Monday, February 7, 2011

12b. The Larry Sanders Show

The Larry Sanders Show became a template of sorts for other handheld comedy-of-awkwardness shows (e.g., The Office). The characters are a pretty unlikeable bunch. They tend to be petty and narcissistic -- and riveting. Larry, the talk show host, is self-obsessed and neurotic. (That said, he's more 'normal' than either Leno or Letterman, both of whom are monumentally fucked up. Don't believe us? Read the Bill Carter books we mentioned yesterday.) Hank, the sidekick, is self-obsessed and clueless. (He's even chastised at one point for nodding off mid-episode.) Artie, the producer, is show-obsessed and intense. He also pours a kickass salty dog.

Frankly, we can't easily explain why we like the show so much. Sure, the characters are great. (The one character who comes to mind as being too cartoony is Darlene, Hank's personal assistant. According to imdb, the actress playing Darlene, Linda Doucett, 'lived with Garry Shandling from 1987-94. When they broke up, she filed charges against him for sexual discrimination and sexual harrassment.' Jesus. Why did we have to read that?) Yes, the writing and acting are exceptional. And the show has some unbelievable cameos (e.g., David Duchovny as David Duchovny -- it's one of his finest roles, and, no, we're not kidding). The Larry Sanders Show rewards repeat viewing and sometimes startles you with its humour, its sadness, or its honesty.

If you're wondering what happened to Garry Shandling in the years after The Larry Sanders Show, we'd recommend reading the GQ article The Comedian's Comedian's Comedian, which was published in August 2010.

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