[Warning: Spoilers Ahead]
The Big Bang Theory’s latest episode, “The Comic Book Regeneration,” was a fitting tribute to cast member Carol Ann Susi, who passed away at age 62 after her battle with cancer. Known for portraying Howard’s mother on the show, her character was also graciously terminated, with Howard learning his mother passed away quietly in her sleep while on vacation in Florida.
But according to Yahoo! TV, Big Bang Theory showrunner Scott Molaro admits the producers toyed with the idea of not killing off Susi’s character on the show.
“We talked about all the possibilities,” Molaro said before explaining why the producers ultimately moved on without her.
“It was public information that Carol Ann had passed away, so having Mrs. Wolowitz move away felt, I think, potentially like a cheat. And the thought of having another actress do the voice just didn’t seem like an option for us. I don’t think we could have brought ourselves to actually do it. That left dealing with the reality of it.”
Molaro continued, “We tried to find a way to do that which let the show still remain a comedy, but deal with this very difficult moment in these characters’ — especially Wolowitz’s — lives.”
The idea of incorporating a cast member’s death into the episode was also pretty foreign to Molaro and the show’s staff, something that weighed on the producers as they prepared her Big Bang Theory send-off.
“I had never been involved in writing an episode like this before,” Molaro admitted. “There’s a lot of other things going on in this episode that have nothing to do with [her death], and that, I think, helped a lot. When the moment comes, we just tried to handle it as honestly as we could, certainly not try to force jokes in where they didn’t feel like they would belong. I think we managed to do it.”
Meanwhile, Scott told the Hollywood Reporter that Susi’s death will impact everyone on The Big Bang Theory for the remainder of the season.
“We will certainly continue to deal with — Wolowitz and Bernadette in particular —with the fallout of her passing away for a number of episodes down the line,” Molaro said.
Ultimately, the showrunner is happy with their decision to incorporate Carol Ann Susi’s passing into the Big Bang Theory.
“The silver lining, creatively for the show, is it’s just another chance for Wolowitz to grow as a person. Things happen to people, and one of the things that happens is parents pass away. I think it was for the best that we wrote it in.”
New episodes of The Big Bang Theory air on CBS, Thursday nights at 8 p.m.