The Big Bang Theory may have started off as just four nerdy geeks and their attractive friend Penny, however as the series went on the audience formed deeper connections with its characters.
Fans of the show began to care about their lives as they became some of sitcom’s most beloved personalities. Yet out of all the emotions the series brought in its 12-season run, there is one scene in particular that still hurts TBBT fans the most, the death of Howard’s mother.
Debbie Wolowitz was lovingly played in the series by Carol Ann Susi. Although Howard’s mother was never physically seen on screen and was often referred to as simply ‘Mrs Wolowitz’, Susi managed to bring the character to life with a loud New Jersey accent and some hilarious delivery. Susi was so good as the voice of Howard’s overprotective mother, that the character quickly became a fan favorite of the show.
Unfortunately, Susi’s appearance in the series could not last forever.
In November 2014, she died suddenly of cancer. While in between seasons of the show, the Big Bang writers had the challenging task of how to deal with her previous role of Mrs Wolowitz. They decided, out of respect for Susi and the much-loved character she had helped create, her character would also be written out of the series.
In episode 15 of season 8 ‘The Comic Book Store Regeneration’, Howard receives a phone call discovering his mother has died unexpectedly in her sleep. Supposedly during a trip to Florida to visit relatives.
Until that point, the episode is as usual; with even a guest appearance from Nathan Fillion. The sudden unexpected news received by Howard towards the end of the episode only makes the scene all the more shocking and emotional to watch. Additionally, an uncharacteristic display of sympathy from Sheldon and such strong reactions from the other characters, make the moment a real tear-jerker.
Not only is the scene in which Howard learns of his mother’s death heartbreaking in general, but knowing of Susi’s passing in real life makes it much more emotional. According to fans of the show on Reddit, this is one of the most heart-sinking scenes of the entire series. Many of them relate the moment to when their own relatives died. Some even suggest there was no need for acting from the cast in this scene, as they were showing their real grief of losing a close friend themselves.
The episode ends with the characters talking about how great a person Mrs Wolowitz was to each of them. In a way, you feel like they are also discussing Carol Ann Susi.
After this episode, a picture of her can be seen hanging on Leonard and Penny’s fridge. Howard and Bernadette also move into his mom’s house permanently. Susi and her character may have left the show for good, but from that episode onward she is never forgotten in the series.