It’s taken me five seasons to figure out, though it didn’t occur to me right this second: Penny…something…has no confirmed last name.
What’s the meaning of this? Once the fan database started talking, I started doing my research. It appears to be true. Not only is the character’s last name left out of scripts (besides when the cast’s own prop master uses his last name in replacement, “London,” though not her true name), the actors don’t know her name! Not even Kaley Cuoco, the far from ‘penniless’ actress.
"We really don't know. I've made suggestions. We all
have. But nobody will take one. She really doesn't have one—unless they've been
writing one over the summer break. When I left work, Penny had no last
- Jim Parsons, on The Wrap
While the mystery of her nameless self unfurled, naturally
my thoughts wandered to how they may eventually reveal her name in the future,
once her father came and went with no results. One fan suggested her last name
would be revealed in (yet another) hypothetical wedding twist; perhaps her
future husband takes her last name?
See, I thought the opposite. It’d be cruel, but what if her last name were revealed only after she took her future husbands’? I.e. we’d never learn her surname!
Is it too soon for me to cross my fingers for a Penny Hofstadter?
The writers failed to clue in the actors before they began filming next season, so the mystery is still moot. Though they do assure us she does have a last name.
Fan speculation ranges from, according to an online poll, options including “something utterly mundane,” like Smith (no offense, Smiths of the world); the same name as one of the producers, or maybe the CBS head; a name to make hers into a pun (think “Penny Baggs”); or a name completely, and perhaps culturally, unexpected. The choices seem to cover all parts of the very long and foggy spectrum.
Just a little food for thought, a break from the How I Met
Your Mother Madness.
Speaking of, I’ll see all of you on Monday!