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The Bob Newhart Show
Season Four: 1975-76

SEASON ONE: 1972-73
SEASON TWO: 1973-74
SEASON FOUR: 1975-76
SEASON FIVE: 1976-77
SEASON SIX: 1977-78


Year-End Rating: 20.7 (26th place)

Bob welcomes two significant additions to the family in the fourth season--Tom Poston arrives as Cliff Murdoch in the first of the Peeper's many appearances; and Carol meets, courts, and marries travel agent Larry Bondurant, played by actor--and sometime director--Will Mackenzie.

Michael Zinberg is appointed producer in midseason, after producers Tom Patchett and Jay Tarses assume the duties of executive producers. Gordon and Lynne Farr are the season's story consultants; and Peter Bonerz, Michael Zinberg, and James Burrows are the most prominent of the season's directors.

73 The Longest Good-Bye    First Aired: September 13, 1975
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: James Burrows
Guest Star: Tom Poston

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.

74 Here's Looking at You, Kid    First Aired: September 20, 1975
Writers: Gordon and Lynne Farr
Director: Peter Bonerz
Guest Stars: Pat Finley, Richard Balin, Vern E. Rowe, Don Nagel

Howard looks to Bob for moral support when he proposes to Ellen at a crowded restaurant.

Ellen didn't think the time was right for marriage, a decision shared by the show's producers. As Howard reclaimed his bachelor status in the final seasons, Bob's sister was reluctantly written out of the series.

75 Death of a Fruitman    First Aired: September 27, 1975
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: Peter Bonerz
Guest Stars: Renee Lippin, John Fiedler, Florida Friebus

The group is angry at Mr. Gianelli for missing their fourth anniversary party, until they find out he was crushed to death beneath a truckload of zucchini.

Noam Pitlik would meet a somewhat happier fate than his character when the actor cut back on his performing commitments to become the full-time director of Barney Miller.

Gianelli's ludicrous demise foreshadowed the funeral of Chuckles the Clown on The Mary Tyler Moore Show the following month. Although the episodes have little in common beyond similarly silly treatment of the same subject matter, a comparison of the two offers a revealing look at how divergent the two shows really were. When WJM's kiddie-show host was trampled by a rogue elephant, the newsroom came to a halt as the staff registered shock--and, ultimately, laughter--at the ridiculous details of the clown's passing. The fruitman's death is no less absurd, and yet Bob and his group accept the circumstances of his demise with almost existential calm. On The Bob Newhart Show, life itself was such an absurd proposition that death--even death by zucchini--was taken in stride.

76 Change Is Gonna Do Me Good    First Aired: October 4, 1975
Writers: Gordon and Lynne Farr
Director: John Erman
Guest Star: Brian Byers

In an effort to shake Bob out of his domestic rut, Emily suggests that they exchange household duties.

The husband-and-wife writing team of Gordon and Lynne Farr gave a boost to the continuing saga of the Hartleys in a series of fine fourth- and fifth-season scripts. "We wanted to develop Emily," recalled Lynne Farr, "so we made sure she spent as little time in the kitchen as possible."

77 The Heavyweights    First Aired: October 11, 1975
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: Bob Claver
Guest Stars: Cliff Osmond, Marcia Lewis, Larry Gelman

Carol gets roped into a date with an obnoxious tubbo from Bob's overweight workshop.

78 Carol's Wedding    First Aired: October 18, 1975
Writers: Gordon and Lynne Farr
Director: Michael Zinberg
Guest Stars: Will Mackenzie, Robert Casper

Bob is skeptical when Carol announces that she's getting married to Larry Bondurant, a travel agent she met less than twelve hours earlier.

79 Shrinks Across the Sea    First Aired: October 25, 1975
Writers: Phil Doran, Douglas Arango
Director: Bob Claver
Guest Stars: Rene Auberjonois, Françoise Ruggieri, Richard Foronjy

Bob and Emily host a visiting French psychologist, who arrives in the company of another man's wife.

80 What's It All About, Albert?    First Aired: November 1, 1975
Writer: Phil Davis
Director: Michael Zinberg
Guest Star: Keenan Wynn

Convinced that his psychological counseling has done none of his patients a bit of good, Bob seeks inspiration from his old college professor.

His college mentor is no help at all. But, grasping at straws, Bob discovers a new approach to therapy in the movie Born Free and urges his patients to follow the example of Elsa the lioness and return to their wild state.

81 Who Is Mr. X?    First Aired: November 8, 1975
Writer: Bruce Kane
Director: Peter Bonerz
Guest Stars: Jennifer Warren, Alan Manson, Claudette Duffy

A seemingly innocuous talk-show host uses Bob as bait when she decides to do a hatchet job on the entire field of psychology.

Once again, Bob finds himself humiliated before the unyielding gaze of the entire city--and this time he's in trouble from the very start. Says host Ruth Corley, by way of introduction, "It's been said that today's psychologist is nothing more than a con man, a snake-oil salesman flimflamming innocent people, peddling cures for everything from nail biting to a lousy love life--and I agree. We'll ask Dr. Hartley to defend himself after these messages."

82 Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time    First Aired: November 15, 1975
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: Richard Kinon
Guest Stars: Titos Vandis, Ruth McDevitt, Phillip R. Allen

Bob forms an unlikely alliance when he goes into partnership with a well-heeled playboy psychologist.

83 Over the River and Through the Woods    First Aired: November 22, 1975
Writer: Bruce Kane
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Janet Meshad, David Himes

When Emily flies home for Thanksgiving, Bob joins Jerry, Howard, and Mr. Carlin for a bachelor's feast of Chinese food and beer.

84 Fathers and Sons and Mothers    First Aired: November 29, 1975
Writer: Arnold Kane
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: William Daniels, Martha Scott, Lucien Scott

Bob's mother drops by for an extended visit and begins to drive her son crazy within moments of her arrival.

85 The Article    First Aired: December 6, 1975
Writer: Eric Tarloff
Director: Michael Zinberg
Guest Stars: Pat Finley, Ellen Weston, Bobby Ramsen, Jack O'Leary, Howard Platt

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.

86 A Matter of Vice-Principal    First Aired: December 13, 1975
Writers: Gordon and Lynne Farr
Director: Peter Bonerz
Guest Stars: Lawrence Pressman, Kristina Holland, Frances Lee McCain, Nora Marlowe

Emily suddenly finds herself embroiled in grammar school politics when she gets promoted to vice-principal ahead of a teacher with greater seniority.

87 Bob Has to Have His Tonsils Out, So He Spends Christmas Eve in the Hospital    First Aired: December 20, 1975
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Graham Jarvis, Merie Earle

Bob faces another depressing holiday when he's forced to undergo an emergency tonsillectomy on Christmas Eve.

88 No Sale    First Aired: January 3, 1976
Writer: Michael Zinberg
Director: Eddie Ryder
Guest Star: Malcolm Atterbury

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.

89 Carol at 6:01    First Aired: January 10, 1976
Writers: Gordon and Lynne Farr
Director: Peter Bonerz
Guest Star: Will Mackenzie

Carol turns to Bob for help when she begins to feel smothered by her new husband's overly lavish attentions.

90 Warden Gordon Borden    First Aired: January 17, 1976
Writers: Gordon and Lynne Farr
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: William Redfield, Pat Finley

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.

William Redfield plays Howard's possessive brother, Gordon. The actor had originally been cast as the Hartleys' annoying next-door neighbor in the series's original pilot film--a role that was dropped, ironically, when the show was revamped to include the navigator next door, Howard Borden.

91 My Boy Guillermo    First Aired: January 24, 1976
Writer: Sy Rosen
Director: Alan Myerson
Guest Stars: Gail Strickland, Matthew Laborteaux

Jerry's globe-hopping girlfriend returns to tempt him out of his rut with an offer of marriage and an instant family.

Story editors Gordon and Lynne Farr received this script in the mail from a hopeful writer who was then working at a Palo Alto, California, Goodwill Store. "We liked it so much we actually bought it--which was almost never done," recalls Lynne Farr. "And then we invited him to sit in on the rewrite, which was also never done. Afterward, we told him we needed another story editor for the next season and asked him if he was willing to leave his job at the Goodwill. His jaw nearly hit the floor, he was so excited."

92 Duke of Dunk    First Aired: January 31, 1976
Writers: Douglas Arango, Phil Doran
Director: Peter Bonerz
Guest Star: Anthony Costello

Bob counsels an egocentric basketball superstar in the fine art of team playing.

93 Guaranteed Not to Shrink    First Aired: February 7, 1976
Writer: Sy Rosen
Director: James Burrows
Guest Stars: Will Mackenzie, Claudia Bryar, Paul Bryar

Carol becomes an overnight psychoanalyst when she enrolls in a night school psychology course.

This episode contains a priceless and hilariously authentic husband-and-wife exchange when Bob starts to describe a brilliant old girlfriend who was so unambitious that she settled, tragically, for an unchallenging job as a mere schoolteacher. Of course, Bob's barely finished his sentence before he's stopped cold by the withering glare of his wife--the schoolteacher. Bob next bungles all hope of a tactful retreat when he attempts to salvage the thought midsentence by amending it to "she finally settled for being a . . . school." By then, of course, it's already too late--and Bob is forced to spend the rest of the episode in a doghouse of his own design.

94 Birth of a Salesman    First Aired: February 14, 1976
Writer: Sy Rosen
Director: John C. Chulay
Guest Star: Oliver Clark

After Bob counsels Mr. Herd to be more assertive, the milquetoast takes the advice to heart and slaps the therapist with a lawsuit.

95 The Boy Next Door    First Aired: February 21, 1976
Writer: Hugh H. Wilson
Director: Peter Bonerz
Guest Star: Moosie Drier

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.

Hugh Wilson--a prolific second-generation MTM writer/producer--would eventually distinguish himself as creator of WKRP in Cincinnati in 1978.

96 Peeper--Two    First Aired: February 28, 1976
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: Michael Zinberg
Guest Stars: Tom Poston, Veronica Hamel, Sally Stark, Barbara Ellen Levene

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.


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