Howard Wolowitz was one of the main characters in the hit American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, and one of the few people whose arc went through some significant evolution. Actor Simon Helberg brought a natural flair to the role of the goofy creep who gradually matured into a reliable family man.
Howard’s best friend on the show was the adorable Rajesh Koothrapalli and his wife the feisty Bernadette, and a major part of his personal life revolved around these two, although he also hung out all the time with Sheldon, Amy, Leonard, and Penny. As a character, there were times when he was incredibly annoying, and other times when he was really rather sweet.
Annoying: The Resident Pervert
Howard was very much the resident creep and pervert within the gang for the first few seasons before he met Bernadette. He was obsessed with sex and literally had just one thought in his head, which was to hit on hot women.
He started flirting with Penny the moment he laid eyes on her, managed to track down a house full of models who were appearing in a beauty contest, and there were numerous references to his inappropriate behavior with women in the past. He had also built a robot hand and had to be hospitalized when the hand got stuck in his private parts, in one of the most hilarious episodes in the series. But fun or not, the character’s objectification of women was deeply annoying at times, and he needed to learn a lesson in respecting women, something Penny tried to teach him, unsuccessfully.
Sweetest: Stood Up For Raj
When Raj took it in his head to get together an ex-girlfriends’ focus group so that he could figure out where he went wrong in relationships, Howard acted as his assistant, taking down notes, as well as mediator, since one of Raj’s exes spoke in sign language.
But when the exes started dishing on exactly how terrible their experience dating Raj had been, Howard actually did a rather sweet thing, sticking up for his friend, and pointing out that he was making efforts to better himself and his prospects with women, even in spite of knowing he would be humiliated.
Annoying: The Insufferable Boaster
Howard was a talented MIT aerospace engineer who had the rare distinction of going up to the International Space Station.
This was indeed something to be proud of but Howard managed to make it frustrating. He became insufferable when he boasted about being an astronaut relentlessly to all and sundry, to the point where even his best friends and his wife started getting thoroughly annoyed.
Sweetest: Gifted Bernadette A Star From Space
Howard’s relationship with Bernadette evolved rapidly as he became comparatively more mature, and stopped being offensive to women all the time.
One of the best gifts, apart from the anniversary song, that Howard gave to Bernie was a star pendant, which he presented to her right before leaving for space. He then told her that he would take it with him to the space station so that Bernadette could have a star from space once he came back. Sappy though it might sound, it was undoubtedly rather sweet.
Annoying: Lounged Around The House
An incredibly annoying thing Howard did after his marriage was lounging around the house at all times, playing games, and practically doing nothing to help with the chores, while his wife went around taking care of everything.
Even more annoyingly, Howard made his two cronies, Raj and Stuart, do a lot of the household work whenever he could, even after promising to do it himself. Both Raj and Stuart often hung out at Howard’s and Bernadette’s and the latter made sure he took his pound of flesh by allocating away all his own duties.
Sweetest: Wrote & Performed An Anniversary Song For Bernadette
One of the sweetest things Howard did was when he wrote a song for Bernadette on the anniversary of their first date. The latter was quarantined following a mishap at her lab, but Howard brought the whole gang to the hospital, along with his synthesizer, and sang to her in a grand romantic gesture.
Simon Helberg is a versatile actor and pulled off the song, “If I Didn’t Have You’, in a scene that remains one of the sweetest and most romantic moments between any couple in the series.
Annoying: Dressed Up As Sheldon for Halloween
Howard dressed up as Sheldon Cooper during Halloween in the final season, and although his impression of the frustratingly irritating genius was hysterically funny, it was understandably annoying and humiliating for Sheldon himself.
Helberg had been known to show off his imitation skills throughout the series, doing amazing impressions of a number of celebrities from Christopher Walken to Stephen Hawkin himself. Not surprisingly, he was exceptionally funny at doing Sheldon, but one can see why it was perhaps in bad taste, even if it was done in good humor.
Sweetest: Stopped Raj From Leaving
In the final season, Raj finally found a girl he liked and agreed to settle for an arranged marriage. But Anu was ambitious and to be with her, Raj had to move to London, which he agreed to do since he didn’t think he had any personal attachments tying him down in the States.
However, Howard rushed to the airport to stop him at the last minute, convincing him that their friendship was vital to him and that Raj should reconsider his decision. Exactly like the stereotypical but emotionally wrought climax of so many romantic movies from time immemorial, Raj, the quintessential romantic at heart, finally had his moment, and it was all thanks to Howard.
Annoying: Rivalry With Stuart
Howard grew increasingly insecure of the goofy Stuart Bloom when the latter became surprisingly close to his mother.
Although Howard was deeply attached to his mom, his possessiveness towards her and inability to accept that she might feel even remotely well disposed towards any other young man besides him, seemed irrational. Instead of being grateful to Stuart for looking after Mrs. Wolowitz, Howard made it a point to start a sort of rivalry with him, which was annoying.
Sweetest: Got Mark Hamill To Preside Over Shamy’s Wedding
One of the primary running themes in The Big Bang Theory had been the geeky gang’s, and especially Sheldon’s, obsession with the Star Wars movies.
Howard requested Mark Hamill, the original Luke Skywalker from the celebrated franchise, to preside over Sheldon and Amy’s wedding. Hamill had appeared out of nowhere to collect his dog, ‘Bark’ Hamill who had been found by Howard, and the latter had the brainwave of getting him to act as a minister for the wedding, in a really thoughtful and sweet gesture.