The Unfortunately Relatable Larry David

The Unfortunately Relatable Larry David

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.

What We Do in the Shadows: the Hilarity of Supernatural Mundanity

What We Do in the Shadows: the Hilarity of Supernatural Mundanity

I recently watched the 2014 mockumentary horror comedy film “What We Do in the Shadows”, a movie about four vampires living together in a flat in 2013 New Zealand.  The film stars and is directed by Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi, best known for Flight of the Concords and “The Hunt For the Wilderpeople” respectively.  To sum up the feel of the film, it’s like a mixture between classic vampire lore and “This is Spinal Tap”, and the results are hilarious.

One of my favorite thing about this movie is that it deals with the minutia of everyday (un)life for the vampiric housemates; to give a few examples, we see them brushing their teeth, their hobbies (one of the vampires very much enjoys knitting), and how they delegate house chores, such as doing dishes.  This film is littered with hilarious scenes showing the vampires using their powers to accomplish very mundane goals, such as using their powers of levitation to vacuum hard to reach areas, and using their powers of persuasion to enthrall victims into doing their laundry.   In one scene, they make mention of the fact that Vampires don’t have reflections, so to that end it is incredibly difficult to know how they look, so to get around this they draw portraits of eachcother to show them how their outfits look.

However, despite how often they use their unholy powers to accomplish mundane tasks, we’re often reminded that these vampires are the real deal, they kill people by feasting on their blood, and by establishing this juxtaposition the film makes the brutal scenes more brutal, and the scenes dealing with everyday life even funnier.  Well, let me explain why exactly I think this is funny.

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Pictured here is a venn diagram, showing why exactly this movie works so well.  By crossing over the supernatural, which often encompasses things that are beyond comprehension, such as ghosts, werewolves, and vampires, beings that we don’t usually imagine doing anything other than spooky supernatural stuff like, disemboweling people or haunting houses.  So, when we cross the supernatural into the realm of reality, things that are very relatable, like arguing about chores with your roommates, it creates a hilarious juxtaposition where we’re forced to relate with the unrelatable.

In short I loved “What We Do in The Shadows”, it’s a hilarious film that explores the mundanity of supernatural life in the modern era.  If I had to rate the film on an arbitrary scale, I’d give “What We Do in the Shadows”:

I loved it out of approximately twelve or so stars

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