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Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist (TV Series 1995–2002) Poster

Trivia

When Jonathan Katz called his friend Chuck Sklar when Sklar was a roommate of H. Jon Benjamin, Benjamin's girlfriend Laura Silverman sometimes answered the phone. Jonathan was so smitten with Laura's tone of bored indifference that she became his prime candidate for Laura the Receptionist.
This was Comedy Central's first original animated series, followed by South Park (1997). The show initially ran as seven one-minute shorts on Short Attention Span Theater (1989).
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First show to use the animation technique "Squigglevision". Tom Snyder devised Squigglevision as an easy way to turn his company's illustrators into animators for his award-winning educational software. Using it later for "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist" was a natural transition.
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Contrary to the characters they played (Ben Katz and Laura the Receptionist), H. Jon Benjamin and Laura Silverman were an actual boyfriend/girlfriend team.
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A statuette in Dr. Katz's office of a woman playing ping pong in a flowing dress has the motto, "Di nos quasi pilas homines habent," which is Latin for "The gods treat we mortals like so many balls to play with," from the Roman playwright Titus Maccius Plautus (254-184 B.C.).
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The computer program used to animate the show was called "Animator Pro".
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The creators liked Ray Romano so much that they asked him to play an office partner of Dr. Katz as a recurring character. Ray was agreeable to the idea, but soon after had to commit to Everybody Loves Raymond (1996).
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The roots of the show trace to an independent short about a psychiatrist and his son. Titled "Shrink Wrap", it was created by Tom Snyder at his education-software company in Cambridge, Massachusetts before Snyder had anything at all to do with television. A friend in Los Angeles connected him with people in the industry, who were impressed enough by Shrink Wrap to want to develop it. They gave Snyder a list of experienced humorists as potential partners. One of them happened to be Snyder's all-time favorite stand-up comedian, Jonathan Katz.
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How much the show's celebrity "patients" might draw from their own real issues, if any, was something of a behind-the-scenes running gag. Rodney Dangerfield gave probably the most personal and clinically relevant spiel of all. His humorous description of feeling "heaviness" on waking in the morning matches a symptom of melancholic depression, a variety of major depressive disorder which Rodney had long struggled with in real life.
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Between Tom Snyder's in-house "Shrink Wrap" and the show's start on Comedy Central, there was a pilot pitch short called The Biography of Mr. Katz (1992), which never saw broadcast.
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The show's success enticed General Cinema to try it as a vehicle for short features to run before major features in their theaters. A premiere was held at the multiplex in Framingham, Massachusetts and everyone from the Dr. Katz production was invited. Unfortunately "Squigglevision" did not work well on the big screen. It made Loren Bouchard nauseous, and H. Jon Benjamin found watching it "unbearable".
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In Jacky's 33 Bar a picture of a basketball player in a 33 jersey resembles (in rough caricature) the Celtics' #33 Larry Bird, marking Boston as the show's setting. Which makes sense, as the show was created and produced almost entirely in the Boston area.
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