In examining the first two seasons of an animated television series called Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, I will discuss how the authorship of it changed and strengthened the animation genre. There is a lot to work with as the co-creator of the show, comedian Jonathan Katz, also serves as the main figure. The show was different from in that it did not fit the typical mold of an animated series of being a family sitcom like The Flinstones. Instead, it used new technology called “Squigglevision,” and introduced new stand-up comedians in every episode, some famous and others not so much. The show fit perfectly on Comedy Central, and really it seems as if there was no other network it would work as well on.
Booker, M. Keith. Drawn to Television: Prime-Time Animation from the Flintstones to Family Guy. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2006. In this book, Booker examines the history of animated television, examining particular shows that have thrived in primetime and those that have become successful because of cable and syndication. Booker discusses how animated television delivers unique and clever perspectives to normal programming. Dr. Katz is discussed primarily in how it broke the typical animation family sitcom mold, and fit right in on Comedy Central with its stand-up comedians.
Fease, Rebecca. Masculinity and Popular Television. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008. The book interestingly focuses on how masculinity is spread out upon different television genres. In animated television, the father figure is the overly masculine character whether it be Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin. I think this chapter will be helpful in laying out how Dr. Katz separates itself from other animated series, and how it helped branch out from the family mold in television series. In the show Dr. Katz is a father and how is he different from Homer Simpson is something I can explore.
Milvy, Erika. “For Him, Laughter Was the Best Therapy.” The New York Times, 14 December 2008. The article is all about the series and how it is different from many other animated comedy series. The show does not move in rapid motion, with Squigglevision didn’t look overly fancy, and that “it rejected the adult cartoon tradition of high-impact irreverence, snarkiness and raised voices.”
Murray, Noel. “Interview with Jonathan Katz.” The A.V. Club, 14 June 2006. http://www.avclub.com/articles/jonathan-katz,13993. The interview hits on a range of topics about Katz’s life, but the most pertinent stuff is about the idea behind Dr. Katz and his retelling of how it was created and his relationship with co-creator Tom Snyder. My paper will talk a good deal about Katz as he is a creator and central figure on the show, so hearing first hand from is helpful. He talks often about his relationships with the other comedians that were on the show and getting them to come on, which is interesting.
Stabile, Carol, et al. Prime Time Animation: Television Animation and American Culture. London; New York: Routledge, 2003. This book looks at the history of television animation and how it obviously ties into American culture. What I am most interested in are sections such as how the authors examine quality in animated television series, as well as the mold for animated television series set by The Flintstones and The Simpsons.
Tueth, Michael V. Laughter In The Living Room: Television Comedy And The American Home Audience. New York: Peter Lang, 2005. The book as a whole looks into how television figures have gone about entertaining the American home audience, through many genres and years. It’s section on animation discusses how the authors have freedom to invent as many characters as they want, as they don’t have to worry about actors, and the multiple jokes and plot lines can challenge the viewer in ways non-animated shows cannot. Dr. Katz certainly introduces multiple comedians, yet also has an underlying plot surrounding Katz himself. Tueth argues that animation allows for a lot of freedom and experimentation.
Wright, Jean Ann. Animation Writing and Development: From Screen Development to Pitch. Amsterdam: Boston Elsevier, 2005. The book is intended to teach writers and students really the basics of writing and developing animated material. There is a chapter, however that is particularly useful as it discusses comedy in animation, and really how a creator is to go about making animation funny. The chapter talks about how comedy in animation separates itself and how to go about properly executing it. Also, especially pertinent, is how Wright talks about developing a specific animated character and having their personality become funny. In my paper I will focus on Katz as a comedian/central character in the show and author of it, so this should be helpful.