Big Bang Theory Star Agrees With Problematic Howard Backlash

Even Simon Helberg agrees with the backlash against problematic Howard on The Big Bang Theory. After CBS had the original The Big Bang Theory pilot reworked, co-creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady added three more core characters including Howard. Unlike the other three male main cast members, he was an astronaut and had a penchant for approaching girls a little too aggressively. Penny was initially his target, but after the show progressed, he went on hit on random girls, oftentimes in the most inappropriate ways.

Safe to say, the original The Big Bang Theory Howard won’t work in 2022. He would immediately be criticized for his actions which are at best, inappropriate and at worst, harassment. For what it’s worth, the sitcom’s brand of comedy, especially during its earlier years evolved over time. Kaley Cuoco has been vocal about Penny being over-sexualized, and now, it’s Helberg’s turn to speak up against how his character was handled in the series.

Candidly talking about Howard’s depiction on The Big Bang Theory, Helberg says on The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series that he agrees with the backlash against the early version of his character. Despite that, the actor doesn’t advocate for Howard to be removed from the show, but personally for him, playing the character got more enjoyable when he grew up a bit. Read the actor’s full quote below:

“People were very unhappy with some of the things Howard would do or say, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I agree.’ I didn’t necessarily think that meant the character should be removed, but it certainly was more fun to play him as his heart got bigger and he shed his layer of sleaze…. The fact that you don’t have to search too hard to find a handful of qualities and jokes from our show that didn’t age well, to me is a good sign that we’re growing up as a culture in some ways now.”

When Did Howard Stop Being Sleazy?

Like Penny, as the years went by, The Big Bang Theory’s depiction of Howard evolved. He toned down his pervertedness and started to be more respectful toward women. He also stopped hitting on Penny, which are some of the most uncomfortable scenes to rewatch. The positive change in Howard can all be traced to the introduction of his love interest, Bernadette. Since becoming serious with her, Howard became focused on maintaining their relationship, especially as they got married and had kids. It was clear from the get-go that he was smitten with Bernadette simply because he had never once looked at any woman since they were introduced. At the end of The Big Bang Theory, Howard was a devoted husband and doting father to two kids.

It’s great that even after all these years, the cast members of the nerd-centric sitcom are able to acknowledge the lapses on the show, particularly during its earlier years. Despite The Big Bang Theory’s popularity, it was constantly criticized for its type of humor that was often demeaning, racist, and even misogynistic. In its later years, it seemed like the writers made a conscious effort to course correct. However, the fact remains that in its earlier years, it had a lot of problematic elements.


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