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The Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco Wanted No Part Of That Serial Ape-Ist Storyline

While most of the characters on "The Big Bang Theory" seemed to have lucrative, science-based careers, Penny's (Kaley Cuoco) life was a little less put-together than the others. For the majority of the show, she was still struggling to make it in her chosen career as an actress while working as a waitress at the local Cheesecake Factory. Viewers watched her struggle, trying to stay positive despite seemingly not getting anywhere with her acting career.

In Season 7, Episode 1 ("The Hofstadter Insufficiency"), Penny and Sheldon spend some time together, and while getting to know each other better and sharing personal information, she tells him about one of her first acting roles upon moving to Los Angeles. "When I first moved out to L.A., I did a topless scene in a low-budget horror movie about a killer gorilla. After I did it, I felt so ashamed. Thankfully that thing never came out." Unfortunately, Sheldon quickly informs Penny that Harold (Simon Helberg) was able to find the film online the same day they all met, and all of them had seen it. 

Later in Season 7, Episode 12 ("The Hesitation Ramification"), things seemed to be looking up for Penny's acting career when she found out she filmed a role for "NCIS," and she excitedly told all her friends and family about it. But when her role was cut, she had a meltdown, feeling like she's wasted ten years since she first came to L.A. and still hadn't succeeded as an actress. 

Several episodes later, Penny would get another chance, an offer of a role in a sequel to "Serial Ape-ist," a horror movie she made when she first came to L.A. While the storyline provided a few laughs and a pep talk by Wil Wheaton, Cuoco was not happy.

Kaley Cuoco hated being covered head to toe in hair

When "The Big Bang Theory" premiered, one of the most notable facts we learned about Penny was that she had recently moved to L.A. with plans to become an actress. In Season 7, she finally admitted to Sheldon that she'd starred in a horror film called "Serial Ape-ist," and by Episode 19 ("The indecision Amalgamation"), Penny discovers that a sequel is being made, and a starring role in the film is hers — if she wants it. In Chapter 16 of "The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series" (via Google Books), Kaley Cuoco makes it clear how much she hated the storyline. "The worst experience was filming Serial Apeist and getting covered in f***ing hair from head to toe. I was like, 'Really, you guys? This is what's happening?'"

She assumed the storyline was happening because "Chuck just thought it was so funny. He loved it," whereas Lorre disputed this, saying that, despite Cuoco's dislike for it, there was a positive reason for the sequel story. "I actually don't recall loving it," he said. "We wanted Penny to have some small success in her dream of being a successful actor, but it's not my favorite episode." 

She has a heart-to-heart with Wil Wheaton, who tells her, "It's tricky. You want to take projects you're excited about, but sometimes you also have to pay the bills." Penny decides to make the film, and in a strange turn of events, Wheaton is also in the same movie, playing the gorilla. They both ended up getting fired, with Penny later rehired, but viewers don't get to see her finish making the film. It wasn't too much later that Penny made the worst choice, according to many fans: giving up on acting altogether. Who knows what could've been if Cuoco had loved the "Serial Ape-ist 2" story? Penny could've gone on to be the next great horror movie icon.