Why Does Amy Idolize Penny?
Amy is a successful neuroscientist and was bullied by girls like Penny throughout her life, which should make her act the opposite way when it comes to her relationship with Penny.
Penny isn’t exactly nice to Amy or Bernadette, and even admits that one point that she used to bully a lot of girls in high school, which just makes her come off as even worse of a person than she already was. Amy is obsessed with Penny from the minute she meets her, though, even though Penny is a failed actress working as a waitress at this point and Amy is a successful scientist. It makes no sense for Amy to look up to someone like Penny. After all of the stories of Penny growing up and given the fact that Penny has no idea what she’s talking about most of the time, it is hard to imagine these two kinds of women being able to get along in real life.
6. How Does Penny Afford Her Apartment?
Penny is working as an actress and a waitress when she first appears on the show, but she has moved into a building where a scientist with a PhD has to have a roommate to afford his apartment, so how is she managing to get by on a waitress’ salary?
Penny often gets free WiFi and food from Leonard and Sheldon, but she doesn’t seem to be poor looking at her apartment, and it is only mentioned a few times that her rent is late or her electric bill hasn’t been paid. It’s odd that Leonard and Sheldon are forced to live together in a building where the elevator is broken, but Penny is able to live comfortably in her apartment. It seems that the producers have created a visually appealing apartment for Penny, even though it is mentioned many times that she is unable to afford much outside of her bills. At one point, she owes Leonard $1400 because he pays her rent for her and takes her out to dinner a few times.
5. What Happened To Penny’s Job As A Pharmaceutical Rep?
Penny wasn’t going to be able to work at The Cheesecake Factory forever. She obviously finally gave the job up and her dream of being an actress for a more rewarding job with financial security when she became a pharmaceutical salesperson at the beginning of season eight.
At the end of season eight, it is then revealed that Penny is now making twice as much as Leonard, and this is the first time this has happened in their relationship. After this episode in season 8, Penny’s job isn’t mentioned again. For more than 12 episodes, none of the cast mentions the fact that Penny is working at such a lucrative job, even though Bernadette actually works with her. Instead, her storylines all center around her love life with Leonard and her impending wedding, which pushes her more into the role as a TV housewife, something that she has adapted to in the latest season.
4. Why Don’t We Ever Meet Her Sister?
Many members of Penny’s family are finally shown for the first time in season 10 as Penny marries Leonard, while her mother Susan, father Wyatt and brother Randall are all in attendance for the wedding, one person that is missing is her sister.
Penny mentions that she has a sister several times throughout the show, stating that her sister was heavily pregnant at her wedding, and her water broke during the father-daughter dance. She has also shared the fact that she has a 13-year-old nephew who she was shopping for comic books for in the earlier seasons of the show. He is thought to be the son of her older sister, but she is never named and never seen, and Penny never names her nephew either. Penny never says that she is on bad terms with her sister, or gives a reason why she can’t make it, so why wouldn’t she attend her wedding?
3. She Has Much More Drama Than Any Of The Other Characters
Penny seems to be a drama sponge; she has always been the one with the most real-life drama. Penny found out that Leonard was cheating on her before they got married, which meant that the couple were left trying to put the pieces back together, while Howard and Bernadette managed to have an argument about where a Doctor Who Tardis should go before Amy wins it in a game of table tennis.
It seems that all the other characters in the show are light-hearted and manage to find the comedy element to their problems, but in the later seasons, Penny has just turned into a normal TV housewife who has so many issues and there is nothing unique about her anymore. This is sad, considering the fact that she was one of the main reasons that the show was a success to begin with.
2. Penny’s Mother Isn’t The Same As She Is Described
Penny rarely mentions her mother throughout the early season of The Big Bang Theory, but there is one comment that is made by Sheldon in season 5 when Penny eats the last dumpling before smiling. Sheldon then states sarcastically, “I’ve seen pictures of your mother, keep eating.” This led fans to believe that Penny’s mother is quite large.
When Penny’s mother Susan is finally seen in the season 10 premiere and is played by Katey Segal, fans see that she isn’t as big as Sheldon pointed out five years before. Was this an oversight by the production team, or will Penny’s mother mention that fact that she lost a lot of weight while her daughter was living in another city? There isn’t a lot known about Susan and Penny’s relationship at the moment, so it will be interesting to see how this progresses over the next few seasons of the show.
1. Why Is Penny’s Last Name Never Revealed?
This is a strange one. Even though fans of The Big Bang Theory have known Penny now for more than 10 years, her last name has never actually been revealed. It is made common knowledge that she is from Nebraska and that growing up she was a raised like a boy by her father Wyatt, but even her father is never given a surname.
Penny and her father have a strained relationship because of her upbringing and her mother Susan doesn’t appear in the show until the season 10 premiere, even though she is mentioned throughout the early seasons of the show when Penny is on the phone to her. We also meet Penny’s brother, Randall, and are told that she has an unnamed sister, but even their introduction to the show doesn’t fill in the mystery of why the family’s last name is such a huge secret.
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