Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist: The Complete Series - DVD review
Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist is on my short list of shows that were good from start to finish. This consistency is due to the show's brilliant comedic cast and the fact that every episode followed the same simple, perfect structure. The show's weekly guest stars are among the most talented and successful stand-up comedians around. Many of them went on to star in popular TV shows and films--people like Dave Chappelle, Ray Romano, Richard Lewis, and Wanda Sykes. There were also noteworthy appearances from now-deceased comedians Rodney Dangerfield and Mitch Hedberg, actors like Winona Ryder and David Duchovny, and award-winning writer David Mamet.
If you're like me, and have trouble picking a favorite season of Dr. Katz, the Complete Series box set is an ideal choice. At a cost ranging from $88 (comedycentral.com, on backorder) to $112 (amazon.com), the set definitely belongs in the "splurge" category, but it's well worth it.
The collection includes all six seasons on thirteen discs--a total of 78 episodes, not counting the three lost ones. I'm thrilled that each disc is given its own "page" in the DVD set's book, as opposed to the overlapping discs that some sets have. I had trouble evaluating the picture quality, since the show was done in Squigglevision, but the show looked just as it always has. Jonathan Katz's soothing voice came through loud and clear as well.
The box set doesn't include any standard making-of featurettes or cast interviews, but does have extras that are consistent with the show's tone and style. The special features include:
Three "lost" episodes from the show's final season
- "Bakery Ben" - Ben briefly joins the work force while Dr. Katz has therapy sessions with Dave Attell, Catherine O'Hara, and Steve Sweeney.
- "Uncle Nothing" - This episode features guest stars Kevin Brennan and Louis C.K. In it, Ben reacts to Laura's recent engagement and meets Julie the bartender for the first time.
- In "Lerapy," Dr. Katz is equal parts offended and obsessed when a patient (Conan O'Brien) uses Jonathan's jokes in his show's opening monologue. Whoopi Goldberg also guest stars.
An Evening with Dr. Katz: Live From the Comedy Central Stage
All three primary cast members took part in this performance, as well as guest stars Maria Bamford, Kathy Griffin, Andy Kindler, and Paul F. Tompkins (whom Laura hilariously describes as "that old-timey guy with the dapper suit"). The show was structured exactly like a typical Dr. Katz episode. It was a pleasure to see the characters interact in a live setting; I never even knew what H. Jon Benjamin looked like until now. In this live "episode," Dr. Katz deals with his usual round of patients while a bored Laura decides to accept Ben's proposal of marriage. Although I didn't enjoy this feature as much as a real episode, it was a good addition to the box set.
Why I Haven't Been Coming To The Bar: Conversations with Julie and Stanley
The title says it all, really. This feature includes several short phone conversations between Julie, Stanley and Jonathan. If you've watched the bar scenes, you know what to expect from this feature.
The Biography of Mr. Katz
While the feature's description lists the title as "The Biography of Dr. Katz," this short depicts a married Jonathan Katz as a patient in therapy. Some of the jokes are similar to those used in the companion booklet (see below).
Disc One's bonus features include "Shrink Wrapped": An Original Squigglevision Short, and Short Attention Span Theater shorts "Too Attached" and "Law and Food." Each short is a one-minute version of a therapy session (the Short Attention Span clips feature Dr. Katz, while "Shrink Wrapped" does not).
A Conversation with Dave Attell
My favorite Katz patient sat down with Jonathan Katz for a mini-commentary played over five minutes of an episode. In it, Attell and Katz reminisce about the show's first season and engage in some classic Katz banter.
Checking In: Follow-up Calls
Dr. Katz checks in with former patients Joy Behar, Emo Phillips, and Steven Wright. Each conversation is between 5-10 minutes and features illustrations of the patients. The conversation between Katz and Behar about the three table legs of a healthy marriage was the funniest.
Disc One contains four episode commentaries by Jonathan Katz, H. Jon Benjamin, and series Co-Creator Tom Snyder. Ray Romano joins Jonathan Katz for the "Everybody's Got a Tushy" commentary. Disc Two includes two commentaries by Jonathan Katz, Tom Snyder, and Laura Silverman. I'm not normally a big fan of commentaries, but these were both entertaining and informative. In addition to some hilarious conversations, you hear some interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits about the making of the show.
The 28-page booklet comes with two illustrated entries: "Life Before Dr. Katz" and "Memories from the Couch." In "Memories," several of Dr. Katz's prominent patients (Sarah Silverman, Richard Lewis, and Patton Oswalt, to name a few) reflect on their treatment. Co-Creator Tom Snyder also contributes his thoughts about the show.
Well, you know what the music means. For hardcore Katz fans, this collection is a must-have.