My Enthusiasm Hasn’t Been Curbed

Though it’s one their longest running shows, I saved Curb Your Enthusiasm for the end of my HBO month. When I started the first season, only a couple weeks ago, I knew that watching all eight seasons at once would be a mistake. So, I split up each season and divided it up with some of the other shows that I’ve already reviewed. Curb Your Enthusiasm is created by and starring the other creator of Seinfeld, Larry David. I made the mistake of burning through all nine seasons of Seinfeld in a week or two so I wasn’t about to do it again. Luckily for me (and you), Curb Your Enthusiasm takes all the best parts of Seinfeld and throws away the weak parts.

Editor’s note: The constant comparison to Seinfeld, in this article, is a conscious effort to counter-act staying away from Curb Your Enthusiasm because of their relationship. I was like that but I changed my mind when I watched it. They are actually quite different, despite small similarities.

Time

Curb Your Enthusiasm is going on a ninth season. If I hadn’t watched all eight seasons and laughed my ass off the entire time, I would assume that this show was going on too long. If anything, though, Curb Your Enthusiasm grows over time, becoming better with each season. It took a while for it catch on, with me anyway.

Half hour shows seem weird to me, when they’re on HBO. With no commercials and it usually being surrounded by longer TV shows or movies, Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes fly by because after one is done you definitely want more. Then, after you blow through that one, you can watch one more because what’s another 25 minutes, right? Well, shit … you would kill two, may be more, hours on a movie, why not watch four episodes? Around dawn, you’ll still have more Curb Your Enthusiasm to go, though. Eight seasons give you a ton of episodes to spread out or binge on, as you wish.

Acting

It’s hard to say what’s acting and what’s not in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry, the main character, is playing himself but the main cast, around in him, are fictional characters based on their real selves. Then, through-out the show, celebrities drop in and play themselves as well. These are probably the best depictions of celebrities on television but I’ll let you see those as they happen. For now, I’ll focus on the main cast of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Let’s face it, Larry David isn’t really going to play any other part after he’s done with Curb Your Enthusiasm but I’m not really sure he’d want to. Larry plays himself and writes the show around his real life, so I’m guessing he just didn’t think anybody could play him better than he could. He’s kind of narcissistic like that. His acting isn’t what makes this show great, but its convincing and realistic, assuming he’s exaggerating his actually mannerisms. Also, by the time you make it through a few episodes, you’ll forget these people are acting and just think you’re watching his life. As a matter of fact, the “pilot” episode is filmed like a documentary, a style they bailed on by the second episode.

Jeff Greene is played by Jeff Garlin. Greene is Larry David‘s fictional manager and best friend in Curb Your Enthusiasm. I say “best” friend because he appears in every episode and is usually Larry’s go-to pal. I don’t think they ever declare they they’re “bff”s, though. Greene is a successful manager, in Hollywood, with a wife and a daughter that don’t know about the many girlfriends afforded to him because of his position. Jeff is a lot like Larry but he hides it when he’s around everybody else because he’s smart enough to realize other people don’t like it.

Jeff and Larry are married, which is another thing that really separates Curb Your Enthusiasm from Seinfeld. Jerry went through woman after woman. Larry can barely convince his wife to sleep with him.

Larry’s wife, Cheryl, is played by Cheryl Hines. She’s not his wife in real life, but she keeps her first name and I imagined her character is a little bit more of her than David‘s real-life wife. Cheryl is the sensible one when Larry isn’t and their relationship seems believable enough because it’s built on that foundation. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not but she wasn’t ever really that funny. I’m sure they needed to put a sensible person in the mix, so that these lunatics could shine, but I’m not sure if they intended to straight up snub her of her own hilarious plot line.

Jeff’s wife, Susie, on the other hand, got a little too much featuring, I think. I’m sure the creators of Curb Your Enthusiasm loved when she would start screaming and backing Larry in to a corner, but Susie Greene was the first character to start annoying me. She doesn’t always need to be screaming and I definitely did not side with her, over Larry, most of the time. She plays a cunt, so I bet Susie Essman is an absolute delight in person. That being said, her character is further proof to space out watching Curb Your Enthusiasm. As long as you take your time, it’s not so bad.

Directing

I don’t have any problem with the style and delivery of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I loved it the first time I saw it, on Seinfeld. Alright, may be that’s going too far. Seinfeld had a much more static set and camera. Seriously, though, there’s nothing fancy about the presentation in Curb Your Enthusiasm and it doesn’t go out of its way to jazz up the presentation. They have a genius bunch of characters that are swirling around a fairly genius formula for each episode/season but present it like any other sitcom. This might be attributed to the writing being from real life and, may be, a director wouldn’t want to step over that writing to do his own thing. This is Larry’s show, so it should be run around him. I just can’t justify giving them a star for doing “okay enough”.

Writing

I’m not sure if anyone else sees the relation, but Seinfeld ended on its ninth season. The difference here is that Curb Your Enthusiasm is actually getting better each season, where as Seinfeld went out on its decline. I think the primary change is the power shift to Larry David. David wasn’t cut out for network TV because his mind was going paid-channel mature. Curb Your Enthusiasm isn’t for the whole family, but the parents will laugh their asses off while the kids are trying to sleep in the next room.

Seinfeld was “a show about nothing”, in that it was covered the most typical of daily routines and examined social norms on the most basic level. Curb Your Enthusiasm sticks to this sensation but manages to attach a cohesive plot line to each season. This makes missing an episode less desirable, as to not miss anything funny, but not catastrophic, because they’ll catch you up enough that you’re not confused. Basically, what I’m saying is that Curb Your Enthusiasm gets rid of all the things that get old, in Seinfeld, over time.

Soundtrack

I’m sure some people out there found it annoying, but I thought the music in-between the scenes of Curb Your Enthusiasm was fitting. Sometimes it was even hilarious, if switching scenes suddenly was the punch-line. There wasn’t a ton of other music put into the show but that’s probably because it would just take up more time, where people could be talking about some funny shit. I suppose it is technically a score, derivative of the opening theme, but I like it anyway. Looks like I can like a score.

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