Mar 25, 2016

It's Garry Shandling's Show

I was saddened to hear of the death of Garry Shandling, the 66-year old comedian best known for The Larry Sanders Show (1992-1998), and before that, It's Garry Shandling's Show (1986-1990).

In West Hollywood we watched It's Garry Shandling's Show on Showtime every Wednesday night.

It was a precursor to Seinfeld and a throwback to the old radio sitcoms where the characters were aware that they were characters and commented on their own plotlines.  Garry played "himself" as the star of a sitcom about a comedian.

His George was the nebbish next door neighbor Pete (Michael Tucci), who had a wife and a nebbish teenage son, Grant (Scott Nemes).

His Elaine was "platonic" neighbor Nancy (Molly Cheek), who dated and eventually married Ian McFyfer (Ian Buchanan).

His Kramer was Leonard Smith (Paul Willson), the owner of his condo.

There was a steady stream of other friends and associates, including a lot of Garry's girlfriends, and a lot of celebrities playing themselves: Rob Reiner, Tom Petty, Martin Mull, Red Buttons, Chevy Chase, Norman Fell, Jeff Goldblum, Gilda Radner.

Plots were mostly about "nothing."  Garry babysits.  Garry gets a pet.  Jeff Goldblum visits.

Sometimes they were elaborately self-referential:

Grant wins a trip to Hollywood, where he goes to a taping of the show.

Grant is accused of beating up a kid at school, but the a member of the studio audience saw what really happened, and tells the principal.

Not a lot of beefcake except for an occasional bulge, and no explicit gay content, but lots of subtexts.
1. Garry and Pete had a nice bromance going on.
2. Grant rarely expressed interest in girls, and often came across as a gay kid.  Notice his obvious interest in Garry's basket in this shot.

Besides, it had a great theme song:

This is the theme to Garry's show, the theme to Garry's show. 
Garry called me up and asked if I would write his theme song. 
I'm almost halfway finished, how do you like it so far?
How do you like the theme to Garry's show?

See also: 10 Things I Love and Hate about Seinfeld.