'Big Bang Theory': A Heartbreaking Fan Theory About Penny Changes Everything

Sarah Kester
Penny looking shocked
Insider | CBC

In The Big Bang Theory, Penny was the beautiful neighbor that Leonard fell for, despite having nothing in common. 

She may not have been a scientist, but she had something most of them didn’t possess: street smarts. This, paired with strong social skills, helped her become One of the Boys

But now, a new theory about Penny has emerged. Spoiler alert: it changes everything you knew about the show. 

Fans have come up with wild theories about the show before. 

The Big Bang Theory cast eating Chinese food
Ranker | CBS

The show is called The Big Bang *Theory* after all. One theory from u/thetheoryguys on Reddit suggests that the show is all made up in Sheldon’s head while he’s in a mental asylum. 

Knowing how eccentric Sheldon can be, this doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch. 

Sheldon putting hand to temple
Giphy | The Big Bang Theory

The theory goes that Sheldon murdered his dad and his dad’s girlfriend, and gets sent to an insane asylum. This explains why we never learn how his dad died in the show. 

When he’s in the mental asylum, he meets Penny.

Penny in tank top
CinemaBlend | CBS

She's an actress who had a mental breakdown from struggling to make it.

Leonard is there, too, after being lobotomized by the government for giving information to North Korea. Amy is Sheldon’s doctor.

Instead of being obsessed with him like she is on the show, she’s obsessed with studying his brain. 

Amy with microphones in face
Giphy | Mayim Bialik

Raj is a doctor who really wanted to become an astrophysicist. He has very deep depression and resentment toward women due to his sister being the favorite child.

This also explains his homosexual activities toward Howard, who is a caretaker in the asylum.

Howard and Raj playing guitar

Howard is a sex addict who still imagines his mom living with him, even after she died.

Dang, that’s a wild ride! We’re glad that’s actually not what the show is about ⁠— or is it? 

This next theory is all about Penny. 

Penny saying 'so annoying'
Giphy | The Paley Center for Media

Even during the 12 seasons of the actual show, fans had questions about her character. Why doesn't she have a last name? How is she able to afford an apartment where scientists live?

Why does she spend all her time with Leonard and his friends despite having nothing in common with them?

Penny and Leonard
Vanity Fair | CBS

And on and on these questions go. It might all be explained in this fan theory by Reddit user /u/numbertheory that Penny is actually a spy.

They posit that the federal government has been spying on Sheldon and Leonard ever since "The Staircase Implementation" episode.

Spy camera
Unsplash | Tobias Tullius

In the episode, it was revealed that the woman Leonard broke up with, Joyce Kim, was a North Korean spy. An upset Leonard caused an explosion in the building's elevators.

With Leonard and Sheldon's knowledge of a rocket fuel project, the Federal government sends Penny in to monitor them.

Penny on couch
Insider | CBS

This would explain why Penny has no last name and why she spends so much time with the guys who don't share her interests.

And why she doesn't seem to have any real traction on her acting career.

Penny and Sheldon on stairs
Insider | CBS

The theory goes deeper to posit that Penny is hiding her real intelligence. She acts like a dumb blonde, which allows the guys to feel comfortable diving into their science talk.

All the while, Penny is feeding this information back to the government.

Penny acting smart

Still have trouble believing it? Go back to the start of the series and watch it with this theory in mind. It will appear like an entirely different show.

H/T: Reddit