Okay, part two of my five part “Writing Faults in (Insert name here). Part one was Sheldon, this part is Penny. I think I’ll do Leonard next, because I think that Raj and Howard are very, very consistently written so I need to do some serious re-watching from the Raj-And-Howard-Are-Out-Of-Character perspective. It was mainly the big three I was thinking of when I decided to do this, so…yeah, Raj and Howard may be a while.
Anyway, here’s Penny’s, and again, if anyone has any Raj or Howard suggestions, hit me with a PM, I’ll credit you!
In the beginning of season two (2.03), Penny told Sheldon that she was twenty-two years old, making her twenty-one in season one. In the Pilot, she said she’d been with Kurt for four years, making her seventeen when she either moved in with him or started to date him. However, immediately after breaking up with Kurt, (1.03) she tells Leonard about her “Pattern. I break up, find a cute guy, and then it’s just thirty-six meaningless hours of…you know.” So she had time to establish this pattern (which is defined as a repeat activity) prior to being seventeen years old. Even if this was true, then Leonard would have been her rebound guy after Mike, and he wasn’t. Even if Leonard wasn’t her rebound guy in 2.01because he was her friend, she didn’t have sex with Eric (2.02), either, and after that she didn’t sleep with a guy until Christmas time (2.11). We have never seen this “pattern” play out and it appears to be a use for a one-episode conversation.
When Penny’s birthday is should be quite obvious. She is a Sagittarius, as stated in the Pilot, which is a zodiac sign stretching from November 22nd until December 22nd. Penny is very close in age to Kaley Cuoco, who portrays her, Cuoco being one year older. It could be assumed that they share a birthday, November 30th. However, in season two, episode three, Penny tells Sheldon that she is twenty-two, and not twenty-three as Sheldon guessed. Then, in the Christmas episode, David Underhill says that Penny is twenty-two. Unless Penny’s birthday is very, very late in the Sagittarius’s yearly reign, and that all of the Christmas episode save the last scene took place nearly a week before Christmas, the dates wouldn’t match up, especially since Penny was twenty-two early in the year, meaning that she would very likely be twenty-three by the time that David showed up. Another possibility is that Penny was still twenty-one when Sheldon asked, but as she was only a few months from being twenty-two, she rounded up. She then could have had her twenty-second birthday and truthfully have been twenty-two when David stated it as fact. However, that would have made her twenty when she met the guys, making her sixteen when she met/moved in with Kurt, thus making her story of a previously established “pattern” even more unlikely.
Tough Farm Girl or Stereotypical Blonde?
Is Penny a tough Nebraska farm girl or a stereotypical blonde? She shifts from one to the other, and so it’s hard to figure out exactly what kind of girl she is. In 1.02 she states “I grew up on a farm; I rebuilt a tractor engine when I was, like, twelve.” She says this as if it is no big deal, she does this kind of thing all the time. In 1.02 she also states “where I come from, if someone comes into your place at night, you shoot, and you don’t shoot to wound!” In 2.16 she tells Leonard “I’m from Nebraska, when we shoot things it’s because we want to eat them or make them leave our boyfriend’s alone.” In 3.13 she tells Leonard that if she’d run into the people who robbed his apartment, she would have “gone all Nebraska on their asses!” She whipped out a baseball bat to prove her point, and was even prepared to bludgeon Sheldon with it. She reacted to Sheldon waking her up in 3.17 by socking him in the nose, much like she punched Howard in 2.12 to defend herself. She kills spiders for the guys (2.19), and has stated that she doesn't mind killing the big ones. She’s called a “great shot” (2.16) and is excellent at playing Halo (1.07) suggesting that she’s familiar with and comfortable around guns, she’s handy with tools and is generally very tough and self-sufficient. However…
In 2.15 Penny breaks down in tears over her daddy issues with Beverly, stating “I tried being good at sports but I just hated getting dirty!” She shakes her hands as if to get imaginary dirt off. Not something you’d expect from a woman who fixes tractors and shoots things; you will get dirty doing those activities.
In 3.08, Penny’s character crumbles, as she dislocates her shoulder and all of a sudden can’t get out of her tub or get dressed without help. When I was in the sixth grade, a girl dislocated her shoulder by falling. This girl, who always appeared fairly girly, got up and popped it back into the socket, refusing help from teachers or other students who wanted to make sure she was okay. She said it hurt like hell, and she yelled when it popped out and was in obvious pain while putting the joint back, but she still managed it. I’ve never experienced a dislocated joint (I have broken a bone before, and it hurt while they set it but not when it broke or on the way to the E.R.) but following the original airing of 3.08 I got myself totally dressed with one arm, the other one in a position similar to where Penny was holding her injured arm just to make sure I could do it. I could. Even if Penny couldn’t realistically put on her shirt while having a dislocated shoulder, she could have put on a jacket and zipped it up. The writers seemed to have sacrificed what few character developments that Penny has to get a few more jokes out of the Penny/Sheldon storyline, where they didn’t have to-the ride to the hospital, the hospital scene, and the Soft Kitty scene were enough to make that episode one of the strongest of season three.
Penny has a tattoo. We learn this via confirmation by Penny in 3.08. Sheldon states that the tattoo is located on her “right buttock.” Penny does not deny this; in fact her reaction to Sheldon’s statement affirms it. So…her tattoo is located on her right buttock, right?
It wasn’t shocking to me to that Penny has a tattoo, but the location was. And why?
In 1.05, Sheldon asks Penny what the protocol is for Leonard and Leslie. “Do I stay? Do I leave? Do I wait to greet them with a refreshing beverage?” Penny replies, “Gee, Sheldon, you’re asking the wrong girl. I’m usually on the other side of the tie.” She turns to leave the apartment. *Freeze frame* Penny’s shirt doesn’t cover her lower belly or back, and now, as she turns to exit 4A, you can see, in the center of her lower back, is a tattoo. It’s dark, square, and hard to see, but it’s clearly not her shirt, and obvious enough that I would notice it before knowing that Penny has a permanent ink picture on her body.
In 1.14, Penny’s in the hallway apologizing for calling Leonard pathetic (okay, now I’m a Penny/Leonard shipper to the death, but hell-o, Penny, you called all the guys pathetic. All the guys left you for the North Pole. Now, while I understand that you like Leonard in a different way, apologize to your freaking friends, too. Miss them while they’re gone, too.)
Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. I’ll start over.
In 1.14, Penny’s in the hallway apologizing for calling Leonard pathetic, and once again, she’s wearing a shirt that doesn’t meet her shorts. Now, she’s closer and not turning, so there’s no need to pause the episode. Just look at her back. Hell-o, tattoo!
But you know, apparently I’m imagining things because the tattoo is on her butt. *shrugs*
Honey vs. Sweetie
In 3.04, Penny enters the apartment, says hi to the guys, then looks at Leonard. “Hi, honey.” Howard comments on the fact that she called him that, and Sheldon explains that, now that Penny and Leonard were in a relationship, she has “upgraded” his designated term of endearment. The entire conversation very clearly says that Penny calls her friends “sweetie” and her significant others “honey.”
Wow. I didn’t realize that she’s been dating Leonard, Sheldon, and Raj, and for quite a while, too.
She called Leonard “honey” in 2.14-“Oh, Leonard, honey, if we started living together, I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off you.”
She called Raj “honey” in 1.08, (Raj, honey, you say you can’t talk to women, but you’ve been talking to me!) also in 1.13 (oh, honey, is your medication wearing off?) and likely in other episodes as well, that I just can’t think of at the moment.
She called Sheldon “honey” in 2.13 (Sheldon, honey, did you ever consider making friends by being…I don’t know…pleasant?) and in 2.19 (Sheldon, honey, did you even know the people that are moving out?) and likely in other episodes, too.
I can’t remember, but I believe that, during Leonard and Penny’s relationship, she was fairly consistant NOT calling anyone else “honey”, and based on the episodes I can remember her calling one of the guys “honey”, she was single, so one could argue that “honey” is only exclusive to the boyfriend when she actually has one, but if there are other episodes I missed where she has a boyfriend and calls the others “honey”, then that argument is without backup, as well.
Again, I’m just OCD and this was bugging me. Love ya, Penny! (Your welcome.)