Friday, March 26, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (3/26): Bob

In 1992, two years after his hit show Newhart ended, legendary comedian Bob Newhart came back to CBS with a new series. Fans of the comedian know him best for his previous shows on the network: The Bob Newhart Show (1972-78) and Newhart (1982-90). However, unlike his previous series, Bob unfortunately was not a success and only ran for two seasons.

Here Newhart plays Bob McKay, a greeting card artist, whose 1950’s comic book, Mad Dog, was forced into oblivion when a Senate sub-committee deemed that his comic was corrupting to his young audience. However, years later, The American-Canadian Trans-Continental Communications Company, a.k.a. AmCanTranConComCo buys the rights to the series and wants a comeback. Conflicts arise however when head Howard Stone wants to retool it and make Mad Dog a vigilante. The show also starred Carlene Watkins as his wife Kaye, Cynthia Stevenson as his adult daughter Trisha, Ruth Kobart as Iris, John Cygan as Howard, and Andrew Bilgore as Albie. Further on into the series it also featured Lisa Kudrow and Tom Poston.

One of my all-time favorite things about Bob Newhart is his dead-pan delivery. He’s always done such a magnificent job as straight-man to everyone else’s antics and behaviors, and from seeing the first show, he did just as good a job here as he did on The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart. I’ve read about how things changed between the first and second seasons; a lot of retooling took place, meaning the end of Mad Dog and cast changes, which resulted in its demise. Looks like a classic instance where a show tried to fix something that wasn’t broken.

Seeing this show makes me wish I had Nick at Nite back when this show aired along with his other two sitcoms. Obviously, short-lived sitcoms like this can’t be run all the time, but it’d be nice if a cable network (attention WGN America!) could air at least some episodes during a special marathon or something.

The short-lived Bob, my online pick of the week!

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