Saturday, January 22, 2011

New Bob -- NCIS guest appearance (review)

Bob Newhart's recent appearance on NCIS (episode: "Recruited") has the actor moving and speaking a little slower (he even needs help down a flight of stairs at one point), but it's entirely appropriate to the character, and besides, when ol' Bob delivers a clever line that ends on a smile, we realize he's still got it.

Newhart guests as Dr. Walter Magnus, the predecessor and mentor to the show's regular forensic coroner, Dr. Mallard (David McCallum).

As with his guest appearances on ER, Bob plays a character who (*major spoiler*) has an end-of-life health problem. It turns out that Dr. Magnus has dementia and has wandered away from home (instead of being estranged from his daughter, as he thinks, he is actually living with her). Is this all we can expect from any future prime-time appearances from the actor -- for him to play a senior grappling with distinctly senior problems? Hope not, but we Newhart fans will take anything we can get!

I don't mean for the above to sound so negative about what was a great opportunity for the comedic Newhart to give an emotionally moving performance (so perhaps I'm just bummed that, given Dr. Magnus' condition, we shouldn't expect a repeat appearance of the character).

The episode has some early dialogue about a "country inn" in Vermont (shades of NEWHART, anyone?), leading the viewer to think the story will perhaps be loaded with in-jokes. That's not the case, because when Newhart's character dials up a chinese take-out place, he doesn't even utter the words "moo goo gai pan" (fans of THE BOB NEWHART SHOW will know which famous bit I'm referencing!). --Mike Malloy

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Bob -- NCIS guest appearance

In his first major television appearance since Blogging 'Bout Bob launched, Mr. Newhart will be making a guest appearance on CBS' military crime drama NCIS this month, in the role of retired medical examiner Walter Magnus.

Most sources are reporting that Newhart will guest star in January 18's episode, "Recruited," but the official Bob Newhart Facebook page implores us to watch tonight's episode, "Ships in the Night," so perhaps there will be a surprise appearance at the end of "Ships."

In any case, an appearance on NCIS is just further proof of the continued relevance of Mr. Newhart, who also made appearances on hit shows recently when guesting on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (2005) and E.R. (2003). He appeared in three episodes each of those two shows; perhaps we'll see more of him on NCIS too. --Mike Malloy