Along with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, this titular series was one of the mainstays of the MTM sitcom empire of the 1970s. And like Moore's show, there were no great comedy teams; only the incomparable reaction comedy of Newhart, and a motley crew of regulars who played gag man to his straight man.
Because his later hit series Newhart was, in its final episode, revealed to be a dream of the character Newhart played in this show, psychologist Bob Hartley, and that last episode is amongst the most famous in tv history, this first sitcom of Newhart's (he has an earlier variety show of the same name in the early 1960s) is often forgotten. Or, at least, underestimated.
That's a shame. It shouldn't be. It was a great adult comedy. Nary a child in any episode. In fact, Newhart was once told that the producers wanted Suzanne Pleshette, who played his character's wife, Emily, to get pregnant, and Newhart replied, 'Great, so who are you going to get to play Bob?' That was the end of that idea.
But, the sexy and sultry-voiced Pleshette was only one of the great supporting characters, which included Bill Daily (fresh off of an I Dream Of Jeannie run), Peter Bonerz, Marcia Wallace, and a bevy of wacky 'patients,' including Jack Riley, John Fiedler, Howard Hesseman, and occasional appearances by Tom Poston, who'd become a regular on Newhart.
Bob Newhart Show Opening Theme - Click here for more free videos
Like Moore's show, and The Odd Couple, this show really has not dated; a tribute to its writing and the universality of its characters who were never stereotypes, merely archetypes (albeit stretched a bit).
Here's a typical episode:
The Way We Weren't
The Bob Newhart Show | MySpace Video
The series' final episode spoofed the weepfest ending of Mary Tyler Moore's show, and showed why Newhart lasted decades in the business.