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Curb Your Enthusiasm Binge Watching Marathon

“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.

 

 

 

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TV Review – Curb Your Enthusiasm – Season 9

Larry David is my spirit animal.

Bomp bomp bomp….bah bah bah…bah bah bah bah…

BQB here with a review of the latest season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

When we last saw Larry in his HBO sitcom, it was season 8, in 2011, and wow, has time flown.  Since then, Larry has found even bigger stardom playing Bernie Sanders on SNL, but he’s returned for another round of Curb.

If you’ve never seen the show, picture Seinfeld, plus jokes and/or words and/or things that can happen on cable that can’t happen on NBC.  Like the show he created with pal Jerry Seinfeld in the 1990s, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is also much ado about nothing.  No one ever grows or achieves or accomplishes, it’s just Larry, playing a parody version of himself, wasting his time on nonsensical worries.

I have to assume that bald and unattractive Larry was the inspiration of Seinfeld’s George Costanza.  You might remember George, a pudgy bald man who ironically, would get hooked up on dates with the most attractive women only to reject them over trivial matters.  Similarly, Larry is 70, fully aware of his ugliness and yet also aware of his various mental dilemmas.  He’d rather be alone than be with a woman who annoys him in the slightest way.

Larry must be a lot of himself into this role.  Recently, when he guest host SNL, he did a bit where he said he could related to Quasimodo from, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”  Surely, Quasi could have found “a” woman but no, the woman had to be the most beautiful woman in all of Paris.  Below average women who were “OK with the hump” would never do.

I might opine Larry’s women troubles probably come in part to his money and success.  If you look like Larry and say, in the real world, are a bus driver, then no, there will not be a bevy of beauties lined up for you to pick through and reject.

At any rate, this long overdue season centers around “Fatwa: The Musical!”  a broadway show Larry has written about Salman Rushdie, a writer who was marked for death by the leader of Iran for his writings.  As the season progresses, Larry teams up with none other than Lin Manuel Miranda to direct the show.  The two butt heads, and how and that’s not when Larry is arguing with star of the show, F. Murray Abraham.

Fan favorites return.  Larry’s best friend/manager Jeff Garlin as Jeff Greene, Susie Essman as Susie Greene, Jeff’s wife whose witchy tirades might send chills up the spine of any many thinking about getting married if they weren’t so funny.  1980s comic Richard Lewis is still himself.  Bob Einstein of “Super Dave” fame remains Marty Funkhauser and Larry just can’t get rid of longtime house guest Leon Black aka JB Smoov.

I give props to Larry.  His main comedic power is self-deprecation.  The whole show just dumps on him.  Everyone thinks he’s terrible.  He thinks he’s terrible.  There’s no drama or crying or tender moments its jut dump on Larry and dump on Larry some more.  Celebrity guests stop by in cameos as themselves to dump on Larry.  There are few celebrities, I think, who would allow themselves to be lampooned so vigorously, but Larry, on the other hand, is the ultimate good sport.

Have you ever had a moment where you felt you were wronged someway, so you took some action to change things, only to wince when you realize that you’ve made things so much worse, and things were so much better before you changed anything?  That’s Larry’s life in a nutshell, and when that tuba plays, he knows he’s effed up.

If you hear that tuba playing in your head, you know you’re becoming like Larry David.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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Game of Thrones Recap – Episode 7, Season 7 – The Dragon and the Wolf

I’m so sad, 3.5 readers.

One of my favorite shows will soon come to an end…next summer…because they’re making us all wait.

I have to say I have been long waiting for the big, final battle over King’s Landing between the Lannisters and the Khaleesi.  I always assumed that would come first and then the winner would face the White Walkers.

Not so fast as there was a truce.  The Dragon Queen and the Bitchy Queen will hold onto their menstruations for now in order to face the greater white walker threat.

Not exactly the outcome I was hoping for, but perhaps it will pay off in the next season.

I feel a little cheated that these seasons are shorter, but I’ll wait and see.  Perhaps the showrunners know what they are doing.

For a moment, it was looking like there would be a sad showdown between Sansa and Arya, only to see them turn on Littlefinger.  Unlike the Internet, I was sad to see Littlefinger go.  All of the other characters were born into their wealth and prestige.  Littlefinger actually had to work for it.  Sure, he was a douche, but when you only have yourself to rely on, you have to be that much douchier.

During the truce scene, I kept waiting for Cersei to spring a trap.  Maybe all her guests would be killed ala the Red Wedding but nope, no cigar.

The big secret of the show is revealed.  Jon Snow is not a bastard.  He is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyana Stark.  That means as the oldest male Targaryen he is the rightful ruler of Westeros and oh yeah, since he didn’t know and boned the Khaleesi, he is now an Auntie fucker.

Oh well.  The Targaryens keep it in the family.

Wasn’t it sad to see the Wall go?  It’s been a menacing presence for years only for a damn fire breathing zombie dragon to make short work of it.

What’s next, 3.5 readers?

 

 

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Always Man the Anti-Dragon Crossbow

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

I’ve watched the final scene of the latest Game of Thrones episode a bunch of times now, the one where Khaleesi burns the shit out of the Lannister army with her dragon’s red hot fire breath.

Truly, some bad ass shit we fans have been waiting seven years to see.

Question – why was the anti-dragon crossbow just sitting in a covered wagon, all wrapped up and not ready to fire?  Why did Sir Bronn have to fight his way across a battlefield to get to it?

I mean, seriously?  WTF, people?  If you know there’s a crazy ass blonde bitch with a fat ass fire breathing dragon at her command, you would think that it would be common sense for the big ass anti-dragon crossbow to be manned at all times.

Day.  Night.  Weekday.  Weekend.  Holiday.  There should always be some dude behind that crossbow waiting to shoot a damn dragon.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

 

 

 

 

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Game of Thrones Review – Season 7, Episode 4 – The Spoils of War

Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here.

This episode is one that fans have been waiting to see for years.

First, there was the long awaited reunion of the Stark children.  They were babies when the show started, young adults now.  Any one of the actors/actresses could have gotten too big for their britches and abandoned the show.  Sophie Turner in particular has landed some big roles like Jean Gray in the X Men films.  But they all stuck with their first gig and remained loyal to the fans so this day could come.

Second, how long have we all been waiting for a big time dragon warfare scene?  Pretty awesome.  Pretty devastating.  It would truly suck to be on the business end of a fiery dragon hole, let me tell you.

Want a sign that the writing on this show is fabulous?  It’s that you simultaneously root for all the characters to win.  As Sir Bronn of the Blackwater goes for that big ass anti-dragon crossbow, you simultaneously root for him to blow that dragon out of the sky and also for the dragon to sit Bronn on fire so Khaleesi can survive.

It’s all in the backstory.  We’ve seen Bronn go from rags to riches so we want him to hang in there.  But we’ve seen Khalessi do the same so we want her to stick around too.

We cheer for Khaleesi’s dragons to burn up the Lannister army yet we also cheer Jamie on as he fends off the Dothraki.  What a show that can make us feel for both sides.

Seriously.  The standard for most fantasy fare is one side is so absurdly evil that you can’t wait for them to die at the hands of the good guys who are unwaveringly good.  Here, you get the backstory.  We understand why the Lannisters have done what they have done, just as we understand Khaleesi’s motivations.

Ultimately, it looks like Khaleesi would do the best as Queen of Westeros, but we feel for Bronn and Jamie.  We know how they ended up on that battlefield.  We know under different circumstances they might have chosen better sides.  We don’t want them to become dragon chow.

Plus, when Tyrion says, “You fucking idiot.”  Who is he talking about?  Khaleesi for landing her dragon right in the middle of the battlefield to tend to his wound or Jamie, for charging in the general direction of a damn dragon?  It’s certainly open ended.

Oh and how long have we waited for the Dothraki invasion?  Khaleesi’s loyal army of foreign, wild card warrior rapists have been cooling their heels for a long ass time now and are ready for action.  Also rape.  Not gonna lie.  They’re probably gonna do a lot of raping.  That’s what Dothraki do.  I mean, I don’t want to engage in harmful stereotypes, but always wear a cast iron chastity belt when you’re around a Dothraki.  It’s just common sense, really.

By the way, is it me or have all the rules about how fast armies can travel in this massive continent suspended?  I feel like in the beginning it would take armies half the season to move anywhere.  Now you’ve got Euron Greyjoy taking down Khaleesi’s fleet right away and Khaleesi and dragons and Dothraki make it from Dragonstone to High Garden within the span of an episode.

Oh well.  The writers on this show are suffering some mild senioritis.  I suppose we can overlook travel time rules for more awesome dragon scenes.

 

 

 

 

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Should Ed Sheeran Have Had a Cameo on Game of Thrones?

Pro – he’s probably a fan who had a good time doing it.

Con – This show is bigger than the actors.  It has never had to rest on large personalities or gimmicks, so this seemed cheesy.

Discuss.

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Game of Thrones Wrap-Up – Season 7, Episode 1 – Dragonstone

It’s a Game of Spoilers, 3.5 readers.  Look away, I say.

Basically, Cersei and Jaime are screwed, and more so than the usual screwing they do to each other.

To the South, the Dornish Amazons are pissed.  To the North, Jon Snow is King.  The Whitewalkers are headed for the Wall.

Oh, and the Khaleesi has landed.  Repeat, the Khaleesi has landed.

Arya has taken out all the Freys with her ninja skills.  Oh and all the kids have officially grown up.  Arya, Bran and Sansa are all super tall and look like they ate their Wheaties over the past year.  Sigh, this decade really has moved fast, hasn’t it?

Yes, things suck big time for Cersei.  And with her children and family gone, Jaime asks the inevitable question of what are they even fighting for?

Her only potential ally at this point seems to be Euron Greyjoy, who promises a fleet and a special mysterious gift if he can get all up in Cersei’s lady business.

Don’t do it, Euron.  You know she’s packing a steel bear trap in that thing.

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Writing Choices – Game of Thrones and an Overabundance of Characters

Sigh.  Why must I wait until July for Game of Thrones to come back on the air?

Oh well.  This one will be a short one.

Game of Thrones has so many characters – so, so many characters.  And many of them are key players.  All in all, we’re talking like, hundreds of parts.

I suppose it makes sense in a wide-sweeping epic.  Then again, I’ve found that in my own writing, sometimes it is difficult to just keep track of the names of the bit players.  If you have a secretary named Janet who gives your hero a key piece of info, you want to make a note of it so you don’t name another character Janet.

Sure, in real life, you’ll probably run into multiple people named Janet.  People don’t check to see many Janets there are around you before deciding whether or not to add one more Janet to the mix.  But, to the reader, two characters with the same name will be confusing.

Plus, how do you describe all those characters?  There are only so many ways to describe a person.  At the end of the day, we all aren’t snowflakes.  Sure, we all look different and those differences are readily noticeable to the eye but on paper?  “He’s old, she’s young, he’s tall, she’s short, he’s skinny, she’s fat” I mean, really…how do you come up with unique descriptions for over two hundred people or more?

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:  Can you keep up with all the characters on Game of Thrones?  How do you do it?  I’ve been watching the show since the beginning and I still just refer to many of the characters as, “The guy who did the thing.”  Also, tell me how you keep track of the characters in your stories.

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Game of Thrones – Season 7 Trailer – The Long Walk

Hey 3.5 readers.  The season we’ve waited so long for is finally here.  John Snow vs. Cersei vs. the Khaleesi vs. the Whitewalkers.

You know we’ve been hoping that John Snow and the Khaleesi will take shit over and bring Westeros into a new age of peace and prosperity, but given what we know of George R.R. Martin’s penchant for surprises, aliens will probably land and blow everything up right at the end or something.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Some Thoughts on Westworld

Hey 3.5 readers.

I’m late to the party but I’m finally two episodes in on Westworld. I’m enjoying it. My initial reaction was the cat is let out of the bag before the show even starts as you know right away its a show about an android cowboy theme part…but there seem to be plenty of twists and turns ahead.

After two episodes, I’m hooked so I will come back for more.

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