Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Big Bang Theory's "The Neonatal Nomenclature."
The Big Bang Theory added to its character ensemble in its most recent episode, even though we likely won't see that new addition very much. Bernadette and Howard welcomed their second child in as many years, and after an episode full of brainstorming over a name, they finally landed on Neil Michael Wolowitz. That name was chosen for a couple of different reasons, both within the context of the show and from a creative angle that ended up getting cut from the episode. Let's dig into both.
As explained during the episode, the name Neil was inspired by several different real-world people. There's Neil Armstrong, which carries on the space-related theme that influenced Halley's name; Neil Gaiman, the iconic British author whose imagination has thrilled millions; and Neil Diamond, who was one of the biggest musicians on the planet even before Howard and Bernadette were born. But we'll probably hear less about that name than the middle name, which Bernadette had more or less already locked in before any other options were presented.
Michael is very important to Bernadette, since it's her father's name. That's also one of the reasons why it's very important to Howard, of course, but he's not nearly as positive about it as his wife is. He initially wanted anything but Michael as the name, as he hasn't had the smoothest relationship with Bernadette's dad, but he eventually relented after witnessing how painful the delivery was, thanks in part to Neil Michael's cantaloupe-sized head.
As it turns out, though, The Big Bang Theory writers had more underlying issues embedded into using the name Michael. Showrunner Steve Holland explained to TVLine that an earlier version of the script tapped into Howard's own unresolved personal history.
It was about his relationship with his own father, but it was also that he didn't have the closest relationship with Bernadette's father. He never really felt like Bernadette's father liked him that much. They sort of patched [things up] over the years, but their relationship was a little prickly.
Even though The Big Bang Theory isn't necessarily a show that needs to get bogged down in troublesome relationships between fathers and their kids, it's perhaps unfortunate that this character-development element wasn't introduced, since it could potentially be a source of uncomfortable hilarity for Howard. And incidentally, "The Character-Development Element" sounds like a Big Bang Theory episode already.
With the sounds of more crying and pitter-pattering possibly on the way, The Big Bang Theory airs Thursday nights on CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET. Check out the mega-guest star we'll be seeing on the show soon, and to learn what other shows will be taking up space on your DVRs soon, head to our midseason premiere schedule.