The world wouldn’t be the same without Seinfeld, the American comedy that is known as a show about nothing. The success of the show cemented it within the America cultural consciousness to the point that people have even hypothesized that it changed the way Americans interact with one another. After years of triumph, the show ended in 1998, leaving its former stars in a dreaded place, in the gully after a successful show and no other work called the “Seinfeld Curse”. For the lead writer Larry David, what was there to do after a show as prolific as Seinfeld? How would he please the lofty expectations of the audience? The solution was to address that issue in the naming of his next project, Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Curb Your Enthusiasm followed in Seinfeld‘s wake, first being aired as a special in 2000, only mere months after the conclusion of the smash-hit. The show’s focus is on the personal faux pas of Larry David himself, as he plays out a fictionalized version of his life. Instead of communicating to the audience through a fictionalized entity like George Costanza in Seinfeld, he tells his stories from his own perspective, blurring the line between Larry David as a writer and Larry David as a real person. Although this theme is present in Seinfeld, it’s focused more on the Jewish schlemiel archetype, which describes a buffoon who continually falls into poor situations. Unlike other archetypes, the schlemiel is irredeemable, and will never change. This theme makes a show that is unapologetically tied to the Jewish experience, and unlike Seinfeld, provides plot lines that directly tie heritage into overarching issues.
One of the largest modern critiques of Seinfeld, that most of the issues could simply be solved with modern technology, is proven wrong with Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Starting in 2000, the show has gone for nine seasons over the course of seventeen years, with the show acting like a time capsule for bygone issues. In one of the earliest episodes, Larry gets lost because of bad directions. In a later episode, his Blackberry breaks and he has no way of getting his contacts back. Finally, in the most current season, Larry starts conflict over whether he’s a good Uber passenger or not. The theme of mundane issues getting in the way and creating comedic conflict transcends either time or technology, and Larry David, as himself, proves to the viewer that there will never be perfect information in a situation, and even if there ever is no conflict, all it takes is one stubborn schlemiel to ruin the whole thing.
Curb Your Enthusiasm Drinking Game Rules:
Take a drink…
- Whenever Larry is called some kind of slur
- If Larry creates a problem for himself
- Whenever the theme plays
- When a character gives a nonchalant “meh”
- Finish your drink whenever Larry doesn’t admit his mistakes at the end of an episode
Take this list as a suggestion, and drink responsibly. As always, enjoy the show.