A Salute to Suzanne Pleshette
She was so nice to come home to. In many ways, Suzanne Pleshette's wonderful (and twice Emmy-nominated) performance as Emily Hartley on CBS's '70s classic
The Bob Newhart Show
was an important evolution of the dream sitcom wife. With her husky voice and dark good looks, Pleshette embodied an elegant, sophisticated, sardonic yet warm soulmate for the endearingly mild-mannered Newhart. If Rob and Laura Petrie (Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore) were TV's first convincingly sexy modern sitcom couple, despite adhering to '60s TV conventions dictating they be shown sleeping in separate beds- as if!- Bob and Emily took it a step further. They actually went to bed together. (One terrific episode chronicled a sleepless night as they tried to live up to their policy of not going to bed mad.) This bed, not so coincidentally, took its place in TV history when it was recreated for the finale of Bob Newhart's second hit sitcom,
- where it was revealed in the final moments that the entire series had been a dream of Bob Hartley.
been married to Emily, and seeing Newhart wake up next to Suzanne Pleshette was a sign that all was right again in Sitcom World. This surprise ending was a reward to longtime sitcom fans who had never lost their affection for this professional couple from Chicago.
Speaking of which: Tonight, in a special tribute to the actress who passed away at 70 earlier this month, cable's boomer-centric AmericanLife TV Network will air a
Bob Newhart Show
marathon (starts at 9 pm/ET) with a focus on the Emily-Bob relationship, including the memorable episodes where Emily fills in for Carol (Marcia Wallace, now a regular voice on
) as receptionist and where Bob learns that Emily's I.Q. (she's a teacher) is higher than his. Let the insecurity, and humor, begin, and let our affection for the great Pleshette never be dimmed. She's one for the ages.