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Monday, December 8, 2008

The Best of Dr. Katz DVD Review by Jessica Friedman

The Best of Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist

Jessica Friedman

In its early days, the budding network of Comedy Central offered little by way of original programming. Aside from Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the Daily Show with Craig Kilborn, Comedy Central’s schedule mainly consisted of a variety of old taped comedy acts and SNL reruns. Once South Park arrived, however, this clearly changed everything and Comedy Central became the force to be reckoned with in the world of cable television that it is today.

Now you might be asking yourself, why is she discussing the development of Comedy Central when this review is about an animated tv show? The reason for this introduction is that amid the many comedy shows and very few original programs available on Comedy Central during its infancy, there was one shining gem that is as funny today as it was a decade ago: Dr. Katz.

When my family first received Comedy Central on our cable in 1999, Dr. Katz reruns were one of my favorite programs to watch. I loved almost any animated show at that age (I’ve been a Simpsons fan since the age of 7, for example), and the inclusion of comedians being animated was a bonus to me. What I disliked about the program—the whiny Ben character and the bitchy Laura character—is what makes this DVD so awesome for me personally. I always wanted to skip over the incessant and tedious Ben/Laura scenes to just get to the comedians telling jokes and Dr. Katz wittily replying to them.

Now, with the beauty of DVDs, my wishes have come true and The Best of Dr. Katz is just that—everything we all loved in the show (the comedians) and nothing we disliked. The disc includes segments from a variety of comedians who have talked to Dr. Katz on the couch over the years, and you can choose to either watch them one-by-one or watch them all at once. Some of the comedians were well known to me when I saw these episodes the first time. For example, the David Duchovny one was my introduction to Duchovny being funny and not just obsessed with aliens. Others I had never heard of before (Susie Essman) or I slightly knew of but know MUCH better now (Kathy Griffin, Louis C.K., Patton Oswalt, and many more). I found the David Cross segments to be particularly hilarious, but I am still mourning the loss of Arrested Development and this was the form my grief had taken (inside joke to AD fans). One of the most surprising discoveries for me when watching this DVD was that Ray Romano was featured in one of the episodes. I remembered his segments clearly from having seen them many years before, but it was funny to see a guy who would become such a juggernaut in the sitcom world (Ian’s mother still watches Everybody Loves Raymond all the time) in one of his earlier performances.

All in all, this is a great DVD for anyone who likes clever animated shows from the ‘90s. As long as you can get used to the signature Squigglevision style of animation (which I think is cool, but Ian dislikes), I think you will enjoy it. If you actually do miss the Ben/Laura interaction scenes, this dvd even has extras that feature Dr. Katz’s favorite moments involving those two characters. There’s something for everybody!

Final grade: A


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