TVLine's Performer of the Week: Simon Helberg

Simon Helberg The Big Bang Theory Performer of the Week A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Simon Helberg

THE SHOW | The Big Bang Theory

THE EPISODE | “The Love Spell Potential”

THE AIRDATE | May 9, 2013

RELATED | CBS’ New Fall Series Include Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Crazy Comedy, Josh Holloway’s Intelligence and Chuck Lorre’s Mom

THE PERFORMANCE Nicolas Cage plus Dungeons & Dragons shouldn’t equal hilarity, but it absolutely did in Thursday’s episode – thanks to the spot-on celebrity impressions Simon Helberg sprinkled throughout Wolowitz’s highly entertaining turn as dungeon master. After hearing Helberg offer up the National Treasurer as a mystical tree, Al Pacino as a satanic fungus and Christopher Walken as a dying dragon, our delight in the quest quite possibly paralleled Sheldon’s. While we’re at it, we’ll take another cue from Dr. Cooper: Much like Zachary Quinto as Spock, Helberg’s celebrity mimicry was a weird, wonderful event that lent an unexpected hint of pop-culture cool to one of the nerdiest amusements around.

HONORABLE MENTION | Once Upon a Time‘s Lana Parrilla
It takes a certain something to command a scene while strapped down to a table and hooked up to electrodes, yet Parrilla alternately conveyed the Evil Queen’s regal might — her guttural, “You have no idea who you’re dealing with” still has the hair on the back of our necks raised — and Regina’s perilous plight, as course after course of voltage zapped through her. The warm scenes in which Regina realized the Charmings emerged as her savior were but icing on the apple turnover.

What performance knocked your socks off this week?

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72 Comments
  1. Regina was great this week (and last). I also loved Dwight on this week’s Office.

    • Elly says:

      Totally agree on the Dwight one, I cried like a girl during that whole ep. Although I’m a little annoyed about that whole Dwight being the father thing, I’m glad he is but whyd the DNA test say it was Robert’s.

      Simon was so funny, well deserved. The Nicholas Cage tree and Chrisopher Walken Ogre was priceless.

      • I wondered about the DNA results too. Bribery is my guess. ;)

        • Elly says:

          I hope so because it will annoy me if not, come on writers! A little explanation.

          • Eddie says:

            In the episode where Dwight steals the diaper, (Free Family Portrait Studio/Season 8 Finale) Dwight stole a diaper from the bathroom. There was also Cece & Phillip Halpert being changed in that bathroom that day, how do we know that Dwight simply picked up the wrong diaper?

    • Riddle says:

      Me too, but I think Howard totally earned it. He stole the show!

  2. Benn says:

    I am not one to sing Glee’s praises since like first half of season 2. (I still watch and enjoy the music). But Heather Morris and her goodbye speech this week was incredible. She really stands out on that show when she gets screen time.

    She was it for me. Outstanding.

  3. Scott says:

    Jonny Lee Miller and the big reveal in the final scene of ELEMENTARY’s “Risk Management” episode. Amazing what this tremendous actor made us feel without saying a word. Well, one word: “Irene.”

  4. lisa says:

    I’d like to see Natalie Dormer recognized simply for how suprising she’s been at stealing scenes this season. She’s not the Margaery I pictured, she’s about 10 xs more compelling

  5. BBTfan says:

    Ironic — I literally just watched this ON DEMAND a few minutes ago!

  6. TV Gord says:

    Part of the delight in watching (and hearing) Helberg in action was that most shows have used up all of their cast’s talents by the end of the sixth year. Unwrapping this ability he has at such a wide array of impersonations this late in the game was a real revelation! The rest of the episode wasn’t up to this show’s usual hilarity, but Simon more than made up for it!

    Great choice, TVLine team!

    • EL says:

      I LOVE both of the performances of the week – Great Job TVLine!

      TV Gord – well said!
      Loved your line: Part of the delight in watching (and hearing) Helberg in action was that most shows have used up all of their cast’s talents by the end of the sixth year. Unwrapping this ability he has at such a wide array of impersonations this late in the game was a real revelation!

      So WELL said and true! I havent laughed that hard in a while. It was also fun to see the cast slip a little out of their characters in their response to Helberg’s hilarity!

      I also agree that Lana Parrilla deserves a shout out his week! She was fantastic!

    • Scott says:

      Anybody who saw Simon Helberg on his previous gig, the cancelled far too soon Matthew Perry/Bradley Whitford show Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip from a few years back already knows how exceptionally talented he is, especially at impressions. Why Chuck Lorre left it 6 years is a mystery but Wolowitz has always been the most underrated main character on Big Bang and hopefully this episode redresses that imbalance.

      • Claressa says:

        I’m glad you mentioned Studio 60, it was cancelled too soon! The cast was just starting to develop and Simon’s character had so much potential to move up from a side character to a featured one. I miss that show!

  7. Casey says:

    Honorable Mention: Jake Johnson as Nick on New Girl. Everything he did in “Winston’s Birthday” was perfection.

  8. Jill says:

    Rainn Wilson and John Krainski in The Office <3

  9. m says:

    Way to go Simon Helberg, he was very funny

  10. Dianne says:

    Goran Visnjic as Schiller in that closing scene of Red Widow. He is standing there with that look of “So, it comes to this. I wish Marta had brought her kids into the loop by telling them the truth about their dad’s murder.” Of course, I am using way too many words for Schiller.

  11. Tom Charles says:

    How quickly we forget Studio 60 and the Nicholas Cage Show

    • Amy says:

      Exactly what I was thinking Tom – these were the exact talents that Simon highlighted while on Studio 60, so it was nice to see them pulled out of the closet and used again on Big Bang this week.

    • Brendan says:

      “Can you do Tom Cruise?”
      “Well, I can do Stiller, and Stiller can do Cruise”
      …. not that I re-watched Studio 60 for the 5th time a few months ago or anything….

  12. Tee says:

    I am probably in the minority but I found all the impressions kind of annoying on BBT this week.

    • Stanley says:

      I’m with you on this one. I felt as if the writers were all out of ideas (based on how poorly put together the overall episode was) and they needed his impersonations to try and force the rest of the story. As a standalone, his impersonations were good (don’t get me wrong), but they were not necessary, didn’t align with his character, and were flat out annoying. After 6 seasons of us learning about Howard, why have we never seen him do impersonations before?! Come ‘on BBT, you guys are better than that. Here’s to hoping the finale lives up to the brilliance this show is known for, and not some out-of-left-field talent show crap.

      • hazel says:

        He’s done impressions before. He does Raj and Bernadette all the time, and he’s done Stephen Hawking and a couple others that I can’t bring to mind at the moment. It’s not out of left field for him to do this at all. I thought it was a fresh way to keep the episode funny and show Sheldon’s liking for Howard increase slightly. I really liked the episode.

        • DJ Doena says:

          > He does [...] Bernadette all the time

          I would hope so. They are married after all. ;-p

        • suzi says:

          You’re correct, hazel, he has impressions before, and doing them fits perfectly with his character. Also, doing them during the game was perfect, he was basically telling a story, and excited to be doing it for the first time. The impressions made the game more enjoyable for all of them, allowing us to see a nice group scene (for a while), and also see Sheldon have a blast, which was wonderful in itself.

    • Pat D. says:

      Absolutely, I never wanted to stab a TV Character more than Howard this week. Truly horrible.

    • san4ever says:

      I feel the same. i didn’t like them. btw I love tbbt.

  13. Jenny says:

    He was awesome!!! Loved all his impressions!!! I laughed so much during that entire episode!

  14. mia says:

    I love who Howard has become over the seasons. No longer is he this letcherous sexist manchild; he’s all grown up.

  15. Melody says:

    I loved Simon’s performance, but I also think Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik deserve strong nods as well with their performances in the Love Spell Potential. They knocked their scenes out of the ballpark as well.

    • lyn says:

      Just the opposite for me. Any hint of Sheldon & Amy getting physical sickens me. She’s disgusting, with her overt sexual moves on Penny, and needy “Me, me, me” dialog. Can’t stand her.

      • Jennifer says:

        I agree! Amy is way to “oversexualized” verbally. I don’t like her much anyway but I hate when she hits on Penny. I can barely tolerate Bernadette so when the three girls are in “girl” scenes it’s all I can do not to scream.
        That being said Sheldon was amazing in that last scene with Amy. I loved every word, expression and gesture he made. He is reason I watch when I can.

  16. Pipotipipota says:

    Aden Young in Rectify. Every scene but highlight in his hug with Tawney.

  17. Samantha_Clarke says:

    I love how people are saying that Howard’s impressions came out of nowhere and how they don’t align with the character. Obviously the naysayers have not watched all of TBBT as Howard has been doing impressions for years it’s one of his things. Melissa and Simon even did Mrs Wolowitz impressions on the panel at comic-con this year, Simon spoke about how he had to do his Stephen Hawking impression when Hawking was on set etc . It’s fine if people don’t like things but at least back that distaste up with truth. Personally I loved “your little boy is
    coming home” dragon death

    • JLK says:

      I thought the same thing. And wasn’t it just LAST WEEK that they lost Raj’s dog and he and Bernadette were putting on fake Indian accents as they yelled out the car window hoping the accent would bring the dog running? People have short memories apparently.

  18. RobMF says:

    I mean I guess it’s personal opinion. For me I’d go with John Krasinski from The Office for sure. Actually a lot of the actors deserve mention for their performance this week from that show.

    • Eddie says:

      100% agree. The Office is a rare show where every single cast member consistently delivers great performance’s.

  19. HC_89 says:

    It’s always such a pleasure to see Lana Parrilla being recognised for her acting. The varied amount of emotions expressed by her keep me glued to the telly for once upon a time. And her complete surrender to her character makes me coming back for more. I wish her all the best.

  20. Mary says:

    I also liked Ginnifer’s performance as Snow/Mary Margaret. She had to act like she was being electrocuted without the benefit of being strapped down to a table and hooked up to any kind of fake machine. She was sitting in a dinning room chair in her kitchen. Also Jennifer’s in losing Neal through the portal.

  21. Jenny says:

    Just saw the episode. Howard did some good impressions but the whole episode was pointless to me. I did like Sheldon and Amy’s scene at the end.

  22. Danny says:

    TBBT isn’t what it used to be. I can barely get through an episode anymore. This one was no exception. No, this weeks performance came from Rainn Wilson and John Krasinski. The dynamic between the two was awesome and kind of heartfelt, somehow. Loved it. After some crappy seasons, I’m glad The Office gets to end on a high note.

  23. Snice says:

    he did the exact same thing on Studio 60 back in the day, so I wasn’t too impressed about it

  24. Aly says:

    I thought Lana was amazing in the latest two episodes of OUAT. She really shone in the FTL scenes in ‘The Evil Queen’ (as did Ginny), and then last week I was amazed by how she performed whilst strapped down to a table and being ‘tortured’. Her eyes were even all bloodshot/red from the tears.

    I have high hopes for the OUAT finale too. Just the sneak peek/promo of her looks like she is throwing her all into this character.

  25. Sophonisbe says:

    Lana Parrilla is the only reason OUAT is watchable this season ; her acting skills are far better that the other actors’.

  26. Leslee says:

    I think that Jeff Perry’s portrayal ofCyrus Beane attempting to keep everything together on Scandal deserved mention1

  27. JLK says:

    I’m really surprised and delighted to see this shout-out. All I could think the whole time I watched this week’s episode of TBBT was, “Wow…Simon must be having a lot of fun with this!” Glad to see that some other TV folk appreciated his efforts. :)

  28. John says:

    Wow not a mention of Laura Linney? Big C has been so emotional and wonderful this ‘season’..

  29. lucy says:

    My favorite bit with Regina was that little jarring note at the end with the Charmings. They’ve rescued her, and are all like “Well…you ARE family. Maybe this will all work out. Hugs!”
    And then Regina’s like “We have a problem, you see, they’ve got this device.”
    What device? Why would you have had that with you?”
    “Because I was going to take my son and kill the entire town because if you’re alive I can never be happy.”
    And the Charmings were like “Ah, right. Homicidal psychopath. Skip the hug.”

  30. Mariela says:

    Lana Parrilla was absolutely amazing this past week. I can’t wait what she’s got for us on the season finale this week.

  31. charissa29 says:

    Simon Helberg was in Studio 60 and he did a bit about Nicholas Cage as a relationship expert that was one of the funniest things on the show. Wonderful. Nice to see them finally bring that out on Big Bang.

  32. sacha says:

    Lana Parrilla for sure!!!!
    She deserves an emmy awards!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Ella says:

    Loved Helberg as the dungeon master! Good shout out TVLine :)

  34. Nathy says:

    Lana Parrilla is an AMAZING actress. She surprises me every week. She was amazing in the season finale!

  35. Marie Weber says:

    “…lent an unexpected hint of pop-culture cool to one of the nerdiest amusements around.” Um, how is BBT not pop culture?

    • lyn says:

      I may be mistaken, but I believe the writer meant the impressions lent a bit of pop-culture cool to a game of Dungeons & Dragons.