Big Bang Theory’s Treatment For Penny’s Shoulder Injury Was Risky According To Doctor


  • The Big Bang Theory prided itself on its accurate depiction of scientific concepts but occasionally embellished for comedic purposes.
  • In a video, Doctor Mike examines the medical accuracy of Penny’s shoulder injury scene and determines that the dislocation and pain are portrayed accurately.
  • The importance of Penny’s shoulder injury scene lies in the evolving friendship between Penny and Sheldon, which is highlighted by Sheldon’s acknowledgment of Penny as his best friend in the show’s finale.

Penny’s shoulder injury in The Big Bang Theory is examined for medical accuracy by a real-life doctor. Putting geek culture and science at the center of its storytelling, The Big Bang Theory prided itself on its mostly accurate depiction of scientific ideas and concepts. This was to be expected, since the show was led by six supposed geniuses. Occasionally, however, it needed to embellish its plot for comedic purposes, which helped in terms of The Big Bang Theory‘s popularity.

In a new video by Doctor Mike, he scrutinizes the medical accuracy of Penny’s shoulder injury in the Big Bang Theory season 1 episode “The Adhesive Duck Deficiency.” The real-life doctor cites which parts are accurate and which ones aren’t, saying:

That’s actually very accurate. That’s what happens during shoulder dislocation. Your humerus, which is so funny that it’s called that, actually gets dislocated out of the glenoid fossa, which is the shoulder joint in here, and it creates a lot of pain. That being said, to put it back in is very painful. Once it’s in, unless you tore something, it feels fine….

It’s important to know for doctors a complete picture, in order to be properly practicing you need to use holistic care. In order to be holistic, you need to know the entire picture.

In a lot of these situations, we give a patient maybe mild to moderate sedation in the emergency room when we try to reduce the dislocated joint. Reduction of a joint literally means popping it back in place.

Now, unless there was something broken, putting a patient in an arm cast for more than a day is not ideal because then you start really risking the development of adhesive capsulitis from lack of mobility. So you wanna get that mobility going as quickly as possible, ideally working with a physical therapist to make sure that you’re not going too far and harming your injury.

The Importance Of Penny’s Shoulder Injury Scene In TBBT

Sheldon and Penny eating pizza on The Big Bang Theory

Despite its success, The Big Bang Theory was widely criticized for its brand of humor, especially during its earlier years. Sheldon’s treatment of Penny is particularly problematic, considering that the socially-inept genius could be downright rude and misogynistic. Seeing them spend time together and Sheldon having to be the caregiver for Penny was the first time in the show that he was forced to look after her.

While Penny usually took the role of being her friend’s caregiver, this moment in The Big Bang Theory offered a tease of how their friendship was going to evolve in the next decade. By the end of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon finally acknowledged that alongside Leonard, Penny is his best friend, and he couldn’t have survived the last decade without their love and care. Considering the character’s aversion to showing emotion, this confession during his Nobel Prize ceremony was extra special.

Overall, The Big Bang Theory was about the friendship of the Pasadena gang. However, not all dynamics in the series were created equal. Penny and Sheldon’s bond was arguably the best, considering how their relationship developed over the years. Therefore, regardless of the accuracy of the aforementioned scene, Penny’s shoulder injury incident will always be very special for fans of the pair.

Source: Doctor Mike

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