Dan asked, and thus Nosferatu, always looking for fresh victims, responds.
I admire Larry David. I am not among those wasps who are uncomfortable with Jewish comedians, with Judaism more generally. In fact, if anything, I am something of a Judaophile, a true lover of all things Jewish. There is something about David’s unbridled sense of “the intricate story arc” that is constantly delightful. It reminds one of Dickens, of Shakespeare, of English Comedy at its finest, of course transmogrified through the eyes of the Jewish Spike Lee, Woody Allen.
The Seinfeld background (ie that Larry David was a writer of a hit show and has now moved in front of the camera) also gives David’s show that absolutely essential element of “reality” that attention-span-limited, imagination-starved Americans require in their television. In short, Curb is enough a mirror to keep our vain hearts interested. Yet David’s genius lies in his subversion of reality, his frequent use of devises like magical coincidence and unlikely mis-hearings is wonderful and his television comedy should be regarded as a bombastic parallel to the visionary fiction of Garcia-Marquez. The way fiction and celebrity intersect is done far more seamlessly here than in the blighted Extras thanks to the improvised format. The improvisational element in Curb in relation to its plotted story could be seen as an exact analogue to the relationship of improvised lines to chordal structure in Jazz. It is in the deviations lies the unexpected genius, the genius that is not restrained by the flaws of a singular interpretation.
Improvisation brings everyone into a conclusive ensemble. Some improvisers are better than others, and Larry David is surely among our finest, but the pressure of the moment effects each element within the scheme palpably, and produces a unity when guided by the force of David’s vision.
Let this suffice to say what I think of Curb Your Enthusiasm.