The fourth season (1975-1976) of “The Bob Newhart Show” is right up there with the second season, and perhaps even a bit better. Some of the funniest episodes from the fan polls are from this season, and while there are perhaps a few fewer recognizable faces as guest stars, you will still see a few. The writers and cast by this point have both hit their stride, and the chemistry is phenomenal.
The Season is book-ended by appearances by Tom Poston as The Peeper, Bob’s college buddy whom Emily can’t stand. Of course, Tom would go on to be a regular in Bob’s next sitcom “Newhart”, and then there is the irony that Tom and Suzanne Pleshette would eventually get married. In-between, there are many events, including the death of Mr. Gianelli (“Death of a Fruitman”), Carol gets married (“Carol’s Wedding”), Bob hosts an arrogant French psychologist (“Shrinks Across The Sea”), Bob forms a short-lived partnership with another psychiatrist (“Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time”) and many more.
Two of the funniest episodes ever are in this season with “Who Is Mr. X?”, where Bob is ambushed by a morning talk-show host and is so flustered he reveals that one of his patients is a public servant. The other classic is “Over the River and Through the Woods”, in which Bob gets out of a trip to Seattle over Thanksgiving by claiming that his patients need him. He ends up hosting a party with Jerry, Howard, and Mr. Carlin in which they all drink too much watching William and Mary’s worst college football defeat, and make the funniest call for Chinese food ever recorded. I also very much like “Bob Has To Have His Tonsils Out, So He Spends Christmas Eve In The Hospital”, and the title explains the plot to that one.
All in all, there are 24 episodes on three 2-sided DVDs, just the same as the first three seasons. Also like seasons 2 and 3, there are five episodes with commentary, but I have to say that the commentary has improved this season; perhaps because they have more people participating in them. I would still not call them great commentaries, but they are significantly better than the prior seasons. There is a short season 4 feature, and there is also a gag reel. In all, this is probably the best set of features they have included, but more importantly this is the season with the funniest episodes.
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Season 4 contains 24 classic episodes that never fail to deliver. From classicsitcoms.com, here are the episode summaries:
1. The Longest Good-Bye – Emily is less than impressed by Bob’s legendary college chum, the Peeper–an inveterate jokester who arrives to spend a day and then stays a week.
2. Here’s Looking at You, Kid – Howard looks to Bob for moral support when he proposes to Ellen at a crowded restaurant.
3. Death of a Fruitman – The group is angry at Mr. Gianelli for missing their fourth anniversary party.
4. Change Is Gonna Do Me Good – In an effort to shake Bob out of his domestic rut, Emily suggests that they exchange household duties.
5. The Heavyweights – Carol gets roped into a date with an obnoxious tubbo from Bob’s overweight workshop.
6. Carol’s Wedding – Bob is skeptical when Carol announces that she’s getting married to Larry Bondurant, a travel agent she met less than twelve hours earlier.
7. Shrinks Across the Sea – Bob and Emily host a visiting French psychologist, who arrives in the company of another man’s wife.
8. What’s It All About, Albert? – Convinced that his psychological counseling has done none of his patients a bit of good, Bob seeks inspiration from his old college professor.
9. Who Is Mr. X? – A seemingly innocuous talk-show host uses Bob as bait when she decides to do a hatchet job on the entire field of psychology.
10. Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time – Bob forms an unlikely alliance when he goes into partnership with a well-heeled playboy psychologist.
11. Over the River and Through the Woods – When Emily flies home for Thanksgiving, Bob joins Jerry, Howard, and Mr. Carlin for a bachelor’s feast of Chinese food and beer.
12. Fathers and Sons and Mothers – Bob’s mother drops by for an extended visit and begins to drive her son crazy within moments of her arrival.
13. The Article – Bob and Jerry have second thoughts after they agree to let Ellen do a newspaper feature on the drama of life in a big-city medical building.
14. A Matter of Vice-Principal – Emily suddenly finds herself embroiled in grammar school politics when she gets promoted to vice-principal ahead of a teacher with greater seniority.
15. Bob Has to Have His Tonsils Out, So He Spends Christmas Eve in the Hospital – Bob faces another depressing holiday when he’s forced to undergo an emergency tonsillectomy on Christmas Eve.
16. No Sale – Bob and Jerry are investment partners in one of Carlin’s shady real-estate deals. This one hinges on evicting an old man from a slum tenement.
17. Carol at 6:01 – Carol turns to Bob for help when she begins to feel smothered by her new husband’s overly lavish attentions.
18. Warden Gordon Borden – Howard is upset by the arrival of his sibling rival, Gordon–his brother has always taken things from him, and now he’s got his eye on Ellen.
19. My Boy Guillermo – Jerry’s globe-hopping girlfriend returns to tempt him out of his rut with an offer of marriage and an instant family.
20. Duke of Dunk – Bob counsels an egocentric basketball superstar in the fine art of team playing.
21. Guaranteed Not to Shrink – Carol becomes an overnight psychoanalyst when she enrolls in a night school psychology course.
22. Birth of a Salesman – After Bob counsels Mr. Herd to be more assertive, the milquetoast takes the advice to heart and slaps the therapist with a lawsuit.
23. The Boy Next Door – Howard’s ex-wife grants him custody of their son, but Bob and Emily end up spending more time with Howie than his dad does.
24. Peeper – Two – When the Peeper returns in sullen spirits after his wife leaves him, Jerry decides to reacquaint Bob’s old chum with the swinging singles’ scene.
The Bob Newhart Show is so far better than any of the nearly worthless shows on TV currently. To make it even worse Fox has NO PLANS for releasing season 5 and 6. They say it is due to low sales. If you have any comments please call or write:
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