Fans and critics of The Big Bang Theory can find fault with each of the main characters. Sheldon Cooper was rigid and arrogant. Leonard Hofstadter was a pushover who was also a bit passive-aggressive. Raj Koothrappali was needy, and Howard Wolowitz was creepy and entitled. Howard was, to many fans, the least likable. However, a fan theory about Howard and his relationship with his mother will change how you look at the character. In fact, it might break your heart.
Howard’s relationship with his mother was a running gag on The Big Bang Theory
Howard was the only main character in The Big Bang Theory who lived in the same state as his mother. Leonard grew up in New Jersey, while Sheldon’s family remained in East Texas. Raj’s parents and siblings lived in India, and Penny’s hometown was in Nebraska. Howard seemingly grew up in Pasadena and still lived with his mother when the series began.
Howard’s relationship with his mother became a running joke on the show rather quickly. Writers never tired of pointing out how strange it was for a successful engineer to continue living in his childhood bedroom. The strange codependent relationship was supposed to be funny, but one fan thinks something much darker was going on inside the Pasadena house.
A fan theory suggests Howard’s mother actually didn’t exist
Howard’s relationship with his mother was supposed to be a comedic take on how some mothers never want their children to grow up. One Reddit user, however, has a much darker theory about Howard’s relationship with his mom. During the height of the series, one Redditor suggested Howard’s mother had died years before and that he imagined her to cope with his immense loneliness.
The user pointed out that fans never see Howard’s mother during the show’s lengthy run as evidence. Other fans have suggested there was something dark going on in Howard’s house, too. Another Reddit user thinks that Howard’s penchant for ventriloquism proves that all those conversations with Mrs. Wolowitz were screaming matches Howard was having with himself. So basically, according to the theory, Howard was ostensible an orphan who created a family in his head to cope with his feelings of loneliness and abandonment.
Don’t start feeling bad for Howard Wolowitz just yet
Before you start feeling sorry for Howard, though, it is important to realize the fan theory, while interesting, actually doesn’t hold a lot of water. Mrs. Wolowitz couldn’t have been a figment of Howard’s imagination because other people in Howard’s friend group had met and interacted with her. Raj regularly spent time at the Wolowitz house, had dinner with them, and seemed to know Mrs. Wolowitz. Stuart Bloom, the owner of the gang’s beloved comic book shop, had a close relationship with her, too. He even moved into the house to help Mrs. Wolowitz at some point.
Sure, Mrs. Wolowitz was never purposefully shown on the series, but a woman, presumed to be Mrs. Wolowitz, was seen walking in the background of one episode in the house, and she appears to be present at Howard’s wedding. The Big Bang Theory isn’t the only show to mention a never seen character, either. Frasier used the trope years earlier with Maris Crane, Dr. Niles Crane’s ex-wife. While fans never saw her, no one suggested she wasn’t real.
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