Okay, first thing's first...Squigglevision. The visual style, however intentional, pretty much puts you off the moment you watch an episode. Coloured static characters wobbling for no reason to crude, monochrome backgrounds. I remember only one friend I made sit and watch, stuck it out and loved it. The rest gave up because of the visual style. It's a shame because underneath is a sharp witty comedy that was way ahead of it's time.
Basically each episode (and overall season) would have Katz and his twenty-something son, Ben, have a conversation. Usually this ran through the episode as a kind of loose crutch or basis for sub-plot. The rest of episode would be dedicated to two patients, cult or famous alt. stand-up's but as un-famous alter egos and their bizarre stories. That was the formula and it worked.
That was it, no more, no less. But every week you expected something funny to hit you in the face. Hard. Usually for me, it was the visual interpretations of the monologues given by Katz's patients. For all it's animated flair, this series felt like a radio show of sorts. The off kilter visuals just gave a stronger reinforcement of the sketches. The actors would even laugh at their own stuff on mic. It just felt real, intimate and improvised at times. The images would be drawn later, so they could get away such things like uncontrolled laughing. It made the show less scripted than it originally was and maybe a little bit more funnier than it would have been.
Dr. Katz was witty play on neurosis and a parody of a therapy obsessed New York. It full of memorable and wildly different characters, so even on an off-day it would still get at least one laugh out of me. I miss this show a lot as I taped them and lost at least two seasons worth one year when I moved house!
So get past the squiggle factor and just listen. Chances are when you try and switch off, you'll just want more.