The Big Bang Theory is one of the most popular sitcoms in recent times, one that has survived the shift of entertainment from television to online streaming platforms. While the show wrapped up last year, the show about crazy world of science “nerds” still enjoys a loyal fan-following. And everyone has their favourites from the show. I mean, almost everyone adores Sheldon and enjoys his idiosyncrasies, but in my opinion, Penny (played by Kaley Cuoco) is by far the best character on the show. Here’s why.

First off: She’s not smart. While that might come across as a flaw, it’s actually a testament to her character. Penny constantly hangs out with a group of hyper-intellectuals who make as many jokes about rhombicosidodecahedrons as I do about my marks. Yet, she refuses to apologise for her ‘dumbness,’ even defending herself against Sheldon’s early condescension by retorting that he’s ‘boring people, sweetie.To this date, she remains the most ‘real’ character on The Big Bang Theory, with audiences finding her the most casual and fun person on the couch. Of course, she fits multiple ‘dumb blonde’ and ‘girl-next-door’ stereotypes- a gorgeous country girl who came to be an actress in LA, who waitresses to pay the bills. She’s actually a lot more than that because she tries to adapt to new people, a new circle, and better herself.

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Secondly, she’s kind. Response-fuelled retorts aside, it is her kindness that ultimately makes her friends’ lives that much better. Penny sings Soft Kitty to Sheldon when he’s sick, stands up to Alicia when she tries to use Leonard, attends events with Raj when no one else will, and becomes Amy’s first-ever best friend. Despite the original image of her ‘bestieness’ with Amy is criticised as ‘forced’ or something she did to avoid being mean, their equation blossoms into a true bond-representing evolution from Penny’s past when she bullied nerds back in school.  No one can handle Sheldon’s tantrums like she can- ostensibly because she’s a good person and the only one who does not feel jealous of or compete with him. If you ask me, her EQ weighs more than the combined IQs of others on the show.

And finally, Penny gets me. No, seriously. She behaves as a regular person would. Obviously, I’m not trying to say nerds aren’t normal, but let’s face facts. Her flaws, like intermittent alcoholism, indecisiveness, and vanity (not to mention her shoe addiction) are far more every day than Star Wars marathon cravings. She’s true to herself- just like everyone tries to be. She punched Howard for being a creep and broke up with Leonard a couple of times more than required, but she communicates even if she’s confused.

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Penny refuses to pretend to be someone she’s not- unlike Raj who appears meek and humble while being a spoilt brat or Bernadette who seems adorable but is borderline tyrannical.

Basically, she’s my favourite character on The Big Bang Theory because she keeps it real. Bernadette and Amy are naturally inspiring, being successful women in STEM, one of whom even wins a Nobel. What’s special about Penny is that despite the ability to skate by on her looks (which she did for ages) she chooses to be more, and manages to succeed despite being the average American high school grad with bottle-blonde hair.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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