Back on the couch with those messed-up comics
The Story So Far...
If there's one thing the series has, it's consistency. Dr. Katz is always self-depricating and soft-spoken, Ben is eternally lazy, and Laura can't be bothered to do her job. The story, what there is of it, normally is driven by another of Ben's misadventures, whether he's gloating about witnessing a crime, attempting to date Laura or looking for an apartment. Normally, that ends up frustrating his dad to humorous effect.
The Ben-Jon story isn't the main feature though, as the comics' therapy sessions are the show's reason to exist. The concept really just takes the performer's act and works it as a personality problem for Katz to deal with. This works great for comics like Ray Romano, Louie C.K. and Garry Shandling, who talk a lot about their personal life, like you would on the couch. Kevin Meaney's act, which includes plenty of stories about his apparently insane upbringing, lends itself especially well to the psychiatry concept.
The show's format doesn't work as well for comics whose acts are either conceptual or gimmicky (unless they drop the act and try something different.) Not surprisingly, these same comics, including Emo Phillips and Judy Tenuta, aren't exactly headliners these days. It's almost like "Dr. Katz" is a litmus test for longevity, as a successful appearance on the show tends to belong to a long-time comedy draw like Romano, Todd Barry or Dom Irerra.
Truthfully, this is not the best of the show's five seasons, in large part due to the patient line-up, which is distinctly B-list once you get past the few appearances by talent like Romano and his ilk. No offense to a quality writer like "Home Movies"' Bill Braudis, but he's not what fans remember when they think of Dr. Katz.
Replicating the old-school delivery is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track that's plain vanilla, delivering the dialogue cleanly through the center channel, along with music. It's all clear and distortion free, right down to the cute transitional music.
A bit of original content finds its way into this set, in the form of three "follow-up" calls to his patients, Joy Behar, Emo Phillips and Stephen Wright. Though they aren't animated, presented instead as a single off-style drawing with voiceover, they are amusing. Wright's is a bit rambling, while Behar and Phillips sound just like an episode performance.
The usual Comedy Central "Quickies" are here as well, including the legendary "Colbert Report" segment on truthiness.
The Bottom Line