It's Garry Shandling's Show: The Complete Series
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It's Garry Shandling's Show: The Complete Series
This is the review of Shandling's Show / My review of Shandling's Show / Amazon called me up and asked me to review the box set / I've only just got started / How do you like it so far? / This is my review of Shandling's Show. It doesn't get more meta than Jerry Carbone's irresistible theme song to this game-changing 1986 sitcom that paved the way for The Simpsons and Seinfeld (several of the writers went on to work on those series), Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, and others. Broadcast on Showtime to critical acclaim and later on Fox to abysmal ratings, It's Garry Shandling's Show is an audaciously original self-reverential sitcom starring Shandling as endearingly vain, insecure, and whiny standup comedian Garry Shandling, whose life is a sitcom. "You must lead a very interesting life," someone observes in season 4. "No, I don't," Shandling responds, "and it's been a stumbling block through the whole series." From the opening monologue in each episode to asides that thoroughly demolish the fourth wall between performer and the audience ("You didn't get to meet Jackie last week because we hadn't cast her yet"), It's Garry Shandling's Show turns the sitcom format on its head. Most times the actors go about their business, and other times, their characters, too, get in on the postmodern act. "Thanks a lot for the big part in the show this week, Uncle Garry," a character sarcastically comments in one episode. In other surreal developments, Shandling one time departs for New York to star in a new cop series, leaving his show to be fronted by venerable comedian Red Buttons. At one point, audience members make themselves at home on the set while Shandling is out, and at the beginning of season 4, the network president (Richard Fancy, the future Mr. Lippman on Seinfeld) disapproves when Shandling announces his new girlfriend (the charming Jessica Harper) will be joining the cast. He suggests instead that Shandling hire a butler (a comic premise to which Seinfeld later paid homage when Jerry and George pitched their own sitcom to NBC in the fourth season).
Comedy greats, old and new school, from Steve Allen to Martin Mull and Chevy Chase, appear as themselves. An episode to cherish is "Mr. Smith Goes to Nam," which features the last television appearance of Gilda Radner, whose final wink to the camera is perhaps reason enough to purchase this set. Others include the prodigious bonus features, including outtakes, a series retrospective, and very honest commentaries (writers Al Jean and Mike Reiss likewise express reservations about giving Shandling a steady love interest, "a conventional sitcom move for an unconventional sitcom"). It's Garry Shandling's Show enjoys a mystique among comedy buffs, but it has not been seen in syndication or ever been released on home video. How does it hold up? As Shandling's mentor, comedy club owner Mr. Peck (Danny Dayton), describes Shandling's first stage appearances, "It's as good today as it was in those days." He did not mean it as a compliment; we do. --Donald Liebenson
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Top Customer Reviews
The packaging is very good and the book is mainly an episode list with what episodes are on what discs and where to find the extras. Very helpful. There are two discs in each slim DVD case.
Overall, I have found it to be worth the money spent.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Not sure why anyone could think the listed Amazon price is too high. Here's the facts:
1) This is a 16 disc complete set loaded with brand new extras.
2) It's from Shout! Factory who always produce high quality box sets.
3) It retains all the guest stars and music. For every guest star that walks into Garry's home, the producers of this set have to negotiate with them or their estate. This costs a lot of money. Now they could have gone the inexpensive way and eliminated scenes, certain music, even entire episodes. But they didn't.
4) It's a landmark cult TV series that probably wouldn't be seeing the light of day if not for the folks at Shout! Factory.
I agree that it is a lot to shell out. But as a fan who has very fond memories of this blowing my mind 20+ years ago, it's a small price to pay to have the the entire complete series in one big box with Shandling's participation. This set is certainly a specialty item and not one to appeal to a mainstream audience. It's aimed at the serious collector of the offbeat and unusual.
With all that in mind I'm looking forward to this set and have no problem shelling out around $100 to show my support for this wonderfully creative show. Who knows, maybe good sales will encourage Shout! Factory to tackle 'The Complete Larry Sanders Show' next?
What I liked:
-all the episodes in tact; FOX viewers might remember these were edited, and even during it's 2am run on LIFETIME TV, they were chopped up further. But all episodes are shown since not all of em aired unless you had SHOWTIME.
-semi-decent dvd menu, sound quality is just about average, but loved the features and commentary from the cast.
-great dvd case and covers. Good conversation piece if placed on bookshelf
-the shows!!! groundbreaking. My top three are: Garry and Jeff Goldblum, Grant goes to Hollywood, and when they're waiting for the Schumaker baby to arrive. Great comedy, laughs, and you really get to see the inner workings of a great comedian pre-Larry Sanders. Some great one-liners throughout. When it rains, it pours. Morton Salt, we salute you!!!
-EXCEPTIONAL cast and guest stars: Scott Nemes, cameos from Tom Petty and Rob Reiner, and especially seeing Gilda Radner(bittersweet)
Why no fifth star:
-price!!! still a lot at 100-150+. Maybe divided it up into volumes at $20-40 each.
-would've been great is if they had the GS 25th anniversary special(loved that parody special)
-video-wise, straight from TV, nothing had been upgraded or restored.
So for Garry Shandling or Larry Sanders fans, I'd check it out!!! Although a bit expensive, it's worth it to have the entire series!!!
These DVDs are superbly produced and packaged, picture and sound are clear and there are interesting extras (though I'd have loved more - where is the 25th Anniversary Special, the bridge to the Larry Sanders show?).
That said, I do think the price is a bit high. It's a fun show, but not always great - some episodes are kind of flat and I winder if I'll go back and watch many of them a second or third time. In contrast, I'd gladly pay these prices for Larry Sanders, but that show was much more densely packed and stands up much better to repeated viewings.
Bottom line: The show is well worth seeing and these DVDs are superbly produced, but as an investment I think it's really for die-hard fans until/unless the price drops.