Larry David was the invisible hand that drove Seinfeld to be all TV could be. That is to say, a show free of hugging and learning. Over that show's nine seasons, David contributed quite a lot before dropping out shortly before the series ended, plus he was responsible for the film Sour Grapes which it appears nobody was ever meant to see. When offered a new TV project, instead of developing a character based on someone he knew, he made a hyper-realistic version of himself and others take the stage with his series Curb Your Enthusiasm which is now in its fourth season. This DVD release covers the one-hour special, which acted like a pilot for the ten other episodes included on this disc.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
January 3, 2004
The series follows the ups and downs of a man who, despite being more wealthy than you or I could ever aspire to be, takes great pains in the little things. Do his pants tent? Who's responsible for a typo? Most important of all... with whom do you enter a fist fight, and when?
The series transforms the mundane into the finest in comedy, furthering the saying "it's funny because it's true." While we may never get into a fight with Richard Lewis over a bracelet in the window of an expensive jewelry store in Los Angeles or join a sexual abuse group under false pretenses, we can understand the need for trying to cover one's own tail when it all blows up and bites you in the ass. There's no shortage of moments for the audience to sympathize with Larry, who tries so hard to live according to his view of the world, which he defends and justifies quite well.
This disc gives you ten 30-minute episodes, which makes up the disc's runtime. You also get a one-hour made-for-HBO special, a commentary track on only the first episode, and a one-on-one interview between Larry David and Bob Costas. As Mr. David rarely gives interviews, this is a real treat. Also included are the short TV spots promoting each episode, so you have a trailer of sorts for each episode. To date, I know of no other TV show to include these on a DVD, although HBO series have included numerous TV spots in the past.
The documentary-style of the series lends itself to a very lifelike feel which is only augmented by the fact that the show is largely improvised. The situations may be beyond belief, but Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines, and the rest of the crew have a way of making you feel bad for Larry in a situation, and then make you think someone else is a total jerk for doing the exact same thing to Larry later.
Curb Your Enthusiasm is a show that manages to break out of the sitcom mold as established by Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show with no kids, no lessons, and laughs that take no prisoners. Despite being a show that's very adult-oriented, the show has fairly few adult situations and manages to hide visuals that would bother the easily embarrassed skillfully. The guest stars and references are best suited to an older, media-savvy audience since the show is really ran by what has been referred to as "a comedian's comedian." There's really no finer way to spend 30 minutes than to watch an episode, and the best part is that no matter how bad your day was, Larry's will have always been worse.
If you enjoyed Mr. Show with Bob and David or the most embarrassing parts of the George stories on Seinfeld, then this is something you owe it to yourself to see. Rent it, buy it, it's all good.
January 26, 2004