Sunday, 2 May 2010

Retro Monday: Curb Your Enthusiasm (TV)

Ok, so the first series was aired in 2000, so that makes it 10 years old. Retro. So SHADDAP if you have a problem, I want to gush about this TV show.

I'm ashamed to say that I've recently seen it for the first time. Numerous friends, colleagues and pretty much everyone I've met whose opinion I respect has told me to watch Mr. David, and for some reason I ignored them all. And you know something? I'm kind of glad I did. I now have 7 series to watch, all sat here on DVD, and I feel like a spoilt child at Christmas. I'm now on season 3, and I reckon I've learnt enough to be able to offer some humble perspective on the delightful car-crash that it is.

This really is magnificence. It's such a weird formula, basically a 30-minute joke, with small jokes that build up to a devastating punchline. And the best thing is, personally, that I don't actually see them coming. Too many comedy shows I've seen are always far too clumsy in the set-up, so the payoff is painfully obvious. After 3 series, I still don't see the set-ups coming. And it's FANTASTIC. Everything from getting busted by Korean parking attendants, to getting 'finished off' by a shifty masseuse, the set-ups and payoffs in this show are so well-crafted and beautifully orchestrated, it's an absolute pleasure to watch Mr David's world come crumbling down around him.

And we come on to the literal star of the show. It just wouldn't work without Larry...

"I'll of those vanilla bullshit things.
You know what I'm talking about, that vanilla
bullshit thing you do. Frappa, Cappa, Whatever."

Even at his most cynical and offensive, Larry David isn't a bad guy. He's just a man caught up in a world he doesn't quite understand. With every bumbling mistake he makes, you can see he genuinely doesn't mean it, making it all the more brilliant to watch. There's just something oh-so-satisfying about watching a man so desperate just for things to go his way, surviving in a world where nothing does.

His deadpannery is just sublime. Such a well-delivered performance, although a large part of me just believes this to be as close to the real-life Larry David as to bear no difference. He's genuinely funny, and although at times mean-spirited, his motives always seem honest, and driven by a reason. It's no wonder that although he always lands himself in ludicrous situations, everyone ends up seeing some Larry in themselves.

After all this time of ignoring the show, I am now fully converted. It's easy to see why Ricky Gervais sees him as a 'Genius', hell he practically created Gervais' act for him. To think this show is this old is amazing. What a guy. Bring on the next 5 series!

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