Ranking the Show I Watch – 16: Curb Your Enthusiasm

6 Oct

(Note:  This was mostly written before this past season, and the sentiment is pretty much the same but I added an additional best episode at the end)

This awkwardness factor in this occasionally makes the Office look like a comfortable place to work.  It’s another unique show – although I don’t have any proof of this, I would wager there’s more improvisation in this show than in any other that I watch, and that’s not necessarily a good or bad thing but it works for this show.

I can’t think of any other popular show, or show that I watch anyway, that is driven by a single person as much as Curb.  It lives and dies by Larry – he’s in almost every scene and he’s far and away the most important character.  His wife, who would be second, is not even with him during the seventh season, and Jeff, the third most, is here and there.  I’m particularly not a huge fan of Susie – her schtick of cursing a lot and banning Larry from their house gets old very quickly.  The show works through the idea (like in Seinfeld) that Larry (and his friends Jeff and Richard Lewis) are immature and inappropriate and say the things we all think but don’t say, and even a bunch of the things we don’t even think.

Each season has an extremely loose running plot, and last season’s featured Larry trying to put together a Seinfeld reunion so he could cast his wife, spend time with her, and get back together.  The Seinfeld reunion I think was one of the better running plots and I thoroughly enjoyed Jerry himself being in about half the episodes of the season – it reminded me why I like Seinfeld a little bit better than curb – the addition of a straight man within the show really does help.

As further part of my rediscovery that in the right instance the catch phrase can become a potent weapon rather than a silly crutch, I’ve been able to identify three or four signature Larry quotes and actions that are fantastic.  Classics include his long and probing stare at someone who he thinks is bullshitting him, his semi-sarcastic prett-ay good, prett-ay good, and his, before asking an inappropriate or inane question, “Let me ask you something” – one of my favorite uses of this is in one of my favorite scenes in the series, when Larry, masquerading as a limo driver asks John McEnroe a series of ridiculous questions – “you have allergies?,” “ you believe in a god of some kind?,” “you like life?,” “do you garden?”

What It’s This High:  Seinfeld 2.0 more or less – the neurosis, the common every day situations spelled out, continuation of a successful formula

Why It’s Not Higher:  Slightly more less than more Seinfeld 2.0 – I love it, but yeah, sometimes I just want to shake Larry and tell him to give it a break, and the situations are relatable a little less often than in Seinfeld

Best episode of the most recent season:  Even though it doesn’t have Seinfeld in it, “Vehicular Fellatio” which contains of the funniest scenes of the season when Larry David, who wants to break up with his girlfriend, portrayed by Vivica A. Fox, but feels he can’t because she has cancer, tries to get her to break up with him by bringing her to a doctor notorious for advising women to dump men, and trying to act as stupid as humanly possible – Larry, after braying like a horse – “horses do it – and I can see why they do it – it feels good”

For the most recent season now, I’ll pick “The Bi-Sexual” mainly because it has the single funniest scene in the season, shown below.

3 Responses to “Ranking the Show I Watch – 16: Curb Your Enthusiasm”

  1. Beardface October 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    I held my tongue when you lowballed 30 Rock, but THIS agression will not stand! Not only are you denigrating one of the 20-25 greatest shows of all time, but you are also apparently racist against black actresses whose christian names start with the letter V! That’s Vivica A. Fox playing Loretta, you jackass. Additional credibility points lost for not picking the Hall of Fame episode as the best of this season and for zero mention of Buckner.

    • televisionthedrugofthenation October 6, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

      Oh, bad racist slip there, that I corrected up there. Also, I looked at my list again and feel pretty confident in my ordering – I’ll admit, there are probably two shows I put a little too high because I had just watched them at the time, but everything else I feel good with – I pretty much like very much every show at this point. Buckner is great, but shit bow was definitely best.

      • jessef October 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

        as someone who watches very little tv and hence not enough Curb, I will say that it is a truly remarkable show. Also, when watching the shit-bow, I was thinking, “Why is he accepting a bow that’s not nearly deep enough for an actual apology?”

        Finally, continuing with the baseball-theme — how would you define a derrick turn-bow? I’d guess it would entail having floppy hair and changing direction mid-bow.

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