Has Penny’s Drinking Gone Too Far? Here’s Our Analysis…


Social Drinking Dominates Society

A wine glass is not big enough for Penny’s relationship with wine! By bigbangtheory.wikia.com.

Social drinking dominates society in the United States. It might even be more prevalent than the “drinking to get drunk” movement. You either drink socially or you know someone who does. A glass of wine at dinner, or a beer for the big game tonight.

The Big Bang Theory has its share of drinkers. Raj drinks out of necessity in circumstances that place him in front of women. Bernadette and Amy are seen having drinks on occasion. But the drinker buzz on the show is really about one character in particular: Penny.

A Problem or Social Construct?

Penny consults Bernadette for advice over a glass of wine by hypable.com.

Many fans notice that Penny is often times seen drinking. Sheldon even rated her relationship with wine above her relationship with Leonard at one point. But does this mean that she is a drunk or that there is something else going on?

Penny comes from a group of people who get together and drink a lot for fun. Being the hot popular girl comes with the standard that you always have the best alcohol on hand. Whenever you entertain you have a wine glass nearby. That is the lifestyle she is used to.

When Penny is confronted with a totally new social group, she does not fit in, in more than one way. Her idea of a social get together is to grab a glass of something with alcohol. This is what we often times see when she is with her friends, though sometimes when she is alone as well. To her, alcohol has always been how she gained social acceptance, and so she turns to her old friend when she finds herself attempting to fit in with a new social circle.

What is Social Drinking?

Social drinking among the Big Bang girls (and Raj) by tv.com

Alcohol has a social-class, per se. Beer typically is found on relaxed occasions such as lounging by the pool or a sporting event. Wine is the drink associated with a meal. And hard liquor often means time to party. Having a drink can help bond people and start a conversation opener. But it can also be a form of acceptance. You drink with us –you are one of us!

This is why drinking can be so prevalent in colleges. Drinking is a form of social acceptance. The more you drink the cooler you are.

Drunk Socialite

Penny drinking a glass with her besties! By bigbangtheory.wikia.com.

Penny is not a drunk nor does she display the behaviors of a drunk. She comes from a culture where drinking is a form of social acceptance. When she feels the need to fit in she turns to wine. As the seasons go on and she fits into the social circle more, we see her drink less.

How do you respond to “Socially Correct” drinking?