Review of Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000)

Moving picture, 4.7 hours

Review applies only to the first season.

The “cocreator of Seinfeld” plays himself in the mock story of his own current life. It’s basically a less filtered West Coast Seinfeld (1989). The central character often “deserves” what he gets and has few sympathizers. His obstacles concern communication, transportation, favours and gifts, dumb courtesies, celebrities and other revolting upper-class problems.

A fairly good example of the “therapeutic nightmare” style of R-rated sitcom, outlining unlikely failures to look out for with grating verisimilitude, but in this case, with an atypical level of self-consciousness as well. You can count on many small errors and accidents to knot up into one great ball of aggravation over the course of each episode, like “Bad for the Heart” (1972).

The most appealing part is the fact that Larry shows himself making serious errors of judgement, more so than Jerry. He tries to dodge, lie, bitch and bribe his way past various First-World annoyances, usually failing in the end, which gives the comedy an edge of Schadenfreude—lots of people take revenge—and an aspect of real frustration, though Larry does not have a care in the world. Most of the characters are terribly shallow and selfish, repeating empty phrases and worrying needlessly about pure luxuries, which they have no trouble affording.

References here: Tear Along the Dotted Line (2021).

moving picture fiction series