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Friday, December 16, 2005

Curb Your Enthusiasm

After hearing much adulation from trusted sources (read, friends who understand my sense of humor), I gave Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm another shot. Being someone who quotes lines from Seinfeld almost every day and still enjoys watching it, I cannot say I'm a fan of Curb.

Hear me out: a few years ago, I watched the "Chet's Shirt" episode (the one with Larry going to Ted Danson's child's birthday party and getting his two front teeth knocked out). I thought the episode was all right, but not anything great. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I rented the first season of the show on Netflix. I watched nine out of the ten episodes and found myself laughing pretty hard at them, but not really wanting to watch them over again. Why am I not compelled to watch these episodes again? The uncomfortable aspect.

A lot of the show's humor comes from any one of the characters making a big deal out of a relatively small thing and being in awkward situations. Larry David is a comic genius and comes up with a lot of great storylines, but I get turned off by the uncomfortable run-ins that happen in every episode. From jokingly calling his wife 'Hitler' in an earshot of his manager's Jewish parents to not tipping "the captain" at a restuarant, this is Seinfeld-like humor with a harder bite. You could think that I would love seeing this kind of material over and over again, but I just don't.

Just like how I don't think gross-out humor (the kind that There's Something About Mary made popular) is funny, I can't get into the kind of humor that makes people feel uncomfortable. The BBC's version of The Office is all about a kind of uncomfort but it wasn't as pronounced as seen elsewhere. There were serious undertones to The Office, along with playful laughs with no uncomfort attached.

I'm not saying Curb Your Enthusiasm is a bad show. It's well shot, has a nice pseudo-documentary style to it, it's well-acted and has some good payoffs. I just don't enjoy it enough to watch any more episodes.

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