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Why You Never Saw Howard And Bernadette's Babies On The Big Bang Theory

While some sitcoms go to great lengths to keep characters from evolving for the sake of maintaining the status quo, The Big Bang Theory let its characters mature into well-rounded adults over the course of the series. That meant something different for each member of Sheldon and Leonard's friend group, but for Howard and Bernadette it meant getting married and becoming parents to two kids, Halley and Neil Michael. But while their parental struggles were often spotlighted in the later seasons, Howard and Bernie's kids weren't seen until the final episode for an interesting reason.

Keeping little Halley and Neil Michael off-camera accomplished several things at once: it allowed Halley in particular to serve as an homage to her late, often heard, but never seen grandmother, Mrs. Wolowitz, and it kept the set baby-free. The last bit was important to executive producer Steve Holland, who shared with Entertainment Tonight in 2018 that he's not a fan of having infants used in TV productions.

"I mean, it's possible to see the baby, but I'm not a fan of actually having babies on set," Holland said. "It makes me feel terrible for them, so I'm not super excited to have someone haul their newborn twins and shove them in front of a camera."

Howard and Bernadette's daughter Halley is a tribute to her grandmother, Mrs. Wolowitz

Until season 14 when beloved voice actor Carol Ann Susi died at the age of 62, Howard's mom was an integral part of the show, even though she was only ever heard from off-screen. Her distinctive voice and coddling of her adult son earned plenty of laughs in the early seasons, and her absence had a major impact on Howard and the series.

But when baby Halley came along in season 9, The Big Bang Theory writers found a unique way to pay homage to Howard's mom, while also instituting the no babies on set rule. Shortly after Howard and Bernadette's little girl is born, she lets out a cry that sounds an awful lot like her grandmother's distinctive voice in a scene that manages to be both touching and hilarious.

"She is a loving tribute to her grandmother — this is a nice way for us to keep [Mrs. Wolowitz] alive," showrunner Steve Molaro explained to TVLine. "It also means we don't have to have a baby on the set, so it solved lots of problems."

Much like the late Mrs. Wolowitz, Halley was heard throughout the rest of the series, but she wasn't actually seen until the final episode of the show.

Why did The Big Bang Theory writers decide to show Halley and Neil Michael in the final episode?

After keeping the kids off-camera since their birth, The Big Bang Theory finally revealed Halley and Neil Michael in a touching family scene in the series finale. While the moment felt like a major payoff for fans, it played as a simple bedtime routine for Howard and Bernadette, speaking to the fact that even though their babies weren't shown, the comedy never shied away from the fact that the characters had become parents.

In a 2019 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Holland revealed that the idea to finally show the kids came from series creator Chuck Lorre. "That wasn't even in the original breaking of the finale," he said of the surprise moment. "When we got to the scene, Chuck said, 'Why don't we just do it? Why don't we put them in?' We didn't need to make a big deal of it. It was intentional to leave them out before so we didn't have to deal with working with small children on set for all these years. It seemed like a fun little easter egg to put them in at the end."

Ultimately, the kids were only seen once, but even though their baby years played out off-camera, little Halley and Neil Michael still managed to make their presence known on The Big Bang Theory thanks in large part to Howard and Bernadette's daughter's unforgettable cry.