Newhart

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Newhart TV Poster Image
Classic comedy's still funny, though it shows signs of age.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

It's not really a "message" show, but there's a quirky sense of community based on shared experiences and mutual cooperation.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dick Loudon is a quietly good-natured "everyman" who works cooperatively with his wife, Joanna, to run their family-owned inn; arguments between them are rare, though many of their duties conform to now-outdated gender roles. By contrast, most secondary characters are a lot less likable (they're selfish, shallow, or deceptive), but their flaws are played for comedy.

Violence
Sex

Light innuendo, mild flirtation.

Language

Words like "ass" are audible, but it's rare.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Newhart centers on a married couple living and working in a remote Vermont inn, where they interact with a rotating cast of quirky characters (though star Bob Newhart by far gets the most screen time). The series ran for most of the 1980s, so you'll see some female characters sketched along some now-dated gender lines. But aside from the occasional flirtation and a few jokes that subtly touch on sexual topics (like the discovery that the inn used to be a "cathouse" in the 1700s), the content is remarkably clean.

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written byPlater August 28, 2017

One of the best sitcoms ever made, just stay away from season 8

This was one of the greatest sitcoms ever made in my opinion. And it has survived the test of time and is not dated at all. The 13 and up rating only applies to... Continue reading

What's the story?

Named for its popular star, actor-comedian Bob Newhart, NEWHART follows the misadventures of New York City author Dick Loudon (Newhart) and his wife, Joanna (Mary Frann), as they buy a charming historic inn in rural Vermont and attempt to run it as a businesses, helped and more often hindered by a cast of quirky locals. From backwoods brothers Larry (William Sanderson), Daryl (Tony Papenfuss), and Daryl (John Voldstad), to self-absorbed "yuppie" couple Michael (Peter Scolari) and Stephanie (Julia Duffy), this small New England town's got some huge personalities.

Is it any good?

While it might seem hokey by today's standards, this series is still fun and filled with memorable, kooky characters. The Bob Newhart Show, which aired on CBS from 1972 to 1978, broke new ground in television at the time with its focus on the field of psychology and its attempts to show the lighter side of mental health. It also paved the way for Newhart, which aired on the same network just a few years later and applied its titular lead’s impeccable timing and deadpan delivery to an arguably more mundane topic -- rural life.

Watching it today feels less like you're watching television and more like you're watching a well-directed and well-timed stage play in which the jokes fall exactly as they should. And that's part of what makes Newhart a classic that continues to deliver decades later. Yes, it's dated (and the rooms go for $20 a night!), but it's still delightfully funny.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Newhart's premise and characters and how appealing they are to modern audiences. If a writer pitched the same show today, would it get picked up? And would the characters still look and act the same? How might you change the characters to make them more relatable?

  • How does Newhart compare to the most popular comedies on television today? What's changed in terms of how comedies are written, produced, and consumed? Which era of TV comedy do you prefer?

  • Newhart's series finale is considered one of the most talked about in television history -- right up there with M*A*S*H, Seinfeld, and The Sopranos. What made it so memorable for its time, and how would it play with audiences today?

TV details

For kids who love classic TV

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