100 Greatest Television Series

97: It’s Garry Shandling’s Show!

It seems to me that the definition of a cult classic is pretty vague. Low viewership seems to be a requirement. Usually this tag is applied to series in the sci-fi realm or whackadoodle comedies.

This show falls into the last category.

I vaguely remember watching it in real time back in the late 80s and laughing at the broken conventions used. There was no fourth wall for any of the characters. Garry essentially played himself, with monologues to bookend the show.  The show was anarchic in comedy style, with a star that would manipulate the storytelling to serve his ultimate interests ( Dukakis winning, anyone?)

Ultimately, the show, which aired on cable’s Showtime for four seasons and 72 episodes in the late 80s. It petered out and Garry went on to bigger and better things.  It languished on TV Critics ” DVDs we want” list, and we’re getting our wish in October.  Until then, we must satisfy ourselves with what footage we have on ragged VHS and various websites. But if you want to be a great series completest, buy it when it comes out. Now all we need is Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.