In a season notable for first-rate, big-bang finales (how ‘bout that last Newhart, eh?), It’s Garry Shandling’s Show is going out with a comparative whimper. The conclusion of Shandling’s four-year run is called ”Driving Miss Garry,” and the thudding obviousness of the title’s spoof on Driving Miss Daisy is indicative of the rest of the half-hour.
Shandling’s show, it should be said, was regularly lauded as fresh and innovative. He’s a funny fellow as a stand-up comic, all right, but why did TV critics go gaga when he turned to the camera and talked to us viewers? Doesn’t anyone remember that George Burns and Gracie Allen were doing this 40 years ago? Heck, the Marx Brothers were talking straight at movie audiences 60 years ago — what’s the big deal?
Anyway, in this send-off show, guest star Dan Aykroyd reprises his Daisy movie role as Boolie, and offers Shandling the services of a chauffeur — Paul Winfield in the Morgan Freeman role of Hoke. Shandling, inevitably, takes the part that Jessica Tandy played, at one point even donning a woman’s white wig.
Lacking any sort of context, however, the premise is merely silly, and the writing is dull. One long, long joke, for example, involves Hoke’s inability to read; the punch line occurs when he mistakes the name ”Corky” for ”Noodles.” Are you rolling on the floor yet?
This last Shandling is frustrating. One of the pleasures of final episodes is the opportunity to see story lines wrapped up and characters bid farewell.
But ”Driving Miss Garry” is so intent on carrying out its lame movie parody that it doesn’t do any of this. At the end of the show, Shandling climbs into a little electric car and putters around the stage set, mock-weeping and waving bye-bye. Bye-bye, Garry.