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Why Young Sheldon’s Big Bang Theory Howard Cameo Was Disappointing

Simon Helberg reprises his The Big Bang Theory role as Howard in Young Sheldon season 5, but his appearance ended up being a massive disappointment.

Simon Helberg made a cameo in Young Sheldon season 5 as his The Big Bang Theory character, Howard Wolowitz, but his appearance was ultimately disappointing. When news broke out that Helberg was reuniting with Jim Parsons for the ongoing CBS sitcom, many were thrilled about it. Despite The Big Bang Theory’s ending in 2019, its popularity endures, which made Simon Helberg’s Howard cameo such an exciting prospect.

Parsons and Helberg were among the original five lead characters in The Big Bang Theory, The pair played Sheldon Cooper and Howard for a total of 12 seasons, alongside Kaley Cuoco as Penny, Johnny Galecki as Leonard, and Kunal Nayyar’s Raj. While everybody became good friends over time, Sheldon and Howard’s relationship was unique in the sense that it was always contentious. This stemmed from Sheldon’s continued mockery of Howard for not having a Ph.D. and being an engineer, unlike all of his pals who specialized in physics. Despite this, they also proved several times that despite their endless arguments, they could depend on each other during tough times.

So, bringing them back together in Young Sheldon season 5, episode 7 titled “An Introduction to Engineering and a Glob of Hair Gel,” posed intriguing possibilities. Given the sitcom’s prequel nature, Helberg only made a voice cameo as he helped adult Sheldon tell the story about why he really hated engineering. Unfortunately, the much-anticipated guest appearance didn’t live up to the hype as Howard’s Young Sheldon cameo was far too brief. Granted, viewers would always clamor for more time with beloved characters, but in this instance, it was so short it barely had any impact on the episode. He came in and narrated an introduction to engineering; apparently, Sheldon asked his help for this particular task. Of course, there was some signature Howard and Sheldon bickering, but other than that, it was a very quick appearance. What makes this worse is the fact that almost all of Howard’s section was already spoiled in the promotional videos for Young Sheldon season 5, episode 7.

Helberg’s Howard cameo did extend to joining adult Sheldon in the closing voice-over for a quick farewell, however. Comparing this to how CBS executed Cuoco or Mayim Bialik’s respective guest stints in The Big Bang Theory spin-off and it’s safe to say they could’ve easily done more with Howard’s appearance. For starters, instead of bookending the episode, Young Sheldon could’ve featured more of Howard in the middle while adult Sheldon continued with his narration. After all, Sheldon was talking about engineering anyway, so Howard could’ve made additional comments as the story progressed. The showrunners could have also revealed something about Howard’s life after The Big Bang Theory wrapped. Bialik’s reprisal as Amy in Young Sheldon season 4 premiere was so much shorter than Helberg’s return, but it was ultimately more satisfying because it offered audiences an update about how she and Sheldon were doing.

In hindsight, it’s curious if Simon Helberg’s Young Sheldon cameo would’ve been better if it was kept as a surprise. Both Cuoco and Bialik’s respective involvements weren’t reported beforehand, making their appearance more surprising and fun. In any case, CBS can make it up to disappointed Big Bang Theory fans by bringing the remaining cast into the spin-off; otherwise, they could also just bring back Howard for a more fulfilling cameo in the future.

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