Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Television > The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete First Season (Fox DVD)

The Bob Newhart Show – The Complete First Season


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Episodes: B



Bob Newhart was already a name in comedy for quite a while, including a series of hit comedy albums under his belt from the early 1960s.  He achieved comedy immortality when The Bob Newhart Show debuted on CBS in 1972.  Another classic from Mary Tyler Moore’s production company, this was an exceptionally smart sitcom with a height of wit never seen like this on TV before.  Fox has issued The Complete First Season on three double-sided DVDs.


Before we continue, my big complaint about this set is not the total lack of extras, even commentary tracks, but that the theme song has been cut down on all the opening credits.  Though not as butchered as Shout! Factory’s atrocious set of Too Close For Comfort, which had syndicated shows missing far too much from each show.  These shows here are complete outside of the opening.  With the change of theme to the more upbeat, bonkers instrumental, vintage fans deserved to be warned in advance.


The classic cast headed by Suzanne Pleshette, Peter Bonerz, Bob Daily, Marcia Wallace, Patricia Smith and others was an amazing match, very rare at any time in TV.  The show was created by David Davis and Lorenzo Music, which became an instant classic.  They were part of the extremely talented in-house group at MTM that few TV companies ever equaled, never surpassed.  It was the last great golden age of American Television and endures incredibly well nearly 35 years later.  The episodes are as follows:



1) Fly The Unfriendly Skies – Penny Marshall plays a stewardess in a show where Bob books his psychiatric patients as a bond to save money, but his wife has a fear of flying that complicates things further.


2) Tracy Grammar School, I’ll Lick You Yet  - Can Bob explain his psychiatric profession without major trouble, in front of Emily’s school children on career day?  Larry Gelman guest stars.

3) Tennis, Emily? – Emily’s tennis instructor (Peter Brown) has a problem with women; he cannot stop them from coming on to him.

4) Mom, I Love You – Can Bob deal with the fact he has never told his mother (Martha Scott) he loves her, so Emily intervenes with unexpected results.

5) Goodnight Nancy – Bob’s old girlfriend Nancy (Penny Fuller) reenters Bob’s life and it does not take a PhD to know Emily does not like it.  James B. Sikking also stars.

6) Come Live With Me – The great John Fiedler makes his first appearance as Mr. Peterson in a show where Bob messes up Carol’s love life.

7) Father Knows Worst – Howard’s son Howie (Moosie Drier) comes to lunch, and when things do not go well, unliked father syndrome kicks in.

8) Don't Go To Bed Mad – Can Bob stop watching the new institution known as Monday Night Football?  Emily hopes so. 

9) P-I-L-O-T – Will The Hartley’s adopt a baby?  M. Emmet Walsh and Louise Lasser guest star.

10) Anything Happen While I Was Gone – Elaine Giftos plays a new dental assistant who has men opening their mouths without being asked to say “ahhhhhh”.  Now Jerry wants to marry her.

11) I Want To Be Alone – Bernie Kopell is a buddy of Bob’s who turns up when The Hartleys seem to have split up.

12) Bob and Emily and Howard and Carol and Jerry – Howard is high on medical drugs, which gets Carol to find him suddenly attractive.  Pat Morita shows up as a bartender.

13) I Owe It All To You... But Not That Much – Bob takes on Peter as a patient to see why he cannot commit.

14) His Busiest Season – Can Bob cure the holiday blues with group therapy?  Maybe not!

15) Let's Get Away From It Almost – Allen Garfield, Chuck McCann and Joyce Van Patten show up when The Hartleys vacation turns into a kind of tourist trap at a ski lodge.

16) The Crash Of 29 Years Old – Carol is so depressed about her life at 29 that she quits as Bob’s secretary, only to return to the office…  as a patient.

17) The Man With The Golden Wrist – Larry Gelman is back, along with Michael Lerner, when a pricey gold watch Emily buys Bob for his birthday seems rejected.  Things then get worse.

18) The Two Loves Of Dr. Hartley – A female patient (Emmaline Henry) gets too interested in Bob, which rubs Emily the wrong way. 

19) Not With My Sister You Don't – Heather Menzies is Bob’s younger sister who Emily tries to fix up with another man.  Too bad it’s Jerry.  Mel Stewart also stars.

20) A Home Is Not Necessarily A House – Will The Hartleys buy a house?

21) Emily, I'm Home... Emily – Can Bob survive Emily’s new full-time job with The Board Of Education.  Bored might sum it up.

22) You Can Will `Em All – Will Bob become the therapist for the entire Chicago Cubs?  An unexpected TV testimonial might be the path.

23) Bum Voyage – Can Bob enjoy two months in Europe without thinking his patients with implode emotionally?  Noam Pitlik, Pat McCormick and John Fiedler guest star.

24) Who's Been Sleeping on My Couch? – Jerry breaks up with his girlfriend.  Invited at The Hartleys, he gets too comfortable and will not go away.



In some ways, the situation comedy has never been as smart since, especially on U.S. TV, but some people will never get this show.  These are constantly funny and witty, with exceptional comic timing and remarkable teleplays.  Newhart and Pleshette are one of TVs all-time great couples and have actually resurfaced as their characters on other shows decades later.  This is where all the fun began.


The 1.33 X 1 image is about right for its age, with some Video Black limits and slightly aged look on some prints.  Cinematographer Pat Uhl gave the show a unique look based on a brown palette.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also adequate, though might sound a tad small.  The music was by Pat Williams, with the original title song by Lorenzo and Henriette Music.  There are no extras, but this is just too terrific a set to pass up, despite what was done to the theme song.


By the way, if you have not heard, there is a Bob Drinking Game.  Yes, inspired by the fact that the word “Bob” is said more often in any one show than any other.  Though we do not encourage alcoholism, it does show who was the center of the series.  I just hope Fox comes up with extras next time and we hear the whole opening theme song henceforth.  The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete First Season is key TV on DVD no collection can do without.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com