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H. Jon Benjamin,
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HBO television sitcom about Larry Sanders, a talk-show host. This show goes 'behind-the-scenes' to reveal Larry's humorous interactions with the producers and guests. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Hands down - this is my favorite television program, ever. For me, it replaced "Columbo" (especially the earlier ones) in this regard. Built around Garry Shandling's delightfully diverse character - the extremely-talented on-air Larry, who is equally-neurotic in his personal life, it presents everything one could want from any piece of entertainment. With Jeffrey Tambor and Rip Torn perfectly-cast in their sidekick and producer roles - there is a legion of talented others in terms of supporting cast, and a horde of A-list celebrities appearing as themselves, both as guests on the fictional show and in Larry's personal life.
Whatever the assigned characteristics the writers have provided the supporting cast and guests - sneaky, smarmy, confrontational, naive, insincere, unpredictable, etc,, etc. - it seems that everything, every characterization, every situation is carried-off without fault and is thoroughly amusing. Where the situation or drama had more serious elements, these were also well-done, without detracting from the show's overall humor.
A major affirmation of this show's appeal, for me (if I needed one) is that even where a guest appeared who was far from a favorite of mine (Rosanne would be the best example) even that person was engaging in the role within the program.
This program also was one where the "salty" language, which occurred in abundance, always added to the quality of the programming and stories, never seeming at all gratuitous. And another confirmation of the quality of this series is that in its subsequent re-runs, especially on local outlets, where many words are "bleeped," the programs are still completely entertaining.
Certainly everyone will have certain favorite episodes. However, this is a show which one can enjoy whenever seeing it again, whatever episode(s) are viewed, and irrespective of how many times they may have been seen before.
I know the participants have gone on to other separate endeavors. But I, for one, would love to see, say, a mini-series where HBO would present "the network" luring Larry, Artie and Hank "out of retirement," and having them do a series of retrospective "Larry Sanders Shows" as part of celebration of some sort of network milestone.
One of my local stations used to run two episodes late each Saturday night. I was able to see a few when aired, but made certain I taped all of them to see within the following few days. I'm surprised that I haven't already bought all of the series available on VHS or DVD, but intend to do so in the near future. These shows are the type which, even after multiple viewings, are more entertaining to see again than most alternatives available for the first time
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