Fan favoritism en masse for a secondary subplot character among an already star-studded roster of brilliantly realized and full-to-the-brim individuals is a rarely occurring phenomenon, especially when a show under-utilizes that person and fails to use them as an impetus for the main arc. Kaley Cuoco, however, manages to attract the love, adoration, and support for her role as Penny in the critically acclaimed sitcom show, The Big Bang Theory.
But even as the fan support inspired the showrunners to keep Cuoco past the initially-scripted short-lived run, one particular aspect about her onscreen alter ego’s identity was a major point of contention for the actress.
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Kaley Cuoco Rallies Against Penny Being Pregnant in TBBT
Kaley Cuoco was an integral part of what tied the premise of The Big Bang Theory together. Her role as Penny, the extroverted, outgoing, and lively next-door neighbor had been the starting-off point for the show and the four socially awkward friends finding there’s more to life than academia. However, even as the arc revolved around the lives of these four CalTech physicists, the character of Penny, the aspiring actress, was one that was fully realized in all its flaws and potentials as the show progressed through the years.
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Chuck Lorre, the creator of The Big Bang Theory, mentions in the book, The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series, how the character of Penny was written as a 3-season arc, but the immense reception from the fans went on to convince the writers and producers to fully flesh out the character in the later seasons. And one of the primary and most important decisions to be declared in the writers’ room was the individuality of Penny and how she was always portrayed as a strong female character who was against the idea of having kids.
So, it would come as a surprise when Penny and Leonard would announce their surprise pregnancy in the series finale. Kaley Cuoco states in the same book,
I actually wished that they did not [make Penny pregnant] because I loved that message [of Penny not wanting kids] so much. I was actually voting for her not to [get pregnant].”
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However, for producers Steve Molaro and Steve Holland, it was the way to go since giving a proper send-off to these fan-favorite characters was an important prospect for the show and its writers. And in order to do that, the writers wanted to go back to one of the most pivotal lines from the series’ initial episodes after Leonard meets Penny and claims, “Our babies will be smart and beautiful.” The producers later claimed that they felt it was important to honor that relationship.
The Saddening End of The Big Bang Theory After 12 Years
The inherent identity of each character from The Big Bang Theory, i.e. Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Howard (Simon Helberg), and Rajesh (Kunal Nayyar) is unique and as such, it’s safe to say that the group as a whole, as well as these individuals each, have their separate fandoms. But the lives of these people turn upside down when they meet and befriend their upbeat and outgoing neighbor next door, Penny, along with fellow scientists, Amy and Bernadette.
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The series which ran for twelve long seasons from 2007 to 2019 was perfectly curated to the delight of the fandom and delivered each of the characters to a happy and satisfying end. As Sheldon and Amy tied the knot (and won the Nobel Prize, of course), Leonard and Penny announced they were having a child, and Howard and Bernadette finally adjusted to their life as parents, while Raj still remained on the lookout for his one true love.
However, despite the satisfactory closure, the end came as a shock to viewers across the globe. One of the highest-rated comedies of modern television, the series was supposed to be renewed for further seasons, but it was Jim Parson’s unwillingness to carry on with the role after 12 long years that prevented the showrunners from getting on with the show. Incidentally, Johnny Galecki shared similar sentiments as well and felt it best that the series end on a high, and that most among the cast were prepared to go out into the world after spending the majority of their 30s and 40s on the sets of the sitcom.
The Big Bang Theory is available for streaming on HBO Max.
Source: The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series