The Bob Newhart Show (1972–1978)
Bob Newhart's first two sitcom's The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart, were long running hits. And Newhart ended with a classic finale featuring maybe the most loved crossover ever connecting it to The Bob Newhart Show. Sadly, his third show never quite took off and also ended in a crossover with The Bob Newhart Show that was lame and never actually aired.
The Bob Newhart Show had Bob playing Bob Hartley a psychologist who shared the floor of an office building with dentist Dr. Jerry Robinson. That's all you really need to know for this one.
The sitcom Bob had Bob Newhart playing Bob McKay. McKay was an artist working at a greeting card company but whose real dream was to be a comic book artist. In his younger days he even created a superhero named Mad-Dog. The start of the series had a comic book company wanting to revive the Mad-Dog character with a more modern edge. Bob got to quit his job and go to work as an actual comic book artist. There was good potential. He had a slightly crazy powerful boss to deal with. Then you had Bob being put to work with a group of younger people who had different ideas for his character who he could be in conflict with. It's the same sort of elements that worked well when he later made guest appearances on The Big Bang Theory: grouchy old man having to interact with younger nerds.
It could have worked, again, IF they let the show find itself. The show Newhart didn't find itself until at least season 2. But the decision was made to fully overhaul the show for season 2. The overhaul was a total fiasco. Season 2 had Bob going back to work for the greeting card company, the job he hated. Because a poor bastard having to work at a job he hates is hilarious. And greet card companies are hotbeds of comedy potential. Sarcasm doesn't read well in print, does it. That was all sarcasm. The only possible good thing they did was to bring in comedy legend Betty White to play his boss, Sylvia Schmidt. Sadly, I remember tuning into the first episode of the revamped Bob and being crushed by how dismally unfunny it was.
It was such a ratings loser that only the first five of the eight episodes they filmed for season 2 even aired. They never got to the final episode. That episode, Better to Have Loved and Flossed, is no laugh riot. Part of the plot of season 2 was that Sylvia Schmidt's husband had left her for a younger dental technician and they had both skipped town. In the last episode Bob's wife heard rumors that the dental tech was back in town working at her old job. So she made Bob go to the dentist to see if it was true. The only thing at all funny in the episode was Bob. Then they send him to the dentist and joke becomes that they fill Bob's mouth with crap so that he can't speak, neutralizing his ability to speak and be funny. Eventually Bob ends up at the dentist actually needing real corrective work on his teeth only to have Betty White show up and the dentist and his assistant both bugging out leaving Bob all by himself and still in need of help. He shouts out in desperartion, "Is there another dentist in the office who can fix a couple of crowns?" Immediately Jerry Robinson from The Bob Newhart Show pops into the door. He enters, says, "I'll be with you in a second and disappears out the door again. Then he reappears, looking in at the back of Bob. Both Bob and Jerry, at this point not able to see each other's faces, each get a look of, "Could that be... nahhhh." Roll credits (Which officially list the character as Jerry the dentist). Where Newhart ended with the mind bending reveal that all of Newhart was the dream of The Bob Newhart Show's Bob Hartley, Bob ends on a minor perfunctory cameo. Not with a bang but with a whimper.
The Bob Newhart Show and I Dream Of Jeannie
The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart
The Bob Newhart Show and Murphy Brown
The Bob Newhart Show and St. Elsewhere
Click here to return to main Crossover List
Buy these shows on Amazon.com and support this site at the same time! Check out The Bob Newhart Show and Bob on DVD!