It’s Garry Shandling’s Show—Season 1

its garry shandlings show season 1 dvd boxset episode guide
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

One of the most creative sitcoms of its era

Some stuff hasn't aged well

its garry shandlings show season 1 title card opening credits song

This is the theme to Garry’s show…

Garry Shandling (Garry Shandling) has decided to start a sitcom.  He’s ready.  He has his sitcom house and platonic best friend Nancy Bancroft (Molly Cheek) and also get to visit with his best friend Pete Schumaker (Michael Tucci), his wife Jackie (Bernadette Birkett), and their son Gant (Scott Nemes).  Garry’s set to explore love, loss, and even will invite the audience along for the journey.  It might be Garry’s show but it’s Garry’s neurotic life and problems too.

It’s Garry Shandling’s Show—Season 1 is a post-modern sitcom.  The season originally aired on Showtime from September 10, 1986 to April 10, 1987.  It was bought by FOX and became an early staple on the network in 1988.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 1 the day garry moved in vanna white wheel of fortune

I always knew Vanna was a petty thief!

I loved It’s Garry Shandling’s Show when I watched it on FOX and vividly remember some of the episodes (like the “Laffie” episode).  Even though I was young, I knew it was something really different and it was also really fun.  It’s Garry Shandling’s Show holds up

The series uses an approach that is somewhat common now (at least in some format) in that the audience and the viewers are part of the show.  Garry frequently asks them questions, addresses them, and sometimes scolds them (when the audience makes a mess when Garry is doing something in another scene).  It is weird and something that wasn’t being done when this show was made.  It is a combination of a talk show and sitcom…and completely original.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 16 force boxman travelling montage

Garry…a man of the future!

The series takes its plotlines from sitcom clichés.  Garry faces a bully, Garry gets robbed, Garry worries about a psychic prediction, etc.  It then takes these tropes and plays with them in a means that is generally smart and clever.  There are some jokes and themes in the show that haven’t aged well (like a lot of the comedy of years past), but for the most part there is a wholesome honesty to the show that feels real.

Garry Shandling makes the show.  At the time he was heating up, a frequent guest host of The Tonight Show and a potential heir apparent to Johnny Carson.  Watching Judd Apatow’s The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, you get some background into the neurosis that drove Shandling and why something like a sitcom could backfire, but in this early season he is still 100% committed to the series.  In addition to Garry and the rest of the cast, the show frequently featured guest stars like Vanna White, Norman Fell, Ian Abercrombie, astronaut Pete Conrad, June Lockhart, Rob Reiner, Red Buttons, and Marty Allen (generally playing themselves).

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 6 its garrys problem but its jo jos show jodi jones

It’s not Jo-Jo, it’s Jodi, asshole

A great example of the show’s innovation is the “It’s Garry’s Problem, but It’s Jo-Jo’s Show” episode which featured an actual cable provider contest winner who was supposed to have a guest spot on the show.  Instead the whole show circles around Jo-Jo…until Garry’s own issues sabotage the plans and Jo-Jo is discarded…It is cleverer than most sitcoms today (also, The Graduate episode is a personal favorite).

It’s Garry Shandling’s Show is a series that can seen as an example of how TV can grow and change over the years.  Shandling’s unique take to a sitcom not only was one of the best sitcoms of the time, but it was also a standout decades later.  Unfortunately for the series, it isn’t easy to come by despite the rise of streaming and the popularity of Garry’s follow-up series The Larry Sanders Show overshadowed this gem…seek it out!

It’s Garry Shandling’s Show—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 1 the day garry moved in molly cheek

“The Day Garry Moved In”

1.1       The Day Garry Moved In Airdate:  09/10/86

Garry (Garry Shandling) moves into his new place next to his “platonic” friend Nancy Bancroft (Molly Cheek), but unfortunately while out with his friend Pete Schumaker (Michael Tucci) and his son Grant (Scott Nemes), Garry finds himself the victim of a crime…and is Vanna White to blame? Garry’s luck could change when he lands a date with his cable installer (Shawn Ora Engemann).

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 2 grant gets broken scott nemes

“Grant Gets Broken”

1.2       Grant Gets Broken Airdate:  09/17/86

Pete and his wife Jackie (Bernadette Birkett) are having relationship problems…and when Garry uses TV magic to arrange a getaway for them, he finds himself watching Grant for the weekend…but disaster strikes.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 3 garry throws a surprise party barbara cason molly cheek

“Garry Throws a Surprise Party”

1.3       Garry Throws a Surprise Party Airdate:  09/24/86

Garry’s got a surprise for his mother (Barbara Cason) for her birthday…but his surprise could be fatal.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 4 foul ball pete michael tucci

“Foul Ball”

1.4       Foul Ball Airdate:  10/01/86

A foul ball breaks Pete’s nose in front of Garry, Grant, and his Cub Scout group…having Pete worrying that Grant doesn’t respect him.  Garry meets his head of the condominium association Leonard Smith (Paul Willson) who seems to have an interest in television.

its garry shandling show season 1 episode 5 the graduate mrs robertson

“The Graduate”

1.5       The Graduate Airdate:  10/08/86

Garry learns It’s Garry Shandling’s Show has been picked up for a full season, but Garry finds his life complicated when his mother’s friend Mrs. Robertson (Bibi Besch) tries to seduce him.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 6 its garrys problem but its jo jos show prize winner texarkana

“It’s Garry’s Problem, But It’s Jo-Jo’s Show”

1.6       It’s Garry’s Problem, But It’s Jo-Jo’s Show Airdate:  10/15/86

Jodi Jones (Jodi Jones) has won a contest to star in It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, and Garry is trying to make her comfortable…unfortunately Nancy’s friend Morgan (Christine Kellogg) has stopped by, and Jo-Jo might be sidelined.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 7 garry met a girl named maria wedding kamala lopez

“Garry Met a Girl Named Maria”

1.7       Garry Met a Girl Named Maria Airdate:  01/23/87

The set maid Maria Herrera (Kamala Lopez) is being deported to Guatemala, but Nancy’s suggestion that Garry marry Maria could backfire.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 8 grants date scott nemes priscilla weems

“Grant’s Date”

1.8       Grant’s Date Airdate:  01/30/87

Grant’s going on his first date, and Garry has agreed to chaperone.  Grant’s date Kim Stevens (Priscilla Weems) might not be the best influence, and her crush on Garry could be a problem.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 9 pete has an affair michael tucci

“Pete Has an Affair”

1.9       Pete Has an Affair Airdate:  02/06/87

Pete is a wreck after he cheats on Jackie, and Garry has to decide what he’s going to do about it.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 10 fate molly cheek


1.10     Fate Airdate:  02/13/87

A psychic predicts that Nancy will be hurt on a date in the fifth act, and Garry tries to hold off Fate…who is played by Ian Abercrombie.

its garry shandling show season 1 episode 11 the morning after anniversary party garry strips

“The Morning After”

1.11     The Morning After Airdate:  02/20/87

Pete and Jackie have an anniversary party for Pete’s parents…but Garry learns something happened at the party that he doesn’t remember (and the flashback machine doesn’t work on).

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 12 sarah shawn ora engemann


1.12     Sarah Airdate:  03/06/87

One of Larry’s great loves is returning to the area.  In the hopes of starting their relationship again, Larry asks Sarah (Shawn Ora Engemann) out for a date…but Sarah has other ideas.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 13 laffie


1.13     Laffie Airdate:  03/13/87

When Garry and Nancy find a collie they nickname Laffie, their quest to find Laffie’s owner hits a snag when Leonard Smith (Paul Willson) orders them to get rid of Laffie.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 14 dial l for laundry sylvia claudia christian

“Dial ‘L’ for Laundry”

1.14     Dial ‘L’ for Laundry Airdate:  03/20/87

Garry finds he might have to break his lifelong vow to not fight when he meets a woman named Sylvia (Claudia Christian) while doing laundry and faces her jealous ex (Chris Mulkey).  Plus, Rob Reiner is looking for work, and Garry could help.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 15 dinner with garry dance sequence

“Dinner with Garry”

1.15     Dinner with Garry Airdate:  04/03/87

Larry is trying to hook up his mother on a date and sees his doctor Paul Derwin (Dennis Patrick) as a potential romantic match.

its garry shandlings show season 1 episode 16 force boxman

“Force Boxman”

1.16     Force Boxman Airdate:  04/10/87

Garry has decided leave his show to make a gritty New York police series called Force Boxman.  With Garry gone, Red Buttons has moved in and life goes on…but Garry has regrets.

Related Links:

The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (2018)

The Larry Sanders Show—Season 1 Review and Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response