'The Big Bang Theory': Howard Wolowitz, grown-up? Plus, Wil Wheaton returns, and Data's with him!


Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

For four seasons on The Big Bang Theory, Howard Wolowitz has rarely been much more than a charmingly skeezy horndog mama’s boy with a fetish for skin-tight day-glo trousers (and a cluelessly homoerotic relationship with his best friend Raj). Even during his courtship of and eventual engagement to the sweet Bernadette Rostenkowski (gesundheit), Howard’s changed his ways by mere microns. So it was startling and refreshing in equal measure to witness the man grow emotionally in this week’s episode by a full centimeter, possibly even two. And all it took was the promise of a trip to space!

Yup, that’s right, thanks to his engineering team winning the right to design the deep-field space telescope on the international space station, our dear helmet-haired Howard had been chosen to accompany the device into space, for three whole weeks. Bernadette, however, had some reservations. First, she was simply hurt that Howard hadn’t included her in the decision, a concern that the old Howard would have dismissed or laughed off, but the new Howard sweetly took to heart. So he started over. He told her about the opportunity, and asked what she thought. And she shot him down. And then relented. And then told his mom on him. So Howard kicked her out.

Granted, that wasn’t the most mature reaction to Bernadette’s betrayal, but, still, as Raj pointed out, Howard actually kicked a woman out of his bed, and for a justifiable reason! Eventually, the couple made up — Bernadette even called Howard her soul mate (I’m with Penny: Really?) — but Howard’s mom still has to be convinced to let her son launch into space. Which of course she will, because, c’mon, who doesn’t want to see that episode?

Meanwhile, after Leonard accepted Wil Wheaton’s invitation to a shindig at his home, Sheldon spent the episode in a Sheldon-esque tizzy over his roommate’s collusion with one of his 61 mortal enemies. But then Sheldon learned that his mortal enemy’s party featured one Brent Spiner (a.k.a. Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Lt. Cmdr. Data, and if this parenthetical was really necessary for you, then might I suggest you meant to click on the Grey’s Anatomy recap instead), and the lure proved too great. But here’s my question: Do you think Wheaton planned for Spiner to ruin his magnanimous gift to Sheldon of a signed Wesley Crusher action figure? Or did Spiner act alone, and should now be referred to as Evil Brent Spiner?

NEXT PAGE: Fun with swords, and Schrödinger’s cat

Comments (113 total) Add your comment
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  • TJ. Church

    I have to say I watched the Schrodinger episode on my Season DVD earlier in the week… Which I only bought b/c the Spin Doctors song about Cleopatra’s cat got stuck in my head.

    • Royce


      • TJ. Church

        Thank you; Was kind of afraid I came off crazy/weird/stalker-ish.

      • cuo

        I wanna share a good news to you.My best friend ,she just has announced her wedding with a millionaire man who is a businessman !they met via Matchriches.C óM ..it is the largest and best club for rich people and their admirers to chat online. …You do not have to be rich or famous. ,but you can meet one , It’s worthy a try~~d4

      • bill

        my friend’s aunt makes $ 54 an hour on the computêr. She has been fired for 6 months but last month her check was $ 5731 just working on the computêr for a fêw hours. The sìte is CÅshHard.cÒm

    • Sara

      I ran out of things to watch a few days ago and ended up with a marathon of BBT on TBS. The Schroedinger’s Cat episode was one of those, so that may have contributed to my enjoyment of the plot point.

  • Garfield

    Only in Hollywood, where writers live out their fantasies on screen, would a woman like Bernadette even give Howard a second look. Just like the days of “Blossom” when Blossom was the popular, “pretty” girl all the cool guys wanted to date – not with that nose

    • Mike

      That”s not that unrealistic, much more realistic than Penny and Leonard but hey its TV.

      • TJ. Church

        Penny-Leonard was far more realistic than getting her & her boyfriend Zack into the costumes they wore in “The Justice League Recombination”.

      • Acaseofgeo

        You have to look INTO the characters to see WHY Bernadette is so into Howard, that he is her soulmate. I’m surprised Adam B. Vary (in his rather excellent recap) did not point out that Bernadette very touchingly recounted how her father was a cop and the family worried he wouldn’t come home from work… This plays into exactly WHY Bernie would fall for a Mama’s Boy. Who would lead a safer life than a Mama’s Boy. So this is not about looks; Are you guys so shallow as to think we only fall for people based on looks (for just a hookup, maybe yes). My partner is an intellectual nerd and his physique is very similar to Howard’s, but the personalities couldn’t be more different. I think Howard is a little hottie.

      • Melissa in CA

        Personally, I think Bernadette would NOT fall for Howard because she’s an independent woman and he’s such a mama’s boy. I don’t know any woman that wants to have a baby before she’s pregnant. I know it’s mean, but I’m really rooting for her to leave him at the altar.

    • Marlynn

      LOL Garfield…..Or Ugly Betty who actually had men fighting over her, one whose family were kabillionaires. Yeah right! Not with that face.

      • TJ. Church

        Just like the actress who played “Blossom” (& now “Amy” on “Big Bang”) who has a real HUGE brain… Both she & Howard would make mega-$. Guys can be gold-diggers, too.

    • Mark

      I remember when Howard and Bernadette first got together, they had nothing in common – until they bonded over the fact that they BOTH had domineering mothers who controlled their lives. That was the initial attraction (and for both, dating outside their religion made them feel rebellious). But that was dropped for Bernadette, which seems like a shame. I hope if this wedding does end up taking place (I have my doubts) that Bernadette’s mom becomes a strong presence, and possibly pushes the two closer together.

    • Sara

      I dunno. I think Bernadette is adorable, but objectively, she has a big nose, an odd voice, and we all knows boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses. (I’m not sure at what point the + from cupsize outweighs the – from glasses, to be fair.) She’s a very smart woman working in a nerdy science field similar to the boys, so they share some interests and can understand the requirements of their respective fields (research, experimentation, etc.).

      It’s not that far-fetched. I thought my husband (both of us work in IT) was a massive dork when I met him, now I think he’s an adorable massive dork.

      • Tiffany

        I beg to differ. I’m married, and I wear glasses, and men still make passes at me all the time. Hmm maybe that’s the difference, they’re men.

      • Melissa in CA

        I disagree as well. I wear glasses and have had men tell me that they’re a turn on. I guess it depends on the woman behind them. And Bernadette has big boobs, men always love those.

    • Ann

      Acaseofgeo is right. Bernadette likes that Howard is a sweet and good to his mom and has a safe job…like she said, her dad was a cop and she didn’t want to be with someone who had a dangerous job. Plus, Bernadette is a geek too. She’s working on her PhD in biology or whatever, so she understands the geek universe.

      • Femi

        maygirl on July 16, 2008 Don’t take this as a thraet but take this as a thraet Someone drink me. LOL, Rod. Go Rod! You can do this! Or get off your butt and do something!

    • J. Davis

      I am not sure looks have that much to do with popularity in highschool.

      • Alaide

        I am truly grateful for this otuirppnoty given to me for 2012. And I want to thank the staff of Mododella for believing in me! Thank you for all those who have always been supportive and have been following my journey throughout the years. All I want to say is Accept no one’s definition of your life .Define yourself! Think BIG Dream BIG! And everything will fall in place! God Bless you all

  • Gaby

    Rude! I did need the parenthical and I did NOT mean to click on the Grey’s Anatomy recap. Take your suggestion and shove it :)

    • Jennifer


  • Brittany

    This episode rocked!

  • Mike

    I know who Data is becuase I am a TNG fan but just becuase you like this show doesn’t mean you like Star Trek.

    • Imzadi

      No, but it means you know you SciFi.

      • Lauren

        Um, no… I LOVE Big Bang Theory because I’m an electrical engineer (and like Howard, I sadly also do not have my PhD. Yet). I don’t care for (or know) sci fi at all. Unless you count the Vampire Diaries (and for the record, I hate Twilight). So yes, I needed the parenthetical but the show did a fantastic job explaining it as well and I still found it funny. Suck it.

      • Phil Esteen

        And never ever refer to science fiction as syfy, which if pronounced appropriately would rhyme with jiffy.
        As in, if no real scifi on SyFy, then channel change in a jiffy.

      • mari

        Thank you Esteen, hate syfy. Don’t need to know Sci Fi to get “Big Bang Theory” but it helps if your wife is a nut about it. My husband loves the show hates Sci Fi but loves to hear me explain it.

  • Double-Oh Seven

    I stopped watching “The Big Bang Theory” awhile back because in my opinion the show isn’t good anymore. The KISS OF DEATH was putting that Blossom chick on the show. The Big Bang Theory has “Jumped the Shark” or whatever term you want to use.

    • Cara

      As Sheldon would point out, Double-Oh, your statement lacks logic. If you stopped watching the show a while back, then obviously you have no idea whether or not it is currently good.

      • Risse


      • mari


      • Rock Golf

        Bad news, Cara.
        You just made Double-O-Seven’s mortal enemies list.

    • Bob

      And why would you waste your time (and ours) commenting about a show you no longer watch? Why even click on the article if you’ve lost interest? Are you that much in need of attention?

    • A Fan

      Your point is?

    • Catherine

      Too bad you’re such an closed-off person, because the cast additions (bernadette and Amy) have been brilliant. I know some folks are disturbed by change, even in a sticom. But people come into and out of our lives and change them, so it makes sense that the show would reflect this. The thing I love about the BBT is that the characters evolve over the seasons because of these interactions. Otherwise, who would want to watch the same four guys do the same three things week after week.

      • Wasey

        I am a blood donor when i can, the tyranny of dicasnte makes it hard but i donate whenever we are in Brisbane. I will ask them if they want my plasma, always a reason to read a good book and leave my kids with the husband and it has the bonus of keeping someone going.

  • Kiki

    I think Wil Wheaton reformed. There can only be one TNG villain at a time (see: conservation of TNGevilness), and it is current the Brent Spineless. As soon as Marina Sirtis turns evil, then Spiner can be good again too.

    • Kiki

      (Sorry, that’s supposed to read “it is currently Brent Spineless.)

      • TJ. Church

        Re: Kiki – Don’t you hate when you improperly state a law that didn’t previously exist? It was a weekly series; Ergo, it can have several villains, especially within its main characters, which can change sizes & degrees several times over relative to each other.

    • Sue1

      I think Spiner is Clueless, to the value of a pristine Wesley figure. I think WW is plotting something.

      • TJ. Church

        I don’t think either of those is true (tho Wil claimed on Twitter much of the character’s house is his actual stuff).

  • TR

    I switched to BBT after watching the first few minutes of Community….that is really getting annoying.
    I made the correct decision.
    Great episode.
    I’m not a ST:TNG fan, but it was fun to see Spiner.

    • JLC

      Ironic, since that episode of Community, with it’s multiple timelines and evil universe, is exactly the kind of thing the BBT characters would obsess over.

      • Lola

        Our session is evhtireyng I hoped for and so much more you captured my family so perfectly and are giving us amazing memories of our time in NYC. THank you!!!

  • Heath from Canada

    Anyone else notice the very apparent 2D barcode on the counter of the comic book shop in the opening scene? Turns out it works (I used a barcode reader on my phone to read the code right off the TV) and takes you to an actual website for Stuart’s “The Comic Center of Pasadena.”

    • Bob

      So, Heath from Canada, how many times did you have to watch the episode on your DVR to pick that one up? Or do you sit by the TV waiting for barcodes to appear in TV shows?

      • Sue

        Ah bob, how sad to be you. A petty, wizened, little killjoy of a man. Your friends must shudder when they see you coming.

    • Terry C

      I think that is cool that you noticed it- Bob seems like kind of a kill joy.

    • footballmom

      I agree with Terry C, you are a cool Canadian Heath! That is awesome!

    • Sue1

      I think it’s pretty cool, too. I think Bob sits at his computer waiting for posts to mock.

    • Rock Golf

      My daughter noticed that too and scanned it. Had to put the DVR on pause and go to Zoom 2 to read it but it worked.
      And yes, as a family we all sing along to the theme song, and collectively shout “WE BUILT THE PYRAMIDS!” and “BANG!” at the end. Good times. Good times.

    • Crystal

      That is so cool Heath!

    • G

      I stumbled across this page looking to see if anybody else had scanned it. I must be just as sad then.

  • HM

    Not the most mature reaction? Sorry to burst your bubble, but I side with Howard 100% on this. A mature, adult fiancee wouldn’t stand in the way of achieving his dream, especially not this kind of dream. Nor would she stoop to the manipulation of betraying Howard to his mother, either.

    • Alicia

      Agree completely with the mother thing, but as the wife of a man who could actually GO to space, I have to say I agree with Bernadette on this one. Russian rockets have a sketchy safety record (as we see with the Progress) and the thought of him not coming home and me having to be another weeping widow on TV just like in ’86 and ’03 is kind of unbearable.

  • bluebonnetbelle

    Last night’s episode was a good night for University of Houston Theatre alum….loved it. (Go Coogs!)

  • Anne

    I think Data acted alone!

    • Bob

      I think the guy with the ‘fro was in on it.

  • Eric

    This was easily my favorite episode all season. This is the kind of stuff I miss from the Big Bang Theory. While there was a little relationship stuff in it (which I guess is needed to progress the story), there was plenty of nerdy stuff in it.

  • Kimberly

    I don’t watch Big Bang Theory because I don’t find it all that funny, (and I consider myself a science geek) but I would gladly sit through this episode just to watch Brent Spiner (Lt. Commander Data) again! I loved Star Trek TNG!

    • Just sayin’

      That was the one thing in the episode that didn’t ring true. Anyone remotely involved with sci-fi would NEVER rip open the packaging on an action figure. Even a stage hand would know better. I understand that it was for comedic purposes, but still.

    • KimAnnLee

      I just watched it because after listening to the audiobook, Ready Player One, I love the sound of Will Wheaton’s voice.

      • Sal

        KimAnnLee – You should check out the Wizards of the Coast podcast for Dungeons and Dragons. Even if you don’t play or are interested in DnD, Will Wheaton has been known to guess on there with the folks from Penny Arcade in serial episodes of them all playing DnD.

      • lady

        Wil Wheaton does a great podcast called Radio Free Burrito. You should check it out.

  • ola

    People go to the tapings because they love the show so usually they also know it by heart sooo they do remember Schrodinger’s cat from season 1- there’s nothing weird in them laughing.

    • K

      Agreed. Alternatively, they could just have a basic awareness of science and have gotten the joke. I’d forgotten there was a previous episode about Schroedinger’s cat, but I’m familiar with the concept (despite having a social science background) because, hello, it’s Schroedinger’s cat. It’s not an obscure reference. Therefore, I thought the concept of “Schroedinger’s friendship” was hilarious and a perfect fit for the situation. And I laughed, hard. Maybe the BBT audience just typically has a decent educational background?

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