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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
The Bob Newhart Show
Season Two: 1973-74

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


Year-End Rating: 22.3 (12th place)

The peculiar logic of the Newhart universe continues to evolve as the offbeat individuals in Bob's therapy group emerge as a steady source of story ideas in the second year. Tom Patchett and Jay Tarses contribute the bulk of the season's scripts, along with Jerry Mayer and Charlotte Brown, among others.

Producer Martin Cohan is a key architect of this emerging universe, along with writers Patchett and Tarses, who serve as the season's story consultants. Peter Baldwin directs more than a third of the year's episodes, along with Jay Sandrich, George Tyne, Alan Rafkin, Jerry London, Peter Bonerz, and Don Bustany.

25 Last TV Show    First Aired: September 15, 1973
Writer: Charlotte Brown
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Jack Riley, Florida Friebus, John Fiedler, Renee Lippin, Noam Pitlik, Don Dandridge

Bob reluctantly accepts an invitation to hold a group session on live television.

The group insists that Bob schedule the TV appearance, and he bows to their will--only to find himself betrayed on live television when they freeze up, leaving him fifty-six minutes to fill with stories of his Air Force days, his stint as a soprano in the boys' choir, and those wonderful summers on his Uncle Ned's farm. It was a stock MTM situation--Mary Richards often found herself in similar straits--but no performer ever communicated the divine comedy of devastating anxiety quite so well as Bob Newhart.

26 Motel    First Aired: September 22, 1973
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Zohra Lampert, Barbara Brownell

Bob gets an unexpected taste of Jerry's swinging lifestyle when the bachelor fixes him up with a local girl during an ill-fated trip to Peoria.

27 Backlash    First Aired: September 29, 1973
Writer: Susan Silver
Director: George Tyne
Guest Star: Michael Conrad

Emily begins to wonder if they'll ever take a vacation when Bob calls off their trip to Mexico because of sudden back pain.

Emily is especially anxious to get away from it all, convinced that a few romantic nights south of the border will increase their odds of finally conceiving a baby. Her maternal yearnings surfaced in two or three of the earliest shows, but Newhart maintained that adding a child to the cast would dilute the show's adult appeal, and Emily's urgent longing was reduced to no more than a poignant subtext in later seasons.

28 Somebody Down Here Likes Me    First Aired: October 6, 1973
Writer: Peter Myerson
Director: Jerry London
Guest Star: John McMartin

Bob feels responsible when the minister he's been treating decides to leave the church.

29 Emily in for Carol    First Aired: October 13, 1973
Writer: Jerry Mayer
Director: Alan Rafkin
Guest Stars: Howard Platt, Rhoda Gemignani, Teri Garr

Despite Bob's strenuous objections, the doctors on his floor insist on hiring Emily as receptionist while Carol's on vacation.

30 Have You Met Miss Dietz?    First Aired: October 20, 1973
Writer: Bill Idelson
Director: George Tyne
Guest Stars: Mariette Hartley, David Fresco

Bob is caught in the middle of an unpleasant rivalry between his best friends when Emily's newly divorced girlfriend dates Howard and Jerry at the same time.

31 Old Man Rivers    First Aired: October 27, 1973
Writer: Martin Cohan
Director: Martin Cohan
Guest Stars: Jeff Corey, Don Fenwick

Carol thinks she's found happiness at last--with a doctor who's thirty years her senior.

Bob's receptionist is embarrassed to admit that she plans to have a butterfly tattoo removed from a place where no gentleman would see it anyway. But by a telepathy unique to the characters on The Bob Newhart Show, both Howard and Jerry know about the tattoo without having to be told. How they came by such intimate knowledge is a provocative question that's never explained--and perhaps it's better that way.

32 Mister Emily Hartley    First Aired: November 3, 1973
Writer: Charlotte Brown
Director: Jerry London
Guest Stars: Bill Quinn, Claudette Nevins, Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses

Bob suffers from wounded pride when he discovers that Emily's IQ is a full twenty points higher than his.

Writers Patchett and Tarses, who began their careers as stand-up comics, make cameo appearances as a waiter and one of the guests at the cocktail party for geniuses.

33 Mutiny on the Hartley    First Aired: November 10, 1973
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Star: Henry Corden

Bob's therapy group stages a rebellion to protest a five-dollar rate increase.

34 I'm Okay, You're Okay, So What's Wrong?    First Aired: November 17, 1973
Writer: Earl Barret
Director: George Tyne
Guest Star: Katherine Helmond

Bob and Emily consult a marriage counselor to help them through a lull in their married life.

35 Fit, Fat, and Forty-One    First Aired: November 24, 1973
Writers: Bill Idelson, Harvey Miller
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Stars: Bruce Kirby, Lilyan Chauvin, Bob Ridgely, Ron Glass

Bob resolves to lose eight pounds by his forty-first birthday, but he quickly finds the regimen of dieting almost unbearable.

36 Blues for Mr. Borden    First Aired: December 1, 1973
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: Jerry London
Guest Stars: Moosie Drier, Julius Harris

Howard goes on a bender when he discovers that his ex-wife is engaged to be remarried--to a pilot.

The episode contains one of the series's most memorable throwaway gags, involving Jerry and a Great Dane. The high-strung dentist hears an imposing black man bark out the command to "Sit, Whitey!," which Jerry does--before he realizes that the order was intended for the man's perversely named dog.

37 My Wife Belongs to Daddy    First Aired: December 8, 1973
Writer: Jerry Mayer
Director: Jerry London
Guest Stars: John Randolph, Ann Rutherford

Emily is delighted when her parents pay a visit, but Bob is discouraged when he discovers that there's no way to compete with his charismatic father-in-law.

38 T. S. Elliot    First Aired: December 15, 1973
Writers: Gerry Renert, Jeff Wilheim
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Stars: Shirley O'Hara, Robert Riesel, Shizuko Hoshi

Bob arranges for Carol to date Mr. Carlin--and they hit it off so well that Elliot immediately begins making wedding plans.

39 I'm Dreaming of a Slight Christmas    First Aired: December 22, 1973
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Stars: Gene Blakely, John Fiedler, Larry Gelman

A power failure traps Bob in his office on Christmas Eve.

40 Oh, Brother    First Aired: January 5, 1974
Writer: Martin Cohan
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Star: Raul Julia

Jerry's brother arrives with a surefire plan for starting his own dental practice--he'll steal his patients from his older brother.

41 The Modernization of Emily    First Aired: January 12, 1974
Writer: Charlotte Brown
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Stars: Sharon Gless, Bill Miller, J.J. Barry

Emily is on a youth kick, convinced that she can stave off the advancing years by donning an embarrassing new wardrobe of T-shirts and tight blue jeans.

In a moment that's painfully funny, Emily opens a present bought for her at the House of Tacky--only to discover that Carol's idea of a gag gift is a tasteless spangled T-shirt, the same one that Emily's got on! Her insecurity and dread of encroaching middle age reveal a chink in Emily's usually well-adjusted outlook, but the bittersweet humor of Charlotte Brown's sympathetic script refuses to betray the character's basic integrity. In the end, Emily forsakes the tacky fringes and denim as she finally accepts the wisdom that comes along with the wrinkles.

42 The Jobless Corps    First Aired: January 19, 1974
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Stars: Millie Slavin, Howard Hesseman

Howard joins Bob's out-of-work workshop after he loses his job at the airline.

Under writers Patchett and Tarses, the series found some of its biggest laughs in the perversely comic outlook of the downtrodden and maladjusted members of Bob's group. In 1983, the same writers would carry their formula to sidesplitting extremes when they created Buffalo Bill , which revolved around one of the most maladjusted protagonists in sitcom history: Buffalo Bill, a petty, egocentric, thoroughly reprehensible, and irresistibly hilarious talk-show host. Come to think of it, he might have fit into one of Bob's groups very nicely.

Howard Hesseman debuts as the out-of-work television writer, Mr. Plager.

43 Clink Shrink    First Aired: January 26, 1974
Writers: Paul B. Lichtman, Howard Storm
Director: Peter Bonerz
Guest Stars: Henry Winkler, Len Lessor

Bob wonders whether he should accept an expensive gift from his newest patient, a recently paroled ex-con who served time for armed robbery.

When supporting player Bonerz wasn't on camera, he was behind the scenes, observing the directors. "It sure beats waiting around drinking coffee," he once quipped. The producers finally sanctioned the actor's ambitions to step behind the camera with this episode. Bonerz adapted to his new role magnificently--he would eventually direct more Bob Newhart shows than any other director.

44 Mind Your Own Business    First Aired: February 2, 1974
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: Alan Rafkin
Guest Stars: Ron Rifkin, Katharine Dunfee, Lou Cutell

Bob isn't sure he's cut out for the world of high finance after his new business manager puts him on a restricted budget of $50 a week.

45 A Love Story    First Aired: February 9, 1974
Writer: Martin Cohan
Director: Peter Bonerz
Guest Stars: Pat Finley, Martha Scott, Renee Lippin

It's love at first sight when Howard meets Bob's sister, Ellen, despite one slight complication--she's already engaged to another man.

When Emily tries to coax the pair together, Bob observes--with deadpan accuracy--that her matchmaking has "sunk to a new low." But Howard's childlike determination wins out, and the befuddled bachelor experiences his finest triumph when the blushing bride interrupts his ironing with the news that she's called off her wedding.

46 By the Way . . . You're Fired    First Aired: February 16, 1974
Writers: Barbara Gallagher, Sybil Adelman
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Stars: Richard Schaal, Larry Gelman, Jill Jaress, Gene Blakely, Howard Platt

Carol's work suffers when she loses her head over her latest beau--a kook who recites half-baked epiphanies over lunch.

47 Confessions of an Orthodontist    First Aired: February 23, 1974
Writers: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Stars: Roger Perry, Teri Garr

Jerry surprises Bob with the startling confession that he's hopelessly in love with Emily.

48 A Matter of Principal    First Aired: March 2, 1974
Writers: Ray Jessel, Arnie Kogen
Director: Don Bustany
Guest Stars: Milton Selzer, Michael Conrad

Emily defies her school board by refusing to let an undeserving student skip a grade.


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