Curb Your Enthusiasm is yet another long-running series created by Larry David. Much like David’s Seinfeld, this show is about nothing in particular other than social commentary of society’s quirks and David’s faux pas played out in a satiric way, but can be considered the TV-MA version of it. First airing in year 2000, Curb has been thriving for a solid decade on HBO with season ten beginning in January 2020. Let’s take a glance at a few of the reasons TV land loves Larry David on Curb:
1. His Brutal Honesty
Curb Your Enthusiasm offers perhaps one of the most candid characters TV has encountered. Viewers get to see the true archetype of an unfiltered-mouthed individual in public settings. Larry David breaks the social constructs and norms of the polite niceties society has established, and lets his mouth channel what’s truly on his mind in the most unrestricted of ways. For instance, if someone were to interrupt what you were doing to show you pictures of their toddler, Larry’s character (himself) would more than likely respond “Ehh, I get it. Now what are you interrupting me for to show me pictures of a kid?!” Or if someone you’re minimally acquainted with invited you to a dinner party, the resulting answer might go as “That’s nice of you to offer, but we barely know each other. what are you inviting me to your house for? I would be spending a whole night with strangers; I think I’ll pass.” If his character thinks that he’ll have a terrible time at a social event he’s been invited to, he simply states the truth that he thinks he’ll have a terrible time and thus doesn’t have to commit to events he’d rather not go to. Brilliant.
Consider the disservice we do to ourselves when we don’t honor and express how we truly feel about something, censoring ourselves to spare the ego of others. In an interview David gave Rolling Stone, he said “If I had my druthers, that [David’s character on the show] would be me all the time, but you can’t do that. We’re always doing things we don’t want to do, we never say what we really feel, and so this [TV Larry] is an idealized version of how I want to be. As crazy as this person is, I could step into those shoes right now, but I would be arrested or I’d be hit or whatever.” Well his character does take a literal beating as consequences to his honesty, but at least he’s true to himself and has a funny story to tell at the end of the day.
Social situations where you think one thing, but act out in the opposite way due to social expectations, restrictions and norms are what this show satires best.
2. Spectacular Improv
Curb Your Enthusiasm is an unscripted show. Each episode is genuine improv. There must be something special about this formula of show considering how HBO has authorized 10 seasons of it.
In a 2017 interview, the cast of Curb explained how the prelude to each shooting of each scene goes down: the cast is unaware of what each shoot is about (the supporting staff like makeup, wardrobe and lighting are specifically told that they cannot talk about what’s going on in the scenes to the actors). The actors are given a page about the episode they’re in; each paragraph describes the scene in the most general manner on what’s occurring in them. The actors then improve the whole scene based on a small paragraph of plot description.
Deliberately keeping the actors in the dark to the expectations of their characters’ performance in each scene ushers in the ultimate form of on-screen entertainment through pure unadulterated genuine reaction.
3. Art Out of Nothing
Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld made Seinfeld infamously known as the “show about nothing.” That show’s context has been doubled and magnified in Curb. David’s show has no continued plot or overlaying objective; it is simply a man going about his care-free life day after day, having the show’s main content sourced from interactions with various other people he encounters.
There is a simplistic beauty in capturing and highlighting menial routine things that show up in normal average everyday life. To create a 10 season series that satires the ordinary requires a keen perception; to be able step outside of society and beyond the “going through the motions” of the day, one becomes the ultimate observer. It’s in this realm where one becomes totally objective, fit to make commentary and mockeries of silly expectations and rituals that have somehow become standardized by society.
Born in July, David is a Cancer. Cancers are known for their sensitivity, wide array of emotions, and are empaths. Interestingly enough, in an interview, David revealed that at the onset of his career when he was a young man struggling to make a living in New York as a cab and limo driver, social interactions and rejection plagued him. This is when he turned to writing for SNL and stand up comedy. What’s fascinating about this is though his turning to writing may have been initially used as a coping method for social anxiety, it surprisingly grew to the magnitude of actually conquering them and becoming the planet’s wealthiest comedian.