Larry David is currently enjoying the vast success of his improv-based HBO comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Much like Seinfeld did, Curb appeals to our real world sensibilities. Sure, the plot lines are ridiculous, and each show’s ending is wrapped up with a nice little bow of irony. But what’s more important is that we can relate to the various predicaments that Larry faces and empathize as he stumbles through differing degrees of social faux pas.I’d like to think we all have a Larry David in us. He’s the part of you that gets mad when someone doesn’t say ‘thank you’ after you’ve opened the door. He’s that part that views disagreements as violent acts of treason. He’s the part that just wants an apology, provided the apologizer is on his or her knees kissing your feet. He believes in a rigid value system comprised of indisputable rights and wrongs, except when they need to be molded to make him out to be the good guy. In short, our inner Larry David is that politically-incorrect, selfish, narcissistic, neurotic asshole that every once in a while says something they really mean and inevitably faces the unfortunate consequences.
Although the LD gene is present in all of us, we are lucky because we know that saying what is on our minds is not always the most advantageous way to operate.
And yet I’ve encountered a serious problem: Larry David is influencing me.
As a child I knew that modeling my behavior on the people around me was a good way to learn how to act. If my dad was mowing the lawn, I was right next to him with my plastic mower. If mom buckled her seat belt, so did I. I naturally gravitated to sports because of my friends.
I’ve been watching Curb for a few years. This season, I have viewed it religiously. And it’s affecting me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no stranger to this form of imitation. In middle school, I called girls “cockaroches” and did my best adolescent version of a Cuban cocaine-addict, a la Tony Montana. I threatened to drop the “people’s elbow” on classmates and asked my teacher if she “could smell what The Rock is cookin’?” Hell, when I was four, I ran up on stage during my mom’s Jazzercise class, lifted my hand in the air, grabbed my crotch and screamed “Owww.” And while I knew these guys (especially Michael Jackson, RIP) weren’t the people I actually wanted to emulate, Larry David has blurred the lines. He says the things that I want to say. He has the balls, the chutzpah. He is the “social assassin.”
Recently I’ve found myself unapologetically telling waiters my food is mediocre. I respond to questions with short, dismissive responses like “Ehhhh.” I shrug my shoulders, scrunch my face, and get into uncomfortable staring battles. I take extreme comfort in that one friend who will agree with everything I say and do. When my actions are called into question, I defend them as being pious and just.
What do I get for my faithful form of flattery? Nothing, aside from being labeled an asshole. No matter how funny LD is on TV, he’s not fit for the real world. There is no glory. No honor. I tried.
As our enchantment with Curb grows, let us take note of this inner LD. Let us understand him, and deploy him only when necessary. But above all, let us keep watching Curb, because it is the best comedy on television.
In an attempt to warn you of the possible side-effects of loving Curb Your Enthusiasm, I have listed some possible symptoms to take note of should you start experiencing them. I have, myself, been exposed to a few.
- Starting your sentences with “Ehhh” or “Let me ask you a question…”
- Taking credit for something that you certainly didn’t intend on doing.
- Displaying an unusual fear of illness.
- Developing your own “tick” to use while on a date.
- Insisting on an apology for a meaningless transgression. Insisting on a deep, waist-level bow from a Japanese person after a meaningless transgression.
- Let’s be honest, this list could go on forever.