The Top 5 (Fictional Characters Named) Penny List

19 Apr

The entertainment world is full of pennies, and no- I’m not referring to the size of a script writer’s check.  I’m referring to the abundance of characters named Penny.

Everyone loves a good Penny.  She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s pretty, she’s animated (sometimes literally), and she tends to end up saving the day (or dying in some magnificently touching way).  Penny is a character that is definitely worth more than her name implies.  When a Penny shows up on screen, you know something big is about to happen.  As such, I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 favorite Pennys (or is Pennies?) from over my decades of television and movie watching.

The Top 5 (Fictional Characters Named) Penny List

5. Penny (from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog)

Look, we’re all trying to save the world here. Just sign the petition, and then you can go save the children from the burning bus while I go do laundry with your arch-nemesis.

Penny in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is a woman bent on saving the world, one petition signature at a time.  She’s also a girl without a washing machine in her apartment.  Naturally, she gets caught in the crossfire between Dr. Horrible (with whom she unknowingly does laundry with each week) and Captain Hammer (who not only saves her from a runaway van, but takes the time to sign her petition.)

For being a superhero to the down-trodden, getting to do laundry with Neil Patrick Harris every week, and never giving up her hope for a better world, even when ****** misfire *** slow-motion ***** hands *** spleen **** lab coat (spoilers redacted.  Sorry.), this Penny wins fifth place.

4. Penny (from The Big Bang Theory)

This is the last time I play Pictionary with a Physicist.

The Nebraska-native Penny brings more to the table at The Big Bang Theory than female secondary sex characteristics Get it? It’s a geeky way of saying she’s more than a pretty face).  Her country-wise humor, her menial job, and her incessant need to do laundry all add up to a character that I can relate to.  Plus, the looks on her face when one of the guys says something really nerdy are the same looks I get from my friends on a daily basis.  It’s nice to see a familiar expression on TV.

For her growing knowledge of geekdom, her ability to stop Sheldon in his tracks with a single “oh, honey,” and just generally being a brilliant foil to an apartment full of genuises, this Penny earns fourth place.

3. Penny (from The Rescuers)

There’s nothing sweeter than a little girl and her teddy, especially if that bear is stuffed with a fist-sized diamond.

In 1977, Disney brought us The Rescuers.  The young orphan girl, Penny, has been kidnapped by an evil pawn shop owner and forced to dig for treasure in the bayou.  Unfortunately for her captors, Penny is a strong-willed six year old who has no problem standing up for herself.  When two talking mice show up to rescue her, it’s Penny who comes up with the ultimately successful escape plan.

For her unfailing determination to get home, her never-ending faith in her dreams, and her ability to order a crocodile around even while being carried upside-down, this Penny wins third place.

2. Penny (from The Proud Family)

I was with it right up to that Driver’s License picture. No one ever looks that cute in those pictures.

Penny Proud is a surprisingly excellent representation of a teenage girl in the early 2000’s, even if Suga Mama did steal every scene in every. single. episode.  The Proud Family managed to navigate the hard issues of racism, bullying, and negative stereotypes while still remaining funny and accessible over its four year run.  What makes this even more impressive is that the show was produced by Disney- a company notorious for its occasionally questionable stereotypes.

For being a typical teenage girl, dealing with a crazy family, crazy friends, and occasionally some hard lessons, Penny Proud earns a well-deserved second place.

1. Penny (from Inspector Gadget)

Reading is power, especially if your book is the grandfather of tablet computers.

Penny is the niece of the bumbling Inspector Gadget, a bionic police detective.  Together with her dog Brain, whose collar spouts radio antennas whenever he gets a phone call (from 1983), and a book that seems to have inspired both the iPad and Google (from 1983!), Penny is often the real reason the cases get solved by the end of each episode.

For not only using the same technology that we use today to solve police cases, but for using it 30 YEARS AGO (raise your hand if you feel old now), this Penny has earned her place on top of the list.

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So that’s the list.  I do have to give an honorable mention to Penny from Disney’s Bolt.  While the movie focuses on Bolt’s love and devotion, the few cut-away scenes that we see of Penny plastering the town with Lost Dog fliers and refusing to work until Bolt is found make it clear that Penny is just as devoted to her pet as he is to her.  Plus, that final warehouse scene still gets me every time.

Let me know what you think.  How would you have ranked the Pennys?  Am I missing your favorite Penny?  Leave me a comment below and let’s talk about it.


10 Responses to “The Top 5 (Fictional Characters Named) Penny List”

  1. Vinny April 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    The Proud Family was an amazing show. I loved the dad guy, good memories lol

    • Losing My Cents April 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      Wasn’t it though? A FB friend reminded me of it the other day, and that actually inspired this post. 🙂

      • Vinny April 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

        The Proud Family they’ll push your buttons and make you want to love them. The theme song is stuck in my head now, great thanks a lot =P lol

      • Losing My Cents April 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

        Hey, that earworm is all your own doing. I mentioned nothing of the theme song. However, one of the songs from Bolt is stuck in my head, so at least you’re not alone.

      • Vinny April 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

        Well fine I guess its not all of your fault, argh lol

  2. aswingle April 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    I enjoyed the blog post. My favorite Penny is Penny Widmore from LOST. She was a great character.

    • Losing My Cents April 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      Penny Widmore did come up in my research for this post. However, even though every season of Lost on DVD sits on the house bookcase, I’ve yet to see a single episode. I need to fix that, don’t I?

  3. John M April 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Have to agree with Penny from Inspector Gadget!

    If you don’t feel old going back 30 only years, consider this: Inspector Gadget was essentially a complete lift from Get Smart, the 1965 TV program starring Don Adams as Agent 86, who not coincidentally did the voice for Inspector Gadget. Both programs featured a bumbling secret agent with lots of gadgets, and shared similar characters: Agent 86 and Inspector Gadget, Chief, Dr. Claw, and evil spy organizations (CHAOS and M.A.D.). As for Penny, she fills the role played by Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon) in Get Smart: the smart, beautiful female secret agent who gets Agent 86 out of trouble in virtually every episode. Interestingly, her real name was never given. I always wondered if there wasn’t a connection to 007’s Miss Moneypenny in there somewhere…but she’s a slightly different penny!

    Nicely done!

    • Losing My Cents April 20, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

      I did not know about the link to Get Smart. I have heard of the show, but have never seen it. Now I’m going to have to look for it.

  4. pinkarray (@pinkarray) May 31, 2012 at 7:21 pm #


    You have been bastardized by the people of Rurouni Kenshin! For thinking that she’s six! I love this list, but Penny should be replaced.

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