“Curb Your Enthusiasm” is a rare gem in the great realm of American television. For those who have no knowledge about this series, it features a bald Jewish man in his sixties, constantly talking himself into quarrels, only to deal with them in the most profane, and piercingly wicked way, in order to satisfy his righteous, yet questionable moral indignation.
Larry David is widely known for creating and producing “Seinfeld”, arguably the most successful sitcom in American television history. A silly sitcom though, could not contain the amount of genius that roamed inside David’s bald head. Only with a masterpiece as ludicrous as “Curb Your Enthusiasm” could he purge himself from the misanthropic plots that callously haunted his mind, through a process of blissful catharsis, that the show’s proponents so cherish.
It is not a coincidence that the beginning of this article is so focused on David; the show revolves solely around his character. It is a basic premise, but in the hands of David, it takes on a dangerously funny face.
All praises aside, it is somewhat shocking to see that “Curb” is still running after all these years, since its inception in 1999. It is “predictable”, as nothing has changed since the first season. All the characters seem to be dwelling in an interminable loop of developmental sterility.
Yet, the show is characteristically unconventional in its way of sorting out plots. It does it with a simplicity so bewildering, that it is difficult to imagine how any producer – let alone any actor – would risk venturing into that kind of endeavor.
Most of the dialogue is improvised by the actors on the spot, with only a few guidelines provided by David beforehand. The actors play their real selves in the show. They are so simple, and are devoid of any back-story. This way, David succeeds in orchestrating weekly chaos out of thin air. The man is a magician with no misgivings about anything, and he has us all under his spell.
David is the typical “man on a ledge”, making his way through the show, dressed in his casual “come and get me” attitude that he has been fostering since Season 1. He is each and every one of us, in life’s most awkward situations.
After a hauntingly long six-year break since Season 8 last aired in 2011, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” returned in full force on Monday, October 1, 2017, for the show’s ninth season. It kicked off with the episode of a lifetime: “Foisted!”.
“Foisted!”, the yield of a long, mind-opening respite to David, starts off with him waging war against his plastic shampoo bottle’s pump inside the shower, in a hilariously relatable scene.
In the course of one episode, David managed to skillfully bust a lesbian wedding, aggravate the show’s very own version of the Iranian Ayatollah, educate us on the mechanics of “door holding”, and call out the “constipated” of the world for what they really are: constipated. David additionally delved into the delicacies of having to fire handicapped people, or “foisting” them, as he would have it in the episode’s title. Along the way, he gets inflicted with a “Fatwa” as a result of bragging about a Broadway show he had just finished writing, entitled “Fatwa”.
As usual, the beautiful interaction between the show’s characters is the all-encompassing substance that holds it together, making it one of the most successful series in the not-so-popular cringe comedy medium. The gang is back, and ready to rumble.
One suggestion – if one were interested to delve into the show – would be to start right from the beginning of Season 1. Larry David’s humor is a taste to be acquired, and requires careful preparation. But once submerged in his universe, one can experience some of the most rewarding realizations about the controversial nature of human existence, down to its dimmest, and silliest intricacies.