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The Worst Thing Penny Ever Did To Amy On The Big Bang Theory

Most everyone knows that The Big Bang Theory is a show about super-smart characters that focuses less so on their professional fields and more on their relationships, all while commenting on nerd stereotypes. The main characters are made up of several physicists and an aerospace engineer — all of whom have a unique geek-type. 

Then, there's Penny, played by Kaley Cuoco. She's the not-nerdy "hot girl" who lives across the hall from Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), and the show initially follows yet another stereotype in making Penny seem like the typical ditzy blonde. Eventually, the guys get girlfriends (Penny and Leonard even get married!) and two new scientist women are added to the main cast: Amy Fowler (Mayim Bialik) and Bernadette Rostenkowski (Melissa Rauch).

Amy is a neuroscientist who ends up in a relationship with Sheldon, an "eccentric genius" type, and she, Penny, and Bernadette bond over stereotypically "feminine" things — which usually involve one of the guys of the show. Though the trio are friends, The Big Bang Theory show uses gender role stereotypes to produce a good portion of its laughs, leaning on the dated crutch that women can be catty and prone to gossip. Thus, the ladies of The Big Bang Theory do as many awful things to each other as they do heartwarming and pleasant things. Amy once gave Penny a puzzle to see if she was as smart as chimp, and Bernadette and Penny seem to have a fairly strained relationship all around. And, of course, Penny does some crappy things to Amy — the worst of which was probably pushing things too far.

Penny downplays Amy's trauma

The Big Bang Theory has been frequently criticized for being misogynistic – running laugh tracks over those moments in an attempt to convince viewers everything's just a "funny joke" — and it crossed a major line during a season 6 episode. On the second-to-last episode of the season, entitled "The Love Spell Potential," Penny downplays Amy's trauma after being sexually assaulted, brushing it off as if it's some sort of comical anecdote. It happened in a quick throwaway moment, so it's entirely possible viewers didn't catch it during their first watch-through.

"The Love Spell Potential" finds the ladies of the show trying to fly to Las Vegas for a fun girls-only vacation, but they don't even make it on the plane. The action happens off-screen, and the ladies explain what happened when they get back to the apartment where the guys are getting ready for a round of Dungeons and Dragons. The physicists confusedly ask why the women are back so soon. As they tell it, Amy got put on a no-fly list after breaking a TSA agent's nose. Why would Amy do such a thing? The TSA agent assaulted her.

"The TSA agent got a little handsy," Amy explains on the episode. Cue inappropriate laugh track. Bernadette makes a snarky comment about the situation, and Amy apologies, saying she feels like "such an idiot." 

In a moment completely devoid of empathy, Penny fires back at Amy, "No, it's not so bad. You lost money, you're filled with shame, and you got groped by a stranger. That's Vegas. You nailed it." Yet another inappropriate laugh track. Then, Amy attempts to leave, but the guys convince the ladies to play DnD, and the show goes on ignoring a woman's trauma.

It's certainly the worst thing Penny ever did to Amy, and it's also one of the worst things The Big Bang Theory did in its many years on television.