Plotholes about Penny and her pals on The Big Bang Theory

For several years now, one sitcom has stood out among the rest as the most popular on television. Initially, The Big Bang Theory was a comedy series revolving around four awkward scientists and the beautiful, blond aspiring actress neighbor who befriends them. The show appeals to a wide audience from hip millenials to more mature audiences who appreciate its witty, sarcastic humor.

Not only has the show maintained its skyrocketing ratings, it has also been praised for making the lives of geeky physicists and engineers, well, cool. The show later introduced us to Bernadette and Amy, accomplished women in the science world with nerdy quirks of their own. While both these two women are an entertaining part of the show, The Big Bang Theory would be way less entertaining and funny without the only non-scientist main character, Penny.

The fact that Penny even becomes friends with her nerdy next door neighbors in the first place is almost unbelievable since they are all clueless when it comes to speaking to women. Over the seasons, we’ve watched as friendships and relationships evolve, with Penny’s presence being a constant throughout all of the storylines. There are, however, aspects of Penny’s life and personality that don’t make sense, which makes us wonder: how did the writers miss these plot holes when it came to Penny, in addition some of the show’s other major players?


The instigator of many twists and turns in the nerds’ lives, Penny does way more than offer comedic relief with her snarky comments and street smarts – she also breaks down the stereotypes about men who are typically viewed as geeky. The notion that only athletic men or “jocks” end up with conventionally beautiful women is held up to be a cliché, particularly through Penny and Leonard’s on-and-off-again relationship.

Penny and Leonard’s love affair is one of the things that makes the show so appealing and fans could not contain their excitement when the two characters – spoiler alert – finally tied the knot. It was a wild ride with these two, and it’s certainly not over yet.

Speaking of the show’s dedicated fans, some of the more devoted among them have noticed some inconsistencies in the details and plot lines on the show. In particular, fans have discovered some contradictions when it comes to Penny, with some facts about her life leaving viewers scratching their heads. Even if you are a diehard fan of Penny’s, after you hear some of these plot holes you will have to agree that the writers may have overlooked some facts and storylines. Upon further inspection it appears that there are plot holes with other characters, too. So buckle up, Big Bang fans, and get ready to ask yourselves “How could they have missed that?” as we take you through some of the most confusing and downright ridiculous parts of this hilarious, brainy sitcom.

Last name confusion

One of the first things that dedicated fans of The Big Bang Theory will tell you about Penny is that no one knows her last name! While we know that Leonard’s last name is Hofstadter and Sheldon’s is Cooper, we haven’t heard Penny’s maiden name at any point during the show’s ten seasons. Presumably, either the writers felt it was unnecessary to include her last name, or they wanted to make a statement about how she had no (relevant) past before she met the gang.

Haircut horror

One of the reasons why we assume Kaley Cuoco was cast as Penny is because of the fact that she is conventionally attractive. Her long blond hair characterized her as the typical “babe” who attracts the attention of almost every guy. So when Penny showed up with a drastically shorter haircut than normal fans were quick to display their dissatisfaction. If Kaley Cuoco was trying to make a statement about looking beyond appearances, it backfired in a major way, though we still think still looks great!

Realistic rent

A big question that has been brought up by many fans of the show is how in the world can Penny afford her rent? She lives in the same building as Leonard and Sheldon, who share an apartment. Both men are scientists with PhDs so it’s a little confusing that Penny, who works as a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory, could afford an apartment on her own. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a waitress, but we just can’t figure out how Penny does not need a roommate or how she affords her fancy furniture and nice outfits.

Suspicious sister

Over the course of the show, we learn a little about Penny’s background and her family members. She mentions her brother, mom, dad and her sister, but when it comes to her wedding day, her sister is nowhere to be found. While the rest of Penny’s family is there to see her walk down the aisle, her sister doesn’t show and her whereabouts aren’t explained. This is more than a little odd, but as Penny has said her sister’s water broke during her own wedding, maybe she was similarly indisposed?

Altered appearance

In season five, the whole gang is sitting down for a meal and Sheldon makes a sarcastic comment about Penny’s eating habits. When she reaches for some food, Sheldon blurts out, “I’ve seen pictures of your mother – keep eating.” It seems that Sheldon is implying that Penny’s mother is noticeably overweight, but when Penny’s mother shows up in season ten, we see she’s actually pretty slim. Penny’s mom is played by Married… with Children’s Katey Sagal, who also played Cuoco’s mom on the sitcom 8 Simple Rules.

Penny and Sheldon

One of the most hilarious relationships on the show is the strained relationship between Sheldon and Penny who constantly displayed their dislike for each other. In the first few seasons it is very obvious that Sheldon and Penny have complete polar opposite personalities but in more recent seasons viewers have noticed there isn’t the same tension between the two characters. While it’s great to see two people learn to like each other, it doesn’t make sense based on the their shared history.

Reaching and settling

When Penny and Leonard first get involved in a romantic relationship, it is made clear to the viewers that Penny is considered out of Leonard’s league, and that she is settling for him. Penny is less enthusiastic about the relationship, and can’t say she loves Leonard until seasons after he says it to her. In later seasons, however, Leonard is the one depicted settling for Penny, with her struggling to make their relationship work. Seeing this shift, some viewers wondered – what exactly brought on this shift in their dynamics?

Career change

One of the biggest running themes in Penny’s life is the fact that she is a struggling actress and a college dropout. Although she doesn’t have any educational background or experience in medicine Bernadette manages to get her a job as a pharmaceutical representative. Not only does Penny get the job without having any relevant credentials but she somehow becomes a huge success in the field in a relatively short amount of time.

Rude attitude

For the most part, Penny has good intentions when it comes to her friends and her relationships. But sometimes Penny has moments where she is just plain mean. She often makes rude comments to her friends and it overly sarcastic. While we know that she is only joking, we think it would be advantageous for her to be nice to the friends who befriended her when she first moved to California and helped her through all of her struggles.

Wine obsessed

Throughout the seasons, fans have noticed that Penny has become more reliant on wine and that she can been seen drinking very frequent. We understand that The Big Bang Theory is a sitcom and an addiction would be considered a dark topic to bring up as a plot line, however, fans are wondering how Penny can even function and continue to work based on how much and often she drinks. The issue also never came up when Penny worked as a bartender at The Cheesecake Factory.

Unseen character

Something else about Penny’s life that has been brought up on multiple occasions is the absence of her mother. While Penny does mention her mother in passing, we’ve never actually meet her until Penny’s wedding in the tenth season. This is the only time we meet Penny’s mother and she is not mentioned after the wedding. Maybe the casting directors couldn’t come to a consensus about who to chose to portray the character.

Amy looks up to Penny

A strange phenomenon that is present throughout the episodes is Amy’s admiration for Penny. Amy is an accomplished and intelligent woman but for some reason she desires to be like Penny and accommodates all of her needs and wants. This dynamic seems a bit unrealistic as Amy was likely taunted by girls like Penny in her younger days. But for some reason, Amy shows no hostility or contempt towards Penny. We’re glad they get along but it just seems too good to be true.

Drama queen

As we previously mentioned, Penny is known for her sarcastic comments and her sometimes seemingly rude humor. While her ability to joke is an endearing quality in the first few seasons, over time her sense of humor slowly transforms into drama. It seems that Penny can dish out the rude comments but can’t take them because even the smallest issues in her life end in dramatic reactions. Nobody likes a drama queen and her shift in attitude has definitely thrown some fans off.

Howard’s mom and Bernadette

Shifting the focus away and placing it on Bernadette for a moment, many people have brought up questions about her character too. One major fact that we simply cannot ignore is that Bernadette’s voice is identical to Howard’s mother’s voice. We think this could be a reference t the fact that men often marry women similar to their mothers, however, it is overtly obvious at times. It is even more obvious as Bernadette became more like Howard’s mother around the time the couple got married.

Blonde moment

Penny wasn’t meant to be the only non-genius blonde woman on The Big Bang Theory. Originally Bernadette was meant be a person of average intelligence and if you look back at old episodes when she was first introduced, you can tell that a couple comments and jokes went straight over her head. As the seasons progress Bernadette’s character is portrayed as an intelligent scientist much like the people around her.

Sibling rivalry

Penny isn’t the only one who has discrepancies in her family life. Bernadette also has some family confusion as she constantly brings up the fact that she helped raise her five siblings growing up. You would think that she would be extremely close to all of her siblings if this was really the case, right? But alas, her siblings did not appreciate their sister enough to show up to her wedding. The reason for this is never revealed and it just makes us feel sad for poor Bernadette.

Priya problem

For a reason that is never revealed, Bernadette does not get along with Raj’s sister Priya. There is seemingly no reason for this strained relationship and it would make more sense if Penny was not a fan of Priya. Priya and Leonard date in off of the off moments of Leonard and Penny’s on an off again relationship. However, Penny doesn’t seem to have the same problem with Priya that Bernadette does. Perhaps Bernadette doesn’t like her out of support for Penny but she doesn’t seem like the type of person to hold a grudge.


Howard at home

After Bernadette gives birth to her and Howard’s child, she makes it very clear that she wants Howard to be a stay at home dad. She claims that this is the best situation as she makes more money than Howard, however it seems that this is not the real reason for her decision. Bernadette has commented that she is scared her daughter won’t like her, a feeling that may stem from her rocky relationship with her own parents.

10 months pregnant?

There was a pretty noticeable inconsistency around Bernadette’s pregnancy in terms of timing. The writers seem to have missed the fact that Bernadette discovered she was pregnant on Valentine’s Day but she gave birth in December of the same year. As we know there is a nine month gestation period but Bernadette is pregnant for nearly an entire year. We’ve heard of delayed due dates but a month is a little overboard.

Anger issues

When Bernadette was first introduced she came off as a sweet girl with a bubbly personality. After getting to know her more, however, Bernadette developed some frightening tendencies such as the fact that she gets angry very quickly. Instead of saying something about her issues with a bad temper, her friends simply tiptoe around her problem and try their best not to make her angry. This seems like negative reinforcement and her friends and husband should be offering her help instead of appeasing her.

Bernadette’s father

When we are first introduced to Bernadette’s very intimidating father, Mr. Rostenkowski makes a comment about his daughter’s size that is simply inaccurate. He states that Bernadette stands at only four feet tall and while he may have been joking, his serious demeanor says otherwise. Bernadette was likely four feet as a child but now she is much closer to five feet. Perhaps Mr. Rostenkowski strained relationship with his daughter has something to do with his lack of knowledge about her appearance.

Penny’s interests

One of the clearest differences between Penny and her husband Leonard is that Leonard is a self proclaimed nerd while Penny is not considered much of an intellectual. That being said, Penny makes an effort to show an interest in Leonard’s hobbies and passions. She pretty much has to as science related topics are basically all he talks about around his friends. However, Leonard does not reciprocate this action with Penny, which seems a little unfair to us.

Defending Sheldon

Sheldon and Leonard are introduced as best friends from the first episode and they remain that way for all of the subsequent seasons. Fans of the show will know that Sheldon has some strange tendencies and can be described as a selfish person. As a result, Leonard is forced to have to justify many of Sheldon’s actions, for example, Sheldon’s possessiveness over his spot on the couch. This relationship dynamic leads us to another point…

Moving out

Leonard puts up with a lot from Sheldon and he never seems to get aggravated by it. This fact could be justified by the fact that the pair have lived together for so long but on some occasions, Leonard makes comments about moving out or getting a different roommate. It seems like Leonard knows Sheldon better than anyone (even more than Amy!) and that he is the only person who can really put up with all of Sheldon’s nonsense.

Nice guy Leonard

Many viewers took issue with the way the relationship between Leonard and Priya met its ultimate demise. In season four, Leonard and Priya are in a long distance relationship and Priya grew on many fans even though she was not Penny. So when Priya cheated on Leonard fans could not believe it and they definitely could not understand Leonard’s reaction. Everyone was expecting Leonard to get angry but in typical Leonard fashion he acts extremely calmly and nicely.

Raj’s love life

Obviously characters are allowed to change and develop over time. It would even be a little boring if a character didn’t grow over the course of their existence but the change has to be gradual in order to be believable. Raj starts out as being utterly unable to speak to women and he can’t seem to get a date. In a later season when he finally does get a girlfriend, he suddenly becomes a ladies’ man and begins dating two women at once.

Sheldon’s condition

While we are focusing on the loopholes and inconsistencies in The Big Bang Theory we do understand that it is a fiction show with the goal of entertaining audiences. This is why we understand the need to make the characters over the top and emphasize their issues. It is clear that Sheldon has social issues that often alienate them from his peers but his nerdy and awkward personality often comes off as gimmicky and a touch too over the top.

Childlike tendencies

Sheldon is no stranger to competition especially with his coworker Barry Kripke. It is believable that two coworkers would be competitive with one another but the rivalry with these two is teetering on the precipice of two far fetched. The two grown men act like children at times and we are wondering why the other employees don’t feel the need to alert human resources. Neither Barry or Sheldon seem capable of having a working relationship with one another which leaves us asking how neither have been fired yet.

Parking spot faceoff

Sheldon isn’t just competitive about his job. He is also childish when it comes to seemingly irrelevant issues. In one episode Sheldon gets into a war with Howard over a parking spot even though Sheldon doesn’t even have a driver’s license. The two let the argument get way out of hand when their girlfriends Bernadette and Amy began arguing over the issue as well. The whole plot line was a little clumsy and cringeworthy.

Insular friend group

The gang on The Big Bang Theory could be compared to the crew on the hit sitcom Friends in that they are very weary of letting new people into their friend group. While Amy doesn’t share the same interests as her friends, she never mentions having companions outside of Leonard, Sheldon and the rest of the gang. While she does sometime shave girls’ nights with Amy and Bernadette it just seems like she might benefit from having an expanded social circle. Perhaps the group is so close that she doesn’t feel the need to spend time with anyone else.