The Big Bang Theory's Original Setting Would Have Made Penny Unusable

The original pilot of The Big Bang Theory underwent significant changes, with most of the cast being replaced. Kaley Cuoco's character, Penny, was brought in as a kind and nicer alternative to Amanda Walsh's Katie, who was ruder and more worldly. Additionally, Iris Bahr's character, Gilda, was split into Simon Helberg's Howard and Kunal Nayyar's Raj. These changes resulted in some narrative issues, including objectifying and stereotyping Penny as a dumb blonde compared to the intelligent scientists in the cast.

The show initially focused on Penny as the main character, with the rest of the cast expanding over time. However, this led to some challenges in the storytelling. The show eventually added Amy and Bernadette as series regulars in season 4 to address these issues. Despite the problems, it is difficult to imagine The Big Bang Theory without Penny, and her presence became crucial to the success of the show.

One lesser-known change revealed by Jim Parsons, who played Sheldon, was that the show was originally intended to be set on the East Coast instead of Pasadena. While the majority of the series was filmed on a soundstage in Burbank, the location could easily have been faked. However, the decision to place the show in Los Angeles and specifically in Pasadena was significant. The characters were associated with Caltech, making the setting integral to their storylines.

If The Big Bang Theory had been set on the East Coast, particularly in Massachusetts, where Harvard and MIT are located, it would have posed a challenge for introducing Penny's character. Penny moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, which wouldn't have made sense in New England, far from the entertainment industry hub. New York could have been an option, but the prestigious institutions there didn't align with the fields of study pursued by the male characters.

Penny's presence in The Big Bang Theory was essential for the show's success. Despite the mistreatment she endured from characters like Howard and Sheldon, Penny's kindness, understanding, and ability to stand up for herself created an interesting dynamic with the male leads. She served as the viewers' point-of-view character and her interactions with the socially awkward scientists provided comedic moments that endeared the show to the audience.

In conclusion, the changes made to The Big Bang Theory, including the replacement of characters and the decision to set the show in Pasadena, were crucial for its success. Kaley Cuoco's portrayal of Penny played a significant role in the show's popularity and her absence would have greatly impacted the dynamics and narrative of the series.

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