I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
The Bob Newhart Show
Season Five: 1976-77
THE FIFTH SEASON
Year-End Rating: 19.0 (45th place)
Bob Hartley confronts another season of unparalleled comic anxiety
in fifth-year stories by Gordon and Lynne Farr, Hugh Wilson, Gary David
Goldberg, and Sy Rosen, who is also the season's story consultant. Producers
Gordon and Lynne Farr and Michael Zinberg return as custodians of this
fine madness, along with executive producers Tom Patchett and Jay Tarses.
Bob encounters an unexpected change in the Peeper when the incorrigible
joker adopts a more serious outlook after his second marriage.
The Hartleys miss their own bicentennial party after Emily accidentally
locks them in the basement storage room.
Howard undergoes a behavior-modification treatment to cure his unhealthy
dependence on Bob and Emily.
The strange triangle of Bob, Emily, and Howard defied simple description.
The perennially jet-lagged navigator was the Hartleys' best friend and
neighbor, but also something more--as Bob discovers after one of his
colleagues cures Howard's dependency by turning him into a joyless,
Things just aren't the same without Howard around. Finally, Bob and
Emily set a trap--with home-cooked mashed potatoes and roast beef as
bait--to lure the old Howard back into blissful dependency, having come
to the sobering conclusion that they need him as much as he needs them.
Howard, the childlike dreamer, filled a void in the childless couple's
life that gave the reciprocal devotion they shared an understated, and
quite touching, subtext in the rich fabric of this deceptively simple
Bob's group is stunned when Mr. Plager admits that he's a homosexual.
Bob organizes a rent strike to protest the abominable conditions in
his high-rise, only to discover that Mr. Carlin is the new owner of
Bob faces the nightmare of adjusting to a new secretary after Carol
drops him from her work roster.
Bob and Jerry plan an exciting camping trip for a pair of orphans,
but the foursome never gets any farther than a downtown parking lot.
No one is above suspicion when Bob's expensive new tape recorder turns
up missing--not even Emily.
Bob explains his obsession to recover the stolen recorder by rationalizing
how he never got over the theft of his boyhood harmonica--the one he
used when he played "Pop Goes the Weasel," just like Al of the Harmonicats.
Bob's rambling autobiographical anecdotes rarely provided any real insight
into the character's formative years, but the cockeyed wisdom and slippery
irony of these vignettes was the closest we'd come to a definition of
the world according to Bob.
A nostalgic visit to their old college bar turns sour when Bob and
the Peeper are booked on vice charges by a pair of undercover policewomen.
Bob questions the wisdom of Jerry's sudden decision to quit his practice
and live off the profits of his real estate investments.
The newly retired Jerry sets off on a worldwide quest to find his natural
Bob is shocked to discover that his parents have separated after forty-seven
years of married life.
Bob invites his feuding parents to Christmas dinner in the hope that
the warm Yuletide spirit will bring the pair back together.
Mr. Carlin invents a colorful string of tall tales about himself to
impress his love-struck new secretary.
Bob's lecture at the Ironwood Institute for Interpersonal Relationships
gets off to an unexpected start when the audience arrives in the nude.
Bob invites Emily to participate in a role-playing session with the
repressed men in his consciousness-raising group for hen-pecked husbands.
Fed up with the pressures of urban life, Bob applies for a position
on the faculty of a small rural college.
An enthusiastic psychology major develops a schoolgirl crush on Bob
during her student internship.
Dick Martin began a very successful career as a TV comedy director
with this episode, after an auspicious start as one-half of Rowan and
Martin, the comedy team that hosted NBC's Laugh-In. He came to
the series by way of Newhart, who introduced him to producer Michael
Zinberg--with typical understatement--as "a friend of mine who wants
to become a director."
Bob is convinced that he's living on borrowed time after he narrowly
escapes death in a freak elevator accident.
Producer Tom Patchett appears in a cameo as Mr. Death.
Bob has a choice of honoring the income tax deadline or his
anniversary when he discovers that they both fall on the same day.
Bob is held hostage by an affable robber he befriended in the lobby
of his bank.
Bob inspires Carol's husband to start his own travel agency, never
suspecting that Larry would set up shop right outside his office.
When Emily has difficulty venting her anger at a belligerent auto mechanic,
Bob decides to show her how it's done.
Bob has barely recovered from Carol's announcement that she's going
to have a baby when he finds out that Emily is also expecting a visit
from the stork.
This episode was written after Bob announced his intention to retire
the series at the end of the fifth year. But by the time it was filmed,
the star had decided to return for one final year--and a last-minute
rewrite was required to explain away Emily's pregnancy as a dream.
"In the original story, she really was pregnant," recalls writer Lynne
Farr. "Bob always said he wouldn't do the show with a baby, but when
he announced he wasn't coming back for a sixth year, we decided to have
some fun and see how far we could go before he changed his mind." Newhart--who'd
long maintained that the Hartleys could get along very nicely without
children--cringed at the thought of introducing "baby humor" in the
show's final year.
"When Bob first saw the script at the Monday-morning reading, he refused
to do it as written--and all of a sudden we didn't have a script," remembers
Farr. "We spent a frantic night trying to save the story before we finally
just turned the whole thing into a dream. And even after all that, it
was actually a pretty good show."