Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Screenplay Theory That Has Fans Looking Twice At The Big Bang Theory

No show is immune from bizarre fan theories, not even your favorite sitcoms. And although the most popular fan theory seems to be the old "x show takes place entirely inside a single character's mind" schtick (thanks a lot, "St. Elsewhere"), there are some theories that are far more creative. Case in point: "The Big Bang Theory" and the unusual screenplay theory that suggests Penny is way more creative than we initially thought.

Over the course of 12 seasons, "The Big Bang Theory" went to great pains to establish Penny as the straight woman in a group of geniuses. For her part, the Cheesecake Factory waitress was a normal young woman struggling to become an actress in Los Angeles. As the show progressed, Penny eventually put her dreams of fame to the side and became a successful pharmaceutical sales rep instead.

But what if that's not really what happened? As outlined by ScreenRant, some intrepid fans have come up with an intriguing alternate reality in which everything that happens in "The Big Bang Theory" is all part of the screenplay Penny was writing way back in the pilot episode. In this scenario, Leonard and Sheldon's next-door neighbor would actually be a successful TV showrunner who was inspired by her quirky neighbors from across the hall.

Is it a bit far-fetched? Of course it is, but it's also a fun way to explain the show's uptick in quality as the series moved past Season 1 and allowed the characters to grow into well-rounded adults (albeit ones who still gleefully embraced their nerdy sides).

Does the Penny screenplay theory actually make sense?

Just in case you need a refresher, when Penny first meets Sheldon and Leonard in the pilot episode, she casually mentions that she's working on a screenplay. "Oh, anyways, I'm also writing a screenplay. It's about this sensitive girl who comes to L.A. from Lincoln, Nebraska to be an actress, and winds up a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory," she tells Leonard.

The line is really in service of a joke. When Leonard observes that her screenplay is based on her real life, Penny responds she's actually from Omaha. And then her screenwriting aspirations are never mentioned again.

Now, had Penny's screenplay been mentioned a few more times, especially throughout Season 1, this theory might actually make sense. After all, "The Big Bang Theory" evolves quite a bit between Seasons 1 and 2. In the first season, the jokes often come at the expense of the guys, and the sexism is rampant, but there's a marked improvement between the first and second season (and an even bigger one between Seasons 2 and 3). 

The idea that the improvement is due to a shift in perspective — rather than viewing real life, we're now viewing a brighter, sitcom version of Penny's reality — is an interesting reading of the show. Granted, it's highly unlikely, but this particular "Big Bang Theory" fan theory gets major points for creativity (but nothing will ever beat the "Penny is a secret spy" theory).