It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, like other Shandling projects, was maybe a bit ahead of its time. However, it still enjoyed a decent following considering that it was a Showtime comedy series in the late 1980s. Unfortunately it seems to have been lost to the ages as far as syndication goes.
In the show, Shandling plays himself as the self-aware star of a sitcom. He and his friends deal with the average trivial sitcom issues, all while being at least vaguely aware that they are participating in a sitcom episode. Garry often interacts with the studio audience during the episodes, with the audience sometimes coming onto the set or otherwise participating in storylines. Random celebrity friends would often stop by; Rob Reiner was a recurring guest for the first three seasons. Even the theme song was self-referential:
This is the theme to Garry’s show, the opening theme to Garry’s show
Garry called me up and asked if I would write his theme song
I’m almost halfway finished, how do you like it so far?
How do you like the theme to Garry’s show?
Bill Lynch, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” theme song
The show paved the way for Shandling’s later project The Larry Sanders Show, as well as other obsessively self-referential/”meta” shows such as 30 Rock, Arrested Development, and Community. It has an important place in television history, and is also quite entertaining in its own right. Unfortunately it is impossible to find on streaming services, but if you really look for it you can find it online. It’s worth checking out!
Here’s a little taste in the form of the aforementioned theme music. (WARNING: It’s catchy!):