The John Larroquette Show (TV Series 1993–1996) Poster

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Funniest in it's first season.
uncleal9 May 2004
I really liked this show during it's first season. It even had a local connection for me. The outside of the "bus station" was actually the historic railroad passenger terminal here in Sacramento.

The show was funniest in it's first year, because it showed him trying to balance recovering from alcoholism while managing this madhouse of a bus station on the graveyard shift. The alcoholism made for some very dark, (but very funny) humour.

A good example of the dark humour is when a robber is holding a gun on Larroquette and the black food counter owner (can't remember the character's name), the black guy says to the robber, "Shoot him (pointing at Larroquette) he's white." Larroquette responds "No. Shoot him (pointing at the black guy). You'll do less time." Edgy, but funny!

After the first season, they almost completely discarded the "recovering alcoholic theme" making it an OK show. But without the dark comedy of the alcoholism theme, it made it just another sitcom.

The show "held on" for one more year, and then pretty much floundered after that.
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Great show early, tamed later
bill-78815 December 2005
I haven't seen this since it was first-run, but it made an impression on me. This was a great show, especially the first season. Very funny, very dark. The acerbic JL was a great match for the material, and given his personal difficulties in the 80's, he personally must have been able to relate to the character, a last-chance alcoholic working graveyard in a bus station. I remember the show as having a great, dark tone that you usually didn't see in sitcoms, more so than Night Court, which erred on the slapstick side. The first season of the show I remember as having no fear dealing with 'John Hemingway's dark side, and his alcoholism. The plots often portrayed a similar cast of midnight nutballs, loonies, the down-on-their-luck and some out-and-out losers. But, while redemption was a ways away, JL's character was on the upward path. It was good to see them deal with and not shy away from people's real problems. The teeth of the show got pulled later... Unfortunately after the show's first season of moderate success, the network (or somebody) decided that it needed to be a bit more family-friendly or something and added Alison La Placa as a love interest, and made the tone and lighting a bit brighter. Too bad, as there was plenty of patina in the station and among the great cast of characters including Dary' (no more 'chill'?) Mitchell as the put- upon Dexter, the reliable Chi McBride, Liz Torres, and especially Elizabeth Berridge as the too-cute-for-a-cop Officer Eggers. I wonder if she would have ended up as the love interest had they not brought in La Placa. Anyways, we really need season one on DVD.
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Pure genius
pfelon12 September 2003
Unique, funny and pure genius. This show was the perfect forum for Larroquette's abilities and he played extremely well off of the other actors. I still hold a grudge against NBC for changing, then changing, then changing, then cancelling the show. If it had not been constantly tinkered-with and toned down, it might still be running. I mean, how many comedic programs deal with a recovering alcoholic and have a prostitute as a character? With the recent explosion of television programs dealing with darker content, it's easy to see that this show was ahead of its time. I'd love to get the DVDs, though NBC may not release them.
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10/10
It doesn't get better.
JazzMan59919 January 2008
Sometimes when I think of "The John Larroquette Show", it depresses me. It depresses me because a hundred years from now, when critics talk about "television of the 1990's", it is such a shame that they will talk bout shows like "Friends", "Seinfeld", and all of their imitators, and that this brilliant, darkly hilarious and inventive masterpiece will go virtually unnoticed. I won't say that this show was ahead of it's time, because no show has dared venture into these waters, neither before or since. This was probably the bravest situation comedy ever to go on the air. Where shows like "Friends" wanted us to sympathize with people who, even at their very worst, were far better off than anybody watching could possibly be, this show went the other way, showing us people who were no doubt worse off than most, yet still finding a way to laugh and embrace their lots in life, which made our laughter actually MEAN something. The Friends characters were gorgeous on the outside, callous and shallow on the inside. The characters here were ugly on the outside, and absolutely glowing on the inside, and the perfect combination of writing and acting brought that out. There is one episode that personifies this notion perfectly: An abandoned baby is found in a dumpster. (name another sitcom that would dare to find the humor in this). The seedy people in the seedy St. Louis bus station take turns watching it. There is one scene that is so true, and so real, and so heartwarming. The janitor Heavy Gene (played by Chi McBride), sits alone in the bar with the baby in his arms, as he gently sings Danny Boyto the child. The scene has nothing to do with any kind of narrative, and it doesn't push the plot of the episode in any specific direction. It's just a moment, that's all it is. A moment that gives the audience a microscope into the soul of a character that would never exist in any other sitcom, other than to be ridiculed or used for comic relief. The John Larroquette Show is filled with moments like this. We get to laugh and cry with an alcoholic, a hooker, a hobo, a janitor, a food-counter owner, a single Latino secretary, and others. We feel their pain without them asking us to. We feel their pain by laughing with them. None of them are stupid, or ditsy, or manipulative. They are just real. In it's second season, this show turned into what it so daringly avoided in it's first season, and became "Cheers" in a bus station. But the first season, quite frankly, is the best full season of television I have ever seen. I hope someone digs up the masters of this show and makes it available to be seen again. So much can be learned about life, and television, from this absolutely beautiful show.
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10/10
A series for those who were bored with formula sitcoms.
brentkincaid10 September 2006
I leave the rating of 'ten' in spite of what privations the series was forced to suffer in its second season. That is because the characters were do wonderful and the writing so wonderfully clever. I set my watch by this show during its woefully short existence. I wanted so badly to see it go on.

The show is set in a bus station in St. Louis; a terrific place for plot twists involving for a recovering alcoholic. (I am one and I howled each week at how dead-on the humor here was.)As Mahalia, the assistant to John, who is forced to take this job, Liz Torres was a past favorite second (or third) banana and stole every scene she was in during this series.

The show took chances and it paid off. It had a young black activist-oriented loudmouth constantly zinging John from the café in the bus station. There was a skinny, rather lesbians female Barney Fife of a cop and her rough and tough closet gay macho man partner. Not least was a hip, happening hooker who John would just not wake up and give a serious tumble to. We all wanted to. What was wrong with the guy? And, last but by no means insignificantly, is David Crosby as John's AA sponsor. He added not only verisimilitude, but the Kind of 'stop whistling past a grave yard' gallows humor AA is famous for.

This tiny, but powerful weekly delight had a constant passing through of some of the finest actors in television and movies gladly peppering this jewel of a show with dynamite cameo performances.

We are all sad when a television show we love bites the dust, no matter when it happens. In this case, I was bitter and still am. Why couldn't they just leave this show alone and let it gain its audience?
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8/10
Too bad it never really found its audience.
eMTeePeeCestMe5 October 2000
From the start "The John Larroquette Show", was bright, literate, willing to touch on sensitive issues, and hilarious to boot. But its audience was marginal by network standards, and each year it received a makeover in hopes of boosting the ratings. Season launching episodes were not at all subtlety titled "Changes", "More Changes", and "Even More Changes" as fair warning to long time viewers. By the beginning of the fourth and final season "The John Larroquette Show" had in many ways become indistinguishable from the rest of prime time television. Still quite funny thanks to a very talented collection of actors and writers, but its rough edge was gone.
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1st season genius
drcable3519 January 2005
As has been mentioned before, this show had the potential to become another one of the big hits that NBC had in its stable. Everything about this show in the first season made it worth tuning in without fail every week. The problem came when in the second season, NBC decided to tone down the show, changing the entire storyline, and really trashing a great show. Cleaning up not only the rough and gritty setting, but changing the characters; what a shame. Basically, the end result is what would have happened to the film Heavy Metal if it were re-shot and re-cut, and edited by Disney. If Larroquette ever comes out on DVD, I'll buy just the first season. As I'm sure many others would as well.
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9/10
An under-rated Gem!
TheEmulator237 July 2007
I have such fond memories of this show. I don't know if I would find it as funny now, but when it was out my brother and I never missed an episode. It's nice to see that just about all of the lead cast is still working today too. I would love to see at least the first season out on DVD sometime. I would recommend this show to everyone that likes John Larouquette. This role was made for him and it played very well with the occasional drama but mostly the great hearty laughs. My favorite characters were John of course and the two cops that barely ever worked. They ate lots of food and donut's and the two played off each other wonderfully. I don't even know if there are re-runs of this anywhere. It got the required four years but I have never seen it in syndication, which IMO is a total shame.
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10/10
a great sitcom -- at first
ericcchristensen16 August 2006
The first season of Laroquette was, at least in my view, one of the most inventive and funny series on TV. A dark, dry and offbeat worldview pervaded the stories and the cast sold just incredible dialogue with rare verve and honesty.

I agree with the other reviewers, however, that later seasons became mundane and weak as they tried to broaden the show's appeal beyond the narrow group of devotees who found it during the first season.

I mean, my god, the episode where an employee from the U.S. Bureau of Weights and Measures passed through the bus station with the official inch measure of the United States and he asked John to watch the measure while he went to the men's room. Naturally, John became curious about it and, ultimately, wound up damaging the official inch measure. It was hilarious.

Or the episode where a teenage boy was at the bus station being transported back to his home in the rural south after running away from a sheriff's daughter. He was going to be sent to prison (unjustly) it turned out, when the local prostitute (a regular on the show) said she could tell he was a virgin. He admitted to this, and the cast decided that they would get together and hire the prostitute to "service him" before he went to prison. Unfortunately, the bounty hunter who was escorting him, wouldn't remove the handcuffs he had on the boy for the time he was to be serviced. So all you saw was this bounty hunter standing in John's office doorway with his arm flailing up and down in the door as the act was consumated. It was blindingly funny.

If there is any justice in this world, or appreciation for true dark humor, the powers that be will release at least the first season DVD.
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A vastly underrated series...
kris-12425 June 2000
I don't think I hardly missed an episode of 'Larroquette' during its all-too-short two-year run. Larroquette was superb as world-weary, wisecracking John Hemingway and the supporting performances were typically strong. This show had its zaniness and a serious element; perhaps it wasn't predictable enough to gain a large and steady viewership that would have ensured its survival.
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Network Execs gutted it.
cul-de-sac30 July 2005
Season 1 was superb: gritty, realistic characters who behaved like they lived gritty, realistic lives...unapologetic hookers, transvestites, bums, and alcoholics who were hilarious. Almost like watching a play...like "Hot L Baltimore" in the 70s. As the sign on John Laroquette's wall said, "This (was) a Dark Ride." Weird, fun, occasionally disturbing because it was a lot more lifelike than the usual sitcom.

Season 2? Blatantly obvious that the network got nervous about all those hookers, transvestites, bums, and alcoholics not being apologetic...the fix was in, they cleaned it up, and the show became just another basic sitcom about a bus station. I was sad to watch it go.
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9/10
Doesn't age
CheshireCatsGrin15 August 2013
Until yesterday I hadn't seen this show since it originally aired when I was a teen. When I found season 1 on line I am in heaven. This dark comedy was far ahead of its time so like WKRP it's so good I'm happy to have a crappy streaming copy from an aging VHS tape.

The fact I've kept looking all these years later speaks volumes as I'm not a sitcom fan. Season 1 is a gem. Sadly like Dirty, Sexy, Money they made too many changes in an attempt to reach the main sitcom audience. Season 1 was so excellent I still give the series an A. If you are like me keep an eye out for this dark comedy. You won't be disappointed

The basic premise is a man decides he's going to stop drinking and begins a New life as a manager of an inner city bus terminal. This is an ensemble cast despite the name
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10/10
Loved the first season. Hated the second season.
topseeded3 July 2010
I really loved the first season. But when the focus shifted to the girl across the hall, I shifted to another channel. It turned into another, "Will they fall in love"?, "Will they stay in love"?, "Is her misunderstanding of what she overheard him say going to ruin their love for each other"? "Will they get back together"?, What a crying shame, it was such an original show. The characters were so interesting. The bum who lived in the phone booth. The Latino lady who ran the gift shop. The hooker that hung out in the bar. The whitey hating black man who ran the food counter. The clueless police officers. And the characters that who just passing through.

It had such great potential. The show could have ran for 20 years.

Hey! How about a sequel? Or even a remake?
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Great Show , looking for first season
ddj71113 July 2001
I loved this show. It was a biting satire on many things and used a great cast to keep teh audience into the show. Unfortunately, which is often the case, NBC screwed the show over. It put it in bad time slots(just like Newsradio) and did not promote it at all. Too bad, it was one of the best sitcoms of the 90s. Anyways, I have seasons 2-4 on tape and am looking to get season one.
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Wonderful First Season
RashomonLaStrada11 June 2005
John Larroquette Show had a truly brilliant first season. It was startling to have such a darkly comic show on American TV in the early 90s -- American sitcoms were still stuck in the idea that characters had to be likable and situations had to be pleasant. But he was in a bottom- of-the-barrel job, trying to be a recovering alcoholic, living in a terrible place, surrounded by people who encouraged him to drink. So of course it was too good to last...

The network brought the show back for a second season but with the understanding that it had be brightened up. They had John move into a nicer place, they got him a nice decent love interest (other than Carly, the hooker), and they took the edge away from the show. Sigh.

The bitter irony is that nowadays American TV sitcoms go out of their way to try to set up quirky situations and characters, but without the talent in the writing or acting that John Larroquette Show had in its day.
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Classic
JimBond6 October 1999
This show is one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. Always hilarious never a bad show. It's just reruns here in Bangkok, but I watch'em all the time. I recommend this show to anyone. Some of the humor is adult but it is real humor.
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10/10
I will add to the love/hate fest
seanellio12 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Again, as most people here are doing, I will speak of the 1st season. A very dark comedy with heart. I always got a laugh out of this show. But the second episode is the best of the series. (IMO) In the first episode, JL is sober for 1 day. In the second episode JL has been sober for 30 days. He is proud of this accomplishment, but no one seems to care. When he goes into the bar, the bartender says "That's worth a free shot!" (6 months is a glass, and a year of sobriety is a whole bottle!)He goes to the bum in the station (He sleeps in a phone booth) and says "You, know, you don't need that first drink." The bum says "Your in 'the program'? Let me tell you this from the bottom of my heart. TAKE YOUR ELEVEN STEPS OFF OF A TWELVE STEP PIER!" He finally decides that if no one cares he is sober, why bother? He goes to the bar later in during his shift and asks for their strongest drink. A different bartender gives him coffee. The bar was being utilized as a meeting place for AA when JL walked in. He finds a sponsor, (David Crosby) and is sober for another day.

A line from one of the myriad bartenders this show had still makes me laugh. I forget which episode, but the bartender is complaining about how his apartment was burglarized. He says "They would have taken my statue of Jesus if it wasn't nailed down."

No show made me think, or laugh, as much as this first season. The second and third seasons are not very good. Blame the networks. The show even made fun of it's lighter tone by having a very "Freinds" like theme, and had JL dancing in a fountain with an umbrella. (With a deadpan expression the whole time)

I will get the 1st season on DVD if it ever gets released.
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A great over-looked sitcom
ksu7216 June 2005
The writing was very good, much in the same vein as Night Court, but situated in a bus stop managed by a recovering alcoholic (played brilliantly by John Larroquette)Other cast members were strong and believable. My favorites cast members included the cook at the coffee shop in the bus station and the hooker, and cops who frequently hung out at the bus coffee shop. Like Night Court, some episodes touched the heart, while others were just for laughs.

The show followed on the heels of the canceling of Night Court in 1992 after a nine year run. Larroquette's strong showing in a supporting role as Dan Fielding opened the way for this chance at heading up a new show. I would call it a spin off and followed in the same lines as the successful Night court format of scripts and cast. While I felt the Larroquette show did a magnificent job, for some reason the show didn't capture a large enough audience and only lasted two seasons before the ax fell and the show was can-celled. Maybe a different night would have exposed the show to a larger audience.
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One of the funniest TV shows of all time
Aurthur14 April 1999
The show was full of surprises. It was always hilarious, and complete with zany characters. It was intelligently written, but the humour was easy to understand. Full of racial (but not racist) jokes, it always kept you in stitches. While not for children, it was for everyone who likes to laugh and doesn't take life too seriously.
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Funny Forgotten Sitcom
aliyousseffi29 January 2014
I did not even have any idea that this show even existed until a friend of mine recommended it to me two weeks ago, a friend who has the same kind of taste in shows and comedy and who I trust so even though I never heard of it I watched it. I remember the star from his part in Night Court which was a show I thought was OK but his part in that show was very funny and I believe he won many awards for it. In this show it is a much darker series where he plays an alcoholic who ends up running a small bus station on the midnight shift. It's a unique set up for a TV show but it works very well. Not sure how my friend got hold of these discs but you should check out the show if you like smart, somewhat dark comedy and good characters.
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This was a perfect depiction of St Louis ...
rwilymz15 February 2005
... if St Louis was NYC.

Living across the river from St Lose and having grown up a few hours from NYC, I was interested in seeing how American Television, an industry concentrated on both coasts, would depict a city smack dab in between them.

I got the answer after a few shows: farcically.

St Lose is dominated by white and black which The JLq Show had, but Television Formula required the Obligatory Hispanic /Liz Torres, great actress/. There are no accented Hispanics around here. The nearest one is 300 miles away -- in Chicago. Casting Liz was my clue that something was seriously amiss in the show.

The closest thing to "ethnic" around here is: 1- "The Hill" -- actually a generally rising slope -- dotted with Italian restaurants; 2- Soulard Market, an old french quarter holdover where the frenchiness is reserved solely in the name; and 3- German towns in southwestern IL where everyone has a last name with no fewer than 18 letters, an uncommon allotment of which are 'e' and 'i'.

No Hispanics. Anywhere.

StL is brain sandwiches and toasted ravioli; downtown closes at 6PM. By law. Budweiser and mostaccioli -- pronounced "muskacholi" -- are the equivalents of champagne and pate at local weddings. These things are interesting, even if only from an Abnormal Psych perspective, and would have been worth seeing in a national television show centered on some region other than the boring, repetitive and cliché NYC and LA scenery and lifestyle.

But, oh well, you can't fight Television Formula. Don't bother sending the writers on a field trip to research the people they're going to depict. Remake the center of the country to be yet another in a long line of NYC replicants.

Good actors; tired plots; wasted opportunity.
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