I don’t remember a television show that was as funny as The Bob Newhart Show. The staid, professional Dr. Hartley and his wife are surrounded by a parade of the wackiest neighbors, colleagues and friends that one could imagine. Even Dr. Hartley’s “group” is an hysterical array of people who somehow make even those in for psychological help seem funny without making fun of their individual problems. This show is classic Newhart. It is not slapstick or in-your-face humor nor is it anything like the comedy seen on television today. Bob Newhart is subtle and timed with absolute precision. Bob’s facial expression (or should I say lack of one) tells us that something funny is about to happen. You won’t go wrong getting The Bob Newhart Show if you love wonderful, colorful characters, first-rate writing and everyday situations which are full of humor and wit.
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At last Bob Newart is on DVD.
This first release of The Bob Newhart show on DVD contains all of the episodes of its first season. All 24 episodes are contained on 3 disks. It is full frame and list at 657 minutes.
1) Fly the Unfriendly Skies – Bob invites Emily to join his fear of flying group on a outing to New York.
2) Tracy Grammar School – Bob feels left out when he is not invited to one if of Emily’s classes.
3) Tennis, Emily? – Emily’s tennis instructor comes to see Bob about his inability to turn down the women who are attracted to him.
4) Mom, I Love You – Bob can’t tell his mother that he loves her.
5) Goodnight Nancy – Bob’s old girlfriend comes to town.
6) Come Live With Me – Carol wants move in with her boyfriend.
7) Father Knows Worst – Howard believes that his son does not like him.
Don’t Go To Bed Mad – Bob and Emily have a disagreement about Monday Night football.
9) P-I-L-O-T – Since Bob and Emily can’t have a child, they think about adopting.
10) Anything Happen While I Was Gone – Jerry announces his engagement.
11) I Want To Be Alone – Bob needs some quite time, moves into a hotel and Howard thinks that Bob and Emily are breaking up.
12) Bob and Emily and Howard and Carol and Jerry – Howard has a tooth pulled.
13) I Owe it all to you… But not that Much – Jerry becomes one of Bob patients when he can’t get serious with any of his dates.
14) His Busiest Season – When Bob’s group can’t find any Christmas spirit, he invites them over for Christmas Eve.
15) Let’s Get Away from it Almost – Bob and Emily spend time at a ski lodge and find themselves with an annoying couple.
16) The Crash of 29 Years Old – Carol has her 29th birthday.
17) The Man with the Golden Wrist – Emily gives Bob a gold watch for his 40th birthday.
18) The Two Loves of Dr. Hartley – One of Bob’s patients falls in love with him.
19) Not With My Sister You Don’t – Howard’s 22 year old sister comes to visit and Emily set her up with Jerry.
20) A Home is not Necessarily a House – Bob and Emily considering buying home.
21) Emily, I’m Home… Emily – When Emily get a fulltime job, Bob gets upset.
22) You Can Will `Em All – A star baseball pitcher credits Bob with saving his career.
23) Bum Voyage – Emily wants Bob to take a 2 month vacation but he is afraid his patients won’t be able to take his absent that long.
24) Who’s Been Sleeping on My Couch? – After another failed romance, Jerry spends a few days at Bob’s apartment.
Long before today’s stand-up comics started to get their own series, Bob Newhart made the move from being a stand-up comic to the main character of his own situation comedy. His success as a stand-up comedian had led to his hosting a variety show in 1961, but hosting a show is not the same as acting and this show from the 1970s led the way to so many comedians making the move. As with all his series, the success of “The Bob Newhart Show” comes from the ensemble and the writing.
The first season (1972-1973) is a bit uneven at the start, but the creators and writers tweaked it a bit to get the right feel and by the end of the first season the show had really hit its stride. The difference between the pilot episode and shows like “The Man with the Golden Wrist”, “Not with my Sister you don’t”, and “Bum Voyage” is tremendous. So if you think the show isn’t as good as you remembered it when you are watching the shows from the first third of the season, don’t worry too much, because it keeps getting better, and the last third of the season is very funny.
There are no extras in this DVD set. There are 24 episodes on 3 DVDs each of which has 4 episodes per side. There are no actor profiles, features, interviews, or anything like that. The sound is mono, and they probably could have done a better job of cleaning up the video. However, despite these issues this is definitely a funny show and for those who like comedy with more thought and less slapstick, this is for you. I can only give this DVD set 3 stars because of the issues I mentioned with the DVD set, and because the show itself gets better in subsequent seasons.