That Time Bob Newhart Explained Why Gays Aren't Crazy



The character Newhart played on the show was a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the mind. The terms are not synonymous.


Great vid Matt!


@1: I always thought he was a psychiatrist. But given the role I think it's a distinction without a difference.


The 70s had some groundbreaking TV. I was just a kid but MASH, All In The Family and Star Trek reruns helped shape my politics. As a white kid in a white neighbourhood it was absolutely crucial to see people of colour starring in shows like The Jeffersons and as part of ensembles in shows like Barney Miller and WKRP. Then there were the strong women in One Day At A Time, Alice, Maude and of course the Carol Burnett Show. The reactionary backpedaling in the 80s was surreal. Culture never recovered.


As TV addicted kids in the 70's, our living rooms were the maternity ward of the birth of acceptance by mainstream America (though we later watched in dismay as it was strangled in its cradle by the Right's backlash against AIDS). Contrast Medical Center's 1975 The Fourth Sex: a sympathetic portrayal of gender reassignment (closeted Robert Reed gets a sex change in closeted James Day's hospital while macho misogynist Chad Everett is completely onboard) with Marcus Welby's 1974 The Outrage: "Gay teachers will rape your kids - oops, sorry; let's tack on a worldly policeman's disclaimer to walk that one back." It was a time of attitudes unevenly evolving, held together by Paul Lynne in the Center Square encouraging Sexual Revolution-era America to see gay sex/all sex/life in general as just a big joke to be best survived by laughing at it. Of course, in the 80's the laughter stopped.


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