Thursday, August 10, 2006

DVD: Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist

I’m finally starting to get the whole TV-on-DVD thing now that season one of this early Comedy Central hit has come to home video. And it only took eleven years. Squigglevision lives!

You’d think the show would have been rushed out well before now, considering the many top flight comedians who appeared as Dr. Katz’s patients. The first season alone features Dave Attell and Larry Miller, as well as multiple appearances by Ray Romano (who was offered a chance to become a regular but held off because of the slight possibility that CBS might give him his own sitcom). Their material still holds up. Miller on men’s sexual fantasies: “If women knew what we really thought, they would never stop slapping us.”

But the heart of the show was the relationship between Dr. Katz (Jonathan Katz) and his slacker son Ben (H. Jon Benjamin). Although I always loved the scenes where Ben flirted haplessly with his father’s secretary, voiced by Laura Silverman, sister of Sarah and late of HBO’s The Comeback.

The show has a uniquely beguiling effect. The minimal but expressive animation by Tom Snyder, the emphasis on rhythm instead of story (a typical plot: Ben wants to borrow the car), the jazz score, which is also by Snyder. It doesn’t have the feel of a cartoon so much as a great comic strip. The loose, giddy vibe makes it an ideal show to watch before turning off the TV at night.

YouTube has plenty of clips; people have been waiting a long time for this show to hit video. Here’s a good one from a later season: Dave Chappelle on superheroes.