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Monday
Oct232017

« In Which We Forget What We Know »

Think Like A Hermit

by DICK CHENEY

Curb Your Enthusiasm
creator Larry David
HBO

Why isn’t Curb Your Enthusiasm funny anymore? I was browsing through the nether regions of my DirecTV package the other night and I flipped on the Clippers game against the Suns. Suddenly, the enterprising director went to a close-up on Larry David. He looked his usual mix between alarmed and disoriented, only perhaps even more so, since the comedian celebrated his 70th birthday this past summer.

Seventy used to be a grand old age, but now it is basically reverse adolescence, filled with a similar set of painful indulgences. When I turned seventy in 2011, I remember buying and eating an entire cantaloupe at first light, and spending most of the evening attempting to figure out the name of a movie where Helen Hunt befriended a zebra. Unsurprisingly and somewhat disappointingly, the film I remembered never existed.

This was not so different from how I was occupying my time sixty years ago, except I had a non-gastrophysical reason for purchasing a cantaloupe. Naivete is an asset when experience is so easily disregarded, so Larry David wanders around a cleaner version of Los Angeles, dabbling in all of the city’s richest parts. The show’s long awaited upgrade to true high definition now makes every scene look like the memorable season finale where Mr. David went to heaven, the joke being that he is the only man who could find hell there.

It was always painful to watch the awkward improvisations that made up David’s life on Curb, but this season is particularly unwholesome because Larry has nothing positive in his life that is sacrificed by his miserable attitude. His ex-wife Cheryl Hines has moved on with Ted Danson, although like most of Larry’s relationships with people, their quintessential dynamic is never altered.

Still, this gets us no closer to finding out why Curb Your Enthusiasm has become a turgid collection of dated blunders, attempting to relive a time when some of us could actually bother to give a shit about what white people were going through. Whenever I look in the mirror, I honestly have a thought in my mind that there is a chance a creature visually similar to Clarence Thomas will look back.

It used to be that nostalgia could free us from the uncomfortable newness of the present. But Larry has already cycled through his various reunion storylines, and we definitively learned that there is no bringing Seinfeld back at this point — the only thing left would be infants cryogenically preserved in the frozen winter of their discontent. The reunion didn’t work, and Curb does not work now, because everyone except Richard Lewis is forced to play the straight man to Larry, and the comedic talents of the surrounding cast inhabit humorless, monotone versions of the characters they usually play. (See Cranston, Bryan).

Anyway, the parallels to our president are too obvious to explore. In time, Mr. Pence will be our new leader, and I will write thematically fascinating essais about how Karen Pence takes her thinspiration from Gilda Radner and her smile from a mountain lion. The question will be as repetitive as it always is: how much we permit ourselves to tolerate what other people bring into our lives. Not to be cynical, but it might be worthwhile to think about how much they take.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.


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