The Big Bang Theory: What Was In Howard’s Letter From His Father

What was actually in Howard’s dad’s letter he got for his 18th birthday in The Big Bang Theory? Over the years audiences met family members of the Pasadena gang, but Howard’s family remained one of the most mysterious and interesting. Much has been said about his close relationship with his mom, Debbie Wolowitz (Carol Ann Susi). Although she was never physically shown on the screen, she was a steady presence in the series until her death. Howard’s estranged father, Sam Wolowitz, however, was pretty much non-existent in the sitcom.

The identity of Howard’s dad remains a mystery even after The Big Bang Theory wrapped. Many assumed that the series would address this before the show ended; however, there was very little focus on side characters in the entirety of its final season. Instead, the biggest arc was Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy’s (Mayim Bialik) Nobel bid, intertwined with Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard’s (Johnny Galecki) opposite views about having children. In between all this, The Big Bang Theory left some big questions regarding Howard’s relationship with his father. That includes the contents of Howard’s dad’s letter, which he wrote for Howard’s 18th birthday — a mystery that lingered from TBBT season 6 onward. Here’s what could have been in Howard’s dad’s letter.

What The Show Revealed About Howard’s Dad Before The Letter

Sam Wolowitz, Howard Wolowitz’s father, was mentioned a few times though throughout The Big Bang Theory’s 12-year run. The first mention dates all the way back to season 3’s “The Precious Fragmentation,” which revealed that Sam abandoned his first family when Howard was 11, although the reason for him doing so remains unknown. This led to season 6’s “The Closet Reconfiguration” where Sheldon discovered a letter Sam sent to Howard before The Big Bang Theory’s events began, but Howard refused to read it and ended up burning it instead. The whole episode then revolved around whether Sheldon — who was the only person to actually read the letter — would tell everyone. He eventually did describe Howard’s dad’s letter off-screen, which set up the dramatic scene that revealed the letter’s possible contents.

The Whole Gang Provided Guesswork Around The Letter

In the end, the gang helped Howard decide by suggesting that each would reveal different possibilities about what could be in Howard’s dad’s letter, and Howard could choose which one he’d believe to be true. Raj (Kunal Nayyar) describes a traditional birthday card that says, “Happy birthday, Howard. Love, Dad.” Sheldon essentially stole the story of The Goonies, telling Howard that the birthday letter was a map leading to One-Eyed Willy’s treasure, and Amy claimed that Howard’s dad was in the auditorium during his high school graduation. Penny said that the letter explained why Sam left, and it involved him having a different life, while Leonard talked about his father’s supposed reminder that family is everything and shouldn’t be thrown away as he did. Finally, Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) said that it had a photo of newly-born Howard with a note on the back that read, “Howard my son, my greatest gift.”

Only one from the selection is true, and given that information regarding Howard’s dad was scant, it’s difficult to gauge which one it is – although it’s safe to say that Sheldon’s was pretty much a lie. The belated introduction of Josh (Matt Bennett), Howard Wolowitz’s supposed half-brother in The Big Bang Theory who’s an oceanography student from San Diego, however, revealed that Sam moved on with a second family. What’s unclear is if he’s still with them or if he left them too. Chances are that it’s the latter, considering that it would otherwise have been an opportunity for Howard to reunite with his dad — a possibility that wasn’t even brought up. As dramatic as this scene is, Penny’s take, that Sam moved on to a different life, seems most plausible. It didn’t give any hope that Sam would return but was instead an explanation of why he left, which would’ve given Howard closure. In any case, perhaps if CBS is still up for another The Big Bang Theory spin-off, Young Howard could push through, and audiences would find out what’s really in Howard’s dad’s letter.

Why It Doesn’t Matter What Was In Howard’s Letter

In the end, the contents of Howard’s dad’s letter don’t matter in the long run. Whatever it was wouldn’t have been enough to make up for his prior abandonment, and no possibility would stack up against the combined sentiment of all his friends’ made-up descriptions. Instead of a father figure, Howard has a large, supportive found family in The Big Bang Theory. This group of friends cares so much about him that they helped him find closure from the letter in a creative way, and this present form of affection far outweighs that of Howard’s absentee dad. Revealing the letter’s contents would therefore have missed the point of the scene: it’s who’s there for Howard that counts, not the sentiments of those who’d long abandoned him, so keeping the contents mysterious added depth to Howard’s character on The Big Bang Theory and enabled deep and prolonged fan discussion.

The Best Theory For Howard’s Dad’s Letter

The best all-around theory about Howard’s dad’s letter is that it contained a little bit of what everyone surmised it to say — save for Sheldon’s rendition. This is definitely the most wholesome theory out there, and even though Howard’s dad’s absence is inexcusable, it would be heartwarming to think he was there for his graduation, or that he called his son his “greatest gift.” Assuredly the birthday card included Raj’s “Happy Birthday” proclamation, and it may have even included Penny’s idea, which is only further reinforced by the fact that Sam Wolowitz did move on to have a new family. Either way, fans of The Big Bang Theory will never truly know what the contents of Howard’s dad’s letter were, and it will have to remain up to the imagination.








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