26. 'It's Garry Shandling's Show'
Before he'd mount a pitch-perfect deconstruction of late-night talk shows with The Larry Sanders Show, stand-up comic Garry Shandling would mount this metasitcom about a character named "Garry Shandling" who not only stars in his own TV show — he's also an observer and audience co-conspirator regarding the very show he's starring in. Shandling would address viewers about the fictional situations at hand, introduce chaarcters as they showed up and break up scenes so he could ask us out there in TV Land what we thought about the episode-in-progress. The apartment was designed to be an exact replica of Shandling's place in Sherman Oaks, California; the theme was called "This Is the Theme to Garry's Show." Part Pirandello play and part showbiz put-on, it managed to sustain this level of through-the-looking-glass comedy on Showtime and, later, Fox for a full four seasons.—DAVID FEAR