- Network: HBO
- Series Premiere Date: Aug 15, 1992
Review this tv show
Mar 21, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Season 2 of The Larry Sanders Show doesn't constantly go full throttle with the laughs like Season 1 did. Don't get me wrong, I found the Season's humour to be more often than not well above average. It's just that, for the most part, the Season tended to focus on its characters. For that, Season 2 worked very well, but it's just shy of the highs of Season 1.
The Larry Sanders Show is considered to be an elite comedy by myself and many other critics, which is why it sucks to write about where this Season misfired. The original 13 episodes felt short but sweet. This time, however, The Larry Sanders Show loses its consistency in this longer, 18 episode arc. I noted in my first review that some episodes were funnier than others; this time, the difference is stark. For the first time, I'd say that The Larry Sanders Show has an episode that I'd define as notably weaker than the rest of the pack.
"Artie's Gone" is the episode in question. It was entertaining but I didn't find Paula frantically trying to do a good job to produce the show overly interesting. Hank's magic tricks and Larry's meltdown at the end were hilarious, but I think Larry's arc was too silly for its own good. Though, this episode was still good enough, just not exactly great like so many other episodes.
On the flip side, the Season had two episodes that I'd consider some of the series' best. "The Stalker" was the first of such, where Larry has to deal with the fact that he has some crazy fans... or so he thought. First of all, I cannot even describe how much I got a kick out of the Larry lookalike. Saying he was creepy is an understatement. He knew everything from Larry's favourite hotel to what kind of cologne he wore. And how about the part where Hank tries to give Larry a gun? Near the end, Larry's arrogance led him to believe that his obsessive fans were plentiful. When he talked to the mystery robber, I laughed pretty hard when he didn't speak any English. And he even managed to pick up on the fact Larry told him to call him. Ha!
My favourite episode of the Season? The finale, "L.A. or N.Y.?". As if Bob Odenkirk's (Saul!) Steve Grant wasn't great enough in "Larry's Agent", the actor really pulls out his comedic charm in the last episode. He just does not get that Larry doesn't want to move to New York. His reluctance to move is amusingly reinforced by Artie's sketchy past. It seemed Larry had made up his mind however, after the comically awkward scene between him and the new network head. Another memorable moment came when Francine commented on how gross Howard Stern was. Anyhow, Larry's ultimate decision was to move to Montana and stop doing the show altogether. Even though he'll probably be back, it was unexpectedly sad to see him announce his retirement. You can actually sympathise with Larry this time, making it unfortunate to see the cast so upset with him. Granted, their reactions at the end were totally awesome. Hank whispering: "You're a miserable f*cker." in both of Larry's ears, "My name is Darlene, you f*cking idiot.", Phil quickly moving to SNL, and Beverly packing up after Larry's compliments are some of the best moments in the entire series. Of course, once he gets to Montana, as Larry says, he's made a big mistake.. f*cking frogs.
One thing that I think this Season did better than the first was its serialized content. Larry's got a new-old love interest in Francine, who, like Jeannie, points at the various flaws of Larry's character. Francine proves to be a very different character as well, which was hugely evident in "The List". Her and Larry's passive-aggressive argument really flexed the show's amazing writing and acting capabilities.
Hank is also given his own exceptional side story in his pursuit to make Hank's Look-Around Café. He desperately tries to pitch his failing idea to everyone, and the plot line pays off in "The Grand Opening". Hank also gets married on the show... to a girl with daddy issues in "Hank's Wedding". Another outstanding Hank moment comes in "Broadcast Nudes" where he tries to get Darlene to be in Playboy, and ends up getting punished for his (perhaps unintentional) behaviour. And who can forget "The Hankerciser"? Most people know Jeffrey Tambor from Arrested Development (another brilliant comedy) but I'd argue his best performances are found in The Larry Sanders Show.
Even in what I feel to be a weaker Season, The Larry Sanders Show remains impressive. It's not hard to see why The Larry Sanders Show inspired much of the laughs we've had in shows like The Office.… Expand
As witty and well-written as comedy series get. ... They used to say it was impossible to satirize something as self-satiric as television. That was before "The Larry Sanders Show." [1 Jun 1993]
A vicious and timely show-biz satire. [1 Jun 1993]
Shandling is perfect in a role he created, skillfully balancing arrogance and insecurity; Torn, always exasperated, and Tambor, forever fawning, are spectacular foils in a show that is stunningly quick-witted. [2 Jun 1993]