I started watching Curb Your Enthusiasm recently, and I am angry that it took me so long to get into, especially since I had grown up watching Seinfeld on weekday nights and loved it. To give a very brief explanation of the show, it follows the misadventures of Larry David, the co-creator of Seinfeld, through Hollywood. First off, this show is brilliant, do yourself a favor and watch it if you haven’t already, I can almost never see the jokes coming, which is a rare feat in situational comedies. The show is semi-scripted, which means that the writers present the actors with a loose explanation of how the scene is supposed to go, and what beats the actors are supposed to hit, but other than that it is entirely improvised. But despite how funny this show is, it’s also profoundly uncomfortable.
The reason I say this is because Larry David, or at least the fictionalized version of him portrayed in the show, is very close to the character of George in Seinfeld. In that he is a socially clumsy putz that only makes situations worse by interacting in them. I’d give examples, but every single joke requires too much context to set up, so instead I’ll link a few of my favorite clips.
Larry David is incapable of winning, and is insanely petty and neurotic, and unfortunately I relate too much with his character. Watching the show, I found myself relating with the character despite his often clearly objectionable actions, which made the cringe factor of the show much more palpable for me, because I could see myself being in many of the same situations.
Often I envision the worst possible scenario when dealing with people, and I find myself in many uncomfortable situations. To give an example, I was once talking to a girl when I was in High School, and things seemed to be going pretty well, she even sent me a topless picture once, because I was “cool”, so I figured that it was pretty much a sure thing that we’d start dating or whatever. That was until, she asked me what my favorite Disney film was, and me being the ironic funny man that I am, said Cars 2. She did not think it was as funny as I did, because she ghosted me shortly afterword.
Larry David also has many rules for engagement in the show, such as an aversion to stop-and-chats, which is when you see someone on the street and they stop and have a chat with you, as well as having a specific cut off for when it’s inappropriate to throw a late birthday party for someone. I too, have such arbitrary rules, for example, my little cousin (she’s 11) sent me a chain letter saying that a friend asked her to gather prayers for someone named Dakota, who had been having seizures and had been life-flighted. My response was “Dakota who”, because I was dubious as to whether or not Dakota existed, and if he didn’t I didn’t want to waste a prayer on him. Eventually I found out that there was a Dakota, but it was noone she knew, and this had happened in December of last year. It is now almost May, which is way too far past the cut off for prayers and chain letters.
Seeing the closeness between myself and the fictionalized version of Larry David is troubling to say the least. I need to make a change, man.