Co-creator Chuck Lorre admits to a huge Penny mistake in the earlier seasons of . After the original pilot was reworked, Kaley Cuoco was brought in to play Penny, Sheldon and Leonard's new neighbor. For the first three seasons of the sitcom, Penny was the only main female character in the show, and she ultimately ended up appearing on all 12 seasons of the beloved CBS comedy.
Unfortunately, Penny being an original cast member also meant that she was subjected to 's problematic brand of humor, which was especially prevalent in its first few years. Even Simon Helberg agrees with the , while reruns cut a particularly distasteful scene from the sitcom's pilot. In terms of Penny, the character was depicted as the stereotypical ditzy blonde - something that Lorre now regrets.
Looking back at the show's history in the new book Lorre candidly admits their mistake in Penny's depiction during the first few years of the show. As Cuoco previously mentioned, she felt like her character was overly sexualized in the early years of the show. Luckily, as it went on, she became more involved in the choices for Penny. Read Lorre's full quote below:
One of the most underwritten characters in the show early on was Penny. It was really obvious immediately that we hadn’t developed the character beyond the pretty girl next door, and Kaley was certainly capable of doing a great deal more than what was asked of her. We had to make the character more fully realized. Not just for an episode, but always. [Over time] Penny had an intelligence about people, about relationships, and about sussing out a situation and understanding the dynamics of what’s going on in a room.
Even though Cuoco became more active in the decision-making for her character, finale still ended up failing her. After stagnating her and Leonard's relationship for several years, season 12 introduced a conflict for the Hofstafters about their conflicting views on having kids. Despite Penny's insistence that she doesn't want to get pregnant, she ended up expecting anyway. in the same oral history, saying she would have preferred it if honored her original wish. Unfortunately, the writers went ahead with their choice, and the sitcom could have done a better job showing when and how Penny gradually changed her mind about the matter.
Due to 's continued popularity, calls for a reunion have been going on ever since the show ended in 2019. While many of the cast members and even the producers are all interested, there are no plans for a revival at this point. If , however, one of the first things that it needs to focus on is justifying Penny's divisive ending. That way, the show can make amends for all of its crimes against the character.