In season six episode 19, The Closet Reconfiguration, Howard and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) are tidying up his filthy wardrobe before the gang come over for dinner.
Sheldon (Jim Parsons) arrives early, upsetting dinner plans by bringing his own takeaway food but nevertheless providing help for the couple when he agrees to help sort through Howard’s clothes.
During his deep cleaning session, Sheldon discovers an old letter from Howard’s father.
The appearance of Howard’s parents remains a mystery on the series, as his mother appears through her voice only and Sam Wolowitz, his father, never appears.
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Big Bang Theory: Sheldon finds a letter from Howard’s father
Sam abandoned Howard’s mother when he was just 11-years-old, and he is understandably anxious upon being presented the letter by Sheldon, who secretly reads a few passages.
Instead of reading it, Howard decides to do something he should have done a long time ago and burns the letter before throwing it in the sink.
However, when Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) host a cocktail party, Howard becomes increasingly anxious about the letter’s contents.
In order to calm his nerves, Sheldon decides to share what he read with the gang so they can all give their own versions of what the letter could have contained.
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This way, a part of Howard will suspect what his father wanted to say to him, though the true contents of the letter will always remain a mystery.
Some of the gang’s hypothetical letters are rather straightforward, such as Raj (Kunal Nayyar), who claims it was a birthday card, and Bernadette, who tells Howard the letter contained a photo of him as a child.
Although the scene is slightly derailed when Sheldon channel’s The Goonies and tries to convince Howard the letter contained a map to hidden pirate treasure.
However, some fans have returned to the episode and combed through how the scene is staged to propose a definitive answer for the letter conundrum.
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One fan took to a recent Reddit discussion to propose it was actually Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) who provides the real contents of the letter.
Redditor jmt2589 posted: “I read somewhere that it was Amy because she’s the only one who was seated that stood up when it was her turn.”
A cursory look back at The Closet Reconfiguration does reveal Amy stands up when delivering the letter’s potential contents, giving her lines some more significance and possibly giving Howard a clue for his father’s real message.
In the episode she said: “You didn’t know it, but your father was in the auditorium at your high school graduation. And he cried because he was so proud of you.”
Given Sheldon is quick to cover up this version as complete ‘poppycock’ after Howard’s startled response, he may have known Amy was telling the truth all along.
Other fans have also pointed out Bernadette fighting back tears when she gives her account, while more viewers suggested the letter could have been a combination of all of them (except the treasure map).
Even though fans may not ever know the true answer behind Howard’s letter, this fan theory may be the most convincing solution presented so far.
The Big Bang Theory is available to stream on Netflix.