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Howard's Cringiest Moment On The Big Bang Theory Is So On Brand
2023/06/25

Television Sitcoms

Most of the characters on "The Big Bang Theory" are kind of gross, especially when it comes to women... and while it's usually played for laughs, sometimes it's just too awkward and cringey to even make you laugh. One of the worst offenders of this is the character of Howard Wolowitz, played by Simon Helberg for the show's entirety, who begins the series as a complete and utter sleaze. Even beyond constantly hitting on a completely uninterested and borderline hostile Penny (Kaley Cuoco) as the show kicks off, Howard is just icky, and this moment in Season 2 is the pinnacle of ick.

In the season's seventh episode, "The Panty Piñata Polarization," which already has a title that would make most people feel a little itchy, Howard and his best friend Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) decide to try and find the house used to film "America's Next Top Model" when Penny ends up watching it at their house. (It should be noted here that, at this point in the series, Raj has "selective mutism" and can't talk to women unless he's blackout drunk, a weird trait that ends up getting trashed later on.) They end up figuring out the exact location and address and go so far as to go to the models' house unannounced pretending to be repairmen. It's gross, it's completely without consent, and it's shallow — and it's classic early-series Howard.

Howard ends up changing his ways — but still has his moments

As "The Big Bang Theory" continues, the show feels the need to pair everybody off — and considering how odious Howard can be, it feels almost impossible that he could be anything other than a creep. He does end up changing his ways, though, when he meets Bernadette Rostenkowski (Melissa Rauch), and the two settle down and have a family together.

Even after he proposes to Bernadette, though, he still has his creepy, sleazy little moments. While he's teaming up with Penny trying to figure out if Raj's new girlfriend is just using him for his money, Howard openly objectifies women at a gym, at which point Penny calls him out for ogling women while he's engaged to Bernadette. "Hey, Bernadette doesn't mind where I get my motor running as long as I park in the right garage," Howard says, to which Penny has the only sane possible response: "I can't believe you're engaged to my friend."

The way that the men of "The Big Bang Theory" treat women is uniformly pretty bad, but when it comes to treating women as objects based on looks, Howard's definitely the worst offender, even with a loving partner. The "America's Next Top Model" moment is definitely his cringiest, but throughout the show, Howard has no shortage of creepy, awkward scenes, even though we're supposed to forget about that when he marries Bernadette and has two kids.

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