The Big Bang Theory Recap: I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

The Big Bang Theory Carol Ann Susi

Though she was never seen on camera, The Big Bang Theory‘s Mrs. Wolowitz has arguably played as big a role on the show as Leonard, Sheldon and Penny.

Often the butt of obesity jokes — usually made, in poor taste, by son Howard — and prone to getting a little too overprotective of her only child, Mrs. Wolowitz has been recognizable to fans of the CBS comedy through only her voice, as she shouted to Howard from other rooms of her house.

Sadly, that powerful voice was silenced last November after Carol Ann Susi — the actress who portrayed Mrs. Wolowitz — lost her short battle with an aggressive form of cancer.

Thursday’s episode of The Big Bang Theory paid tribute to Susi, with a heartbreaking subplot in which Howard’s mother passes away while on vacation in Florida. After Howard spends most of the half-hour angry with Stuart for putting Mrs. Wolowitz’s furniture in his new-and-improved comic book store, Howard receives a devastating phone call from his aunt, explaining that Mrs. Wolowitz settled in for a nap on her trip, and didn’t wake up.

Following the tragic news, some of the episode’s most comforting words come, surprisingly, from Sheldon, who assures his friend: “When I lost my own father, I didn’t have any friends to help me through it. You do.”

Later, while Bernadette and Howard head to the airport, the rest of the gang reminisces on their fondest memories of Mrs. Wolowitz… and some memories of which they weren’t so fond. “I didn’t care for her yelling,” Sheldon admits. “But now that I’m not going to hear it again, I’m sad.”

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With that, Leonard leads a sweet toast to the dearly departed Mrs. Wolowitz — and, by extension, the woman who voiced her: “To Mrs. Wolowitz, a loving mother to all of us. We’ll miss you.”

Though the episode ends on a somber note, this week’s installment wasn’t without its lighter moments. Most notably, Raj and Leonard spot former Firefly captain Nathan Fillion at a restaurant… though he tries to convince them they’ve got the wrong guy. (But hey, Raj and Leonard get a selfie with Fillion out of it, so I’d put this one in the win column.)

What did you think of The Big Bang Theory‘s tribute to Carol Ann Susi? Hit the comments with your thoughts on the episode.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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67 Comments
  1. Ralph says:

    Great tribute to a great character and actress. Sheldon’s line about friends made me tear up. Well done. RIP Mrs Wolowitz and Ms Susi.

  2. Canadian Viewer says:

    I was surprised and disappointed that neither the closing credits nor Lorre’s vanity card dedicated the show to Ms. Suzi or showed her photo

  3. B Fodor says:

    It would have been appropriate to put Carol Ann Susi’s name and dates on the screen at the end of the show. Rest in Peace, Carol Ann.

    • maria says:

      I also wondered why they didn’t show her picture and include an “in memory of…” but I guess that’s the producers’ call to make. It was a lovely tribute though. RiP Carol Ann Susi. It won’t be the same without you.

    • Jerri says:

      didn’t they do that at the end of the episode that aired shortly after her death was announced?

  4. Connie Graves says:

    Sheldon Cooper actually made me cry. Well done to the writers of TBBT for a tribute that was short and sweet – RIP Ms. Susi.

  5. Roni Sue says:

    They did a memorial piece for her back in November .

  6. Aadil says:

    It was disappointing. Instead of final scene in living room I think scene should have taken place after funeral & should have included Howard & Bernadette. Like Nathan Fillion but I think he should have been in another episode as whole episode should have been dedicated to Carol ann susi. No in memory of Carol Ann Susi at the end of the episode.

    • John NYC says:

      Far too much time had passed. They had the in memorium right after she died. This was a goodbye to the character, the actress they said goodbye to at the time of her passing.

    • Chris says:

      You think this subject began and will end in one episode? This is a life changing event for the Howard character, they’re not going to squeeze it all into the last 5 minutes of one episode. I’m certain we will see the funeral in the future!

    • Bella Sorella says:

      They did the in memorium in a November episode shortly after she passed.

  7. Mike says:

    Brilliant!! Kudos to Chuck Lorre and the BBT execs for sending a character off in such a classy way. And to the memory of Carol Ann Susi… You’ll are missed… HOWARD …!

  8. Guest says:

    I don’t think I’ve cried this hard for a TV mom ever. I don’t understand it, I knew the actress had passed, I knew this was coming. And yet I’m sobbing like a child cuz she was a loving mom and now we won’t get to hear her anymore. Goodbye Mrs Wolowitz. Rest in Peace Ms Susi

    • abz says:

      I remember the episode of Buffy where her mom died really broke my heart as well and was terribly sad.
      While I think the episode as a whole should have been devoted to Mrs. Wolowitz memory, and Nathan Fillion (who I really like) should’ve been on a different episode, it was still a very sad end. Gonna miss her hilarious voice on the show. RIP Carol Ann Susie

    • Dan Counts says:

      It was a great way to start a story arc for Howard, hopefully Lorre will work the grieving process into a longer arc, he did something similar with Dharma and Greg after they got into a car accident, so the guy has the chops to pull it off.

      But in terms of tear jerker episodes, I go back to the 2nd season of Archie Bunker’s Place, after the late great Jean Stapleton was written off the show as dying from a stroke. Archie sees a pink slipper peeking out from the bed, sits down and has a monologue to serve as a last talk with Edith. For my money, the most powerful death of a television character I have ever witnessed, seriously if you can get through that episode without tearing up you are one cold hearted SOB.

      • Giovanni Salvatore says:

        Good bye . I’m sorry you are gone. Susan you always made us laugh. Everyday. You will be missed by all. RIP mrs wolowitz

  9. Lolo860 says:

    I thought it was perfect. It was sweet, touching and respectful. I had tears in my eyes as well. It was very tasteful.

  10. JBC says:

    Very nice tribute to Carol Ann Susi and the character she voiced, Mrs. Wolowitz.! Well done.!

  11. LDS says:

    It was sweet, but I”m with those who thought a pic or some title card would have been a nice thing to do.

    Anyone else think Nathan Fillion’s part felt too forced?

  12. suzi says:

    Soon after Carol Ann Susi’s death, TBBT ran a vanity card with a picture and these words, “In loving memory of Carol Ann Susi “Mrs Wolowitz” Every time you spoke, we laughed.You’re in our hearts forever.

  13. Yeah, i cried, im not gonna lie, this was a powerful episode

  14. Cheryle says:

    It Was Truly Amazing.It Made Me Cry. I’ll Miss Her Too.

  15. Chris says:

    I think that in the context of the situation as well as Sheldons character (with all the anti-social tendencies and such), his line about friends was STUNNING. Best line I’ve heard on television in ages. (Again, consider all the context)

  16. cc5 says:

    Still choking back some tears tonight. I knew she died…didn’t see this coming. It was sweet and sad…kind of like Sheldon telling a joke. It’s funny and painful because it’s true.

  17. Cate Amos says:

    I can’t think of a better way to handle the passing of such a wonderful character. Can’t wait for next week’s ep when Howard and Bernadette attempt to bring her ashes back home.

  18. Sasha says:

    They did it just right and gave her a sweet send off. Loved Carol Ann Susi!

  19. Dutch viewer says:

    Episode was as good as any. Closing credits were disappointing.

  20. What a beautiful, touching, heartfelt tribute to a wonderful lady we will all miss. And I truly think the writers did an awesome job as well as the entire cast for their acting abilities during such a dramatic time. RIP Carol Ann & goodbye Mrs. Wolowitz. You will always be forever loved and forever missed. God bless.

  21. Pat says:

    It was a beautiful tribute to Carol Ann Susi’s passing. I do agree with everyone who expected to see a picture of her in the end but I was surprised that they did not do this.

  22. Gaurav says:

    So, this is gonna feel a little off but I don’t think it matters because Howard’s mom was not in the show enough this season. I really missed this section of the show. So now I think Howard is gonna start thinking about having kids of their own.

  23. Judy Dunston says:

    Good job BBT. If Mrs. Wolowitz included Stu in her will, I expect we’ll be hearing some interesting conversation about and between Howard and Stu.

  24. cr says:

    Missed the last minute or so when the TiVo recording ended. So bummed! Need a repeat showing asap!

  25. Debbe Wyrick says:

    I think it was so sweet and very nice. Maybe at the end of the next show they’ll do a “In Memory of”.

  26. A great tribute…loved Sheldon’s line…made me cry, but I burst out laughing again right after at Penny’s line “I thought he was going to say Let it go.” Well done, writers. RIP Ms Susi.

  27. ledlie a. morrell says:

    perfect, poignant, no break in character for the personalities we’ve grown to love, just growth. farewell mrs. w, you are truly missed.

  28. Vicki Grosdidie says:

    As they clinked their glasses for the toast, it would have been nice to hear one more “Howard”!! But overall it was well done, especially Sheldon’s “you do”.

  29. roger j mayer says:

    Rest in peace carol ann, you will be
    Dearly missed by friends & fans.
    May god bless you & your family.

  30. Lynda Bush says:

    It was a sweet tribute…Leonard made me cry…..loved it.

  31. Momica says:

    I loved the tribute, but did I miss a screen at the end saying “in memory of” ?

  32. j cody says:

    It was sad….we’ll miss her ! Mrs wolowitz’s voice is in my heart forever. The show must go on! We love the show …..best ever! EVER!!!!!

  33. Ismael Flores says:

    I cant believe i almost cried. My eyes teared up. I guess seeing all of them sad because of the news got to me. It is one of my favorite shows and i really love each of the actors and actresses in the show. RIP Carol Ann Susi <3

  34. Magregaard says:

    They should have posted her picture with a caring message at the end of the show. It felt like they didn’t acknowledge her as a real person.

  35. Winter says:

    RIP mrs.wolowitz and ms.susi.the show will never be the same without you.cant believe there’s no one to shout “howard!!” and no one to shout back at. :’) we’ll miss you terribly.<3

  36. Cat says:

    What is happening to todays TV shows they show a few then reruns, then they show a few and then reruns. they take off good comedy shows and keep shows that children shouldn’t be watching. We are dropping Direct TV in July. Fed up!

  37. owen lurio says:

    my name is owen, I really love ever episode. I will miss Howard’s mother. I hope they will
    put someone else in her place.

  38. ron says:

    I sure will miss her loving comments and the part she played In Big Bang-rest in peace Mrs Wolowitz

  39. Charlene says:

    Nice job how they remember and honor her as an actress and a mom. For viewers it may help others in the passing of their love ones!!! Charlene H.

  40. Amy says:

    Damn, now that I know that Howards mom really died, I’m really sad. We will miss all of her heartfelt humor, that only our “mom’s”, can provide. God bless her soul and may she rest in peace. May she always have the last laugh….

  41. Johnny says:

    Having just read through all these comments, I think its just really great that BBT viewers have offered such great and heartfelt comments about a real person and a beloved character on one of the best sitcoms ever produced. Makes me feel good knowing that there are people who can comment on a board with nary a one negative or hateful comment. Kudos to all of you.

  42. Giovanni Salvatore says:

    We laughed so hard when Bernadette was talking like mrs wolowitz . Susi we will never forget your sound luv Natalie & Giovanni.

  43. Frank Fiore says:

    they did a great job with her death on the show STILL THE BEST Comedy on TV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. Ian Hunt says:

    I have never left a comment about any show before but after watching tonights Big Bang Theory… how could I not. I was left with tears streaming down my face and moments later I was laughing again. Wonderful writing and I would imagine a very difficult episode for the cast to act out. Congratulations to all concerned. Goodnight Mrs. Wolowitz and rest in peace Carol Ann Susi.

  45. A voice as large as her personality. She will be sadly missed R.I.P

  46. Gareth Hindmarsh says:

    Wonderfully played out as usual. People forget that although this is a sitcom, it also deals with taboo and sensitive subjects. Chuck and Bills greastest work by far (the series). It would be lovely to maybe see a photograph of the actress placed in Howard and Bernadette’s apartment. She will be missed and will always be one of the main cast of an hysterical show. Thank you for bringing these wonderful and original characters to life!! Xxx

  47. Debbie Bowen says:

    I regretfully missed the episode of The Big Bang Theory’s passing of Mrs. Wolowitz. I am inquiring as to when this episode would be aired again so I may watch it.

  48. MJP says:

    I just viewed the show when mrs Wolpowitz dies . The show should have culminated with the show dedicated to ms Susi and show her picture to the viewers. That would have been a nice touch, so as to show that it genuinely happened.

  49. Marie Teal says:

    Should have memorialized her. didn’t think the episode did that. Yes, picture and in memory of should’ve been shon.

  50. Bj kelley says:

    She was as great a character actor as all the other superb stars of this show…..will miss her very loud but endearing voice…..