Personality[ edit ] Originally from a small town outside of Omaha, Nebraska , Penny has aspirations of becoming an actress. Until season 7, she worked as a waitress at the local Cheesecake Factory. She is very knowledgeable about popular culture. She initially feels insulted when Leonard shows her a list of community colleges to go to at the beginning of season 2, but in season 6, she does go back to college, taking a history class.
By the middle of the season, she is also taking an acting class, and at the beginning of season 7, she is taking a psychology class as well. Despite her weak education, she is insightful.
While Sheldon routinely disparages both Penny's and Howard's educations, he occasionally acknowledges her intelligence and potential, though he rarely treats Howard so. He has also asked for her advice more than once regarding various social situations. Leonard has likened her to The Hulk when she gets angry,  while Sheldon once said to recurring character Stuart Bloom that she would "maul [him] like a rabid wolverine " if Stuart woke her up from a sound sleep.
She fails to service her vehicle regularly, and ignores her check engine light , which has been mentioned in multiple episodes. In Season 8, after finding a job as a highly paid pharmaceutical sales representative at Bernadette's company, she obtains a company car and sells the one Leonard bought for her, returning him the money.
However, she seems to be genuinely unaware of the hurt her actions caused, and upon her realization, she attempts to make amends with a classmate she tormented, with little success. In " The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition ", Penny, while spending the evening with Bernadette and Amy, observes that they have finished the bottle of wine, and when Bernadette and Amy point out that they consumed only half a glass and no wine at all, respectively, Penny snaps, "Okay, don't judge me!
So, what do you want to do, go to the movies, go dancing, lay down for a little bit? In " The Intimacy Acceleration ", Sheldon asks her, "If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? In " The Locomotive Manipulation ", Leonard declines Amy's suggestion that the group spend a weekend in Napa Valley , leading to this exchange: Looks at Penny What?
We bust on each other. I wear dorky glasses, you might have a problem, it's all for laughs. In one episode, Sheldon tries to "improve" Penny, rewarding her with chocolate for what he considers "correct behavior", as in operant conditioning of lab rats. Leonard noticed it and accused Sheldon of modifying her like Pavlov's dogs.
She and Leonard occasionally talk and behave as if Sheldon were their child once alluded to in season 11's "The Collaboration Contamination" when Penny actually uses a parenting book of Bernadette's on Sheldon , and Penny is very pleased whenever Sheldon acts tenderly towards her.
Penny often calls Sheldon "sweetie", a term of endearment she frequently uses with other characters a fact that Sheldon has himself pointed out , and Penny and Amy are the only principal characters who ever openly demonstrate their genuine fondness for Sheldon. Evidence of Penny's affection for Sheldon is apparent in various episodes. Penny takes care of Sheldon while he is ill  and lets him stay at her apartment when he is locked out of his, or if he has a bad dream or is feeling unsafe;  Sheldon lent her money when she needed it  and takes care of her when she dislocates her shoulder.
In return, Sheldon gives Penny several baskets of bath products and then a long hug, to both her and Leonard's surprise. When Sheldon's World of Warcraft account is hacked and the four men all back down from the much larger hacker who also steals Sheldon's Klingon Bat'leth , Penny kicks the hacker in the groin.
Following her breakup with Leonard, Penny takes Sheldon along when she and some friends from work went to Disneyland , for which he is thankful. In the same episode, "The Spaghetti Catalyst", she notes that she takes Sheldon shopping for his linens.
This episode also shows her and Leonard acting like a divorced couple and Sheldon is their "son", a dynamic that recurs in successive seasons. In "The Panty Pinata Polarization" Penny has a fight with Sheldon as he banishes her from his apartment and using their Wi-Fi as she got "three strikes". She defends herself by refusing to take down his order at the restaurant and then ruins his weekly Saturday laundry night but then he puts Penny's underwear on the telephone wire. After having a heated argument with his mother, Sheldon apologises to Penny and then they make amends with one another.
Sheldon has also acknowledged that he likes Penny, although he claims this was only because he was forced to because Leonard "made him", and that Sheldon liking her was a "hard row to hoe",  although in "The Intimacy Acceleration" Sheldon has admitted that he considers Penny a sisterly or motherly figure.
Nerd traits[ edit ] A number of episodes depict Penny's assimilation of nerd culture through her relationship with the men, and has developed to quote some science fiction shows like Star Trek , and movies Star Wars. After Sheldon introduces her to the online role-playing game Age of Conan , Penny becomes addicted , to the point of ignoring her friends, her hygiene, her general appearance and her job, and pesters Sheldon incessantly for gaming advice.
She finally overcomes her addiction when she realizes she has agreed to go on a virtual date within the game with Howard. Penny sometimes references science and technology-related ideas. In "The Beta Test Initiation", Penny references beta testing when Leonard uses a software development analogy, to describe their attempt to start a romantic relationship again, although he points out he was technically talking about alpha testing.
In "The Veracity Elasticity" she demonstrates fluency in Ubbi Dubbi by having a secret conversation with Amy Farrah Fowler in front of Sheldon and Leonard, when the guys are having their own secret conversation in Klingon.
Financial issues[ edit ] A recurring theme throughout the series is Penny's ongoing financial problems. This is seen in "The Financial Permeability", when she finds herself behind on her bills, and borrows money from Sheldon, only to later become paranoid that he is pestering her for repayment, even though he makes no such indications of this - he misinterprets Penny's paranoia and even offers her more money, while Leonard points out that one of the few things about Sheldon that isn't insufferable is that he genuinely doesn't care about how long it will take to repay the money.
More subtle references are seen in the fact that she once attempted to pay for her electric bill using a Starbucks gift card, an apology note and pictures of her in underwear. In the second-season episode "The Financial Permeability", when Penny is short on money, Leonard pays for her share of a group dinner, which causes Raj and Howard to joke that they would get free food too if they wore skintight jeans and a tank top. A recurring gag in the fourth season is Sheldon's frequent change of his and Leonard's Wi-Fi password to address Penny's use of their signal.
In "The Thespian Catalyst", he changes the password to "Penny is a freeloader",  in " The Roommate Transmogrification " he has changed it to "Penny, get your own Wi-Fi",  and in the episode "The Speckerman Recurrence", he has changed it into "Penny already eats our food, she can pay for Wi-Fi". In the seventh season " The Convention Conundrum ", when the women go out for drinks, and ponder their own maturity, and Penny questions the significance of that trait, Bernadette replies that it would mean that their check would be split three ways.
By " The Expedition Approximation ", she is making enough money to be financially self-sufficient, able to sell the automobile Leonard previously gave her " The Friendship Turbulence " and gives him back the money for it—changing their dynamic and leading to discussions on whether her future financial windfalls may prove difficult for him, given his insecurities.
This situation was later exacerbated when it was revealed that Penny now actually earns significantly more than Leonard. In the season nine episode " The Big Bear Precipitation ", Penny reveals she hates her job as a representative but sticks with it because she still has large debts and also does not want to go back to waitressing or acting.
Family[ edit ] In "The Maternal Capacitance", Penny reveals that her father Wyatt Keith Carradine  tried to raise her like a boy, which is a source of pain for her, leading her to have father issues. When she and Leonard begin dating, Wyatt comes to appreciate that she is dating an accomplished academic, rather than an uneducated hick, so much so that when he visits Penny in the fourth-season episode " The Boyfriend Complexity " following her and Leonard's breakup, it is revealed that she has not revealed the breakup to her father.
When she later informs Wyatt of the breakup, Wyatt secretly encourages Leonard to not give up on her. In contrast to all other characters, Penny and her father's last name have not been revealed. Co-creator Bill Prady stated that Penny's last name will be revealed eventually. Christy knows Penny from back in Omaha and, according to Penny, she slept with nearly every man in the city, earning her the nickname "Whore of Omaha".
While staying with Penny, Christy sleeps with Howard. Keep eating", a reference to Penny's mother's weight, that clearly unsettles her. In " The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition ", Penny confesses to Bernadette that her mother smoked pot while she was pregnant with her. Penny has mentioned having a sister who appears to be the mother of her year-old nephew mentioned in Season 2.
In "The Bachelor Party Corrosion", Penny tells Bernadette, Amy and viewers that at her sister's wedding she was heavily pregnant since she and their father started a father-daughter dance and then her water broke. Penny has mentioned having a brother on parole , who she says is "kind of a chemist". In "The Rhinitis Revelation" 5—6 , she is more explicit in revealing that he is in the practice of cooking crystal meth.
Penny's mother Susan, who Penny has occasionally spoken with on the phone in prior episodes usually about other family members , finally appears in the Season 10 premiere episode "The Conjugal Conjecture", portrayed by Katey Sagal.
She is shown to be very embarrassed by her family's shortcomings: Although she has previously met Leonard and likes him, she is uncomfortable about meeting his academic parents, not wanting them to think of her family as "white trash".
She goes to great lengths to present them in the best possible light, including buying dental implants for her son. Work[ edit ] Until the seventh season, Penny's main job was as a waitress at her local The Cheesecake Factory , although in the first-season episode " The Grasshopper Experiment " she trained as a bartender.
It seemed that she occasionally picked up the bartending shift in the restaurant. In , when actress Kaley Cuoco broke her leg, Penny was shown working as a bartender in several season 4 episodes to hide the cast on her leg. Her work at The Cheesecake Factory, was initially meant to be a temporary job for her desired profession as an actress, although her expectations are somewhat high and naive at the beginning. She admits in season two that her plan was to be a waitress for six months and then become a movie star, and her back-up plan was to become a TV star.
She regularly goes to castings, but often ends up unsuccessful, or finding the role being auditioned to be quite different from what she expected, as was the case when she thought she was auditioning for a cat food commercial and it instead turned out to be a casting for a pornographic film. In the season one episode "The Loobenfeld Decay", she is cast in a production of Rent , and in "The Terminator Decoupling" she refers to another of her roles as " Anne Frank in a theater above a bowling alley".
Frustrated with her acting career, in the season five premiere, she briefly considers returning to Nebraska until landing a part in a commercial for hemorrhoid cream. In this episode Sheldon, who attended the show along with Leonard and Amy, is impressed with Penny's ability to memorize lines, but still couldn't remember customers' orders as a waitress. In the season seven premiere, she was revealed to have had a topless shower scene in a low budget horror film named "Serial Apeist" when she first moved to California, which she did not realise had been uploaded to the internet until Sheldon revealed it was available online and the gang saw it on the day they met her.
She is devastated when her scene is cut, but later decides it is time to focus solely on acting; she quits her job at The Cheesecake Factory to devote herself to become an actress. Despite usually going to her neighbors for technical assistance when she has problems with her computer, Penny does have some mechanical skills of her own.
When she was a child, she rebuilt a tractor engine on the farm where she grew up  and competed in a junior rodeo. The next season has Penny admitting that she hates her job flirting with her customers for sales. Relationships[ edit ] Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki who portrays Leonard at PaleyFest Unlike the rest of the main characters, Penny is very outgoing and assertive, and has many romantic relationships over the course of the series.
She often dates, and in one way or another all the men have gone to her for dating advice. In the fourth season opener, Sheldon estimates that Penny has dated men, and had sex with 31 of them. Penny strenuously denies it was ever that many.
Amy asks Penny in the same conversation if, in light of her sex partners, she considers herself a " slut ", Penny responds uncertainly, "No. She says she still loves him, even though he cheated on her. Howard also shows interest in her primarily sexual , but he is always rejected abruptly due to his unsettling approaches.
Although Penny occasionally teases Raj for his inability to speak to her, she is sympathetic and kind towards him, and as with Sheldon, she almost always overlooks his idiosyncrasies and appreciates that his intentions are good.
In the first-season episode "The Fuzzy Boots Corollary", Penny describes her approach after a failed relationship: This gives Leonard the opportunity to ask her out on a first official date. When Sheldon asks her why she lied, she indicates that she is self-conscious about her comparative level of education. Leonard eventually learns the truth, but makes matters worse when he tries to encourage Penny to enroll in Pasadena City College , as Penny interprets his suggestion as an insult to her intelligence, and rebuffs him.
Beverly Hofstadter, causes Penny and Leonard to seek comfort in each other. They nearly have sex, but when Leonard comments in bed that she was attracted to him because of a psychological need to be closer to her father, her revulsion at this causes her to rebuff him. The first time, Penny and Stuart are interrupted by Sheldon, who argues at length with Stuart over whether Dick Grayson or Jason Todd should be Batman's successor, while Penny falls to sleep.
When she discovers that Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj will be spending three months at the magnetic North Pole for a scientific experiment, she becomes sad and gives Leonard a Snuggie and a long hug, that Leonard perceives as unusually long. Although Penny dismisses the meaning into which Leonard reads the gift and the hug, she later admits to herself that it meant that she did not want him to leave. This is further implied in "The Justice League Recombination" when she indicates to Leonard that her reunion with Zack, and Zack's decision to have the two of them join the men in dressing up as the Justice League for New Year's Eve costume party at Stuart's comic shop is made difficult by her history with Leonard.