As a life long sufferer of chronic sadness, I hold tight to anything, ANYTHING, that helps lift, for even a few moments, that pesky dark cloud hovering over my head. I've tried drugs - legal and otherwise, illicit sex, adrenaline fueled extreme sports, petty crimes, felonious crimes, Zen Buddhist meditation, Cabalistic incantations, Indian sweat lodge retreats, and even once watched Oprah, but nothing works quite so magically as quality TV comedy. Dr. Katz is my prescription to you for whatever has got you down. There's no mood too blue, no funk too sunk that a dose of Dr. Katz can't fix. It's a sure fire, works-every-time, miracle cure for the blahs that carries no side effects, other than maybe a cramped face from all the prolonged intense grinning.
It's such an outrageous conceit to have top comedians - the majority of which are clearly disturbed individuals - venting the same annoyances, anxieties, fears, and phobias that constitute their acts, but as sessions with a mental health professional. Putting these peculiar characters on the couch is a stroke of genius. How crazy is it that what easily passes for legitimate therapeutic conversation is actually the stuff of inspired comedy routines?! The are a few exceptions to the parade of stand up pros such as when actresses Winona Ryder and Lisa Kudrow appear as patients, and they, too, are marvelously compelling and witty. There are a few comedian patients with whose work I was not previously familiar, and I was motivated to seek out examples of them in real world action.
All the regular characters are absolutely superb with long time stand up comedian Jonathan Katz voicing the titular doctor. The doctor is divorced and living with his unemployed son, Ben, played by H. Jon Benjamin who has created the archetypal Gen X slacker loser. Ben's self obsessed, self deprecating, self loathing version of post-adolescent angst is poignantly endearing, when it's not comically tragic. Dr. Katz's equally self obsessed, but self satisfied twenty-something secretary, Laura, is a sly creature of the most sinister design, who is perhaps repulsive in attitude but undeniably alluring in appearance and style. Ben incessantly makes awkward advances to a decidedly disinterested Laura who is voiced by Laura Silverman, sister to the also maniacally designed Sarah Silverman. Dr. Katz often ends his working day with drinks with an amiable acquaintance, Stanley, served to them by an attractive and pleasant bartender, Julie, who seems to genuinely enjoy the gentlemen's glib conversation. It's a great treat for me to compare all the performers' real faces to their weirdly squiggly animated ones.
This show never fails to brighten my day. It shines a very warm ray of light onto my burdened heart. Dr. Katz truly is the comedic equivalent of chicken soup for the soul.