It's Garry Shandling's Show: The Complete Series

It's Garry Shandling's Show: The Complete Series
It's impossible to overestimate Garry Shandling's influence on the landscape of American television. Where his critically revered HBO series, The Larry Sanders Show, devised the formula for every verité-style mockumentary, from Trailer Park Boys to The Office, Shandling earlier redefined the boundaries of the sitcom with It's Garry Shandling's Show. Starring Shandling as, well, comedian Garry Shandling; the fourth-wall shattering It's Garry Shandling's Show was playfully post-modern before playfully post-modern was the norm. From its opening theme ― a jaunty, Randy Newman-esque number announcing "This is the theme to Garry's show/the opening theme to Garry's show" ― to Shandling directly addressing the audience or donning an apron reading "It's Garry Shandling's Apron" to celebrities appearing as themselves, It's Garry Shandling's Show's 72 episodes play out like a mix of Newhart, Seinfeld and a Tonight Show monologue. Anticipating Seinfeld, the episodes loosely tackle the issues of the working comedian, with each episode more-or-less unravelling as a digression from a problem described in the opening monologue. Shandling is typically hilarious as the vain, neurotic version of himself, and the show's mix of monologues, ad-libbing and sitcom convention complement the comic strengths of its star. Though beautifully packaged in a 16-disc set by Shout! Factory, watching It's Garry Shandling's Show on DVD can be a bit of schlep ― sitting through four straight hours of camera-winking and industry in-jokes can be a bit straining. Nonetheless, with an excellent supporting cast, including Michael Tucci, Paul Willson and Jessica Harper, a motley procession of guest stars (Tom Petty may pop in to describe an acid flashback or Rob Reiner to wash dishes) and a mandate to consistently confound expectations, It's Garry Shandling's Show remains a compelling watch. This box set also includes a wealth of bonus features, including ample commentary and interviews by Shandling and co-creator Alan Zweibel, which shed light on not only the creation of this show,but of Shandling's early career as struggling stand-up comedian, TV writer and Tonight Show guest host. (Shout! Factory)