Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Best of Dr. Katz Professional Therapist
DVD review by Sombrero Grande

Fans of Dr. Katz Professional Therapist know that the series is packed with great comedians, squiggly animation and jokes drier than the Sahara. The entire series has been released on DVD, as have the first and second seasons individually, and now along comes The Best of Dr. Katz, a single DVD release featuring nearly two hours of material. Unfortunately, what should have been a great "sampler platter" of the series instead amounts to a disappointing DVD that ends up ill-fitting any viewer.

The DVD hardly presents the "best of" the series. Instead, it offers up brief packages of shtick from several well-known comedians and celebrities, compiled back to back. The segments with Dr. Katz and his son, which are often the best parts of the show, are relegated to four brief clips in the "bonus materials" section, and are all but ruined by long, unnecessary introductions by Katz, some of which seem to run longer than the clips themselves. Do we really need a long explanation of how the good doctor raises his son in relation to television-watching before seeing a clip of the two watching TV together?

The brilliant, relaxed pacing of the show is tossed out the window by the haphazard way that clips are tossed together in this compilation (some "sessions" even randomly include the title or credits from the episode they're pulled from). The portions of the show featuring celebrities are condensed on the disc into "sessions" that exclude material from the rest of each episode and just string together every moment of their shtick into one lump. For some, like Dave Chappelle, Ray Romano and Patton Oswalt, the material they bring works on its own. Other "sessions," however, like those featuring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Duchovny, just drag on and throw off the pacing of the others around them.

The "sessions," since they are edited down from the full episodes, are too short to just be enjoyed individually, and yet, when strung together by pressing "Play All," they feel disjointed and become grueling to get through thanks to clunker sessions like the ones I mentioned above. The "star power" of the comedians and celebs that sat down for therapy with Dr. Katz are exploited in this DVD release, turning "The Best of Dr. Katz" into merely "Clips of People Well-Known Enough for Us to Put Them on the Packaging so We Can Sell You This DVD."

All this leaves a "Best of Dr. Katz" DVD that features a minimal amount of Dr. Katz and Ben and cares more about name-recognition than comedic value (Not a single clip of Mitch Hedberg or Emo Philips? For shame!).

My professional advice: if you're considering picking up The Best of Dr. Katz for yourself or to give as a gift this holiday season, don't. You'd be better off getting either season one or two of the show in order to enjoy full episodes the way they were intended to be watched for about the same price as this cobbled-together Frankenstein's monster of a DVD.


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