Here is a sitcom created by Billy Crystal, starring Michael McKean (Laverne & Shirley; This Is Spinal Tap) as Dan Carver, a 42-year-old ordinary guy who has a weekly half-hour session with his therapist, Dr. Sidney Bookman, played by Elliott Gould. The premise permits us to see Dan’s life in flashbacks and fantasies.
Sessions is clever without ever achieving true funniness. The problem with being an amiable everyman is that McKean’s Dan seems merely bland, and pretty soon you don’t care that, in this week’s episode, he admits to having had dreams about making love with his mother and, in next week’s, to doing it with a pair of voluptuous twins. (Only one of these dreams, I’m vastly relieved to say, actually makes use of HBO’s R-rated permissiveness.)
Although it’s a smaller role, Gould has the better part. His murmuring, laid-back Dr. Bookman is an intriguing character; you always want to know what he’s really thinking. Gould here reawakens a lot of the shaggy-dog charm that made his performances in such Robert Altman movies as The Long Goodbye (1973) and California Split (1974) so pleasurable. Maybe the best thing this series could do is is introduce us to Bookman’s private life, as well as a few of his other patients. C