So every time I sit down to watch the Larry Sanders Show
I am distracted by many things. The show's First Season
is really a time capsule of the early 1990s. Janeane Garofalo
young in her plaid grunge-y dresses and leggings. Jeremy Piven
is so obviously balding (now on Entourage
he has a mysteriously full head of hair). Larry has a plethora of skinny Southwestern-y belts. There's scrunchies and body suits and so much more-- a veritable parade of nearly forgotten 90s fashions! But what is most distracting from the program for me is the fact that Garry Shandling
so closely resembles a giant raisin.
Despite the distractions, the show is actually funny. I'm
guessing most people have seen it before, but growing up in a non premium cable household, I didn't even know it existed until recently. It's interesting to watch now, seeing as I have immersed myself in HBO shows on DVD feverishly for the last 3 years or so. Apparently this show was one of the first. Now it reminds me of Curb Your Enthusiasm,
one of my favorites.
Larry Sanders has his own late night TV talk show, and we the viewers are invited to watch
the goings-on both in front of and behind the scenes. Now this as a concept for a tv show almost can't be beat. It's up there with a bar where "everybody knows your name" and a giant cruise ship that "soon will be making another run". The workplace is always just ripe
for good television (they really should make a show about Amoeba, no joke), and with major opportunities for celeb guest appearances and self referential comedy, this show has a pretty much perfect set up and all the smarts to pull it off. It's not as energetic and giddily addicting as HBO's shows now, but it's got its own slow-burn charm. This show, now that I am watching it, has obviously been highly influential on everyone else, including that other comedic Larry, Mr. Larry David himself.
It's quite innovative too. There's never any background music to set the scenes. There's no laugh track or live audience either. It's just the dialogue. That gives the laughs all the power, and it's an interesting break from the still- tired norm.....and this was shot in 1992!
The cast is also a big part of the likability of the show. Rip Torn
as Larry's boss Arty is amazing and hilarious and dry. My boyfriend thinks Hank (Jeffery Tambor
) is the funniest. (He wants me to add that.) He thinks everything is funny though. I find Larry's wife unrealistic. Does anyone else? Their relationship seems shallow and odd, no chemistry.....maybe they could have worked on that as much as the relationships between coworkers. My favorites are the writers, Phil and Jerry, played by Jeremy Piven and Wallace Langham
. They are always troublemakers. Having so many celebs play themselves is a good time too. Some people are better at it than others!