I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
The Bob Newhart Show
Season Four: 1975-76
1975-76: THE FOURTH SEASON
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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."
Carol gets roped into a date with an obnoxious tubbo from Bob's overweight
Bob is skeptical when Carol announces that she's getting married to
Larry Bondurant, a travel agent she met less than twelve hours earlier.
Bob and Emily host a visiting French psychologist, who arrives in the
company of another man's wife.
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.
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."
Bob forms an unlikely alliance when he goes into partnership with a
well-heeled playboy psychologist.
When Emily flies home for Thanksgiving, Bob joins Jerry, Howard, and
Mr. Carlin for a bachelor's feast of Chinese food and beer.
Bob's mother drops by for an extended visit and begins to drive her
son crazy within moments of her arrival.
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.
Emily suddenly finds herself embroiled in grammar school politics when
she gets promoted to vice-principal ahead of a teacher with greater
Bob faces another depressing holiday when he's forced to undergo an
emergency tonsillectomy on Christmas Eve.
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.
Carol turns to Bob for help when she begins to feel smothered by her
new husband's overly lavish attentions.
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
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."
Bob counsels an egocentric basketball superstar in the fine art of
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
After Bob counsels Mr. Herd to be more assertive, the milquetoast takes
the advice to heart and slaps the therapist with a lawsuit.
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
When the Peeper returns in sullen spirits after his wife leaves him,
Jerry decides to reacquaint Bob's old chum with the swinging singles'