I've always heard that "The Bob Newhart Show" was one of the funniest ever...
So I've been watching them on DVD. Some episodes are funny but I don't think it's as funny as I've always been told. And the studio audience always seems to laugh at the wrong times.
I think I prefer "Newhart."
But I do think Suzanne Pleshette was perfectly matched as his wife, moreso than Mary Frann.
Newhart was great. I miss it on WGN.
It was very funny at the time, but doesn't hold up.
I think it holds up very well. It's a different type of humor than many people are used to these days.
Not every episode is worth writing him about but it succeeds more often than it fails. When I started watching it again it became my comfort show.
I am not a fan of the newer Bob Newhart show at all.
Loved both the 70s and 80s shows, but I am a child of the 60s and 70s. The humor is low key and not for all tastes. He is an American treasure.
I love 80's Newhart. Bob's comedic timing is perfect. And he still has it, as seen in "Horrible Bosses" and "The Big Bang Theory".
R5: I think we are the only ones posting about Bob on BBT (done in previous threads also) which was brilliant. As mentioned before, his reading of the word "No." couldn't have been more perfect.
Newhart's timing has been perfect in everything he ever did (see "In and Out", "Cold Turkey", even his throwaway role on "Desperate Housewives").
There's a Thanksgiving episode that's really funny (when Emily leaves to go to Seattle and leaves Bob to get drunk with everybody else) but then there's a Christmas episode ruined by an elderly woman in a hospital whom you think will keel over by the force of saying her lines.
"Newhart" was just so surreal at times, I loved that.
Does anyone remember "BOB" where he played a cartoon drawer who had a teenage daughter? It was shortlived, but actually quite funny.
Loved them both but the Bob Newhart Show was far better then Newhart!
Mary Frann had a perfectly understandable inferiority complex about Suzanne Pleshette and was reportedly furious at the ending of Newhart being just a dream of Bob's whose final scene was being in bed with Emily (Pleshette).. The fury ate away at her, gave her cancer and she died.
[R-10] Are you sure you don't mean Ted Knight?? He was a cartoonist that had a hot daughter, lived in San Francisco and had the crazy gay young neighbor upstairs played by J.M. Bullock. It was a good show actually. The show was called "Too Close for Comfort"
I used to watch that show when I was a kid and it did seem funny at the time. But now I find it kind of boring.
Keep in mind, there were not 500 channels back then, prime-time was a slot for families so humor was a lot more restricted.
There were very few comedians making a living back then because it was not seen as a profession. Only Vegas would support that and most had to go dirty joke route.
Didn't Mary Frann die of anorexia?
Mary was a very charitable person who helped homeless women without any fanfare.
She also dated Arsenio Hall.
anything Bob Newhart does on TV I will watch.nno one makes me happier while in front of the TV set than Bob
Is it funnier when you play the "Hi, Bob" drinking game? I've never done that.
But I'd like to watch a few episodes again, for the '70s retro appeal.
Mary Frann could actually be quite funny,. There's a very good episode of Newhart where George the handyman gets her to redecorate his cottage, and when he doesn;t like it after all the work she put into it she wordlessly trashes everything she's put up in silent rage. It's a nice bit of slapstick.
But she never had the kind of chemistry with Bob newhart that Suzanne Pleshette did. That was something unlike any other sitcom married couple I've ever seen--even better than Dick van Dyke's and Mary Tyler Moore's chemistry or Bill Cosby's and Phylicia rashad. You got the sense that Bob and Emily Hartley just adored each other but they also exasperated one another. And no one could play straight woman to Bob Newhart the way Pleshette did. Since his humor is so dry already he needed someone even drier to be a straight woman.
As for the Bob Newhart Show--it was rarely an uproarious kind of show (although the classic Thanksgiving episode where everyone except Emily gets drunk is an exception: "Moo goo gai pan!"), but was famous instead for being extremely witty and warm and wry. It had great character interplay, and watching Bob Newhart be discountenanced by his crazy patients or his neighbor Howard was always terrific--and watching him having to explain himself to his wife in bed was also very funny.
The ending of Newhart where it's all a dream would have pissed me off too had I been mary Frann, but it is probably the funniest ending for a TV series ever, and the last great joke of it was all about (and a great tribute to) Frann's Joanna: "Emily, you've really got to start wearing more sweaters."
The 70s show was pro-gay, just because that was the trend at the time, started by Norman Lear sitcoms which were very popular at the time. In the later seasons, one of Bob's regular patients was a gay man, played by Howard Hesseman later of WKRP.
The 80s show had some weird episode where Bob and his wife somehow encounter a gay couple, and act like it's the most shocking they they'd ever heard of. I was really offended by that, after his show had be gay-friendly in the 70s, and the 80s show treated gays like freaks from another planet. Anyone else remember that one gay themed episode and how disappointingly phobic Bob acted?
Newhart is one of the few actors to play a leading role on two very successful series (Bea Arthur and Larry Hagman also come to mind). Having said that, I love "Newhart" to death but the humor on "The Bob Newhart Show" eludes me. I actually find it the antithesis of funny, and the supporting characters dreadful. Yes, I get the idea that the humor is supposed to come from the fact that he's this low-key normal guy surrounded by these crazies (his psych group and neighbors/co-workers), but I don't find it funny. Just not my type of humor. I'm probably in the minority, but that scenario served him better on "Newhart," because the supporting actors were so much better.
The Bob Newhart Show was one of the best of its time, and it holds up very well. I loved the episode where Bob finds out that Emily has a higher IQ than his.
R24, that's actually my favorite.
Mary Frann died from a heart condition, not cancer. I remember reading at the time that she was hurt by the show's finale, not angry.
Frann became more and more beautiful as the series progressed.
What made "The Bob Newhart Show" bearable was Newhart and Pleshette, and the chemistry they had. But, yes, the show aimed at farce with the crazies -patients and neighbors and staff - and the grounding of sense that the couple showed left the rest of the cast looking like unpleasant creeps or pathetic, unfunny losers. Bad mix. It was a very mixed experience for me - I cringed a lot.
"Newhart" succeeded as a show better because Mary Frann had a lighter touch and was a more shallow performer. Newhart really was the only sane one around, and the nuts were diverse enough (with Poston's savvy, Duffy's pinchedness, Scolari's yuppifying, and the others) adding to a more successfully farcical show. It seemed like an Americanized, toned-down version of "Fawlty Towers" with a sane Cleese. Not that I liked it - it seemed stupid and too broad - but at least it wasn't creepy.
But it never was a waste of time to watch Newhart in action. His timing, willingness to show negative personality traits (like Benny), understanding and sanity all help to make him a genius of comedy. As you know.
The end of "Newhart" did hurt Frann, who was more fragile than she appeared. It was like her performance and character were discounted. But the brilliant, absurd and yet meaningful twist showed a quality neither show really evidenced much, and managed to lift them both a little by it. Unprecedented for a scene of a minute's or two's duration.
[quote]Newhart is one of the few actors to play a leading role on two very successful series (Bea Arthur and Larry Hagman also come to mind).
Forgotten but not gone?.
[quote]Newhart is one of the few actors to play a leading role on two very successful series (Bea Arthur and Larry Hagman also come to mind).
Dick Van Dyke
I think I laughed harder at Newhart because it was a bit more surreal and manic in a way. It was a bit like Green Acres, also great, with the one sane person surrounded by lunatics but the lunatics prevailed.
Burt Conrad(with 3, count 'em!)
Who the hell is Burt Conrad?
Also, Asner and Knight were never the leads on MTM.
June Lockhart also was a three timer.
It's Bob Conrad. Hawaiian Eye, Wild, Wild, West, Baa Baa Black Sheep.
Newhart took a few years to really click. The first season is not horrible, but it was much better when they added Duffy and Peter S. It really did have a little bit of the surreal vibe that Green Acres had.
I think Courtney Thorne-Smith trumps them all.
According to Jim
Two and a Half Men
Whoever her agent is, he's the best in the biz.
R40 - Courtney's good, but I'm better.
I was on Dynasty and TJ Hooker at the same time. Then I took Melrose from a struggling drama and made it into a successful show. Plus Spin City.
[quote] Asner and Knight were never the leads on MTM
Sure they were. Unless you only want to credit MTM herself.
R39, I agree. I thought the first season was just ok, that guy Kirk just didn't do anything for the show. After one or two lies, it wasn't so funny.
Stephanie was one of the all time great TV characters (like Lilith, & Diane). I loved Larry, Darryl, & Darryl too -- talk about surreal.
R43 What category were they in for the Emmy Awards? Nice try.
My mother hated Bob Newhart and loved Liberace, but it doesn't matter because she was rich and left me a fortune.
Hello. This is my brother, Darryl. And this is my other brother, Darryl.
I never found Newhart funny but he seemed like a nice enough guy. The show was wildly popular and I don't know why either.
Ellen is the female Newhart according to Carson.
Is it known what Newhart & Ellen think of each other? I kind of agree with Carson -- I wonder if they admire each other's work.
I've loved Newhart since I was a kid & he was the Empire State Bldg's new night watchman on his first night at work, making a phone report to his boss about King Kong. I like Ellen a lot too, but has she ever done anything equal to that?
I think he can be very funny, but comedy is pretty subjective, different tastes for different people. He is pretty dry, and that is not for everyone.
Regarding Lou and Ted being leads or supporting. I think Lou was basically the male lead and was the second most prominent character after Mary (esp. after Rhoda left). Ted, I would consider supporting. He could be very funny, but when he was used too much could be more annoying than funny.
It's weird, I never really liked "The Bob Newhart Show" but I do find something about it comforting. Maybe just memories of a simpler time. I like Bob Newhart and Suzanne Pleshette but the rest of the supporting cast was annoying, especially Bob's "wacky" patients. Are there any "classic" episodes of this show? I don't think I could recall a plot from any show in the entire series run.
"Newhart" was funny for awhile but fell into a repetitive rut pretty quickly. All the characters were pretty one-note. Larry, Darryl & Darryl were like a popular SNL sketch - funny the first time or two, painful and sad after that. If not for the series finale I doubt it would be remembered at all.
R54, "Seein' Double" was such a riot. Even the shiow bumopers had Stephanie (in character) saying, ""Seein' Double" will be right back!" Then she giggled.
I remember my fascination at the Newhart's Chicago apartment.
I couldn't find a link to a good interior shot, but I remember thinking that, to my little kid eyes, the sunken living room and open floor plan as being the height of sophistication and elegance.
I'm sure that, by now, it either looks terribly dated or retro chic.
R52, I agree that Lou was more like a male lead on MTM. In fact, I've read that the writers toyed with putting Mary and Lou together in the the show's final episode. Ed Asner thought that was the way the show should have ended, but the writers and producers backed off in the end fearing the audience really viewed Lou as a father figure, not a romantic interest for Mary. But if you watch the last few episodes leading up to the series finale, you can see the subtle way they were actually leading toward that ending.
As for The Bob Newhart Show, I agree with the posters who say it was good for the time. But I've watched it several times in the last year and although it has its moments, I don't think it held up as well as some other shows.
Newhart still holds up fairly well once you get past that first season. I grew up in Vermont and we used to laugh at some of the inaccuracies. However, they were minor and didn't detract from the show.
Marcia Wallace's hair that first season is hideous. It's like her bouffant wilted and she didn't bother doing anything to it. The perm helped.
I even liked his post-Newhart short-lived sitcom with Judd Hirsch and Jason Bateman, "George and Leo." It was well-written and funny, but was never really given a chance.
its always Moishe!!!
Suzanne was a little plump the first season.
He's a treasure. Both shows are so comforting.
My boyfriend gave me the first 4 seasons on DVD for my birthday. I've in the third season at the moment and I have such mixed feelings.
Some episodes had no laughs at all.
Bob's character is not at all interesting.
Emily is very different in the first season - not the no nonsense, no BS woman I remembered. She even asks Bobs permission to do stuff? Really?
Marcia Wallace is just a riot. Effortlessly funny.
Bobs sister was completely unnecessary and make that Howard even more annoying.
Why are there so many story lines where Emily is jealous of Bob? Patients falling for Bob, ex girlfriends coming after Bob. Did they think we're blind?
And yes I agree with poster above Pleshette's weight fluctuates from season to season but she also gets hotter with age. Smokin in season 3 compared to season 1.
This show must have ridden on the coattails of the Saturday night line up it was in. I can't imagine anyone would have gone out of their way to catch it otherwise.
Pleshette was pregnant when the series began but had a miscarriage, I believe. That could be why she looks a little heavier in the first season.