The Bob Newhart Show ran from 1972-78 and covered the best and the worse of Seventies fashions. From platforms and pant suits to bell-bottoms, polyester dresses, feathered hair, maxi skirts and jackets that looked like car seat covers, this show had it all. And it was pretty darn funny too.
Bob Newhart played Dr. Bob Hartley, a successful psychologist in Chicago. And check out that tie. The character is an extension of Bob Newhart's stand up routines, mostly because he is the best at having one sided telephone conversations. Bob Hartley is the straight man in the series, surrounded by his crazy patients and eccentric friends.
Suzanne Pleshette plays Bob's supportive, sarcastic and stylish wife Emily. Through the Hartley's, you can tell how much the sitcom, and by extension the traditional family unit, had changed in ten years. Emily works as a teacher, instead of staying home all day, and even went back to school to get her Master's degree. The Hartley's live in an apartment in Chicago, divide up the household chores and income and also aren't trying to have a baby. They also only have one car and so one of them must rely on public transit, like normal people. Plus, this is the first show where the husband and wife characters, played by actors who weren't married to each other in real life, shared a double bed and made it clear that they used it. Even Lucy and Desi had twin beds.
Bill Daily played Bob and Emily's navigator neighbour Howard Borden. Howard was divorced (she got custody of little Howie) and is extremely inept at most things, except ironing. He spends a lot of time next door, borrowing things or just popping in. He also eats at Bob and Emily's most of the time. They don't invite him anymore, they just set the table for three. You may have seen Bill Daily before, that's because Howard once had a dream where he was an astronaut for five years in Florida with a genie.
Bob's other best friend is Jerry Robinson, played by Peter Bonerz (who also directed most of the episodes). Jerry is an orthodontist, sharing the same office suit with Bob and a bachelor. He thinks of himself as being a ladies man, but he's not very successful.
Marcia Wallace (the voice of Edna Krabappel) plays Carol, the single, thirty year old receptionist. Carol is desperate to find someone, even going out with "separated" men. She also gets depressed when she realizes that she's never going to get promoted since she's at the top of her profession. It's through Carol that you can see how informal the office setting has become, not just through clothes. Carol calls all of the doctors, and some of the patients, by their first names and sometimes takes long lunches or leaves early in the afternoon and is constantly trying to get a raise. Carol is also Emily's best friend and she does wear jeans to the office.
Bob has a lot of recurring patients, most of whom are also members of his group therapy sessions. All of his patients are crazy in their own special way. The most memorable of Bob's patients is Mr. Carlin, the wealthy misanthropic businessman who has daily appointments. He also spends time at Bob and Emily's apartment, mostly because they don't know who else to invite.
And now, picture spam:
The first four seasons have been released on Region 1 DVD, it is unknown when the last two seasons will be released. If you live in the States, you can also watch the show on hulu. For those of us outside of America, there's always torrents.
I had a lot of trouble finding clips of Bob Newhart, mostly because they're all on hulu.
Here's a clip showing why you shouldn't order Chinese food when drunk:
Here's a clip with Bob and Howard:
And one with Carol and Jerry:
Here are some syndication promos: