Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory: 5 Times Penny Was A Freeloader (And 5 Times She Was Super Generous)

Although Penny wasn't exactly the best at managing her finances, she did find alternative ways to prove how much she loved her friends

Penny’s friendship with Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj on The Big Bang Theory was totally unexpected, but it wasn’t entirely genuine at first. She would often take advantage of their good nature and made them pay for an endless supply of dinners. Because the guys were mesmerized by Penny and floored that a beautiful girl like her would want to hang out with “nerds” like them, they let a lot of things slide.

However, it didn’t take long for Penny to strike up a close bond with the boys. In fact, although she never really paid the boys for helping to financially support her, Penny did return the favor by helping them expand their social circles and confidence. For every favor she asked, Penny made sure she found a way to pay them back.

Freeloader: Stealing The Internet

big bang theory penny internet

One of the biggest ways Penny was a freeloader – and seemed to enjoy being one – was by stealing Sheldon and Leonard’s Wi-Fi so she could connect to the internet for free. Since her apartment was just across the hall, it wasn’t an issue for the signal to reach.

All she needed to do was find out the secure password for their network and she was in. And she did exactly that, always finding a way back in every time Sheldon tried to change the password to kick her off.

Super Generous: Always Being There For Sheldon

Penny and Sheldon had a really sweet relationship. Even though they had very little in common, they helped each other through a lot of complex situations. Penny would often help Sheldon realize things he couldn’t see, such as why Amy might have been upset with him, or how he could look at a situation from a different perspective.

Given that the prequel series Young Sheldon has been airing for some time, it seems logical now that Penny might even have reminded Sheldon of his own twin sister, fueling their closeness. But in many ways, she was also like a mother figure to him.

Freeloader: Eating Their Food

Feature Image The Big Bang Theory Last Scene

The guys never seemed to cook, always ordering the same foods on the same days of the week. And Penny was always hanging around eating with them even though they noted on several occasions that she never chipped in. What’s more, she would doll out in insults all the time while she was there mooching off their take-out.

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As a struggling actor who never really achieved her dream, Penny worked as a waitress, was making minimum wage, and probably just barely made ends meet. Nonetheless, she probably could have afforded her own groceries. But why bother when there’s free food next door?

Super Generous: The Christmas Gift

Sheldon hugs Penny as a Christmas present

The close bond between Penny and Sheldon likely began that time when Penny gave Sheldon the best Christmas gift he had ever, and likely would ever, receive. A napkin signed by Leonard Nimoy that read, “To Sheldon, Live Long, and Prosper.”

Sheldon’s reaction was hilarious, and he got even more excited when Penny apologized that the napkin was dirty because Nimoy had wiped his mouth on it. While Penny didn’t realize just how big a deal the gift would be, it was special and generous, nonetheless. In fact, this marked the first time Sheldon hugged Penny, making her one of the few people he ever hugged that weren’t members of his immediate family.

Freeloader: Asking The Guys To Get Her TV

This didn’t make Penny a freeloader, per se, but in one of her first-ever interactions with the guys, right after she had officially moved in, Penny asked them to go help her get her TV back from her cheating ex-boyfriend, Kurt.

Reluctantly, though wanting to impress the pretty new girl next door, Leonard headed over and forced Sheldon to go with him. They ended up getting their pants stolen and being bullied and embarrassed. She just wanted help but it’s arguably the first time Penny realized she could mooch off and take advantage of these guys, even if she didn’t do it intentionally.

Super Generous: Getting Married In Las Vegas

Penny and Leonard Hofstadter at the alter on TBBT


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It was a generous gesture as this is likely what Leonard wanted all along anyway. He already had a strained relationship with his mother and didn’t really like being the center of attention. So this was a nice move on her part to suggest this, even if it wasn’t for those particular reasons.

Freeloader: Constantly Borrowing Money

Penny Big Bang Theory

While it was never explicitly discussed, it was obvious that Penny was often borrowing money from the guys to buy things, whether it was to pay for groceries, wine, to put gas in her car, fix her broken car, or to make rent for the month.

The guys were both making pretty good money and were pretty diligent about their spending. They didn’t go out often so probably had lots saved up. Penny, meanwhile, was struggling, so she took whatever she could and likely never paid it back.

Super Generous: Hanging Out With Amy

Painting of Amy and Penny that Amy gave her in TBBT

While Penny and Amy eventually had a genuine friendship, it’s clear that Amy could be…a lot sometimes. She was overbearing and obsessed with Penny’s lifestyle, looks, confidence, and being her friend.

Despite all of this, Penny was willing to welcome Amy into her circle with Bernadette, and the three became close friends. Even after Amy presented Penny with a gaudy, massive painted portrait of the two of them, Penny still stayed friends with her. And on many occasions, Penny did what she could to help Sheldon understand Amy’s point of view on issues and disagreements to help her out.

Freeloader: Took Advantage At Her Job

Penny-Waitressing-the big bang theory

While trying to book acting gigs, Penny worked as a waitress at The Cheesecake Factory. And it’s clear she didn’t really take the job seriously. She took her paycheck but didn’t really make an effort to be really good at her job.

She reluctantly served her friends food and would spend a lot of her shift chatting with them and other waitresses, like Bernadette. Not to mention how she mixed-up orders occasionally.

Super Generous: Re-doing The Wedding For Family & Friends

Leonard and Penny wedding photo with her family on TBBT

When Penny realized that eloping with Leonard made their friends and families upset, she agreed to have a redo wedding ceremony. This took place in the park, officiated by Bernadette.

All of their closest friends and respective family members were present and able to participate in the celebrations. It was a solid move to cater to those closest to them who wanted to share in their happiness and that pivotal moment in their lives. And it was generous of Penny to agree to it, even though they were technically already married.

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