The Big Bang Theory season 6 episode 19 review: The Closet Configuration
Simon Helberg, aka Howard Wolowitz, impresses in the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory...
This review contains spoilers.
6.19 The Closet Configuration
In this week's episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon finds an unopened letter from Howard's father, opens it, and proceeds to tell everyone what was in it... except Howard himself. What follows is one of the more touching episodes of this show's run, and it's not that surprising to me that it centres on Howard. Simon Helberg is a great comedic actor who never fails to make me laugh, but he's a talented dramatic actor, too, and this isn't the first time the series has shown that. I'm reminded of the episode where Penny told Howard he would end up sad and alone because of the way he treated women, in which Helberg genuinely surprised me with the raw emotion he was able to conjure up. The same talent is on display here, particularly in the climactic scene in which each of his friends tell him one possibility of what was in the letter, without telling him which one was the truth. There's a really nice subtlety in Helberg's performance that sells the emotion without going over the top into comedic (as is often the case when Sheldon has dramatic, character-exploration moments).
Meanwhile, Sheldon's scene in the closet was hilarious. Him begging to be allowed to stay and organize like a little kid made me laugh, especially when pitted against Leonard's fatherly responses. One of my favorite running gags is the idea that Penny and Leonard are like Sheldon's mom and dad (think back to the scene where Penny took Sheldon to a theme park and Leonard was mad that he wouldn't want his dinner since he'd eaten at the park), so any time that joke comes up, I'm bound to be laughing.
I also loved Bernadette in this episode. The way they write her relationship with Howard isn't always perfect, but it's one of the most realistic aspects of the show. The way she goes from wanting to respect his privacy, to letting her curiosity get the better of her, to trying to be a supportive figure at Howard's side is the perfect balance between funny and real.
I don't think this is the best episode of season six, but it is a lovely reminder that Simon Helberg is capable of more than just making us laugh. The fact that we're six seasons in and he's never been nominated for a major award for this show is unfortunate, especially when we get episodes like this that remind us how well-rounded he is.