Is Penny an alcoholic?

I’m struggling to recall a scene in The Big Bang Theory where Penny isn’t drinking, getting ready to drink or making a crack about needing a drink (usually in order to make some interminable event go faster)

Is there any evidence within the show, or from outside via the show’s creators/writers, to confirm or deny that Penny has an actual drinking problem?

It is hinted at. She drinks a lot on the show, but she’s seen primarily in social situations where drinking would be appropriate. She has family members with substance abuse problems. She almost had sex with Raj while drunk. She has related stories about waking up in unusual circumstances. She turns to alcohol when she has problems in life.

No, she isn’t.

A couple of seasons ago I thought they were building up to a storyline about Penny’s problem drinking, but it never eventuated.

Talk about her drinking has almost vanished with her job and marriage.

I always wondered how she could afford so much alcohol while working at the Cheesecake Factory. I’d like to be an alkie too, but I just don’t have the money for it! :frowning:

She mostly drinks wine, I haven’t noticed it being the expensive type. When she goes out she may not be paying for many drinks.

Exactly. She was clearly being written as an alcoholic but the writers, wisely, realized that there was little humor to mine there, or at least mining it took more skill than they had.

It was pretty soon after the not remembering whether or not she had had sex with Raj (not a decision a sober Penny would have made) that they began to pull back. S5 the girls playing Twister Penny drinking while playing (no one else drinking) and passing out. No BBT expert here but the last bit I can recall was Leonard in S7 saying that it wasn’t a good idea to take Penny to Napa, to where the wine comes from, and then backs down some, just joking, but you might have a problem. Since then? The character’s drinking is way toned down.

The days are long past of an Otis drunk being “funny” and addressing a serious substance abuse problem can be dealt with with humor by a skilled writing team but they did better letting Penny become the more mature person in the crowd and backing away from that direction. IMHO.

Actually I wonder if that has been a shift … from the original Leonard as the viewer’s identified saner person in the midst of eccentrics, to Penny as that identified character more so …

To me, symptoms of alcohol addiction (as opposed to, say, being “someone who drinks more than they probably should”) include things like drinking even when you don’t really want to, drinking interfering with your ability to participate effectively in basic life functions such as going to work or socialize with others, going to excessive and peculiar lengths to hide your drinking, frequently drinking alone… I don’t see these as being traits Penny displays in spades.

She’s more of a party girl, which is a different thing in comedies.

Agree. It never occurred to me that Penny might have a drinking problem before reading this thread. And it certainly didn’t seem to me that she was being written as an alcoholic. Sure, there are jokes about her drinking wine, but that’s a very common joke about women… on TV and in real life. And she drinks wine a lot, but doesn’t appear inebriated all the time, holds down jobs, isn’t shown hiding her booze, etc.

Sure, it’s a sitcom, and nothing exists that doesn’t appear on the show (or some related production). In real life she’s following a typical pattern, she’s now 30, married, working a good regular job, and her party life will be over. But that’s a recent change for her. Alcoholics come from somewhere, some of them start out as party girls and never get over it. To call someone like Penny an alcoholic is difficult based solely on the show, but if it was a different kind of show she would have been lined up for a very special episode.

Not sure if Penny is supposed to be an alcoholic or not, but I guess if sit-com viewers want to watch a show about a female alcoholic, they could just continue watching CBS for another hour they could see plenty on “Mom”.

Some times it’s hard to believe that Mom and BBT are both Chuck Lorre sitcoms.

The closest she ever got, I’d say, is there was one point where she was “mixing rum with eggnog”… and when Leonard declined to join because he’s lactose intolerant she said something like “That’s okay, it actually stopped being eggnog a long time ago, now it’s mostly just rum”.

Didn’t she propose to Leonard while drunk? He turned her down, pointing out she’d been drinking.

A writer does not write a character being the only person drinking in a group and then drinking to the point of passing out, show the character drinking alone and using whatever container they have to drink out of, not remembering what happened while drunk, virtually never have the character not drinking when not at work and frequently talking about how she needs a drink, does not have her significant other telling her that she may have drinking problem, in order to establish her as a party girl. That is well beyond that trope.

They changed direction and that was good. Let’s toast to it!

So did she. Raj, apparently, was so excited, he fired Little Raj prematurely. There was no penetration.

By the way many of those alcoholic-dependent (alcohol use disorder) are rarely actually visibly drunk (they have high tolerance), don’t hide their booze, and rarely miss work. Not saying she was shown as definitively meeting the criteria but there are high functioning alcoholics out there.

Sounds to me the original poster has more of a drinking problem, if they need to ask the question…