Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Curb Whose Enthusiasm?

A new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm has just begun on HBO. And when you think about it, next to The Honeymooners, the show possesses one of the most philosophically meaningful titles in the history of television. Ralph and Jane were hardly on a honeymoon, fighting in their cramped tenement apartment and that was the point. But Curb Your Enthusiasm goes much further. It’s a sophisticated indictment of starry-eyed optimists, ambition, success and the whole notion that there's something better to strive towards at the end of the rainbow. The genius of the show resides in the persona created by Larry David who conveys his message in such an understated way. He’s the classic anti-hero whose provenance obviously derives from Seinfeld, Woody Allen and ultimately Charlie Chaplin. The mantra of the show could well be Yeats’ too often quoted lines from “The Second Coming,” “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.” But though the lines would seem to pull the carpet out from under the evangelical impulse, they themselves partake of a certain sententiousness and melodrama. The art of Curb Your Enthusiasm is to produce a similar emotion in the everyday language of a hapless schmuck. In one recent episode Larry, who’s producing a musical entitled Fatwa actually becomes the object of one. Talk about blacklisting, the results are hilarious, but when you stop laughing, equally frightening.

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