The Larry Sanders Show: Season 1

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EPISODE 1 “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY”: Guest Star – Robert Hays. Larry finds himself in opposition to a network executive who wants him to do live commercials for “The Garden Weasel.”

EPISODE 2 “PROMISE”: Guest Stars Dana Delany, David Spade and William Shatner. Larry can’t decide what he should do when a comic scheduled for the show appears first on a rival talk show.

EPISODE 3 “SPIDERS”: Guest Stars Carol Burnett, Jon Lovitz, Steve Duchesne and Steve Kutcher. Larry battles his reluctance when real live spiders are scheduled for the show, and he tries to find a sketch to do with guest Carol Burnett.

EPISODE 4 “THE GUEST HOST”: Guest Star Dana Carvey. Dana Carvey’s success as a guest host on the show makes Larry very, very nervous.

EPISODE 5 “THE NEW PRODUCER”: Guest Stars Robert Morton and Jeff Cesario. A friend of Larry’s replaces Artie temporarily as producer, but schemes to make the job permanent.

EPISODE 6 “THE FLIRT”: Guest Stars Mimi Rogers and Michael Richards. Jeannie becomes very jealous and accuses Larry of flirting with a playful Mimi Rogers on the show.

EPISODE 7 “HANK’S CONTRACT”: Guest Stars Robin Williams and George Foreman. It’s contract negotiation time for Hank and he’s going for a raise, and a golf cart.

EPISODE 8 “OUT OF THE LOOP”: Guest Star Peter Falk. Larry feels out of touch when he’s the last to know that his head writer is having a torrid office affair.

EPISODE 9 “THE TALK SHOW”: Guest Stars Billy Crystal and Catherine O’Hara. An argument at Jeannie’s home causes Larry to lose his concentration during the show that night.

EPISODE 10 “THE PARTY”: Guest Star Martin Mull. Larry’s little dinner at home with Arthur, initiated by Jeannie,escalates into a full-blown party and causes Larry to become extremely paranoid.

EPISODE 11 “WARMTH”: Guest Star Richard Simmons. Worried about his ratings, Larry hires a focus group to help tighten up the show.

EPISODE 12 “A BRUSH WITH THE ELBOW OF GREATNESS”: Guest Star Bela Shaw. Larry makes the tabloids when a woman claims he knocked her into a magazine rack and neglected to apologize.

EPISODE 13 “HEY NOW”: Guest Stars Bob Saget, Ray Combs and Earl Holliman. Hank falls asleep during the show, which is just the last straw for a fed up Larry.
Hey now! Now that even Green Acres has its own boxed set, it’s time for the The Larry Sanders Show to hit DVD! Join Larry and his guests Carol Burnett, Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Peter Falk, Mimi Rogers, Billy Crystal, Catherine O’Hara, Richard Simmons, and Bob Saget for one of the ’90s best and brightest comedies. Before The Sopranos and Sex and the City, this was HBO’s must-hook-up series. The 13 episodes (on three discs) that comprise the first season brilliantly set the stage for what was the funniest and savviest show business comedy since The Dick Van Dyke Show (but with way, way more of an edge). Go backstage and meet the people who toil on “The Larry Sanders Show,” the quintessential late-night talk show. Series creator Garry Shandling’s Larry is so self-centered and neurotic, he makes Alan Brady look like Mister Rogers. Emmy winner Rip Torn is Artie, Larry’s “always ready to jump in” pit bull of a producer, with Jeffrey Tambor as sidekick Hank Kingsley, former cruise director and “poor deluded bastard.” The flawless ensemble also includes Penny Johnson as Larry’s indispensable secretary Beverly, Janeane Garofalo at her deadpan best as talent booker Paula, and Jeremy Piven as cocksure head writer Jerry. With its unflinching portrayals of ego clashes, petty jealousies, and office politics and paranoia, this hyper-realistic series produced more hilariously awkward and squirm-inducing moments than The King of Comedy. But the boundless pleasures of The Larry Sanders Show make each episode ripe for repeat viewings (in which you can catch and savor the nuances of the performances or the throw-away brilliance of the dialogue). Adding to the fun and verisimilitude are the celebrity guest stars who tweak their personas. There’s a less-than-gracious Burnett in the episode “Spiders,” a duplicitous Carvey in “The Guest Host,” and an insecure Williams in “Hank’s Contract.” The first disc contains an interview of Shandling conducted by Pulitzer Prize-winning television critic Tom Shales. No flipping, lest you miss the great “Rip Torn story” on how the formidable actor was cast. –Donald Liebenson
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