DVD Review: Beautiful Series Set For ‘It’s Garry Shandling’s Show’

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CHICAGO – A lot of classic TV comedies are often pointed to as being “ahead of their time”. The quirky, weird, and memorable “It’s Garry Shandling Show” wasn’t really ahead of its time because there’s nothing quite like it on the air. The groundbreaking cult classic is now available in a gorgeous 16-disc set from Shout Factory and it’s just what Shandling fans deserve.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 4.5/5.0
DVD Rating: 4.5/5.0

Between his stint as the heir apparent to Johnny Carson (Shandling guest hosted “The Tonight Show” an incredible number of times) and the pioneering television he would do on one of the best sitcoms of all time, “The Larry Sanders Show,” there was “It’s Garry Shandling Show,” which ran for 72 episodes from 1986 to 1990. The program was the first ever broadcast on Showtime and would later be rerun and more widely seen on FOX.

Showtime had given Shandling and his co-writer Alan Zweibel the freedom to do whatever they wanted on the network and they decided to try and tear down the sitcom template. From it’s memorable theme song to Shandling’s constant breaking of the fourth wall, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” was more of a theatrical experience than a television one. It was surreal, experimental, and barely got the credit it deserved when it was on the air. Sure, it was also very inconsistent (especially in the early episodes), but it’s fascinating to now watch how the show developed over its four years on the air and how clearly it influenced the great TV that Shandling would make in the ’90s.

It's Garry Shandling's Show: The Complete Series was released on DVD on October 20th, 2009.
It’s Garry Shandling’s Show: The Complete Series was released on DVD on October 20th, 2009.
Photo credit: Shout Factory

Over the years, several major TV writers would come out of “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” including people who went on to work on “Seinfeld” and “The Simpsons” and the show featured major guest stars, always playing themselves, including Tom Petty, Rob Reiner, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Mull, Gilda Radner, Carl Reiner, Chevy Chase, and more. Come to think of it, the neurotic sitcom star with celebrity guest stars playing themselves almost sounds like “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” one of the few shows that you probably could link back to this unique series in terms of influence.

Shout Factory has been putting together great TV sets for years with arguably the best box in the history of the form for “Freaks and Geeks” and a great recent release for “Thirtysomething”. They spare no expense with “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” providing hours of special features, organized as such:

Season 1
“Getting There” - The Road to the Show
“Television Parts” - Sketches - “Garry Dates Miss Maryland,” “Garry’s Car”

1.1: “The Day Garry Moved In” - Garry Shandling & Alan Zweibel
1.5: “The Graduate” - Garry Shandling & Alan Zweibel
1.8: “Grant’s Date” - Garry Shandling & Ed Solomon
1.10: “Fate” - Ed Solomon
1.14: “Dial L For Laundry” - Tom Gammill, Max Pross, Garry Shandling, & Alan Zweibel

Season 2
“Being There” - The Cast Remembers
Original Promos

2.2: “No Baby, No Show” - Shandling & Zweibel
2.4: “The Schumakers Go To Hollywood” - Gammill, Pross, & Solomon
2.10: “Mr. Sparks” - Gammill & Pross
2.17: “Mr. Smith Goes to Nam” - Zweibel

Season 3
“Still There” - The Writers and Crew Remember
“Show & Tell With Tom & Max”
“The Shandlines” - Backstage Newsletters

3.1: “Goin’ Places” - Gammill, Pross, Shandling, & Solomon
3.3: “What’s Happening to Me?” - Gammill, Pross, Shandling, & Zweibel
3.5: “The Natural” - Al Jean, Michael Reiss, & Shandling
3.12: “Garry Acts Like a Moron” - Jean & Reiss
3.17: “Garry Goes Golfing” - Jean, Reiss, & Shandling
3.19: “Worry Wart” - Gammill, Pross, Shandling, & Zweibel

Season 4
“Try to Remember” - A Conversation with Garry and Alan

4.7: “Firehose” - Jean & Reiss
4.15: “Family Man” - Zweibel
4.19: “Driving Miss Garry” - Jean & Reiss

The set also includes a booklet with essays about the show by the great Larry Gelbart and Judd Apatow, who lists the series as a major influence. Each episode looks great in its original full frame presentation and is accompanied by an adequate audio track.

‘It’s Garry Shandling’s Show: The Complete Series’ is released by Shout Factory and stars Garry Shandling. The show was released on DVD on October 20th, 2009. It is not rated. It runs roughly 31 hours.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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