The Best of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist
Produced by Tom Synder and Jonathan Katz
Studio: Paramount/Comedy Central
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1/1.66:1
Running Time: 110 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English
MSRP: $ 19.99
Release Date: December 2, 2008
Review Date: November 21, 2008
Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist is a Comedy Central spoof of psychologists and their patients. The show’s three year run has now been plumbed in this new DVD The Best of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist to showcase almost two hours of celebrity therapy sessions. The resultant sequences are very hit-and-miss: for every hilarious one come two or three that are desultory. We get only snatches of the show’s more prominent characters of the doctor’s haughty receptionist Laura and his indolent son Ben, but thankfully the producers of the disc do rectify that situation a bit with a bonus feature.
Eighteen celebrities take to Dr. Katz’s couch during the 110-minute running time of the disc. The sessions last from 2 ½ to 9 minutes, and six celebrities make standout appearances. Margaret Cho does one of her fall down funny riffs as her mother talking about gays. David Cross has two funny bits about gay Jesus and a stoned surgeon. Kathy Griffin is hilarious as a baby furniture saleslady and when talking about some of her lame boy friends. Denis Leary’s reminiscences about bad times with his kids are very amusing while Conan O’Brien has the longest skit stealing material from his therapy sessions to use on his nightly program, much to the doctor’s aggravation. Finally Brian Regan has some funny stories about how he can’t stop his foot from entering his mouth at the worst possible moments.
On the other hand, Julia Louis-Dreyfus trying to have a session over the phone, David Duchovny doing his session from a broom closet, and Janeane Garofalo telling unfunny stories about her family all land with a comedic thud. The other participating celebrities in these encounters are Dave Attell, Dave Chappelle, Ray Romano, Sarah Silverman, Louis C.K., Susie Essman, Richard Lewis, Kevin Nealon, and Patton Oswalt.
The animation is in the curious “squigglevision” style which gets to be something of a chore to watch after half an hour, and the varying aspect ratios of the programs are also bothersome. Still, the funny characters of Laura and Ben are always welcome even though they only pop up infrequently, and the compilation here is infinitely poorer because their involvement is minimized by the names of this assortment of celebrity ramblings.
The programs are presented in a 4:3 window, sometimes almost full frame and sometimes in what appears to be a 1.66:1 ratio, none with anamorphic enhancement. The “squigglevision” frankly looks terrible for an extended period, the lines looking more like active jaggies for the entirety of the program. Color is acceptably saturated, and there is no banding. If the viewer selects to watch all of the sessions at one time, the program has been divided into 18 chapters.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound is decoded by Dolby Prologic into the center channel. The volume has been set way too high on the disc leading to some distortion with some of the louder-voiced celebrities unless the loudness is manually reduced. Otherwise, it’s an artifact-free audio mix, simple and efficient.
There are four “Dr. Katz Remembers” episodes involving the good doctor with his receptionist Laura and his son Ben. Frankly, they are funnier than any of the celebrity material with Katz and his son breaking each other up at a funeral particularly effective.
Four Comedy Central Quickies feature excerpts of about three minutes each from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Reno 911!, and South Park.
There are previews for the DVD releases of South Park - Season 11, TV Funhouse, and The Best of ‘The Colbert Report.’
There are some funny comedy moments to be found among the sampler of The Best of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, but it isn’t a laugh riot, and frankly, I’d like to have seen a compilation of sequences featuring the Ben and Laura characters rather than the celebrity improvisations.