‘Newhart’: Legendary Season Finale Airs on This Day in 1990

by Jon D. B.
(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Watch and relive one of the best television finales in history with the perfect last scene of Newhart, which aired on this day 31 years ago.

No show, before or since, has done it better. Everyone from A&E to TV Guide and TV Land has declared the Newhart series finale as “one of the most memorable in television history.”

The finale, of course, revealed the whole of Newhart as a dream of one Dr. Bob Hartley, icon Bob Newhart’s character from the previous The Bob Newhart Show. It’s a phenomenal twist that played out perfectly and has left a lasting impact on pop culture, to say the least.

At first, audiences aren’t sure what’s happening as Newhart himself rolls over in bed. Then, as the wife to Dr. Hartley, Emily, reprised by Suzanne Pleshette, rolls over, the live studio audience goes absolutely ham. It is then that viewers realized they were, in fact, now in the bedroom set from The Bob Newhart Show.

As Dr. Bob, Newhart explains to Emily the very strange night he just had.

“Honey, wake up! You won’t believe the dream I just had…”

And the rest, as they say, is history. Relive the legendary series finale below, courtesy of RetroNewsNow:

‘Newhart’ Sets a New Standard for Series Finales

With this last scene, the CBS sitcom was cemented as one of the best of the best. Originally airing from October 25, 1982, all the way to this finale on May 21, 1990, Newhart would run for a whopping 184 half-hour episodes.

Many fans watching along on Twitter recall that very night in 1990, too. One such follower, Phillip, has a priceless story to go along with:

“My local station cut off the finale broadcast with an 11 o’clock news promo JUST before this reveal because of an accident with the timer. Viewers were so pissed off that the station was forced to rerun the entire episode again on Sunday afternoon!” he replies to RetroNewsNow. What a blunder..

Others, like fan Char, are quick to chime in with “Best. Finale. Ever!” Can’t argue there, Ms. Char! Several others echo the sentiment, with followers responding everything from “Still one of the best “twist” endings ever!” to “One of the all time greatest endings ever!”

The finale itself, titled “The Last Newhart,” brought a brilliant close to Newhart’s near-decade long run. The episode holds an incredible 9.5 rating on IMDb, too. This becomes even more impressive when compared to the series’ rating as a whole, which sits at 7.7.

Fascinatingly, the cast of The Bob Newhart Show reunited in a prime-time special in 1991, a year after Newhart’s spectacular ending. One of the things the interview does is analyze Bob’s dream. Watch below as actress Suzanne Pleshette talks reprising her role of “Emily Hartley” on the final episode of Newhart: