The Big Bang Theory: Howard the Schmuck?

The Big Bang Theory S05E22: “The Stag Convergence”

Well, Howard adhered to Bernadette’s wishes and didn't have any strippers at his bachelor party, but that didn’t stop things from taking a turn into call-the-whole-thing-off territory when Wil Wheaton taped the Roast of Howard Wolowitz and posted it online, where Bernadette learned, among other things, that her fiancé once had a threesome with Raj and a chick dressed like Sailor Moon and lost his virginity to his second cousin.

Finally, Bernadette saw the creeper we all know Howard to be.

And yet, I was horrified when she threatened to call the whole thing off. Oh, she certainly had reason to. The new information at her disposal painted a picture of a man who was very different from the one she thought she was marrying and that’s kind of a big deal when you’re that close to saying “I do.” But at the same time, the Howard Wolowitz who hits on anything that moves, including semi-distant relatives, has been very much a face from the past on The Big Bang Theory lately. If Bernadette were to shoot him down once and for all, I can only imagine a sad descent into his old ways...which would be horrible, because frankly, new Howard is one of my favorite characters on the show.

I know that the whole shtick of The Big Bang Theory is that the characters are nerds, but as a nerd lady who regularly socializes with other nerd ladies and gents, much of the push to maintain that facet of Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard’s characterizations has felt like a disservice, a stagnation to their development. More than once, I’ve rolled my eyes at the television and reminded it, “Yes, I get it. They’re nerds. Haha.”

Nerd doesn’t have to mean socially inept. It doesn’t have to mean creepy. It doesn’t have to mean that the guy can’t get the girl or vice versa, and the evolution of Howard Wolowitz (and all of the guys on The Big Bang Theory, really) is a shiny television example of this.

But I understood Bernadette’s hesitation. Scarier than the revelation about who her fiancé used to be was that he didn’t let her in on the secret and she had to learn via ye olden interwebs. That’s never a good thing. Even learning deep dark secrets through close friends is iffy.

Wonderfully, Howard rose to the challenge. When Bernadette barricaded herself in her bedroom, refusing to talk to even Penny (because Penny set Bernadette and Howard up knowing full well what a skeez Howard used to be), Howard asked Penny to pass a message along to Bernadette when she eventually came out of the room. He told her that he didn’t like the man he used to be, that he wouldn’t go back to being that man, even if Bernadette decided not to marry him, because she makes him a better man.

C’mon, say it with me now, “Awwwww.”

The Big Bang Theory doesn’t tend to elicit a lot of “awws” from me. I take them where I get them.

Bernadette slipped out of her hideaway with an “Oh Howie,” and voila, the big fat geek wedding is still on.

The Stray Observation Addendum

1. Sheldon Cooper on booze, “Jeepers! That’s yucky!” Priceless.

2. Bernadette: “For a while in Poland, [Howard’s] family and mine lived next door to each other!”
Penny: “Oh, cool!”
Amy: “No, it’s not...I’ll tell you later.”

3. Leonard’s attempted seduction of Penny in the laundry room. Poor guy, he just wants to be spontaneous.

What are your thoughts on “The Stag Convergence” and the evolution of the gang in general?

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