Howard's Arc in TBBT Will Go Down in TV History As a Masterclass in Character Development

Howard's Arc in TBBT Will Go Down in TV History As a Masterclass in Character Development
Image credit: Legion-Media

Ask any fan of The Big Bang Theory which character experienced the most growth over the series and the answer will inevitably be Howard Wolowitz.

When we first met him, he was a creepy, sex-obsessed, pervert, who seemed solely dedicated to the pursuit of a sexual partner.

Even when he did finally manage to get himself a wonderful girlfriend, he engaged in cyber-sex and masturbatory fantasies of his "ideal women."

But there is no doubt that his relationship with Bernadette changed him, and undoubtedly changed him for the better.

We saw Howard trade in ridiculous fantasies for true love. We saw him travel to outer space. We saw him host a fancy dinner party in season six's "The Closet Reconfiguration," prompting Leonard to comment to Penny about how much he had grown up over the years.

Sure, Leonard felt the need to add a disgusting scrotum story to explain Howard's personal growth, but the point remained. Howard had matured.

Yet, this was not the episode in which we saw the greatest example of Howard's maturity. Recall, this episode saw him run away from a gathering with his friends due to feeling distressed over an old letter from his absent father.

While his actions were understandable, they cannot be said to be his most mature moment. That would come later…

Another six seasons later, in fact, in "The Imitation Perturbation." A fun Halloween episode that sees Howard dress as Sheldon, drawing laughs everywhere.

Once Sheldon and Amy figure out what he is doing and take offense, Howard does not hesitate in changing his costume. This is the first indication that he has matured.

In the past, Howard would have relished getting a reaction from Sheldon, but this time he decided to be the bigger man.

But Sheldon and Amy were not done. Later in the episode, we see the pair dressed as Howard and Bernadette in an act of revenge.

While Bernadette is furious, and with good reason given Amy's slurs toward her are quite nasty in nature, Howard acts as the peacemaker.

He calms his wife down and helps her see a new perspective. He further acknowledges the hurt that he caused Sheldon in the first place and why he and Amy likely reacted how they did.

Simon Helberg, who plays Howard, has been stunning the audience with his brilliant impressions since season one. But his performance as Sheldon stands out as Helberg at his best.

And it is lovely to see it paired with what is ultimately such impressive character growth for Howard.