We love the four nerds, but there’s something undeniably special about Kaley Cuoco’s character ‘Penny’ on The Big Bang Theory. But why did the creators keep Penny’s last name a secret?
There are so many reasons why The Big Bang Theory is so popular and has a dedicated community of fans. The sitcom centered around the lives of five characters: Sheldon Cooper, Rajesh Koothrapalli, Howard Wolowitz, Leonard Hofstadter and Penny. The addition of Bernadette Rostenkowski and Amy Farrah-Fowler in the later seasons was refreshing to watch.
- Penny was added to the script last minute and the writers overlooked the details
- Kaley Cuoco doesn’t want fans to find out Penny’s last name
- Is Penny’s last name Hofstadter since her marriage to Leonard?
Every character was somehow inspired by science and all things geeky, be it astrophysics, experimental physics, neuroscience or Dungeons and Dragons. Penny was the only character who was least interested in science, even though she occasionally pretended to be. She’s been an irreplaceable part of the group from the pilot, but still represents a ditzy, scatter-brained blonde.
Penny’s the only one who has social skills, is street-smart and the only ‘normal’ person in the group. Her lack of academic knowledge is often frowned upon, but she makes up for it with her wits. She’s also the only character whose last name is never revealed, even after 12 seasons.
TBBT loyalists have been stumped by the idea of Penny never getting a last name, but they’re not alone. Keep reading as we attempt to decode the strategy behind the creators keeping Penny’s last name a secret.
Penny was added to the script last minute and the writers overlooked the details
Not many fans are aware that Penny’s character was rewritten into the show at the last minute. Originally, she wasn’t a part of the ensemble cast at all. Penny’s character replaced another female character Katie, played by Amanda Walsh. Katie was a quick-witted, tough-as-nails woman but also vulnerable, and would be Leonard’s future love interest.
The pilot was filmed with Katie living across the hall from Sheldon and Leonard, but the audience wasn’t a fan. They despised Katie and found her personality to be too brash and sexual, and not girl-next-door-ish. Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady rewrote her character into Penny, a waitress at The Cheesecake Factory who had big dreams. Kaley Cuoco, who had originally auditioned for Katie, was called back to audition for the new, revised character.
It seems as if last minute changes during TBBT’s late production is why the creators overlooked announcing Penny’s last name. It wasn’t important initially and viewers didn’t notice, but later, everyone realised that the writers never mention her last name.
Kaley Cuoco doesn’t want fans to find out Penny’s last name
The Big Bang Theory might’ve ended last year, but the question surrounding Penny’s last name lives on. Kaley Cuoco has often been asked to share how she feels about the oversight, both during the show and after its conclusion.
In 2016, Cuoco shared that she hopes it’s never revealed, but has an idea of what it could be. And just a year later, she shared thoughts that only added to the mystery. In an interview with “CBS News”, Cuoco said,
“It’s kind of a personal thing. It feels like a jinx. We haven’t said it for so long. I feel like if we said it, the world will explode.”
At the sitcom’s wrap party last year, Kaley Cuoco told “TVLine” that she loved the mystery behind Penny’s last name. “So many things are revealed in the last few episodes; you get a lot of satisfying moments. But I kind of love that (we’ll never know her last name).”
The actress has previously mentioned that she hopes to see the elevator fixed by the time the show’s finale arrives. That wish was fulfilled by the writers, but Penny’s last name will continue to be a mystery. There’s another theory we have based on what happened in the series, but we’re not big fans of it.
Is Penny’s last name Hofstadter since her marriage to Leonard?
The teasing romance between Penny and Leonard throughout The Big Bang Theory made viewers root for them until the end. She married Leonard in the season 10 premiere and finally got the happy ending to their incredible story. Their tumultuous ‘will they won’t they’ relationship arc concluded in what was a beautiful outdoor garden wedding.
We’re assuming Penny’s last name is Hofstadter now, but we don’t like the idea of her nameless identity before she married Leonard. To fuel the fire, executive producer Steven Molaro confirmed that Penny’s last name “will always be Hofstadter.” His statement came across as quite old-fashioned, and Penny is a character who deserved better than that.
Penny’s last name will continue to be a mystery. And if you really think about it, she doesn’t need one. Penny made a name for herself and will always be one of our favourite characters, regardless of her last name.
Do you have any theories about Penny’s last name? Let us know in the comments!