Kaley Cuoco explains why Penny was so important in The Big Bang Theory. Last year, CBS’ long-running series wrapped up after 12 seasons on the air with an emotional one-hour special finale. Now, cast members are looking back on their stint in the show with Kunal Nayyar recently defending Raj’s divisive ending, and now Cuoco, sharing her two cents why her character as Penny was integral to the series.
The actress played the only main female character in The Big Bang Theory in its first three years, as Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Leonard’s (Johnny Galecki) neighbor. She developed a friendship with the pair, as well as, their other two pals, Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj. It wasn’t until season 4 before the show brought in Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) and Amy (Mayim Bialik), giving Penny her own girl squad.
Speaking with Emmy Magazine (via Digital Spy), Cuoco looks back on her stint as the budding actress-turned-pharmaceutical sales in The Big Bang Theory. She explains why Penny was massively popular among fans of the show, pointing out that her character represented the audience. While she occasionally took jabs at them, she genuinely cared for the boys who were deemed social outcasts.
“She represented the audience. She has big aspirations and loved the guys.
“Viewers were on her side from day one because she was always kind. She laughed with them, not at them. She was always part of the group.”
The Big Bang Theory, however, left arguably the biggest question regarding Penny’s character: what’s her maiden name? Fans were looking forward to learning the answer in the finale, but the special send-off didn’t give any clue as to what it might be. With the show finished, there’s very slim to no chance that the public will find out. Writers of the show purposefully left it a mystery, and it’s likely that they want to keep it that way moving forward. At least she got a happy ending with Leonard, with the series revealing that after a full season of the couple having conflicting ideas about having kids, they’re expecting their first child together.
Penny’s character had quite a transformation over the years. She was initially sexualized in earlier seasons, which made for laughs, but as she grew up to be the character fans saw in The Big Bang Theory finale, she was objectified significantly less. Cuoco is right however, despite her sarcastic remarks and wit, Penny has always been kind to the boys. She was mostly patient with Sheldon even though the socially-inept genius could be really unreasonable at times. She helped Raj gain confidence and start talking to women; she also introduced Howard to his now-wife, Bernie. Finally, she developed a genuine affection for Leonard as the pair eventually married. Add all of this together, and it’s not hard to see why Penny became one of the show’s most beloved characters.