Sunday, December 15, 2013

Somebody to Love

Howard (Bill Daily): (pointing to a photograph) Hey! That's a good–looking couple. Who are they?

Bob (Bob Newhart): That's just two of hundreds of people that Emily tried to fix up. That's Ed Wolf and Louise Wagner. Ed used to be a real good friend of mine.

Emily (Suzanne Pleshette): Bob, I know I fix people up, and I know you hate it, but I don't always do so bad. You know, I fixed the two of us up.

Bob: Emily, one out of 100 is nothing to brag about.

Folks who used to watch The Bob Newhart Show were familiar with Elliot Carlin (Jack Riley), Bob's neurotic and narcissistic patient.

Carlin was a fixture on the show, and, in this episode, he arrived before Bob and was waiting in Bob's office when he got there. Before Bob even realized he was there, Carlin picked up where he left off at the end of the previous session. That is how self–absorbed he was.

Carlin's problem in this episode was that he was lonely — on this night especially. Carlin's annual real estate banquet was that night, and he needed a date to impress his clients. He wanted to take Bob's receptionist, Carol (Marcia Wallace, who died in October), and Bob had no objections.

When Carlin asked her, she said yes, and everything seemed to go fine, even when it turned out the banquet was held at a Japanese restaurant, and Carlin had to remove his elevator shoes.

But the next day, Carlin showed up and invited Carol to join him for lunch — in the middle of the morning. Carol knew something was up, and she was right. Carlin pulled out a small box and presented it to her. Inside was an engagement ring.
Carol: And then I told him a wedding was not my idea of a second date. And he said that he had to know right away because if my answer was no, he would have to cancel the church, and then he would have to call the building contractor to let him know whether to go ahead with our house before the interest rates went up again.

Otherwise, he would have to sell the lot, and he hated to do that, he said, because it was so close to the school and when our kids were older, they could walk to school rather than me having to take them in my station wagon because by this time, of course, I would probably be very busy with my junior league activities and, of course, my bridge club.

Then, when the kids are in college, we'll be moving to a smaller house closer to campus, which also happens to be directly across the street from the cemetery, where he has already purchased our plots side by side.

Bob: Well, unless you and Elliot are busy, Emily and I are planning on having some people over for egg nog on Christmas Eve 1993.

Carol sought Bob's advice, and he told her she needed to be honest with him.

When she was, though, that sparked a crisis in Carlin's life, and Carol decided it was best if she didn't come in to work, knowing that Carlin would be coming in the next morning so a substitute receptionist showed up. Bob didn't really care for the substitute; he wanted Carol back. Bob insisted that she couldn't stay in hiding forever.

So they met in Bob's office, and, in what may have been the first statement of its kind ever uttered by an actress in an American television show, Carol gently asserted herself. She told Carlin that she liked him, but she didn't want to be treated like a piece of meat or an acre of land.

In the context of the times and all that had come before on television, that was practically a revolutionary statement. Imagine! A woman asserting herself and standing up for her right to want something other than what a man might want for her.

So, she suggested that they go back to being what they had been before — friends — which seemed to suit Carlin fine.

In fact, he already had his eyes on someone else ...