Thursday, August 6, 2009
When Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld, was offered an HBO stand-up special in 1999, he decided to surprise everyone with a special unlike any other before or since. He had a camera crew follow him as he prepared for the HBO special, honing his new material in comedy clubs across America. The documentary crew followed him everywhere, whether at home with his wife, at meetings with his agent or running into old friends. All in preparation for the HBO special. As the show progresses, we easily forget that this is the HBO special itself. We are just watching this pathetic yet justified man try his best to not make the special that we are infact watching. So instead of stand-up, we get some of the most brilliant, awkward, funny interactions ever, all the while retaining the same sensibilities of Seinfeld, but played out in a much darker way. Needless to say it is all an act, played so dry that we can't help but to wonder how much is true and how much is not.
One year later Larry David decided to adapt this style into a tv show called Curb Your Enthusiasm, each episode lasting thirty minutes, losing the documentary style but keeping the voyeuristic feel. This is a man that is so uncomfortable with stardom, it is funny just watching him stand next to his famous friends, as he seems like an impostor.
He is the butt of most jokes, and to see a person with this much shame while having no shame at all is bewildering. After all, he is playing himself in a show for which he writes every episode, set in the real world. His life and more importantly his mind is on display here. In real life, Larry recently got divorced, so he put it in the show.
What also makes the show so much fun to watch is the story arcs. Each season has ten episodes with their own story each, but they also weave a ten part story for each season, wrapped up neatly at the end.
But most of all the reason Curb Your Enthusiasm is awesome is the fact that we, the audience, sitting comfortably at home, can watch some of our fantasies play out, getting revenge on the people that we couldn't in our own lives. We all say things that we may regret, we've all been in awkward situations, but here Larry is basically taking the bumps for us.
I don't know what else to say (maybe you guys can help me here), but Curb Your Enthusiasm is groundbreaking, twisted, dark, funny and very awesome indeed.