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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:

Season 1:

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.

Season 2:

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.

Season 3:

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.

Season 4:

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.

Season 5:

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.

Season 6:

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.
44 comments51 of 53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 24, 2007
Please -- listen -- This is an amazing set. Most of these reviews were written before any of the reviewers had had a chance to see the actual product. I have just gotten the set and have looked at about half of it. If you are a fan you have to have this. I may add to this review later but I feel that it is important to post this now.

If you love the Larry Sanders Show, this set will be a revelation to you. There are something like eight hours of outtakes, interviews, commentary, and a totally interesting documentary about the making of the series. There is fascinating stuff here about how the episodes were conceived, filmed, cast -- original audition footage, interviews with the cast members -- not throwaway stuff but really, really interesting stuff about how the show was assembled. Anyone who really knows why this show was, and is, so special will be bowled over by this.

I, too, am disappointed at not being able to get a complete run of the show. EVEN IF THEY MAKE A COMPLETE RUN AVAILABLE LATER, YOU WILL WANT TO OWN THIS. I am not a flak-in-disguise or a covert operative for Sony. I think Garry Shandling put a lot of creative effort into what he saw as a creative revisioning of the arc of the whole series we all love so much. This is definitely not a cynical best-of set with a few extras thrown in to bilk the unwary. It is a creative efort in its own right. Seriously. Plus you get all these great episodes in quality that, previous post notwithstanding, is as good as you will ever see.

Truly, truly -- I think Garry Shandling was involved on every level here, down to the packaging, and it is NOT A CYNICAL ATTEMPT TO MILK $$ OUT OF FANS. You need to know this. This is totally different from anything else I have seen. You will learn a lot about television from watching this, you will see interviews with Tambor, Rip Torn.... all kinds of minutiae that will knock you out if you dig the Larry Sanders Show. You can learn a lot about directing from watching this, and about acting, and about writing (I am a writer). Listen to me -- if you dig the show, you need this. I hope others who watch this set will post their reactions as well. It is brilliant, risky, brave and exhilarating. Thank you, Garry Shandling.
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on May 15, 2007
Will this serve as the definitive Larry Sanders DVD set? It will probably depend on the sales. Much of what is here is wonderful. The show itself is as fascinating and enjoyable as ever. Hank Kingsley is one of the greatest creations ever, and one has to wonder how much someone like Ed McMahon, say, resembled him behind the scenes. But even greater to me is the amazing Rip Torn as Artie, Larry's producer, mentor, protector, and father figure. What a remarkable character! I can count on Artie alone to make me bust out laughing five or six times an episode, and that beats even Homer Simpson! I wish there was more commentary on the episodes in this set -- I find these discussions the most worthwhile. Unfortunately there are also a number of conversations taped recently between Garry Shandling and a number of the shows' guest stars, and these are far less interesting. Shandling himself calls them self-indulgent and not intended for public consumption, and he is right. Still, there are some memorable moments. Like Alex Baldwin demonstrating his anger and bulk in a boxing ring -- one prays for unfortunates who may have been intimately acquainted with either. There is a tremendously tedious sequence with Tom Petty -- apparently both men enjoyed some herbal refreshment before the interlude, and they make our eyes droop as well. Then there is the spectacle of Jerry Seinfeld having a cow because he can't find his favorite leather jacket. Yes, citizens, even gazillionaires can get upset over such mundane matters, except that THEY have assistants they can interrogate to resolve these difficulties over their cell phones. On the up side, Carol Burnett proves herself as sly and adept in her interview as she always was in physical comedy. What a talent! So, I am deducting one star for this potpourri of hit-and-miss extra material -- and the dreadful ultra-slim DVD cases. BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN YOU REMOVE THE DVDS FROM THESE CASES!!! Although I have handled hundreds of DVDs over the last five years, Disc 3 cracked almost in half when I tried to remove it from its case. Fortunately Amazon was good enough to replace the set with a new one, but consider yourself forewarned...
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on May 2, 2007
This is a terrific collection of episodes, deleted scenes and extras. To begin with the show is terrific- witty, well-done, really some wonderful television. The 3 stars- Shandling, Tambor and Torn are really good together- the timing and writing is top notch. The guest stars and supporting cast add depth to the shows. The DVD set is particularly impressive. It is a great set of episodes- some of the best they did- I might have put in others but that is a minor complaint. The extras are great on these 4 discs. Nice set of deleted scenes and current interviews with a whole range of people associated with the show. Most TV box sets are just not this well put together. Someone organized this well and put in extras that are interesting- at least if you like the show. The addition of original material for the DVD set really adds value to the set. Anyone who appreciated the show should really enjoy this set.
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on April 15, 2007
Maybe I'm confused, but isn't the entire point of writing a review here to actually review the product and not simply act as if its a forum to complain about release practices of studios? Personally, I don't think 90% of the reviews here should relate to either people begging others to buy it in hopes of more seasons on DVD, or angry rants about the greed of studios. This is about the product itself. There are dozens and dozens of shows that have released best of compilations, and none of them have this same freakish level of scrutiny. Personally, this has some of my favorite episodes of the series, Hank's Sex tape alone is worth buying any DVD set. But better yet there's tons and tons of special features on this show. I'm going to buy it, not because I hope it will increase the chances of further seasons, but because I love the show, and want to see the features. If you are "protesting" then maybe you should find a cause worthy of your time and energy, and not waste it on things this superficial.
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on April 6, 2007
I used to keep HBO just to watch the Larry Sanders Show. Heck, I used to keep CABLE just to keep HBO just so I could watch Larry Sanders. I loved Garry Shandling, Rip Torn, Jeffrey Tambor, and was first introduced to Jeremy Piven's talents on this show. The late, great Warren Zevon, doing a begrudging "Werewolves of London." Elvis Costello, selling Hank an MG with a multitude of problems. Hank and "Playboy After Dark." Burt Reynolds staying in the "little house" after the divorce with Loni. Artie, telling the stage manager to "walk away" after "taking the pink down a scoche." Garry pal Warren Beatty's cameo in the last episode. Larry's tearful "You may now flip" on the last episode. I will buy this DVD set, even if these moments are not on there, and I will buy any future DVD set, even if I own all the episodes, which I do. I was one of the lucky ones who videotaped all the episodes from all the seasons. Maybe Sony has a private police force, so I hope Amazon doesn't publish my e-mail address, or else the Sony posse will be after me. Those episodes I didn't have, I found by hook or by crook. That's how big a fan I am. Look: we all know that corporations suck, and Sony is as bad as any of them, but to me, this DVD set is better than nothing. It's DVD quality, and from the other reviews that I have read, there are extras on there that bring together at least some of the original cast. It's worth the price of admission alone. I watched "Arrested Develpment" on the off-chance that there would be an erstwhile Garry Shandling cameo. That there wasn't a G.S. cameo was a tragedy to that great show. But I digress. Do I think there will ultimately be a full-scale issuing of Larry Sanders? Yes. Hopefully it won't be after Garry Shandling is dead, but I'm willing to wait that long. It's that good a show, one of those rarities you can quote years after the fact. Corporations want to make money. They'll make mine this time, because I know I'm going to get a quality product. They'll get my money again when--WHEN, baby!--the complete series comes out again. That's what you do when you're a fan. That's what you do when you are a DVD collector.
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Prior to this DVD's release, I read interviews with Shandling who talked of his love and affection for The Larry Sanders Show and how the DVD had become a labour of love for him.

He wasn't wrong.

Shandling has devoted himself to this DVD set. You could almost dust each box for his fingerprints - and I bet they'd come up too! The man has laid himself bare across almost the whole of the multitude of extras you get here. It's actually fascinating to learn that the "friendship" between Larry and David Duchovny, is not that far from the friendship between Shandling & Duchovny. You also learn that Shandling had a relationship with Sharon Stone in the 1980s, which makes the 'Sharon Stone' episode all that more "real". And you actually feel, during their Personal Visit together, that she still has feelings for him (that's Shandling, not Sanders!!!).

On top of the 23 episodes included, you also get the following...

More Personal Visits:
JON STEWART (not so much a 'personal visit' as a strange live, backslapping phone call with video cameras, even though both of them live in LA!!)

Cast Interviews:

Extensive Documentary (75min)
Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentaries (by Shandling, with writers & director)

Incidentally, the documentary ends with a perfect twist of Larry Sanders irony, when Bruno Kirby pops up on set to host the documentary, only to be told by Shandling that Greg Kinnear has already done it.

"You're bumping me from the DVD???"

You then learn this was Kirby's last ever piece on camera, before his death. But what a great final piece, it was.

This really is a superb DVD set. Yes, there is a lot of fan-griping about why only Season #1 has been released in its entirety but it's still early days. I firmly believe the remaining seasons will follow - after all, Shandling won't need to film any more extras (well, maybe the odd commentary), so it should be a straight case of 'transfer, print & distribute'.

I do have one small gripe, however. In a conversation, Shandling has with one of the writers, it comes to light the writer had the idea of a scene where Hank's girlfriend leaves her young son with him at the office, where Hank proceeds to trail around all day with the kid on a dog leash, so the little mite doesn't get lost. At the time, Shandling wouldn't allow it (not on any moral grounds, but on the grounds he didn't feel it was something someone would actually do). But surely, if there was one person in the Larry Sanders office that would've held a young boy on a leash all day, in some misguided way of keeping the boy safe - it would be Hank! Now, that would have been a great scene - and, you get the impression, the writer is still a bit pissed off about it. Anyway, that's a gripe about Shandling, not about the DVD.

Again, this is a great 4-disc set - perfect for any Larry Sanders/Garry Shandling fanatic. Like everyone else, I'm now just waiting for the remaining seasons to make their way to DVD.
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on April 29, 2008
I was a fan of the Larry Sanders Show back when I was in high school when everyone else was watching 90210 and thinking that was entertainment. Perhaps one of the funniest shows that ever came to fruition, it is a shame that we will never see the complete season box set because of Shandling's legal battles. Seeing it again as an adult makes me see it in a whole new light, as a precursor of sorts to reality TV, the future hit shows for HBO, and how insane people really are.

I just loved everything about this show : the obvious neurosis of Larry and his coworkers, the backstabbing, the fighting and obnoxious behavior, and the hilarious melding of personalities. I used to think this was just fiction, but as I age I see that it's really a reflection of working culture. It doesn't matter if you work in television, a white collar office, or a machine shop, people are nuts! Here you see how a bunch of barely functional people live in a fake world of the late night talk show. And once the cameras go off, the claws come out! Perhaps we would function better in the office if we had cameras on us at all times. I have witnessed all of these things in so called "white collar jobs" as an adult and wonder why people can't behave themselves a bit better.

The commentaries and star interviews on this disc are great and take me back to the days when this show was still on the air. And my neurosises are even worse now!
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on September 17, 2007
I've just now finished watching every second of this four-DVD set...and I found it funny, fascinating and informative. Yes, the episodes are painfully hilarious, with brilliant acting from Shandling, Torn and Tambor. The only thing seemingly dated is the live musical performances, but hey, the '90s were the '90s. The real kick is what you might call "Garry's Journey." Garry Shandling is a very smart, talented and basically neurotic guy who goes back to many guests of the show years later and asks them questions about the show and about him. You can see how he used humor as a shield and is painfully sincere in his questioning of how people thought of him and the show..only occasionally lapsing into shtick, which he can do instantly. Hours of this "new sincerity" do begin to wear, until Jon Stewart offers him two words of advice: "Lighten up!" And he does. The funniest bonus interviews are with Tom Petty, just because they are both such humorous people, and with Jerry Seinfeld. Worth the price of the entire DVD set is the scene on a Central Park bench when Garry and Jerry compare verbal tics that irritate them ("Can I say something?" "Here's what I think." "Here's a thought," etc.) If you were a fan of the show and want to see the behind the scenes of a show that was built around "behind the scenes," this is the DVD set for you.
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on April 26, 2007
Imagine a world where nerds comment on the actual quality of the show they are reviewing rather than what they wish was included. Wouldnt that be nice? Its called "not just the best of" for a reason- Its not intended to be a complete series edition (and more specifically because its much better than your average best of package). This is a wonedrful (and sizable) sampling of the greatest show in TV history. Best ensemble, best writing, best acting and a truly progressive concept that held its peak from the first episode to the last.
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