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The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Third Season

4.7 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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(Apr 11, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description



It's more of the same in this box set from the third season of The Bob Newhart Show. That's altogether a good thing, as the mid-'70s series (these 24 episodes, compiled on three discs, come from 1974-75) remains a model of restraint in a sea of sit-com overkill, then and now. What a pleasure, not to mention a relief, it is to watch a comedy that manages to be more than a frantic cavalcade of shrill one-liners, would-be witty repartee, and endless sexual innuendo. Not that the show (the first of his two long-running series; Newhart followed in 1982), isn't funny. As Bob Hartley, Newhart brings his usual repertoire of deadpan takes, mild physical shtick, and exquisite timing to the part of a sometimes reticent, often confused Chicago psychologist who's not a whole lot more comfortable in his own skin than some of his group therapy patients; it's his equanimity as a performer that keeps the character amusing without going over the top. And while the other roles (including the reliable Suzanne Pleshette as wife Emily, Peter Bonerz as bachelor orthodontist Jerry Robinson, and Bill Daily as neighbor Howard Borden) are also well-defined, this is genuinely an ensemble program, dependent more on the characters' interactions than on the storylines and gags. Without a doubt, some of it will seem dated; when Emily (Pat Finley) moves in with Howard across the hall, the buttoned-up Bob treats his thirtysomething sister as if she were his teenage daughter, a dynamic that will hardly ring true these days. But The Bob Newhart Show makes no effort whatsoever to be hip. Indeed, its very squareness (cf. Bob's ironic description of one of Emily's outfits as "boss threads") is a big part of its charm, as is the fact that this is first and foremost a show for grownups. Bonus features include commentary (by Newhart and others) on five episodes, as well as a "making of" featurette. Nothing special, but with well over ten hours of material, the set is still a bargain. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • Commentary by Bob Newhart and others on 3 episodes
  • "Making of" featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Bob Newhart, Suzanne Pleshette, Peter Bonerz, Bill Daily, Marcia Wallace
  • Directors: Peter Bonerz, Alan Rafkin, Bob Finkel, George Tyne, James Burrows
  • Writers: Arnie Kogen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 11, 2006
  • Run Time: 610 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E6ES9Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,055 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Third Season" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Bob's third season consists of the following:

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING Bob struggles to come to terms with the idea of his little sister, Ellen, moving in with Howard.

BATTLE OF THE GROUPS Bob takes two of his therapy groups on a retreat into the woods, and all they do is complain about the accommodations. Daniel J. Travanti guest stars.

THE GREAT TIMPAU MEDICAL ARTS EXPERIMENT Jerry suggests the doctors treat each other for free. Result: chaos.

THE SEPARATION STORY Bob's up to his neck in patients and Emily's trying to finish her master's thesis, so they decide to live apart for awhile.

SORRY, WRONG MOTHER In an effort to please his son Howie, Howard tries to revamp Ellen into the perfect mom. John Ritter guest stars.

THE GRAY FLANNEL SHRINK Bob gives up private practice to join the corporate world as a staff psychologist.

DR RYAN'S EXPRESS Jerry hires a temp receptionist who can't even remember Bob's name.

BRUTALLY YOURS, BOB HARTLEY Bob discovers that honesty isn't always the best policy.

SHIP OF SHRINKS Bob's first book bombs, making him reticent to go to a psychology convention to Hawaii...even before finding out that Howard is the navigator on the Hawaii-bound flight.

LIFE IS A HAMBURGER Carol announces her engagement to Don Fezler, a man with bad feet and worse poetry.

AN AMERICAN FAMILY It's the Thanksgiving from Hell, because Bob's mother and Emily's father can't stand each other. Barnard Hughes guest stars.

WE LOVE YOU...GOODBYE Bob is kicked out of the all-female consciousness-raising group he started when Emily joins.

JERRY ROBINSON CRUSOE Jerry decides to leave his dental practice in order to follow his dream girl to Tahiti.
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Format: DVD
The third season (1974-1975) of "The Bob Newhart Show" for me is not quite as good as the second season. To be sure, there are many very funny episodes, but there is one area where it seems to come up short and that is the lack of appearances by the main group of patients. In fact, Mrs. Bakerman (Florida Friebus) doesn't appear at all during the season, and for the only appearance of Mr. Gianelli he is played by Daniel J. Travanti (later of Hill Street Blues) instead of by Noam Pitlik who played him in the previous seasons. In addition, John Fiedler makes only one appearance as Mr. Peterson during the season.

That is not to say that there are no Group appearances, because they do experiment with some new groups such as an all woman's group, and an elderly group (including Mr. Carlin), and they even have Bob as a patient in a group (again including Mr. Carlin). They also develop some new or previously rarely seen patients such as Mr. Herd (Oliver Clark), Mr. Plager (Howard Hesseman), Mrs. Loomis (Merie Earle), and the very funny Mr. Vickers (Lucian Scott). Ellen Hartley (Pat Finley) also becomes a fairly regular member of the cast.

In season two there were many guest stars which went on to make names for themselves, and there are a few this year as well but not as many and for the most part they are not as well known as those in season two. John Ritter is great as Dave, a server at an ice cream shop. Edward Winter plays an ambitious executive at an insurance company. Fred Willard plays Ellen's ex-fiancé John Tobin. Also, Bob's real-life father-in-law Bill Quinn makes a couple of appearances as Eddie the Mailman.

There are many very funny episodes this season as well.
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Format: DVD
Seems that most long-running and successful sitcoms got it down by the third season. Yes, the *characters* have solidified, but strangely in this season, the writing seems, in too many cases, to be for *any* TV sitcom character.
Each episode has one or two classic lines, and there are some entertaining sight gags here and there. And, of course, Newhart's incredible one-two punch of delivery and reaction is a great feature, actually what drives the show.
Particularly curious are the roles of Hartley's sister and next-door-neighbor. "Ellen" is attractive and spirited but has little to do or say, and her fiance, "Howard", is impossibly eccentric. Sitcoms all seem to have a wacky neighbor down the hall, but this guy bounds into the Hartley living room to slow down the show and deliver silly soliloques. And to make it worse, he's given tight one-shots, instead of long shots which include Bob reading the newspaper, which changes the focus of the scene to Bob's reaction, not Howard's babbling.
Doctor Hartley's best foils were the staff at the office: the Dentist Jerry and the Receptionist Carol, always engaging. Indeed, one of the best moments in Season Three, and for my money, in TV history, is the scene in "Life Is A Hamburger", where Jerry and Carol passionately kiss when all other guests have left the engagement party. Carol's fiance, a wanna-be poet with nothing to say *or* write has departed, and the romantic move is mutual and real. Was it real, suppressed feeling coming to the surface because of the emotionality of the get-together, or a kind of relief that the door has been re-opened for some possible future occasion for them? The scene is quiet but the body language is impactful. Two fine actors.
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The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Third Season
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