I’m going to say something that’s probably going to get me into a lot of trouble with the circles in which I travel (comedians, New Yorkers, Jews): I’m struggling to like Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Now mind you, I’m one of the biggest Seinfeld fans on the planet. I’ve seen every episode at least five times and continue to watch it. I can recite many episodes verbatim.
So why am I struggling with Curb, which was created by and stars Seinfeld’s co-creator, Larry David? I think it comes down to this:
Larry David made $250M* from selling Seinfeld’s syndication rights and I just keep asking myself, What problems could someone with $250M possibly have?
But maybe that’s the point of Curb: Even if you have $250M, you still can’t escape the minor nuisances of everyday life (but they are minor).
There’s a certain tone-deafness about the show that I think the creators aren’t aware of, especially in these woke times.
For example, what was the big problem on last week’s episode? Larry spilled a glass of wine on someone’s couch. Without even thinking, he offered to pay to have the couch cleaned, whereas I would be horrified by the prospect of having to pay for something like that. (That’s the thing when you have money: you can almost always buy yourself out of any problem.)
Even something as seemingly innocuous as Larry watching a concert from a private box at the Greek Theatre with a bottle of wine and his celebrity friend, Albert Brooks, kind of rubs me the wrong way.
Compare this to Seinfeld, where you have four more or less middle-class characters and an assortment of quirky New York types (none of whom could exist in post-’90s, gentrified New York). I think this is more relatable to most people than Larry David’s cushy existence (although I’m still surprised people outside of New York City even watch Seinfeld).
I’m experiencing my own “wokelash” in light of last week’s election. Even I have become more concerned lately about quality of life issues and voted for Eric Adams precisely because he's a former policeman.
What this last election demonstrated is that the so-called “elites” are out of touch with middle America. The whole country has become siloed in their own information bubbles, so we’re frequently not aware of what people outside our bubble are thinking.
So that’s my woke analysis of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Don’t even get me started on Succession!
* The syndication of Seinfeld earned David an estimated $250 million in 1998 alone. This amount has been steadily decreasing each year, but payments will continue until the full $1.7 billion from the original syndication deal has been paid. (from Wikipedia)