Sunday, June 06, 2010

My favorite final scene of any sitcom

Bob Newhart starred in two long running sitcoms -- THE BOB NEWHART SHOW in the 70s (where he played a psychiatrist in Chicago)and NEWHART in the 80s (he was an inn keeper in Vermont in that one). This is the finale of NEWHART. About six minutes is in the final scene. And who cam up with the idea for this final scene? Bob will tell you himself in the second video.



27 comments:

Blaze said...

I was never a big fan of "Newhart". For every funny moment there were just plain stupid moments. But, I had enough fun to tune in for that final episode.

It literally knocked me out of my chair laughing.

Sebastian said...

At least nobody in the end wondered why someone on "Newhart" pushed some buttons every 108 minutes...

Mike Barer said...

I didn't watch the second Newhart show and although I had heard about the final scene, I had not actually scene it until now. That was so funny. The fact that Susanne (sp?) is no longer with us, added some poignancy.

Richard Y said...

Although as Newhart indicated, I too noticed the set from the old show. However when she turned the light on and we saw her sit up, I knew that this was the BEST ending of all time.

Anonymous said...

so the lady in the end is his wife from the previous show? or is she his wife in real life? the second show turns out to be a dream from the guy on the first show? why is it important that the guy's wife in real life came up with the idea?

Mel said...

Newhart was one of my dad's favorite shows. I can remember every Monday night watching it with him. When the final episode aired, though, I was away at college and didn't have easy access to a tv to watch much of anything. A couple minutes after this episode aired, my dorm phone rang. It was my dad -- who never called. He was just laughing and trying to tell me what had happened and said that he wanted to share it with me because he knew I would find it as hilarious as he did.

Tim W. said...

I was a big fan of Nehart, but didn't like the last episode, except for the final scene. I never watched his first series, but I certainly knew who Suzanne Pleshette was, and thought it was brilliant. Strangely enough, I may have laughed harder rewatching it even though I knew the twist this time.

The reason I didn't like the last episode was because I loved the show so much, I hated seeing the town destroyed like that. It was bad enough a much loved show was ending, but to see the world is existed in gone was sad.

Anonymous,

I can understand why you didn't want to leave your name.

benson said...

The final episode is based on Fiddler on the Roof, played by essentially wasps. As much as I love the original BNS, I loved this one maybe a little more. Wonderful cast. In fact, Kathy Kinney in the final seasons was brilliant as the horny librarian.

Someday when home video is delivered via the internet, maybe someone will finally release this show's second thru final seasons. We can only wish.

Audrey Antley said...

Dear Ken,

I agree. That might just be the best ending ever!

Especially as I, too, am a Newhart #1 fan, but not really a #2, never quite got or cared about the inn.

Anonymous said...

The series is on hulu.com now.

Kirk Jusko said...

I worked at Mcdonald's at the time that aired. The next day I was wiping tables in the dining room when this one regular, a guy in his 60s who was on the religious side, asked me why everybody seemed to be talking about Newhart. I explained how the wife from the first show ended up in the bed at the end. His reply?

"You know the endtimes are near when things start getting mixed up like that."

Roy said...

Wait. I remember the Bob Newhart Show theme music coming up at the end, not the Newhart theme?!

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing the ending revealed in USA Today just as Bob states, with the golf ball hit to the head (don't remember whether they revealed that he'd talk to God), and being upset that USA Today spoiled the ending.

And then I was slightly confused when I saw the actual ending. I was too young to see the first run of The Bob Newhart Show (hadn't been born for most of it).

Having since seen and loved the original show, it seems to me original show had a vitality that Newhart lacks. But I can now appreciate the ending. :)

Tom Quigley said...

The last couple of seasons, the show seemed to get kind of silly, and they were apparently looking for stories, because when I queried Mark Egan in August of 1989, I heard back from his office asking me to submit a spec.

However, the last scene with Suzanne Pleshette was as good as any during the years NEWHART was on the air, and even though the surprise is no longer there, I still burst out laughing when Emily turns the light on and we see who it is Bob is talking to.

ajm said...

Another reason the NEWHART finale's a classic -- it's only 30 minutes long. MASH and CHEERS and SEINFELD each had 90 minute (or even longer) farewell episodes, with a *lot* of dead time. Everything on the last NEWHART is either a punchline or the shortest possible setup to the next punchline.

And there's something about final episodes of MTM series: THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, NEWHART and the ST. ELSEWHERE finales each brought their respective programs around full circle in ways shows by other studios haven't.

chalmers said...

The original airing did end with the "Bob Newhart Show" music. However, it wasn't cleared for syndication so subsequently, it's been seen with the "Newhart" music.

As someone who had been in his high school's "Fiddler" a few years earlier, I loved the "Anatevka" reindition.

It was a great way to bring in some of the characters from the "world" that had been created in the show. I think "Newhart's" strongest years where when David Mirkin was there, and they built of a repertory of about a dozen locals beyond the five regulars.

Mirkin then went to "The Simpsons," where he was able to take advantage of animation's ability to do the same thing with several dozen characters.

I don't know if you've ever watched "Parks and Recreation," but after a shaky start last year, it's definitely improved, in large part due to "world" building.

In addition to the regulars, they've developed a strong group of occasional characters and situations that make Pawnee, Indiana seem like a real town.

John said...

The final episode was also allowed to run slightly longer than its normal 30-minute time slot by CBS, which resulted in a major problem in Albany, N.Y., which apparently didn't get the memo and left their local promos on automated setting, meaning people awaiting the final scene were treated to an update on what's new tonight on the Ch. 6 11 p.m. news. Naturally a good time was had by the station's switchboard operators over the ensuing 24 hours.

Brian Wolman said...

I taped the original broadcast, The ending did play out with the Bob newhart Theme, and the show ran a minute or 2 longer than normal. Its a shame only the first season has been released on DVD. The show got funnier and more bizare in subsequent seasons. Does anyone remember George's Handyman board game?

Mike Schryver said...

The BNS theme was used at the end, except that the final 2 notes were the last 2 from the Newhart theme. It was a very nice touch.
This gives me an excuse to mention my favorite scene on Newhart (except maybe for the finale). George is fed up with the Red Sox, and is trying to find another team to root for. He says, "I was thinking of the Twins, but I don't want people to think I'm just jumping on the bandwagon. And then there's the Expos, but... I can't figure out their hat. Is that an M, or are they trying to spell Expos, or what?"
Delivered in Tom Poston's wonderfully downcast and confused voice, and having been confused myself by the Expos hat, this was completely hilarious.

Janice said...

Agreed, this is the best final episode of any sitcom. When I first saw it as it aired, I noticed the "old" set and screamed in delight. I jumped up from the couch and sat directly in front of the television. A truly great television moment.

chalmers said...

Whenever I see old Expo stuff, that's what I think of, too! He also shot down Dick's suggestion that he switch to the Blue Jays because he felt they were the meanest of the birds.

spreng said...

Did you see the three "alternate" endings to Lost on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show the night after the Lost finale? One had Bob Newhart waking up in bed with Evangeline Lilly, still dressed as Kate Austen. If you missed it, you can watch it here:
http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/video/jimmy-kimmel-live-lost-endings-10726542

Michael Hagerty, Founder/Editor said...

My God, I loved Suzanne Pleshette....

Tod Hunter said...

I struck up an acquaintance with John Voldstad (the blond Darryl) when I was working on a game show.

He returned my call one day and said "This is John Voldstad." I had to take his word for it.

Conversationally, he told me that when they shot the "Newhart" finale, Suzanne Pleshette hid in her trailer for FIVE HOURS so nobody would see her and spoil the surprise.

This is beyond "being professional" and borders on "sainthood."

Just thought I'd share that.

Kate said...

I had to go to the IMDB to be sure but I recopgnized her voice from the moment she started speaking. Lisa Kudrow plays the middle wife, Sada.

Rich said...

I was a HUGE fan of his first show, so much so that I changed my major in college to Psychology - and now I work in computers, go figure. I liked Newhart for awhile, but the last year or so got old. However, that finale is to me the best EVER! When I saw it I laughed so freaking hard!!

I just read your recent post about Dan coming up with the idea instead/too. Shame he couldn't get credit as well. But hopefully he knows - as well as the other writers - what an amazingly awesome piece of tv history they created!

Rob R said...

I was fortunate enough to enjoy the "Newhart" finale live as it aired. Even back in 1990, it was increasingly rare for secrets to be kept about plot points. I remember first seeing the darkly lit Bob and Emily Hartley bedroom set and thinking, "Oh My God.....is this what they are doing?" And I think I start laughing before a single word was said. Two years earlier, the "St. Elsewhere" finale from the same MTM studio had used the "It's all a dream" finale, and "Dallas" two years earlier had had the entire dream scene in Pam's head. So the "it's all dream" plot point was ripe for satire. This twist worked on that level too--a satire of the "dream" plot point and still brilliant in its own right, as a throwback to Newhart's even more beloved first series. And who doesn't love Suzanne Pleshette?