It’s been nearly four months since The Big Bang Theory‘s Bernadette and Howard welcomed baby Halley into the world. Since then, viewers have certainly heard the newborn, but we’ve still never actually seen her. (Instead, it’s clear the show has been using a doll or even an empty carrier.)
To be honest, we didn’t really need to. As long as Halley (or, rather, a newborn playing baby Halley) was seen every so often—in, say, a car seat, a baby carrier, or in her parents’ arms—then it would feel like she’s been established as part of the show. But by the time the end credits rolled for “The Collaboration Fluctuation,” my patience over her absence had run out. Of course, it’s important to focus on the lives of Shamy, Lenny, Raj, Bernadette, and Howard—and maybe this is one of those things that you don’t notice until somebody points it out—but after months of showing viewers a truly authentic portrayal of motherhood, shouldn’t we see a real-life baby actually show up on screen?
When Halley was born in the show’s winter finale, executive producer Steve Molaro revealed that Pamela Adlon (FX’s Better Things) would be voicing Halley’s Mrs. Wolowitz-sized cry. (“Pamela and Carol Ann Susi [who played Mrs. Wolowitz] were long time dear friends, and Pam has told me she’s honored to have the chance to help keep the memory of Carol Ann alive in the show,” Molaro said. “As far as the voiceovers for the baby go, Pam is our gal.”) It was funny and heartwarming at first, but now it’s the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for me. Halley’s cry has become a gimmick, and The Big Bang Theory is better than that.
To be fair, The Big Bang Theory is not a drama series. Nor is it a series about parenthood. I get that. But other multi-cam sitcoms have included children on screen. When Rachel Green had Emma on Friends, we saw the newborn. Same with Murphy Brown and baby Avery, and Lily and Marshall’s Marvin on How I Met Your Mother. The longer The Big Bang Theory goes without showing baby Halley, the more I worry it’s going to become the equivalent of Penny’s last name or the broken elevator—in other words, we never get a resolution. And that would be a mistake.
Because, as I’ve mentioned numerous times, the reason why The Big Bang Theory has resonated so much over the last few years is that it’s gotten more real, especially with relationships. The writers and producers really hit it out of the park with their authentic portrayal of Bernadette’s pre and postpartum struggles. So while it’s refreshing to see Bernie and Howard do normal new parent things like go to Target and joke about diapers (kudos to whoever wrote the joke that nearly 200 diapers should last until Wednesday of the following week), let’s actually see this kid. You know, before she’s 12.
A new episode of The Big Bang Theory airs next Thursday on CBS at 8 P.M. ET.