The Only Thing I Can Watch Right Now Is 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
Larry David is the perfect avatar for the moment.
At the beginning of all this, I was an ambitious consumer of entertainment. I watched classic movies I'd never seen before, devoured screeners for upcoming projects, and tried to expand my palate. Now, all I can do is watch Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Okay, I actually was watching Curb back in March when it was finishing up its (shockingly good and Emmy-nominated) tenth season. In the most recent episodes, Larry opened up his "spite store," Latte Larry's, which looked both prescient and utopian, what with its giant vats of hand sanitizer on every table. But recently I've gone back to the beginning, making my way through every season, in order, the non-stop complaints of Larry David soothing my soul. When griping seems like the only thing to do: Larry is the perfect avatar for this moment.
I've long been a casual Curb fan, but I've also only watched it out of order, mostly popping in during random HBO marathons and for one-offs. It's been a pleasure to live in its absolute consistency. From episode one, the character of Larry David is exactly who you expect him to be: a schmuck who lives by his own set of social rules that are sometimes outlandish and sometimes just, well, sort of reasonable.
Watching all this Curb has led me to try to chart a unifying theory about when Larry is actually right about things. He's right about personal hygiene, for instance. In the season four episode "Mel's Offer," he refuses to shake Ben Stiller's hand after Stiller sneezes. Correct! Larry is also strangely generous when it comes to gifts, but you have to receive them on his terms. He's picky about food but also often refreshingly unpretentious. Like Larry, I too would be mortified if someone sent a perfectly fine bottle of wine back after determining it wasn't good enough. (You know, back when we could go to restaurants.)
Larry is also terrible. He's horrible to Cheryl and all of his friends except for Jeff, who is just as awful as Larry is, if not more so. He has zero filter and often says horribly offensive things. (See: the season one episode "Affirmative Action.") I'm not here to defend Larry David. And yet Larry David is basically the only person I can tolerate anymore.
When HBO announced that Curb was renewed for an 11th season in June, the resounding chorus online was: "Thank god." Perhaps the only person equipped to tackle the weird new etiquette that has emerged as a result of the global pandemic is Larry David. Hell, I'd watch an entire season of just Larry and Leon quarantining together, with the occasional, socially distanced, yelling appearance from Susie. For now, I'll settle for just spending my evenings with the Larry of the past, wishing I too could whine with abandon about minor infractions.
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