‘The Big Bang Theory’ Interview: Simon Helberg Previews Season Finale and ‘Dr. Horrible 2′
'The Big Bang Theory' star Simon Helberg has carved a path across the cultural pantheon well before his time as Howard Wolowitz of the CBS mega-hit, popping up in everything from the original 'Arrested Development' to portraying the fearsome "Moist" of Joss Whedon-produced 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,' but what does the star have to say of upcoming season 6 finale "The Bon Voyage Reaction?" Get the latest 'BBT' scoop and news of 'Dr. Horrible 2' From Wolowitz himself, Simon Helberg inside!
CBS powerhouse 'The Big Bang Theory' will soon close out its sixth record-breaking season with Thursday's "The Bon Voyage Reaction," which could divide its core group like never before. In particular, Simon Helberg's Howard Wolowitz has had a season of literal ups and downs, returning from space itself and dealing with his father's abandonment, but where can fans expect the character to go in the finale, and beyond?
We had a chance to speak to 'The Big Bang Theory' star himself on tomorrow's finale, as well as upcoming 'Arrested Development' and the long-awaited 'Dr. Horrible' sequel, so see what Helberg had to say on 'The Big Bang Theory's past, present and future below!
'The Big Bang Theory' regularly delivers record ratings for CBS, and isn't in danger of disappearing anytime soon, so you must not envy those going through the chaos, cancellations and renewals of Upfront season.
It's crazy! I do remember a time when this part of the year was always a very nerve-wracking experience, because you’re just waiting to see your fate, and we are incredibly fortunate to be in a steady position. It can be rough, but it's nice right now.
So right off the bat, Howard has probably been through more development and experiences than anyone on the show. Why do you suppose that Howard has struck such a chord with the writers to have been given this much evolution?
I don’t know why exactly in terms of the motivation of the writers. I will say that the writers are incredibly perceptive to what works on the show, to what the actors bring, the dynamics and how to play with them. When Melissa [Rauch] came onto the show, I don’t think any of the writers had a goal for Howard to get married to this person. I think it was she came on, and she killed it, and our dynamic really worked well, and it actually made sense somehow that there was someone in the universe who would be able to tolerate Howard, and maybe his mother someday.
I think Melissa had all of that, being incredibly talented and hilarious and charming, so all of a sudden it started to unlock a lot of these different layers to Howard, to see him be a bit more sensitive, and to cut through that sleaze and get to the heart of him. From there, when something works organically, it becomes an endless possibility of riches. It opened the doors to their marriage, to NASA, to space, to taking him away from her, to dealing with his mother, dealing with his father, so you end up with a very very fleshed-out character. Some of it probably had the biggest paradigm shift of other characters of the series, while still maintaining the real integrity of the show.
This season's "The Closet Reconfiguration" gave some excellent material for you by way of the long-lost letter from your father, and the sweet resolution to that. Will we hear more about Howard's father in the finale, or next season?
It's not referenced again in the season, and I have no idea whats going to happen next season. I don’t think the writers do necessarily either, but I wouldn’t be surprised if its brought up or dealt with in other ways, because that episode did seem to work very well, and when something works the writers are very, very smart about it, and pick up on what about it works. They're able to really mine that, and I think it would be a very cool thing to see, how that continues to impact Howard and all the other characters.
Now that Howard has firmly settled down with Bernadette, and even Raj has managed to find a bit of happiness with Kate Micucci's character Lucy, has Howard and Raj's bromance become at all muted, or shifted?
I think they've settled down with other people, and maybe their hearts still beat for one another, but its nice. It's all a very natural evolution. These guys love each other, all of them, the four guys and Penny. Raj was really lonely, and Howard was lonely for awhile as well, and in life when you find somebody that makes you happy, and you start a relationship…it just changes things. They’re all probably as close as they were before, they have a deep bond, but it’s just different. A different sort of dynamic.
Obviously last season's finale "The Countdown Reflection" had a lot going for Howard, between his wedding and the NASA launch, what can we expect to find in this season's finale, "The Bon Voyage Reaction?"
There's another adventure that presents itself for one of the guys in the group. Stephen Hawking's crew is sending an expedition to the north sea and there's an opening, so one of the guys decides to give it a shot, and there's a ripple effect throughout all the directions of the show, how it's going to affect them. People are scared, people are threatened, people are jealous, and there's a lot to deal with. There's also something that’s pretty unprecedented in the finale that we have not seen yet in all of the past seasons, so it's pretty exciting.
Having been through marriage, outer space and more, what issues remain for Howard to tackle that you'd like to get into in the coming season?
There's still some unresolved issues with his mother, he's still got more than a few pairs of underwear stashed at her house if he needs to crash there, so he’s certainly not quite moved out. I think his father is definitely a big part of his life, clearly as you saw, and it hasn’t been discussed that much. I think that there’s a lot of room there to learn about that, to see if things shift there, or there’s any contact. Also, I think Bernadette and her parents too, I'm a fan of the episodes where they’ve been a part of the story, just from my character’s point of view.
There's always Howard's claim to fame of going to space, and his involvement with NASA. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was going to be some more potential work that interrupted the flow of life for him and Bernadette, but I wouldn’t begin to guess what the writers are going to write, because they’re pretty extraordinary.
Having Bob Newhart on set recently must have been a huge thrill. What have been some of your favorite things to experience working on 'The Big Bang Theory?'
Yeah, it was incredible. Having Stephen Hawking there was pretty mind blowing as well. I never would have imagined that a path of my life would have taken me where I would be sitting, performing and doing and impression of him in front of him, so that was really insane. And there were some very very incredible things with the space stuff this year, hanging out with Mike Massamino, talking about his experience going into space, talking to an actual astronaut who was in the international space station via Skype, him showing us around the space station, and showing us through a portal what his view of Earth was like from there. There's really been a lot of wonderful things that have happened this season that have been very memorable.
Obviously I'd blue myself if I didn't ask about the possibility of you turning up in the new episodes of 'Arrested Development,' or any progress on the 'Dr. Horrible' sequel.
I don’t believe ill be in the new 'Arrested Development' unless they ask me, in which case okay! That’s how easy I am to get. I'm a huge fan obviously, and I did get to do a little thing awhile ago. 'Doctor Horrible' I think, is something everyone is always agreeing to do, and when it presents itself…you know, [Joss Whedon] likes his little indie films like 'The Avengers,' and those little house movies...
[Editor's note: This interview took place early evening on Friday May 10, just minutes after Marvel's Joss Whedon-directed 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' had been picked up to series for the fall, at which point we geeked out and cut Simon off to bring it up. We know, we're dorks.]
Not to mention, 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' got a series pickup not 10 minutes ago!
Oh, did it? Oh well, of course it did. That’s great! [Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen] will write on that, and they’re also part of 'Doctor Horrible,' that’s fantastic. Joss is amazing, and he’s really busy, so it's literally just a matter of time, whether there's enough. I think the enthusiasm is there, so we’re all just waiting for the phone to ring.
‘The Big Bang Theory’ premieres its sixth season finale episode “The Bon Voyage Reaction” this Thursday on CBS, while the hit series has already earned a season 7 pickup, keeping to the Thursday at 8:00 P.M. timeslot this fall.
Check out a preview of “The Bon Voyage Reaction” below, as well as a Howard highlight from last week's "The Love Spell Potential," and tune in to see Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz in upcoming episodes of 'The Big Bang Theory' on CBS!