The Big Bang Theory: What We Suspect Why Penny Became A Waitress

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The fourth season of The Big Bang Theory brought a change that very few fans remember. Penny (Kaley Cuoco) suddenly became a bartender behind a bar, due to an unfortunate event involving the actress in real life.

Penny’s job change was prompted by an unfortunate accident. As she recalled in an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, her horse spooked during a riding lesson and caused her to fall. When her horse tried to jump on her, she inadvertently landed on her leg. Kaley Cuoco had to miss two episodes of season 4 of The Big Bang Theory.

At the time, the sitcom didn’t make much of it and she didn’t even explain why she wasn’t there. Eventually, Penny returned to The Big Bang Theory. during the episode “The Insufficiency of Apology”, but to hide the cast on the actress’s leg, the writers decided to put her behind the bar at The Cheesecake Factory as her new waitress.

Despite the lack of explanation, it doesn’t seem like viewers cared about Penny’s new role. This was especially true considering that her stint as a mixologist spawned a couple of great things on the show. One of the best interactions between Sheldon and Penny took place while she was tending the bar at The Cheesecake Factory.

Unlike the rest of the Pasadena characters, Penny was the only one not in the scientific field. That makes her more aligned with the viewers’ perspective within the show, since Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) usually needed to explain to her what they did for a living.

Penny’s bartending job lasted even after Kaley Cuoco’s injury healed. In fact, she stayed on The Big Bang Theory for a couple of years, so CBS clearly liked the idea, even if the last-minute change was due to the actress’s real-life accident. Most likely, the writers realized that Penny’s new position opened up many more opportunities to create comedic situations than if Penny had stayed on as a waitress.