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"BOB" was Bob Newhart's return to television after 2 very successful sitcoms. Newhart stars as Bob McKay who is the creator of a '50s comic book superhero known as "Mad-Dog". But thanks to a senate sub-committee hearing on the moral goodness of comic books Mad-Dog is short lived.
Years later, Bob is a frustrated greeting card artist whose comic book creation gets a second life. Unfortunately the new owner of Mad-Dog Comics, American-Canadian Trans-Continental Communications Company, (AmCanTranConComCo), has different ideas about the comic than Bob.
Bob's boss Harlan Stone (played by John Cygan), wants to make Mad-Dog a vigilante while Bob argues that Mad-Dog is a superhero. This leads to problems in conceiving the first issue of the comic book. In fact, episodes of the show go by and the first issue isn't completed.
Kaye McKay (Carlene Watkins) and Trisha McKay (Cynthia Stevenson) are Bob's Wife and Daughter. Trisha's story lines deal with her being hopelessly single and Bob's wife really has nothing to do with the show accept to be hit on by Bob's friends and be there for Bob. Highlights include Appearances by Comic book legends Jim Lee and Jack Kirby and Trisha's roommate Kathy Fleisher (played by Lisa Kudrow). At the end of the first season the show was retooled and the comic book storyline is nixed and replaced with Bob returning to the world of greeting cards and becoming the president of Schmitt Greetings.
"Bob" didn't really catch on and only lasted a season and a half. Instead of the lovable Bob we all know and love, viewers found an irritable, scheming and more often than not, unlikable Bob. In more than one episode Bob is caught Plagiarizing. In another episode he takes credit for work that his daughter Trisha did. In just about every episode Bob faces conflict at work or with his daughter. What made "the Bob Newhart Show" and "Newhart" so great was that Bob's character was never truly mean-spirited. He was the straight man in a world of off-beat characters and situations. Bob's main purpose in both shows seemed be to make sense of the situations brought to him by wacky next door neighbors, patients and co-workers. In "Bob" he seems annoyed when presented with similar situations that might have been funnier had Newhart's character been more patient and forgiving.
Another problem was that the cast lacked the chemistry that made his past shows so memorable. Even the additions of Betty White and Tom Poston didn't really work. To make matters worse the show's time slot was Friday's at 9:30. The younger audience didn't relate to the characters or the comic book. The show also lacked ideas. In 3 of the 30 aired episodes Bob is having difficulty making a speech. Changing the main focus of the show to the Greeting card Company was too little too late and felt like a last ditch effort.
Bob is one of the most talented comedians of all time & is truly a class act. But not even Bob Newhart could overcome mediocre writing and mismatched cast members. While highly unlikely, I would love to see Bob Newhart star in a fifth Television series.
"Bob" ran on CBS for 30 episodes. 3 previously unaired episodes premiered on Viacom's TV LAND 5 years later.
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