“Curb Your Enthusiasm” put out a new season recently after a six year hiatus. It made me so happy to see Larry David back in action that I ended up watching the whole series, a few episodes a day, for the past month. I’ve seen them all before and remembered the gist of the best ones but it’s been so long it was like watching them all for the first time.
If you’ve never seen it, the quick rundown of the show is that Larry David was the co-creator and producer behind the popular 1990s sitcom Seinfeld. While he only appeared on that show in the occasional bit part, he was largely a behind the scenes man. Fun fact: the character of George Costanza is based on Larry.
On “Curb,” Larry plays a fictional version of himself though I can only assume there is a grain of truth in any form of comedy. As you might recall, George Costanza was a bald loser, fully aware of his unattractiveness and shortcomings, yet often angry over the fact that he couldn’t form a decent relationship with a woman because he’d always freak out over the most trivial of flaws (even though they usually pale in comparison to George’s problems.)
Larry is essentially the same way. For most of the series, he is married to hot, younger wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) who suffers Larry’s douchebaggery with grace and dignity. In later seasons, Larry and Cheryl divorce, though she remains a returning character. Larry dates a variety of hot babes, women so attractive who have so much going for them that you want to shout out that clearly Larry would never be getting them if not for his vast “Seinfeld” fortune and Hollywood connections…and yet he usually screws things up over a trivial flaw. (In one episode, he dates a ridiculously hot restaurant hostess only to ruin it all when she borrows $40 only to forget to pay it back. Before you take Larry’s side, keep in mind that a quick Google search of Larry’s net worth puts it at $900 million so yeah, let the hottie keep the $40 Larry.)
Frankly, I’m impressed by how much money Larry made. The number of people who became near billionaires off of being funny must be few and far between.
My other random observations, in no particular order:
#1 – The first three seasons take place in the early 2000s, the first season in 2000. The experience is surreal. Flip phones. Tube TVs and computer monitors. No GPS. In a first season episode, Larry and Cheryl get lost on the way to a dinner party, with nothing but a friend’s handwritten directions to guide them. Anyone else remember trying to find a place with nothing but a friend’s shitty directions and no GPS, having to drive around, hope to find a landmark, stop for directions and hope to find someone who can help you? If you’ve never done that, you have no idea how lucky we all are to have cell phones that can tell us how to get where we want to go today.
#2 – Larry self-deprecates the crap out of himself. It’s a big man who is willing to make himself look like a schmuck. It would be one thing if Larry called himself a different name, i.e. Gary Schmavid but here, he’s saying this is me, playing myself and I hate to get into his head but I can only assume that somehow he feels comfortable portraying himself as a goofball, a man who constantly bucks societal norms, schemes to get out of social conventions only to make things so much worse.
# 3 – It’s “Seinfeld” with swearing. If you liked “Seinfeld,” and don’t care about swearing, you’ll like this. The characters rarely grow or improve or better themselves. No special episodes where a character gets sick. No morals or lessons. Just humor for humor’s sake. The goal is to make you laugh and nothing more.
#4 – It made me feel bad to see how time screws us all in the looks department. Not to knock Larry but he more or less looks like he does at the beginning as he does 17 years later. Larry is bald with gray side hair for as long as I can remember. He does appear a bit younger looking and more spry in the beginning episodes. He’s early 50s when it starts and 70 now.
Richard Lewis, veteran neurotic comedian of the 1980s, plays himself and appears handsome at the start of the series. Black hair, strong features, looks like he belongs in movies. In later seasons, he looks old, gray, balding and decrepit. Still has his wit but makes me sad what time does to us.
Not dumping on anyone but you can see it in all the recurring characters, how youthful they all long in the earliest seasons.
#5 – So much political incorrectness. Many of the jokes from past seasons would not fly today. The irony is that Larry does and says many shitty things, but if you get offended too early and walk away, you’ll miss the part where Larry gets his comeuppance for saying and doing such shitty things. Never assume Larry gets away with anything. He never does. Cue ending scene where the theme music plays with closeup of his eyes as he realizes how much shittier he just made a shitty situation.
#6 – On the other hand, it’s not always Larry. Sometimes it’s Larry as a victim of circumstance. People are so tied to social norms that a minor deviation makes them go ballistic. He’ll accidentally do or not do something, through no fault of his own, and despite apologies, people will go ape shit on him. Perhaps we can give people a break if they don’t always act 100 percent of the way we want them to.
#7 – Jeff Garland (Larry’s manager Jeff Greene) and Susie Essman (Jeff’s she-devil wife Susie Greene) are great. Susie goes ballistic over the littlest things, though often she sniffs out when Larry and Jeff have joined forces in a joint scheme and exposes them. “Fat fuck” and “bald fuck” or “four eye fuck” are her names of choice for the duo.
#8 – Larry has Peter Pan syndrome. It’s surreal to see a man with gray hair acting like a youngster, but he has so many young-ish habits. Throughout the series, he’ll meet old, gray haired people and talk to them as one would a grandparent and it leaves me wondering if he’s aware that he’s old himself. Then again, he’s got mad cash, so that keeps you young.
Conclusions – It’s an awesome show. If you need something to binge watch, I highly recommend it.