After 12 seasons, it’s almost time for The Big Bang Theory to come to the end of its universe, but thankfully it will live on forever…in reruns. So many reruns. One of the things we’ll miss most about our favourite scientists (and Penny) is the relationships with their mothers. Even the smartest people in the world have moms who still give them grief about their dating lives. Moms be momming, you know?
Let’s honour the amazing moms of The Big Bang Theory in a truly BBT way by making a list of their pros and cons for scientific research.
We first fell in love with Laurie Metcalf’s Mary Cooper in Season 1, when Leonard called Sheldon’s Jesus-loving Texan mother to California to help with Sheldon after he was fired from Caltech. Since then, Mary Cooper has become a staple on BBT, popping in every few seasons to take Shelly down a notch or two and help her science-loving son use the emotional side of his brain when his analytical side wants to dominate, which is almost always. Metcalf’s Mary has not only been the source of many hilarious and heartfelt moments, she’s also become a beacon of hope and a positive example for parents who have difficulty relating to their child. On paper, Mary and Sheldon are opposites, but the pair have been able to maintain a tight knit and respectful relationship because of their unwavering love for one another.
The relationship between Raj and his mommy (his word, not ours) has existed solely on Skype on BBT, with Mrs. Koothrappali living across the world in India. In reality, actor Alice Amter was likely on a sound stage next door. Even with the distance, the pair are close, with Mrs. Koothrappali’s main concern being that Raj will not find a suitable Indian wife. After failed attempts at an arranged marriage, Raj’s future with Anu is Mrs. Koothrappali’s last hope, and ours too. There aren’t many episodes left!
Amy’s mother Mrs. Fowler, played by the chameleon Kathy Bates, is both terrifying and hilarious. Her mother being a strict and controlling woman, Amy had a seemingly endless supply of restrictions placed on her as a child, from not being allowed to watch Grease for fear that she would want to be in a gang, to Mrs. Fowler being adamant Amy never miss school because that would lead to a life of drugs. Even with all her rules, Mrs. Fowler is the reason Amy and Sheldon ended up together, with Amy’s mother making a deal that she can use her George Foreman Grill if Amy agrees to go on one date per year. It really does get rid of all the fat and cooks in half the time. Thankfully, Sheldon was that annual date. While Mrs. Fowler didn’t always believe that Sheldon treats her daughter well, Penny finally set her straight at the couple’s wedding in Season 11. Now if only Penny could make Mrs. Fowler be a bit nicer to Mr. Fowler. You can’t fight everyone’s battles.
The root of Leonard’s crippling anxiety can easily be traced in a straight line back to his mother, the brilliant but emotionally stunted Beverly Hofstadter, played by the brilliant and not emotionally stunted Christine Baranski. Other than to use her children as social experiments, we’re not sure why Beverly decided to have a family, but we do know she likely thought she was going to end up with a Sheldon and not a Leonard. It took some time, but thanks to Penny standing up to Beverly and imploring Leonard to also stand up to his mother, the pair’s relationship was vastly improved, with Penny and Leonard’s redo wedding even featuring a touching moment when Leonard’s parents admitted that the best thing to come out of their marriage was Leonard. We cried. Leonard cried. Beverly obviously did not cry.
In general terms, Bernadette is kinda…the worst. She really isn’t nice to anyone, including her husband Howard. But speaking specifically in terms of her role as a mother, Bernadette finds her softness, reserving all her kindness and loving ways for her two children. But no one else. She’s tiny and mean.
Sadly, we’ve only seen Penny’s mother Susan once, but we feel like the pair have spent ample time together on screen. Almost three-seasons worth of time. Katey Sagal reunited with her 8 Simple Rules daughter Kaley Cuoco to play Penny’s mom in Season 10 of BBT, playing Susan, a woman who was nervous about meeting her new in-laws because they are brilliant professors and Penny’s brother Randall was just released from jail for drug possession. So yeah, Susan is the mother we know the least about but can relate to the most.
Howard’s mother Mrs. Wolowitz is the only mom on our list that we never physically saw, but the one that viewers have the deepest connection to, thanks to her near-constant presence. The maternal, gravelly voice from upstairs, Mrs. Wolowitz was a single mom who did her best to let her nerdy little Howie be himself, while also spoiling him throughout adolescence and into adulthood. Though concerned at first that Howard was marrying Bernadette, a woman who wasn’t Jewish, Mrs. Wolowitz quickly came around and embraced her new daughter-in-law. Her death marked the first time any of the characters had lost a parent and was made even more heartbreaking with the knowledge that Mrs. Wolowitz’s passing was written into the show because of the untimely death of actor Carol Ann Susi.