[Contains pissy power-plays and SPOILERS!!!]
As I mentioned in a previous post, one of my main motivations for purchasing the complete Larry Sanders Show boxset (besides the seasonal discount), was the promise of some prime Janeane Garofalo cuteness and snark… but she barely figures in the second season (1993) at all, cropping up in just three of the eighteen episodes! Boo to that! Her absence is particularly conspicuous in ep #2.14, when ‘Larry’ (Garry Shandling) determined that his talk-show was suffering a dearth of fresh and stimulating guests for him to schmooze, leading to an emergency staff meeting where he chewed out the previously unseen/unmentioned booking team-members, led by ‘Kiki Rosatti’ (Maureen Mueller), who would only return for one more episode this season (#2.16), before being shoved back into the discontinuity cupboard! None of her colleagues even mention head talent-booker ‘Paula’ (Garofalo) during this crisis-in-a-teacup, let alone attempt to explain her mysterious vanishing act… though Kiki’s solution of booking an ultra-edgy, audience-baiting “performance artist” (Tim Miller) is exactly the sort of move that Paula would have pulled, had she been present… so I’m guessing the episode was written with her in mind, but some sort of off-screen conflict necessitated the creation of a temporary substitute to take the heat.
On the upside, Garofalo was given ample opportunity to shine in ep #2.8, when senior producer ‘Artie’ (Rip Torn) was unavoidably detained by a storm-related traffic snarl-up, and appointed Paula to oversee the operation in his stead… a promotion that outraged veteran side-kick ‘Hank Kingsley’ (Jeffrey Tambor), prompting him to sabotage the stressed-out whipper-snapper by arranging a lead guest for the show without telling her (or anyone else), then ducking for cover when a double-booking shit-storm ensued! Feh! When the studio air-conditioner broke down, and couldn’t be replaced without Artie’s signature on the work-order, a sweat-drenched Paula resorted to drinking on the job (her missing mentor had recommended she let the studio audience see her holding a glass of wine during the taping, to reassure them she was “relaxed”…), leading her to drunkenly stumble onto the set during a commercial break, and proudly inform an otherwise oblivious Larry that she’d been secretly running the whole shebang by herself! The way she scampered off-stage, leaving him slack-jawed in the spotlight, was absolutely adorable… and easily my highlight of the season!
I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to stop compiling long “laundry lists” of supporting cast-members for these posts… but I do have to give a shout-out to Kristin Davis, who appeared in ep #2.2 (along with Karen Lynn Scott) as a starry-eyed audience-member/Gap-employee invited out on a double-date with Hank and Larry . I didn’t recognise Davis at first, because she looked so young here in one of her earliest TV roles, but once she started trying to naïvely coax the host into booking some no-name joker from her store for his show, the penny dropped. Sadly that was the last we ever saw of her character, but it was a fun little cameo all the same…