- Network: HBO
- Series Premiere Date: Aug 15, 1992
Review this tv show
Apr 4, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. You could say that I think The Larry Sanders Show is 'back' in Season 3. Although, as far as I'm concerned, the show didn't need a bounce-back. Make no mistake though: I think this is the best Season since the first, and this is honestly the most consistent the show has ever been. In the first 13 episodes, I saw the potential for this being one of the greatest comedies of all time. This time, we see the same excellence over a longer, 17 episode run.
I reiterate: I don't think this show needed a re-boot at all. But when you end a Season with Larry uprooting his life to Montana, it kind of sucks that everything is back to normal in the following 20 minutes. Hank, Beverly, Darlene and the gang all join back and the 'drama' between Larry and the new network head solves itself very quickly. It IS done in an amusing matter of course but we've seen the show make natural changes with their characters before, so I am a tad disappointed that absolutely nothing changed in the office.
Other than that, I can't really fault this Season (besides the typical some episodes aren't as good as others) and I have to say, it's a minor complaint given the material we're given. It's not entirely true that this show didn't change up this Season. It's just that the changes are less on the cosmetic side. The writers have been taking giant leaps forward in fleshing everyone else besides Larry, Hank, and Artie, who've had enough time in the limelight. Thus far, the supporting cast hasn't been bad, but back in Season 2, I probably would have told you that I wouldn't remember any of them in a few years. However, Season 3 rights this wrong, as the other folks who make The Larry Sanders Show are given their times to shine not only comedically, but as characters as well.
In fact, one of my favourite episodes of this outstanding Season comes early, in the somewhat Beverly focused episode, "Would You Do Me A Favor". Yeah, the biggest laughs come from Larry being so self-absorbed that he can't learn the lesson right under his nose, but we learn more about Beverly's struggles against the world's worst boss which, in turn, affects the main plot of the episode. What's also cool about this episode is that it inspired a running joke in the series about the absurd tasks that Larry makes her do.
Another example comes right after, in "The Gift Episode". People seem to have loved Paula's "Artie's Gone" in Season 2, but I think this episode is by far superior. I loved the office's interpretation of Larry's contradictory language, and Paula's subsequent obsession with booking Danny DeVito. This is the best of Janeane Garofalo I've seen. Plus, it even outdoes Larry's fixation on beating the competition on gifts, which isn't a small feat.
The next of said episodes came in what was, in my opinion, The Larry Sanders Show's best three episode stretch yet. "Office Romance" had Larry on the rebound with Darlene. We're familiar with comedies exploring the office romance and how they always go wrong, but rarely have I seen it done with such mastery. Darlene and Larry deliberately have no chemistry whatsoever, and I was laughing a lot when they somehow ended up making out time after time. We're never privy to the information as to why this keeps happening but it just does. It was also really great hearing the staff's humorous remarks about the uninspired relationship.
There are other instances like these sprinkled about the Hank, Artie, and Larry filled episode. These are just the best episodes that focus on the cast. If I had more room, I'd also discuss "Head Writer" and "Larry Loses a Friend". Though, I feel the episodes I talked the most about above are highlights of the entire series.
Now, back to that mid-Season 3 episode string. The first is, unsurprisingly, "Hank's Night in The Sun". Hank, finally gets to prove his worth, and after settling in with 'relative ease', he becomes more and more like Larry. It's almost sweet, in a way. It perfectly emphasizes what the show is all about. Because you're the one delivering and directly putting smiles on peoples faces, you think that the world revolves around you and that you can get away with anything.
Capping off this spectacular run is my favourite episode of the show yet. "The Mr. Sharon Stone Show" brilliantly shows Larry's inferiority complex that has only been touched upon before. Larry dates Sharon Stone, and he quickly figures out that he isn't nearly as popular as her. It's sort of a right back atcha moment for Larry, who generally treats people like sh*t. Everything about this episode was on and in full throttle too; tell me you weren't laughing when Larry and Hank awkwardly approached Sharon at the beginning of the episode.
If The Larry Sanders Show can keep this pace up, I may have to change my all-time favourite comedy from Arrested Development to this. There's a lot to be said about a show that reaches upwards with its parodies, while keeping great characters and a killer script.… Expand
An utterly dry and brilliantly written dissection of life behind the host's desk. And with its unflinching but affectionate inside look at the pettiness, narcissism and deceit that characterize the TV business, it's probably truer than most of the networks' fact-based miniseries. [22 Jun 1994]
The humor is meaner and the laughs less free and easy. [22 Jun 1994]