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A pretty good selection of episodes, but not enough Hank
on April 18, 2007
Larry Sanders is classic comedy that is no longer shown on HBO due to the years since the series ended (1998 was its final year), and when it was on Bravo the episodes were never shown uncut due to censorship and time constraint issues. With the likelihood that so much time passes that it is finally decided that, due to its format, this show is so "nineties-centric" with all of its guest stars that it is too dated to be a success on DVD, I shall break down and buy this set and hope that, with my luck, seasons two through six promptly follow.
The selection of episodes is pretty good, although they tend to be more Larry-centric and more focused on telling the story of the show than just the best possible selection of individual episodes. There are three episodes from season one in this set, so along with Season One which is being reissued, these two sets give us 33 of the 89 total episodes on DVD. There are a couple of episodes I consider essential that I was disappointed to see were omitted from the set. The first of these is "The Grand Opening" from season two, where Hank decides to open his "Hank's Look Around Cafe". The tables in the restaurant moved around so you had a different view every few minutes. Everyone knew it was a bad idea, but Hank wanted this so much that there was no dissuading him. When Larry is eating there, the tables creak and wobble, glasses fall over, and rolls fall off the table. It's absolutely hilarious classic Hank. To quote Artie, "That's great television, my friend." The other episode I wished had been included was "Artie and Angie and Hank and Hercules" from Season 5. Besides the other subplots going on in this episode, Hank auditions to be the voice of Hercules in an animated feature. Hank is upset when he learns his voice is to be that of the village fool rather than the title character. Nobody else has actually listed the 23 included episodes, so I do that next:
1. "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" - featuring Robert Hays - The premiere episode that introduces the characters.
Audio Commentary by Garry Shandling and writer Peter Tolan
2. "The Spiders Episode" - featuring Carol Burnett and Jon Lovitz - Larry is afraid of spiders, and his scheduled guest is a naturalist who plans to bring some on the set.
3. "The Hey Now Episode" - featuring Bob Saget, Earl Holliman, T. Bone Burnett, and Ray Combs - Hank faces Gary's ire when he falls asleep on the show.
4. "The List" - featuring Alec Baldwin, Ed Begley, Jr., and Daniel Baldwin - Gary is in the process of rekindling his romance with his ex-wife, but his suspicions about her romances since their break-up cause him to be jealous.
5. "The Hankerciser 200" - Hank endorses an exercise device that has the capacity to injure people.
6. "Life Behind Larry" - featuring Bobcat Goldthwait, David Letterman, Steven Wright, Kevin Nealon, Tom Snyder, and Richard Lewis - While everyone else is concerned about finding a host for a show that will follow Larry's in the late-night line-up, Larry is only interested in the possibility of him once again not winning an award for the show.
7. "Hank's Night in the Sun" - featuring George Wendt and Shadoe Stevens - Classic Hank. Hank fills in for Gary when he is sick. His insecurity makes him a big hit. Not realizing this, he goes on the next night full of confidence and strikes out.
Audio Commentary by Garry Shandling and director Todd Holland
8. "Office Romance" - featuring Bob Saget - Darlene decides to date both Phil and Gary, causing a clash of egos.
9. "The Mr. Sharon Stone Show" - featuring Sharon Stone and Julianne Phillips - Larry's main concern with his dinner date with Sharon Stone is that she is more famous than he is.
10. "Hank's Divorce" - featuring Joan Embery, Wayne Rogers, and Alex Trebek - Hank's wife announces she wants a divorce on their first wedding anniversary.
11. "Hank's Sex Tape" - featuring Henry Winkler, Norm MacDonald, and Jon Favreau - Hank is chosen as spokesperson for Florida Orange Juice partly based on his reputation as a clean-cut guy. However, a revealing videotape discovered by Phil looks set to ruin Hank's image.
12. "I Was a Teenage " - featuring Brett Butler - Brett Butler thinks Paula is behaving strangely towards her because they once had a relationship. In fact, Paula's behavior is due to a serious medical worry.
13. "Everybody Loves Larry" - featuring David Duchovny, Elvis Costello, Jon Stewart, and Charles Nelson Reilly - Larry is concerned the network wants to make Jon Stewart a permanent guest host. Larry is also concerned that David Duchovny is attracted to him.
14. "My Name is Asher Kingsley" - featuring Tom Poston and They Might Be Giants - Hank is intent in bringing his new found faith on the air with him. His religious fervor lessens, though, when he discovers his beautiful rabbi's interest in him is purely spiritual.
15. "Ellen, or Isn't She?" - featuring Ellen DeGeneres (plus a deleted scene with Larry Miller) - Artie encourages Larry to quiz Ellen about her personal life on the air. However, an unplanned fling between Larry and Ellen makes this task an uncomfortable one.
16. "Larry's New Love" - featuring Bruce Greenwood, Jeff Foxworthy, Daisy Fuentes, Warren Littlefield, and Paul Westerberg - Larry's new girlfriend wants to use her spot on Larry's show to launch her own career.
17. "Another List" - featuring Winona Ryder, Jon Stewart, and Smash Mouth - Once again, Larry feels threatened by Jon Stewart. However, this time he is afraid he is actually going to be replaced by Jon.
18. "The Beginning of the End" - featuring Jon Stewart and Colin Hay - A creative consultant joins the show and completely changes the format. Meanwhile, Larry's agent is courting Jon Stewart and insinuating the show would be better off with Stewart as host.
19. "Pilots and Pens Lost" - featuring Dave Chappelle, Bridget Fonda, and Jonathan Katz - Phil decides to write a pilot for another show. Artie loses a pen Larry gave him as a gift.
20. "The Interview" - featuring Vince Vaughn, Jim Belushi, Ben Folds Five, Maureen O'Boyle, and David Spade - Larry does an interview for "Extra" while Mary Lou can't figure out how to tell Hank she has hit his car.
21. "Adolf Hankler" - featuring Jon Stewart, Jason Alexander, Kristen Johnston, and the Wu Tang Clan - John Stewart fills in for Larry. Problems arise when he insists on doing a completely offensive comedy skit.
22. "Back in Litigation" - featuring Illeana Douglas, Bruno Kirby, Ed Begley, Jr., and Drew Barrymore (plus a deleted scene with Michael Richards) - Larry is hesitant to have an actress on his show that he's dating. Brian considers an harassment suit. Hank shoots videos of celebrity guests wishing Larry well as the last show nears.
23. "Flip - Parts I & II" - featuring Warren Beatty, Clint Black, Jim Carrey, David Duchovny, Greg Kinnear, Bruno Kirby, Tom Petty, Jon Stewart, Tim Allen, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres, Sean Penn, and Jerry Seinfeld (plus a deleted scene with Illeana Douglas) - Larry wants big stars for his final show, and thus decides to visit David Duchovny to solicit his attendance despite his unease over Duchovny's crush on him.