Sunday, December 30, 2007

Curb Your Enthusiasm - Season 1 (2000)

Curb Your Enthusiasm - Season 1 (2000)

Larry David's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' is a witty comedy series, the type that is full of 'awkward moment' and 'bizarre circumstance' humour. Ostensibly about the life of Larry David himself (AKA the creator of 'Seinfeld'), it is a fictional show that focuses on the unfortunate encounters between Larry (played by Larry David) and various people, including his wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) and his manager Jeff Greene (Jeff Garlin). The typical episode features a number of events (many of which are interconnected) in Larry's day to day life that end up going disastrously wrong due to Larry's inflexible nature and difficulty in dealing with people, together with the intractable personalities of the people he meets.

I've seen very little of Seinfeld, but from what I remember I think this is stylistically very similar to that show. There's a deadpan nature to the humour, and much of it is based on strange situations coming to pass through coincidence or through the characters' own actions (typically, their mistakes). A lot of the humour lampoons aspects of human nature and societal norms, with Larry railing against things he sees as foolish. But it works both ways, with Larry being an obstinate ass on many an occasion and deserving what he gets. As the lead Larry David plays himself to perfection, making his bemusement and frustration perfectly understandable while also making himself irritating and detestable when the occasion demands it. His supporting actors and guest stars all essentially play off Larry and most are well cast and in tune with the show's idiosyncratic style.

'Curb Your Enthusiasm' is a very funny show - on occasion I had to pause to control my fits of laughter - that is insightful in its showcasing of adults behaving childishly. If there's any criticism, the show is kind of one note and feels a bit random at times. It also focuses wholly on the situations that it sets up and doesn't dwell much on anything else, like character or theme; as a result it's hard to really care about any of the characters on the show. The show is what it is however, and it is very good at being what it is (and this sentence is also very good at being what it is, which is mangled). I'm looking forward to catching up with the subsequent seasons and discovering just how many ways Larry David can get himself into a tough spot.

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