Growing up,Bob Newhart was one of my comic idols.I remember seeing him on the Tonight Show as a kid,doing his adman on the phone to Abraham Lincoln bit.Even as an 8 yo,I could appreciate his style,and when he got his own sit-com,almost immediately it became a personal favorite.As a pyschologist dealing not only with wacky patients,but also with his wacky friends,brought out the best in Newhart.Suzanne Pleshette was perfectly cast as his smart and sexy wife.And Bill Daily,coming off of 6 years on the silly "I Dream of Jeanie",is suprisingly good as navigator Howard Borden.Add Peter Bonerz as the dentist Jerry,with his comic training and Marcia Wallace as Carol,the receptionist who is always looking for something better,everything comes together.The show was at its best when Bob is caught in the middle of his friends and familys crisis,but sometimes Bob is in need of help himself.I like how Newhart was not afraid to show his character as flawed.A good example is the episode where Bob and Emily stay up all night fighting over Bobs desire to watch Monday Night Football,and they wouldnt go to bed mad.It was a situation that real couples have probaly dealt with,and Emilys position seems reasonable while Bob appears to be unduly obstinate.As the show aged,it maintained a high level of quality,probaly peaking during the 3rd,4th and 5th seasons.But when Newhart expressed a desire to work less,he appeared in fewer episodes,and his presence is sorely missed.The shows final season sagged for exactly that reason,and while Suzanne Pleshette is a capable enough actress,part of the appeal of "The Bob Newhart Show" is Bob Newhart himself.Still,I think he was right to end it when he did.But we still have the old shows to look back at,even after all these years,it is still very funny.It has aged extremely well,much like many of the other great shows of the 70s.And the DVDs are a real treat,because not only do you get the original unvarnished episodes,you get commentary from Bob,which I really love,its always great to hear him.
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