Author Topic: Reappraising Larry Sanders  (Read 2420 times)

dr beat

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Reappraising Larry Sanders
« on: October 01, 2021, 10:25:18 AM »
Turn back the world!

We took delivery of the box set recently, and we are going through it at a rate of knots.  We're currently about 4 or 5 eps in to season 3.

We'd only previously seen a few episodes available on Youtube but its been great to watch it properly and see how it all develops, the callbacks and the characterisation - Hank is a particularly interesting one.

So I thought some Sanders discussion wouldn't go amiss. Favourite episodes or bits? Favourite series? What its influenced and how? No flipping now.

dead-ced-dead

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2021, 10:27:33 AM »
Hank Kingsley is one of the greatest tragicomic characters I've ever seen. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I do recall many of his best moments.

Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2021, 10:28:34 AM »
Don't need to reappraise it.
It's fucking brilliant.

dr beat

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2021, 10:31:15 AM »
Yeah reappraising is not quite what I meant, more like revisiting, or in our case more like just watching them - so like, 'visiting'.

Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2021, 10:34:03 AM »
I have to call my parents and tell them I'm asian.

Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2021, 11:00:00 AM »
This was always on too late for me so I've only ever seen little snippets.
I've heard from a few people that that "The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling" two part documentary is good, so that might be worth seeking out.

Blue Jam

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2021, 11:12:56 AM »
Fuckin' frogs

BeardFaceMan

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2021, 11:32:50 AM »
I laughed so fucking hard at the punchline to Hank's outburst "what about the time I fell and chipped my tooth on the urinal, what the fuck was so funny about that?", it's one of my favourite gags ever. This was the show that introduced me to The Bob back when this was shown on BBC2, he's such a perfect prick in this.

Blue Jam

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2021, 11:46:58 AM »
If we're doing an actual reappraisal, it's hard to watch this after Breaking Bad and not see Stevie Grant as a proto-Saul. Especially when he has the mullet. Steals every scene he's in as well.

Neomod

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2021, 11:47:00 AM »
Hank's Night in the Sun is one of the best episodes of anything I've ever seen.


Blue Jam

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2021, 11:49:11 AM »
The episode with Hank's restaurant launch is one of my favourites. The juddering of the revolving floor is so perfectly timed. Also I went SQUEEEE when they wandered off the set of the show, through Monk's Restaurant and right into Jerry Seinfeld's apartment.

Hank himself is so wonderfully pathetic. He just runs out of hubris and has a breakdown, dribbling on Jerry's sofa.

dr beat

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2021, 12:14:13 PM »
The final scene in that episode is wonderful, perfect even.  The wide shots with them walking through the studios is almost cinematic.  Love the bit with Larry and Seinfeld talking about their weird interns ('thats exactly what ours does') which is true to both respective shows.  Its very meta, but it works within the context and crucially its not smug or showy.  I can't think of a UK example being done with such confidence.

And then there's the morning reveal, with Larry and Artie being all sympathetic and apprehensive, like they're just about to put down a beloved pet.  And then Hank's response. 
« Last Edit: October 01, 2021, 12:26:29 PM by dr beat »

Blue Jam

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2021, 12:36:44 PM »
Love the bit with Larry and Seinfeld talking about their weird interns ('thats exactly what ours does') which is true to both respective shows.  Its very meta

Bizarro Jerry and his bizarro intern?

Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2021, 01:21:04 PM »
Larry Sanders is still only fractionally less rewatchable than golden era Simpsons. It's slightly spoiled because of the stories of workplace sleaziness, which is worse because Linda Doucett is one of the pillars holding the whole thing up so its shit to imagine that were being bastards to her.

The Seinfeld set reveal is wonderful. The way its executed is just unfathomably brilliant.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2021, 01:32:50 PM by Video Game Fan 2000 »

QDRPHNC

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2021, 01:39:30 PM »
Hank's Night in the Sun is one of the best episodes of anything I've ever seen.

Yes, that's the episode that highlights the marvel that Tambor created with Hank Kingsley. You can see why the audience loves him, you can see why his colleagues hate him. You can see, understand and feel all these contradictions and they make Kingsley feel more real like an actual person instead of more fake like a character in a TV show. Even in a drama, that's an exceptionally hard thing to do (one of the reasons The Sopranos is still considered the best show ever, 20 years later), let alone in a comedy which is making you laugh at the same time.

The episode with Hank's restaurant launch is one of my favourites. The juddering of the revolving floor is so perfectly timed. Also I went SQUEEEE when they wandered off the set of the show, through Monk's Restaurant and right into Jerry Seinfeld's apartment.

That really was one of those moments for comedy nerds. The iconic Seinfeld apartment with Hank asleep on the couch, just brilliant.

gilbertharding

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2021, 02:08:06 PM »
Love the bit with Larry and Seinfeld talking about their weird interns ('thats exactly what ours does') which is true to both respective shows.  Its very meta, but it works within the context and crucially its not smug or showy.  I can't think of a UK example being done with such confidence.

I don't remember that bit - I really should try to watch them all, but thanks to the BBC's shabby treatment of it (and Seinfeld), I never managed at the time, and haven't so far fixed that.

I remember an essay (possibly in the Idler) by Graham Linehan about sitcoms, where he talked about British people who used to think it was smart to say (about Seinfeld) "Oh - I prefer Larry Sanders...", which he correctly said was a shit opinion, but also a stupid thing to say because no-one outside of Britain (where they were broadcast as a pair), would comprehend the two sitcoms being related to each other.

Which shows what he knows.

Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2021, 02:19:05 PM »
"The Larry Sanders Show" is the best. "The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling" is also excellent.

To me, Rip Torn was the funny guy. But he's always funny in the movies I've seen from the 70s.

QDRPHNC

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2021, 02:21:45 PM »
Yeah, I was going to say. I think liking Larry Sanders over Seinfeld is a completely decent opinion. Seinfeld has probably made me laugh more, but Larry Sanders is overall the smarter and more well-written show, I think.

Not sure what Graham Linehan is up to these days, but hopefully he's moved on from picking sides and looking down on anyone who disagrees with him.

gilbertharding

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2021, 02:58:50 PM »
Yeah, I was going to say. I think liking Larry Sanders over Seinfeld is a completely decent opinion.

Of course it is, but you know... I think it's arguable either way. The main point, which I think does still stand is 'they aren't, in fact, different sides of the same coin, they were just broadcast thusly in the UK'.

Not sure what Graham Linehan is up to these days, but hopefully he's moved on from picking sides and looking down on anyone who disagrees with him.

Very good.

Blue Jam

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2021, 02:59:43 PM »
To me, Rip Torn was the funny guy.

Same. Seems to get most of the lines I smile at.

Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2021, 04:11:24 PM »
I rewatched the whole thing about a year ago. I was prepared for a slow, awkward build towards the show finding its feet like  Seinfeld, but I was stunned by how everything is right there from the start. The first episode doesn't feel like you're being gently introduced to the characters and fed exposition, or even much like a traditional first episode, you're thrown into the middle of an  established situation. Of course that's down to the writing and performances.

On a less positive note, some aspects are uncomfortable especially considering the background sleaze and misogyny. One particular example was Darlene pivoting to "poor Hank" immediately after he lunged at her and the general attitude to that - a bit too close to home - and a couple of seasons in I remember feeling there was a general thread of that kind of stuff. The pat resolution to Phil's homophobia towards Brian was particularly weak I thought.

Hank is such a perfect character / performance that he's funny even if just in the room doing nothing, how he thinks or feels about anything is inherently hilarious. The way he rapidly switches between hysterical optimism, embittered rage and self-pity is incredible. It's really something that Hank and Larry are both ruled by profound insecurities but don't feel at all similar. To have the pair of them AND Artie as leads is almost too much.

I'd say Seinfeld is the show's only peer really, and I"d easily place it above Curb.

gilbertharding

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2021, 04:21:24 PM »
I rewatched the whole thing about a year ago. I was prepared for a slow, awkward build towards the show finding its feet like  Seinfeld, but I was stunned by how everything is right there from the start. The first episode doesn't feel like you're being gently introduced to the characters and fed exposition, or even much like a traditional first episode, you're thrown into the middle of an  established situation. Of course that's down to the writing and performances.

Also, maybe, down to the fact it wasn't Shandling's first rodeo - though I know It's Garry Shandling's Show was a different thing, it broke a lot of ground, surely?

Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2021, 04:32:50 PM »
Also, maybe, down to the fact it wasn't Shandling's first rodeo - though I know It's Garry Shandling's Show was a different thing, it broke a lot of ground, surely?

Absolutely, but apart from the confidence of the production, I don't think there's anything in the episode that would give it away as the first if you didn't know. The show within the show is already established and taken for granted, Larry is on the cusp getting jaded even. If you analyzed the script you might find that they're easing you in in some ways, but it feels like you're being thrown into the middle of it in an exhilarating way.

Blue Jam

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2021, 04:38:00 PM »
I don't think there's anything in the episode that would give it away as the first if you didn't know. The show within the show is already established and taken for granted, Larry is on the cusp getting jaded even. If you analyzed the script you might find that they're easing you in in some ways, but it feels like you're being thrown into the middle of it in an exhilarating way.

This, exactly this. Is there another show that throws you straight into the thick of it in this way- and gets away with it?

Is It's Garry Shandling's Show available to stream anywhere? I think I must have caught a bit in the 90's when Channel 4 (I think) were showing it. Might have to be my next boxset.

dr beat

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2021, 04:46:56 PM »
This, exactly this. Is there another show that throws you straight into the thick of it in this way- and gets away with it?


*The* Thick of It? I can see the influence

Blue Jam

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2021, 04:54:31 PM »
Even *The* Thick of It starts by introducing that crappy government department where the ministers never last long and there's this angry sweary Scottish man whose job it is to dispatch them. Doesn't Cliff Lawton tell Malcolm Tucker "If I can't get the Prime Minister's chief enforcer a coffee...", telling us exactly who Sweary Angry Scottish Man is?

Definitely an influence on the walk-and-talk corridor scenes though. Not to mention the total absence of glamour behind the scenes.

Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2021, 04:55:10 PM »
Good luck on getting the It's Garry Shandling's Show boxset - last I checked, it was going for ridiculously astronomical sums on eBay.

Agreed on the show pretty much throwing you into its world from the jump, but, of course, part of that may be down to the first broadcast episode being the fourth one shot. (The actual "first" episode came last in the first season's run.)

It really is close to perfect, this show; I think there's only one episode that doesn't wear particularly well - "Larry's New Love" at the end of season 5, which is weirdly melodramatic in an uncharacteristic way - and I still wouldn't quite consider it bad, just off-brand.

Best episodes not yet mentioned? "Arthur After Hours," "Hank's Sex Tape," "Everybody Loves Larry," "My Name is Asher Kingsley," "Adolf Hankler"... I could go on.

One thing I've noticed through rewatching - correct me if I'm wrong, but, other than Larry and Hank, we never learn the last names of any of the show's staff, from Artie on down. Must be some commentary on the nature of showbiz, eh?

Blue Jam

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2021, 05:01:02 PM »
Good luck on getting the It's Garry Shandling's Show boxset - last I checked, it was going for ridiculously astronomical sums on eBay.

It looks like seasons 1 and 2 aren't hard to find, but yikes:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-Garry-Shandlings-Show-Complete/dp/B002AMVGCW/

Magnum Valentino

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2021, 05:53:57 PM »
I wish there was more of a 'scene' for people making good quality rips of stuff like that that's gone out of print.

Which is a nice segue to me mentioning that I did exactly this for the Larry Sanders extras years ago (the UK sets don't have any - the US set is one of the best extras packages ever).

I'm not sure I still have them hosted on Google but if I can find them and you'd like a link, let me know. Interviews, deleted stuff, a few commentaries. Very high quality material from GS.

Blue Jam

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Re: Reappraising Larry Sanders
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2021, 06:31:17 PM »
I wish there was more of a 'scene' for people making good quality rips of stuff like that that's gone out of print.

Which is a nice segue to me mentioning that I did exactly this for the Larry Sanders extras years ago (the UK sets don't have any - the US set is one of the best extras packages ever).

I'm not sure I still have them hosted on Google but if I can find them and you'd like a link, let me know. Interviews, deleted stuff, a few commentaries. Very high quality material from GS.

The box set was my birthday present from dr beat (because he's lovely) and I went for the UK edition because I'm not that arsed about DVD extras these days, and I'd read that with this particular show the best/cheapest way to get everything was to buy the region 2 boxset plus that region 1 DVD with all the extras. Only got one optical drive in the house now, the Xbox One S drive which I assume is set to region 2.

Weird that all this classic comedy getting a renewed interest like The Larry Sanders Show , It's Garry Shandling's Show and Mr. Show appears to have its copyright owned by people who don't have an awful lot of love for it and don't give a shit about making money.

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