Once in a while a person steps into our lives and changes our view on the world. That person allows us to open up and see things in a whole new light; to embrace our true natures and stand up for what we believe in. That person is Larry David and we need him in our lives. But now the final season of Curb Your Enthusiasm has come to an end; with a heavy heart we must now consider the daunting prospect of a Larry-free world.
For a show that was only created as a one-off, one-hour, mock-doc special, and was never intended to be a show in its own right, the profound success of it has been a huge surprise to all; not least Larry David. The self-confessed ‘rich fuck’ who co-created, wrote and produced hit US sitcom, Seinfeld, has become an on-screen cult icon for his larger-than-life portrayal of himself in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Sitcoms are a tried and tested formula. They take a cross-section of everyday life; a family, a group of friends, co-workers, and at the chosen demographic, the writers throw in a mix of often everyday, sometimes wacky scenarios to keep the characters and episodes interesting. What’s different about LD’s Curb? Well to start with, the show has no script. It’s more of a basic outline coupled with an LD pep-talk along the lines of “here’s the idea… now let’s wing it.”
Beyond its off-the-cuff style, the show achieves greatness through LD’s candid outbursts and grossly self-indulgent antics. That, combined with a well-formed, celebrity infused supporting cast including Ted Danson, his real life spouse, Mary Steenburgen and Richard Lewis (all playing vaguely alternate versions of themselves). Guests who have streaked across the show’s seven-season run include the likes of the Ben Stiller (playing a maniacal prick just a cat’s whiskers away from his real-life persona), Mel Brooks, David Schwimmer, and not forgetting season seven centrepieces, Jerry Seinfeld and the rest of the stars of the Seinfeld troupe.
If you have not yet seen the show, then you’ve missed out. Sure, I’ve heard plenty of friends whining excuses as to why Curb is not their cup of tea. They say it’s “too hard for them to watch,” or “unbearably painful,” and “so cringe worthy.” But friends, that’s the beauty of Larry –– like a child with no sense of shame, he is here to show us all the way.
The final season of Curb has been a real treat, adding a fourth-dimensional aspect to an already 3D concept by staging a Seinfeld reunion show within the Curb show. Genius. It’s rare in Hollywood to find celebrities who have the guts to really poke fun at themselves and the patent absurdity of their own lives, but Curb does just that. In Larry’s world, the smallest thing has the power to tick him off, consume his thoughts and subsequently wreak havoc on those around him. That tick can be set off by just the smallest of incidents, or the slightest of gestures that don’t line up with LD’s perspective, watching the consequences unfold after that catalyst is sadistically enjoyable to behold.
Try this season five gem for size… In a regular sandwich spot Larry frequents, the owner proudly names the sandwiches after his celebrity regulars. Existing sandwiches include the Ted Danson and the Richard Lewis – both sandwiches containing a host of delicious ingredients. So when Larry discovers he’s finally been granted a place on the wall, and the Larry David sandwich is on the menu, his initial delight turns sour when the filling is revealed as white fish, capers, onions, and cream cheese. “That’s disgusting!” he bellows. Bare-faced arrogance takes hold of Larry as he sets out to swap sandwiches with Danson and Lewis, before it all backfires and ends badly –– the usual result of most of LD’s escapades.
The humor is played very close to the line. If you’re easily offended, then Larry is going to offend you. Since season one aired in 2000, the show’s tackled topics including car washing retards, race (season six’s opener was entitled “Meet the Blacks”), religion, cancer (Larry races to split with his girlfriend before she is diagnosed so he doesn’t look like a jerk), and one episode in season seven even sees Larry in hot water over his relationship with an eight-year-old girl. Of course, there’s nothing going on, but still, the content is borderline twisted. It pushes the boundaries to breaking point.
Dwelling within all of us in an inner Larry who’s just dying to burst out and tell the world off.
Once in a while, let your Larry out to play.