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Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist is an animated series that originally ran on Comedy Central from May 28, 1995 to December 24, 1999, starring Jonathan Katz, H. Jon Benjamin, and Laura Silverman. It was the first ever original animated cartoon to be shown on Comedy Central, paving the way for South Park and the like.

The show was computer animated in a crude, easily recognizable style called Squigglevision, in which all persons and animate objects are colored and have constantly squiggling outlines, while all other inanimate objects are static and usually gray in color.

The show focuses on the title character, Dr. Jonathan Katz, who is voiced by, and visually based on, the comedian of the same name. Dr. Katz was a professional psychoanalyst who has famous comedians and actors as patients, usually two per episode. The comedians' therapy sessions generally consist of them doing their onstage material while Dr. Katz performs as a kind of milquetoast Straight Man. Therapy sessions featuring actors and actresses offer more interpersonal dialogue between Katz and his patient to better suit their predisposition.

Interspersed with these scenes are scenes involving Dr. Katz's daily life, which include his aimless, childish grown son, Benjamin Katz, his disinterested and unhelpful secretary, Laura, and his two friends: Stanley, and the barmaid, Julie.

South Park did a Crossover where Mr. Garrison sought therapy from Dr. Katz. Also referenced in Arthur, of all shows.

Tropes used in Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist include:


  • All Love Is Unrequited: Laura and Ben are the most obvious, but more subtly, Dr. Katz seems into Laura, and there's the Stanley/Julie/Katz triangle, meaning almost the entire male cast is into a girl, without reciprocation from any of the girls. (There's a few episodes that shows that Julie may have feelings for Dr. Katz. The episode where they practice Dr. Katz's part in a play includes a kiss that seems very well-requited. This is never mentioned again.)
  • Analogy Backfire: Dr. Katz asked guest Steven Wright what he thought certain phrases meant. One of them was "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." His response:

  Steven Wright: That one always confused me; if you were throwing stones in any house, it would be damaging.

  • Art Evolution: Season 1 featured character animations not used in any other season, probably because they were so ugly and off-model. Season 5 got a new batch of reusable character animations; most notably for Laura.
  • Bank Robbery: Guest Don Gavin mentions that he tried to rob a bank once, but failed: He accidentally put the gun in the drive-up drawer with the threatening note.
  • Beat: Guest Garry Shandling accused Dr. Katz of using too many pauses in the sessions, which has dragged out his therapy for longer than it needs to.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Used a few times in the show when characters are in the dark.
  • Call Back: While on the plane in "Miles Away", Ben gets ready to watch a movie called "Lovestrings", which was first mentioned in "Movies" (and which Ben doesn't want to see because it's a "chick flick").
  • Catch Phrase: "Oops, you know what the music means: Our time is up."
  • Chain Letter: An entire episode revolves around Ben wondering what to do with a chain letter, with Dr. Katz and Laura both immediately telling him to throw it away.
  • Christmas Episode: Season 2's "Office Management".
  • City with No Name: The name of the city Dr. Katz takes place in is never made clear; at times it evokes images of New York City; other times, it seems more like Boston.
  • Class Reunion: Ben gets an invitation to a high school reunion in the season 3 finale. He's reluctant at first but ultimately decides to go.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Guests Steven Wright and Mitch Hedberg certainly qualify.
  • Coat Full of Contraband: Robert Klein mentions that he was once approached by a man who used the "Wanna buy a watch?" line. Robert refused, and it's revealed he was standing at a urinal when he said it.
  • Cold Open: More common in the earlier seasons.
  • The Danza: Almost all characters are credited in the style of "Laura Silverman as Laura". Arguably the characters also play themselves.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Department of Redundancy Department: During Dr. Katz's eulogy speech in "Mourning Person":

  Dr. Katz: Estelle had... 92 great years. And by my count that's... 92 great years.

  • Don't Explain the Joke: In one episode, Dr. Katz tells a joke to Julie, who doesn't get it. He proceeds to explain the punchline. Stan remarks, "You gotta stop explaining the joke. If you do that, life's not worth living."
  • Epic Fail: Ben gets these pretty frequently. In one instance, he assumed the world only had about 2-3 million people in it ("Actually, Ben, it's in the billions."), and in another instance, he said that pigeons were mammals.
  • Every Episode Ending: Dr. Katz telling his patient that the therapy session is over (see Catch Phrase), as prompted by the music cue. There are a couple exceptions: "Thanksgiving", which ends with Dr. Katz and Ben on the couch after Thanksgiving Day dinner, and "Ben Treats", which ends with Katz, Ben, and Laura in the fancy restaurant.
  • Everything's Worse with Bees: Dr. Katz has a fear of bees; in one episode, he talks about therapy that is supposed to cure you of your phobia. For Katz, the final step is to put him in a room with thousands of bees. He couldn't get past the first step, which was putting him in a room with a dead horse.
  • Faking the Dead: Patient Tom Agna has a routine about faking a heart attack to get out of a boring dinner with a couple. He realizes the bit had gotten away from him when the couple phoned 911, which prompted Tom to get up and state he was just kidding. The couple was not amused.
  • Fauxtivational Poster: "Hang in there!"
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Seen during Tom Agna's "can't take it with ya" bit.
  • Freudian Couch
  • Freudian Slip: Used a couple times in the show. In one instance, Dr. Katz recommends his ex-wife Roz stay at a hotel instead of their apartment for the weekend because it contains a "hated [heated] pool". In another instance, Dr. Katz is practicing with Julie for a play and Julie accidentally calls Dr. Katz "Jonathan" instead of his character's name during a passionate sequence.
  • The Fun in Funeral: In an episode appropriately titled Mourning Person.
  • Harassing Phone Call: Dom Irrera is convinced Dr. Katz is doing this to him.

 Dom: You're not the one calling me and hanging up, are ya?

Dr. Katz: No.

Dom: 'Cause it sounds like your breath.

  • Hit Me Dammit: During the closing credits of "Cholesterol", we hear Dr. Katz proud of himself for getting through some push-ups. With a new-found sense of pride about himself, he asks Julie to hit him in the stomach. After trying to back out of it, Julie finally hits him, and Dr. Katz is heard keeling over.

  Dr. Katz: Tell Laura to call 911. (Julie laughs) I'll kill you. I will kill you.

  • Homoerotic Dream: Louis C.K. tells Dr. Katz about one he had, where he didn't realize it was a gay dream until he started making out with a guy.
    • Dom Irrera has plenty of these - all starring Dr. Katz.
  • I Resemble That Remark: In "Movies", Dr. Katz and Ben have this exchange:

 Dr. Katz: It's just, you constantly interrupt me.

Ben: First of all, I do not. (Dr. Katz begins to speak, but Ben interrupts him) What I was about to say...

  • Ineffectual Death Threat: In "Babysitting Ben", Laura passes along the message that someone on the phone threatened to kill Dr. Katz, though the individual was just blowing off steam, not being literal. Laura didn't bother to pass that important bit of info along, leaving Katz a nervous wreck for the episode.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune
  • Insult Backfire: In "Movies", when Laura is talking to Ben on the phone, she says he's pathetic and just wants to pinch him. Ben takes this the other way and an exasperated Laura remarks, "Oh God." while Ben is eager for a pinch.
  • Lampshade Hanging: After one of Dr. Katz's guests swears and the offending word gets bleeped out, Katz mentions that he'd prefer it if the guest didn't swear. The guest responds by saying that his "other therapist" lets him swear.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Heard in the credits of "Koppleman and Katz" when Katz sings a song and keeps swapping the end of a verse ("Even though I know everything you touch turns to sh...") with a non-dirty word.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Dr. Katz and Ben are basically one, and Katz even admits it in one episode, "Ball and Chain" when he says he's trying to salvage what's left of this "marriage".
  • Limited Animation
  • Limited Wardrobe: Dr. Katz always wears a yellow shirt and red tie; Ben always wears an open blue shirt and white T-shirt; Laura always wears a pink sweater. Frequent guest Dom Irrera is something of an exception; while he usually wears a yellow sweater, he's also worn numerous flamboyant outfits.
    • Averted with the first episode, "Pot-Bellied Pigs"; Ben wears a flannel shirt instead of his usual blue shirt.
    • Also sometimes averted with frequent guest Dom Irrera; while he's usually in his yellow sweater, he's worn other outfits as well.
  • Lottery Ticket: In "Ben Treats", Ben wins $500 in a scratch-off game and invites Dr. Katz and Laura to a fancy five star restaurant to blow it all.
  • Love Confession: Played for laughs, with frequent patient Dom Irrera frequently saying he loves Dr. Katz, even going so far as to ask him to marry him.
  • Marathon Running: Dr. Katz's sixth season contained 18 episodes; however, only six of them aired as planned before the series was cancelled. Comedy Central decided to air nine of the twelve unaired episodes in a 1999 Christmas Eve marathon, along with three reruns from the previous season, totalling six hours. Why they didn't just decide to air the other three unaired episodes instead of the reruns is a mystery to this day, as they remained unaired in the U.S. until the complete series set came out in 2007.
  • Mathematician's Answer: In "Expert Witness", Dr. Katz's response to the courts if Roger is sane enough to stand trial is simply, "No."
  • Mood Whiplash: In "Studio Guy", Dr. Katz plays a guitar while singing a melancholy song about feeling left out. After he concludes, Ben remarks, "That sucked."
  • Motor Mouth: Guest Bobby Slayton falls into this. Dr. Katz even explores this, and Bobby realizes that he talks so much during the day that he is out of words by the evening.
  • Must Have Caffeine: One episode, "Metaphors", concerns Dr. Katz and Ben drinking more coffee than usual. This addiction catches up with Ben, though, who gets severe cramps towards the end of the episode.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Said by Dr. Katz in the episode "Bully" when he realizes how much he hurt Ben by throwing away Ben's childhood stuffed animal.
  • New Job Episode: More accurately, FIRST job, as Ben is hired as a baker's assistant in an unaired season 6 episode. He's quickly fired before the week is up for coming to work four hours late, though.
  • Not a Date: Said by Laura in "Bully" when she and Ben go to a nightclub together to watch Dr. Katz's guitar performance.
  • Note to Self:: During "Ben Treats", Dr. Katz has a phone therapy session with patient Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, who was pregnant at the time the episode aired. She frequently put the session on hold to go to the bathroom. While Katz waited for her to return, he would talk into a tape recorder with inane comments like, "Note to self: How are you?" and "Put a live fish in the fishbowl."
  • One-Shot Character: Cindy from Tele-Purchases in "Phone Luv"; the community theater director in "Community Theater"; the dentist in "Wisdom Teeth"; the teacher from "Past Lives"; Roger from "Expert Witness"; and if she counts, ex-wife Roz from "Thanksgiving", despite that there's been much talk about her in previous episodes.
  • Overly Long Name: Frequent patient Dom Irrera reveals his middle name: "Orangutan Anus Hair".
  • Practical Joke: In the season 2 episode "Glasses", Dr. Katz gets a pair of glasses. Ben thinks it's amusing that he's "slowly going blind" and pulls pranks like hiding Dr. Katz's cell phone and removing all the chairs from the kitchen, hoping he'll accidentally sit on the floor.
  • Precision F-Strike: In "Phone Luv", Ben wants some privacy on the phone with Cindy. After much back-and-forth about privacy, Ben tells Dr. Katz to "use the fucking door!"
  • Private Detective: In the season 4 finale "Undercover", Laura is taking multiple afternoons off without explaining where she's going, leading Ben to become a detective to find out. He's horrible at it, though.
  • Psychic Powers: In the season 2 finale, Ben is convinced he has ESP after watching a show about it on TV, even though he obviously has no such ability. Typical impressionable Ben.)
  • Rule of Animation Conservation (Dr. Katz could easily be done in live action due to its limited movements, but the show was so inexpensive to produce in the first place anyway.
  • Running Gag: In the season 6 episode "Used Car", Ben keeps trying to convince Dr. Katz that they should take a trip to the Mall of America. This subject even comes up out of nowhere during a discussion about how Laura ditched Katz and Ben on a city street during her test drive of a used vehicle.
  • Sassy Secretary: Laura, although she is more bile than sass.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Happens all the time in the show.
  • Shotgun Wedding: In an unaired season 6 episode, Laura abruptly announces that she's engaged to a musician. Ben tries to be mature about it and wishes her the best of luck, until he's motivated to stop the wedding, or he'll never get another chance to confess his love for her. Laura cancels the engagement before Ben realizes what happened, though; Hilarity Ensues.
  • Show Within a Show: There are a bunch of fictional movies at the theater Dr. Katz and Ben visit during "Movies", such as "Hams on the Run", "Lovestrings", and "Firepower".
  • Sick Episode: Sort of. The episode "Wisdom Teeth" featured Ben recovering from having his wisdom teeth removed, which, as anyone who's gone through this would know, is almost the same as being sick. Hilarity Ensues when Dr. Katz accidentally gives Ben a bunch of antihistmanies instead of painkillers.
  • Sitcom Arch Nemesis: David Stanick, Dr. Katz's old ping-pong rival.
  • The Slacker: Ben Katz, obviously. Nearly every episode focuses on how he gives up on whatever he was interested in pursuing, and his unemployment is brought up very often.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: In "Phone Luv", Ben told Dr. Katz to "use the (fuck)ing door." Amusingly, if you listen closely, the word in question can still be heard underneath the bleep.
    • In "Thanksgiving", much of Ben's swearing, heard from the kitchen as he burns the turkey, is bleeped.
    • As mentioned in Lampshade Hanging above, a couple of the patients have been bleeped for language.
  • Squiggle Vision
  • Stand Up Comedy: Nearly all the guest stars/patients on the show are real-life stand-up comedians, and do bits of their act in the context of therapy. There have been exceptions, however, such as actress Winona Ryder.
  • Status Quo Is God: Nothing really changes in the show; at the beginning and end of the series, Ben Katz is unemployed and living with Dr. Katz.
  • Sting: Dr. Katz rarely used dramatic stings or any kind of music outside of scene transitions; however, one exception did occur in the episode with Jeffrey Ross. He did a routine about going on a blind date, and mentions that he admires her ugly fingernails. The camera then focuses on her fingernail, while a two-note dramatic pipe organ plays.
  • Straight Man
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In "Bystander Ben", guest Steven Wright decides to throw a penny at the back of Ben's head. When it hits, Steven remarks: "It fell off the ceiling or something; I wasn't paying attention. God, he's nuts."
  • The Tag: Utilized in a few episodes, when dialog is still heard over the closing credits. Some examples include "Cholesterol" (Katz coaxes Julie to punch him in the stomach to prove his strength), "Bystander Ben" (with Dr. Katz and Ben discussing things they're not proud of), "Office Management" (Dr. Katz and Ben sing Jingle Bells), "Koppleman and Katz" (Dr. Katz and Ben discussing songs where you almost say a dirty word but say something else instead), "Reunion" (Katz gives patient Dom Irrera a ride home), and "Ben Treats" (Ben realizes the check is a little over $500 and asks Katz and Laura to pay for the rest).
  • Thanksgiving Episode: The season 5 finale takes place during this holiday.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Guest Tom Agna had a routine about wondering if you can take stuff with you when you die. Upon arriving at the pearly gates, St. Peter says, "Hey, where's your stuff?" Tom replies, "Oh man, this is gonna suck."
  • Throw It In
  • Title Drop: In "Everybody's Got a Tushy", the head-scratching title is finally explained when Dr. Katz remarks to Stan that when Ben was a kid, he gave him a book called "Everybody's Got a Tushy".
    • "It Takes Some Getting Used To" is the nickname Dr. Katz gives his strong-smelling cologne.
    • "Drinky the Drunk Guy" is the name Dr. Katz gives to a film that's going to be airing on TV.
    • "You're Belinda" is a confusion over the name of Yorba Linda, California.
  • Title-Only Opening: The show has no opening sequence aside from the title and Katz head graphic. Further, the show doesn't feature opening credits superimposed over the action like is typical on TV shows. All credits are reserved for the end of the episode.
  • Toilet Humour: Dr. Katz on coffee: "I wonder what people did before coffee, if they were just constipated?"
  • Tonight Someone Kisses: In a promo for the episode "Community Theater", Julie says, "Do you know how long I've waited for this moment?", followed by Julie kissing Dr. Katz while Barry White-esque music plays. In the actual episode, the two were merely rehearsing for a play Dr. Katz was going to audition for.
  • Too Much Information: In one episode, Ben tells Laura that one weird thing about him is that he has leg hair but doesn't have chest hair. Laura remarks, "That is something... I did not want to know."
  • Truth in Television: Laura and Ben's voice actors were actually dating at the start of the show, and broke up around halfway through the run of the show.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Both Laura and Dr. Katz qualify--Laura is completely unhelpful as a secretary and only avoids getting fired because Dr. Katz is a milquetoast pushover. Meanwhile, Dr. Katz is a terrible shrink and is very often called out on it by his clients. Somehow this doesn't stop them from coming back though.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Reversed: Dr. Katz raises Ben, and the mother comes visit during a season finale.
  • The Voiceless: The cop who pulls Dr. Katz over in the season 5 episode "The Ticket": He just gives him a cold stare and lets Katz stammer.
  • Worst Whatever Ever: Ben, to Dr. Katz at the end of "Mourning Person" after Katz stumbles through his eulogy.

  Ben: I thought for sure you were gonna turn it around, but you didn't! I mean, I've never heard a eulogy before, but I think it's safe to say that that was the worst eulogy ever given. At the after party, we're splitting up, that's all there is to it.

  • Yiddish as a Second Language: During one of guest Jeffrey Ross's stories, he mentions how his mother's Jewish friends are always trying to set him up on dates with people they know. One remarks: "You should meet my Marie. Not much to look at, but she'll bop on your shmeckel, boy."
  • You Are Grounded: Dr. Katz grounds Ben after Ben lied to the papers and school about being an eye witness to a crime in "Bystander Ben".

  Dr. Katz: Damn it, Ben, I hate to say this, I think you have to go to your room. (Beat) This is a little awkward at your age, but I don't know what else to do.

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