"Dr. Katz is getting its long overdue DVD release. If you've seen Home Movies you'll have an idea of what kind of humor to expect. The 1st season is only 6 episodes, so if that's all there is on the DVD it's unfortunate that it wasn't combined with season 2. Oh well. I'm just glad that Dr. Katz is being released on DVD, but we'll have to wait til May. I'm hoping for some nice extras and looking very forward to future seasons of Dr. Katz on DVD."
Funniest show to come out of Comedy Central pre-South Park
calvinnme | 05/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dr. Katz is a comedic cartoon with stand-up comedian Jonathan Katz in the starring role of a psychiatrist who has more than his share of professional comedians as patients. This enables them to do their stand-up comedy routines as part of their therapy sessions. Dr Katz' 23 year old son, Ben, still lives with the good doctor and is chronically unemployed. Ben is constantly trying to start up a romance with Dr. Katz' receptionist, Laura, with no luck whatsoever. For example, when Ben meets Laura for the first time he asks her if she'd like to go out for coffee, and she does - leaving him to answer the phones. Laura receives a paycheck from Dr. Katz but in many ways is as chronically unemployed as Ben is. She has no interest in pretending to be busy, being nice to the patients, or at times, even showing up for work. For example, when Dr. Katz suggests that Laura to be nicer to the patients she replies "Do you have any idea what it's like to deal with crazy people all day?" In the series premiere, "Pot-Bellied Pigs", Dr. Katz rides Ben pretty hard about being out of work. Ben's solution to his cash flow problem is to buy two Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs and breed them in their small New York City apartment. When Dr. Katz asks Ben if he thinks this is a good plan Ben's response is "Dad, the ad says 'Stay Home, Make Money' ....these are good things!" The third episode "Bully" is also one of my favorites in which Ben gets very upset when Dr. Katz throws away Bully, the stuffed bull from his childhood. Ben labels everything that belongs to him, and expresses fear that perhaps his father wants him out, too. Dr Katz employs a novel animation technique called Squigglevision, which can be visually annoying to some people. In SquiggleVision there is virtually no lateral movement by any of the characters or objects, with only lips, eyes, and the like animated. However, the edges of the characters are in a constant state of zigzagging flux, and this gives the impression of movement. There are only six episodes in this first season, but the DVD set is reasonably priced considering the season's short duration. I highly recommend this unique comedy as one of the smartest and funniest offerings that Comedy Central came up with before they started trying to appeal to the least common denominator with stuff like "The Man Show"."
If you don't buy this, you need help!
Eddie Colton | 05/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well finally, a decade after its debut, the cult classic comedian-curative careerist cartoon Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist is on DVD. Like the American version of The Office, the first season of Dr. Katz had merely six episodes. That this necessitates a low-cost single disc compilation could be fortunate or unfortunate depending on your wallet-to-patience ratio.
The disc comes in a clear plastic DVD case to allow the episode information to be seen on the back of the cover insert when you open the case. This is handy since there's no need for chapter listings, however the clear plastic makes the case much flimsier than more common packaging.
The main menu is of course done in the signature Dr. Katz style. An image of Katz is animated in Squiggle-Vision to lip-synch with several psychiatric phrases from the show as the theme song plays. After it repeats once, the music stops and Katz just sort of stares at you and occasionally glances at the menu selection.
As any Dr. Katz fan should know, the PC-based animation won't win any awards. Though the picture is clearer than it's ever been, the minimalist style of the pixelated MS-DOS scenes and monophonic audio mean you won't need to hold out for an HD version. The show is presented in full screen as originally aired, although it is framed in fake widescreen that is not anamorphic. Considering the quality, it's probably better when viewed small anyway.
On the selection menu, there are six commentaries spread across five episodes. Four of them are by Jonathan Katz, H. Jon "Ben Katz" Benjamin, and series creator Tom Snyder (not the talk show host), and are as informative as you'd want and hilarious as you'd expect from the cast of an improvised comedy show. The third episode has a second commentary with Ray Romano and Jon Katz (who sounds to be joining via phone). Episode #105 also has a Romano/Katz commentary.
The back of the DVD mentions commentary by Dave Attell, and although this may be misleading, it's not entirely false. While the Attell episode lacks a full commentary track, a five minute section of the phone discussion with Dave and Katz is relegated to the bonus features section. I'm guessing the commentary was either too short, too blue, or Dave was just too bored for them to bother including it in full. Since Katz, on another track, mentions Attell pretending to get "calls from Hollywood" during his session, I'd bet on the latter excuse.
In addition to the commentaries are a small selection of other extras. "The Biography of Mr. Katz" (not "Dr." as the case states) is not some hastily thrown together text bio, but rather an eight minute short predating Dr. Katz that shows an early Squigglevision version of Jonathan dictating his life story to an unseen biographer. It's hardly uproarious, but still amusing to see how the style developed. "Shrink Wrapped" is a roughly 40 second short supposedly about a shrink that features more cartoonish voices than fans are used to, but it's rather inexplicable and aimless. Two of the original Short Attention Span Theater shorts featuring Dr. Katz are included and are as funny as the regular show. However I certainly remember there being more of them. Perhaps they're being saved for future sets.
Scant as it is, there's enough here to tide fans over until the next season is released, and for $15 or less it's hardly a nail-biting decision. Insert clever therapy pun here."
flems | Boston, MA | 05/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Point of fact re: other reviews, this show does not take place anywhere specifically, but if you know anything about Dr. Katz and H. Jon, this show most closely takes place in Boston. Among the several subtle references to this, the most glaring is the name of the bar "33", a clear reference to Larry Bird, as well as Dr. Katz himself being from Newton, MA, H. Jon's history in Cambridge, etc.
This show is THE seminal TV show and served as the launching pads for all of the best modern-era TV shows out there. Everything from Raymond to Chapelle to Insomniac - point a finger at a successful show and there exists a great likelihood that it has its roots on this show. Obviously there is the connection to each comedian's stand-up material, but this showcase - the straightman Doc with his neurotic patients (even David Duchovny came across as incredibly funny on this show) delivering their material - the way it was presented, and the underlying subtleties of his relationship with Ben, Laura, et al, those kind of sophisticated machinations no longer exist on TV.
It is wit and humor of a bygone era and I for one was fortunate enough to have taped every episode when it ran in marathon form on Comedy Central at the tail end of my college years, thus I have had the pleasure of having the entire episodic catalog in my constant possession for nearly 10 years. The fact that it is coming out officially on DVD is a huge triumph and one I am so excited to partake of as a consumer. Truly timeless - a collection of all the greatest humor of the late 20th century all in the same recognizable format and the catchy jazz loops to complement the squiggles. Simply put - the greatest TV show ever made.
And for anyone who has yet to see Jon Katz live - it is worth every moment and every penny. He came to Jimmy Tingle's near Boston last year or so and it was as if I could have died and gone to Heaven. None before and none after."
The Only Television Show Made In Tom Snyder's Pantry
Robert I. Hedges | 06/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dave Attell called "Dr. Katz" a "comedic garbage dump of material." He's right, but only in the sense that this show dwells on the humorous and dark personality quirks of celebrities including (in the six episodes of season one) Ray Romano, Dave Attell, Dom Irrera, and Larry Miller. The psychoses of the "cast" are fleshed out in hilarious, yet dry, detail. Romano and Miller are my favorite patients from this season, but all the patients are strange, demented, and delightful. One of my favorite features of the show is the inset or flashbacks of the issue being discussed on the couch, the visual images of which are generally hilariously disturbing.
I am also fond of the fact that Katz and his son, Ben (a 23 year old slacker) have as many (if not more) issues than the patients. One of my favorite recurring plotlines is Ben's attempt to get Katz's receptionist to date him, which only works when there is great opportunity for embarrassment for her boss at an "open mic" night. (I also particularly enjoy her creative hostility when she helps Ben park and subsequently get towed from a no parking zone.)
This show (which really was made in Tom Snyder's pantry) is very dry and full of a bizarre mix of subtlety and snideness and is a true wonder of low budget animation. It not only introduced the world to the delights of Squigglevision (which propagated to the first season of "Home Movies") but made cartoons acceptable for adults again after years of focus on kids.
This is a great, funny, intelligent, and surreal animation experience and I recommend it highly."