By Lydia Geisel
I’ve never felt more uncomfortable and more understood than when I watch Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David is as brilliant as he his bald.
As I make my way through season five of Curb Your Enthusiasm I can’t help but feel excited for the premier of season nine later this year. While I have only recently jumped on the Larry David bandwagon, it has been more than five years that America has been without David’s selfish yammering, unlucky coincides, and racist dog. No series has ever made me feel so on edge and so understood at the same time.
(Larry tries on his best friend’s wife’s bra to test for his housekeeper, season 5, episode 3)
Faced daily with a dose of life’s littlest annoyances, David (who plays a version of himself on the show) can never seem to keep his cool together. In each episode he makes a myriad of grave mistakes and/or inappropriate comments that make you feel like you should question his character. But, time and again, I find it difficult to consider him anything but likable. He consistently breaks the rules of normal social behaviors and for as cringeworthy as his consistent blunders are, I can’t help but only see the hilariously honest narrative that pulls the show together peril by peril.
(Still from season 5, episode 4 – Larry contemplating the kamikaze situation)
If you’ve never watched the show, episode five of season four offers a perfect taste of the series. In this episode, Larry insults his Japanese art dealer/friend who claimed that his father was a kamikaze pilot during the war but survived—only skimming the battleship he was meant to hit. In a curious, yet persistent manner, Larry begins to question whether or not his friend’s father was actually a kamikaze pilot if he didn’t die in action. Relentlessly, Larry goes back and forth with his friend over the matter. Soon, the waiter comes over and Larry repeats his order over and over again: chicken. This awkward encounter is not only difficult to watch, but consequentially drives his insulted friend to attempt suicide. In the same episode, he accuses a nursing-home resident of fixing Bingo and is cornered in the game room by an angry (and elderly) mob.
If Seinfeld isn’t enough proof of David’s comedic genius, Curb Your Enthusiasm surely is. The show is a testament to karma, daily disasters, neurotic celebrities, and the not-so-black-and-white social norms that no one seems to know whether to follow or not. As James Parker terms in his article for The Atlantic, the show is “a species of effective slapstick.”