“The Big Bang Theory” addressed the death of Carol Ann Susi tonight, with her character, Debbie Wolowitz, passing away in her sleep while vacationing in Florida. The often heard, but never seen Mrs. Wolowitz was a part of many long-running gags, perhaps most famously for her especially overprotective relationship with devoted son Howard.
If you knew it was coming, it was especially hard to watch Howard work through his anger when he realized his mother had gifted Stuart her furniture to put in the comic book store that he was about to reopen. He shouts some ugly insults at Stuart and even a pep talk from wife Bernadette does little to calm him down. He’s not ready to accept change. By the end of the half hour, he receives a phone call from his aunt, making him aware of his mother’s death.
The entire cast has gathered in the comic book store at this point, most too stunned to speak. Surprisingly, it’s Sheldon who manages to give Howard some comfort.
“When I lost my own father I didn’t have any friends to help me through it,” Sheldon says, before adding, “You do.”
After that the gang, sans Bernadette and Howard who have hopped on a plane to Florida, gather in Leonard and Sheldon’s living room. They drink wine and remember Mrs. Wolowitz’ kindness, whether it was how welcoming she was to Raj (even though she believed he was hired help for a short amount of time) or how flattered Penny felt when she insisted that she eat because she had gotten too skinny. Even Sheldon acknowledges that while he didn’t care for her yelling while she was alive, he’s sure going to miss it now that she’s gone.
Leonard instructs them to raise a glass, toasting to a “loving mother to us all” and it’s clear it’s not just Leonard remembering Mrs. Wolowitz, but Johnny Galecki remembering Susi.
While the loss of Howard’s mom made for the most memorable scenes, the episode was not without its laughs. Particularly, Penny learning that Amy had tricked her into a puzzle solving experiment that compared her to chimpanzees and Leonard learning Sheldon had done the same to him.
There was also a cameo from actor Nathan Fillion, who Raj and Leonard ran into at a deli, which provided some much needed levity to what was for sure a heavy half hour.
The gang has said goodbye to Mrs. Wolowitz but her loss will be felt for years to come.