December 4, 2005

"Curb Your Enthusiasm" -- the season finale.

Well, what did you think? Cool appearances by Dustin Hoffman and Sasha Baron Cohen!


Ryan Hatch said...

Hey, don't spoil it for us on the West coast! It's only 9:00 here...

Wade_Garrett said...

I thought that the montage of all of the fights and screaming matches he has had over the past five seasons was hilarious! Some advance notice said it was a little too similar to the last episode of Seinfeld, but a) as long as its funny I don't care, and b) its not really all that similar.

Would there be a better guide to heaven than Sasha Baron Cohen? I really hope heaven is like that . . . I would want to play catch with Cal Ripken and have Kate Winslet tell me she loves my work and wants to meet me in person.

David Boyd said...

The wig was inspired. I almost fell off the couch laughing when I figured out it was Larry standing there.

Wasteland Fan said...

Is there anything funnier than seeing the "newly Gentile" Larry signing "Go Tell It On the Mountain" at the top of his lungs, while surrounded by Christian iconography?

Perhaps . . . It might have been Lewis muttering in amazment as Larry walked out the door after purporsely avoiding a confrontation about the coveted putter: "Jesus!"

Ann Althouse said...

But were't you disturbed that the Christian Larry did the altruistic thing that the Jewish Larry resisted? And isn't it disturbing to think of religion as a purely hereditary matter, such that Larry would cast off everything that he was if he knew his parents had adopted him? I know it's a comedy and all... but still... If Larry weren't himself Jewish, this episode would be intolerably anti-Semitic.

Dave said...

Any show that has Sasha Baron Cohen on it can't be good. I do not understand the appeal.

mgarbowski said...


I found that to be the most intriguing thing about the episode. Not only did the Christian Larry do the altruistic thing that regular Jewish Larry could not bring himself to do, Christian Larry was better than regular Larry is a multitude of ways: he was more self-confident, able to handle the stress of a simple but important task such as sitting in the emergency exit row; he was able to endure slights from his friends without making a big deal (Lewis not loaning him his putter) even though they really bothered him, as revealed in the conversation with the nurse/orderly. Christian Larry wants to have children, and while not everyone universally agrees this is selfless, I think most would agree that regular Larry's reasons for being childless are undoubtedly selfish; then when Cheryl expresses hesitancy over the prospect of children, Christian Larry agrees to talk about it over dinner instead of pushing the issue. Overlaying all this, Christian Larry is simply happier. It's win-win for everyone.

Yes, if a Gentile had made this, it could be troublesome, and the fictional Larry David would probably call it anti-Semitic. I think the real-life Larry David did it because he thought it as funny, however, not to make a point about the nature of Christianity or Judaism. If it does reveal anything, intentional or not, I think it is more about being open to religion in general than Christianity specifically. Regular Larry could have had 2-dozen rabbis tell him exactly what the Christian priest/minister/reverend (the denomination was unclear) said in the sermon, and Larry would not have been open to it and acted on it. For some reason, the fleetingly Christian Larry was more open to God (or G-d) than Jewish Larry, who despite occasional attendance at services on high holy days, is a pretty secular person. Regular Larry found the orthodox Jewish father and daughter from the prior two episodes comical, bizarre, and borderline contemptible. For the regular fictional Larry, it wasn't that religion is a hereditary matter, it was that being Jewish was a hereditary matter, and being Jewish for him had little to do with religion.

Wade_Garrett said...

I think Garbowski is right; this episode of Curb was really dicussing the cultural difference between Jews and Christians moreso than religious difference per se.

Reading Garbowski's comment made me think back to two of John Updike's Rabbit Angstrom novels, Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest. In those books, Harry and his wife live in a condominium in a retirement community in South Florida, and all of their friends are Jewish. On several occasions in those books, Harry mentions his admiration of Jewish culture, because, having been raised on the cultural margins, they hadn't grown up expecting everything to go well for them. They were happy with a middle or upper middle class lifestyle, seeing their kids grow up, etc, while Harry, raised with more of a sense of entitlement and raised on stories that end with its main characters falling in love and walking off into the sunset, was perpetually disappointed that his life had not lived up to the impossibly high standard set by advertising, popular culture, and so forth. In order words, Jews are happy for what they get, while Christians are bound to be disappointed by how their life doesn't live up to the fairy tale they grow up hoping for.

I'm not Jewish, but Updike's theory seems pretty accurate to me, for Jewish men of a certain age, for instance my grandparents' friends. But I wonder if things haven't reversed themselves for my generation (I'm 25.) I would say, if anything, the popular conception of younger Jews is that they grow up with more of a sense of entitlement than Christians. When I watch Larry David, I recognize my friends' parents in him, but I don't recognize my own Jewish friends.

I'd like to know what other people think about it.

Harkonnendog said...

I don't care about the PC aspect- that aside, I thought it was hilariouis- the best of this season and one of the best ever. I especially loved that Lewis wouldn't loan him the putter and said "Jesus." Also, that Larry asked for permission to have sex... lol. And... you know there were too many hilarious moments to mention.

I was kind of bummed that Jeff was trying to get out of repaying the 5k and that Larry's wife was talking about the will moments after he died, though. Disappointing.

XWL said...

Almost every episode this season dealt with stereotypes (and Larry's habit of stereotyping).

It should be no surprise, then, that as soon as Larry believed he wasn't Jewish that he would live the stereotype of Midwestern whiteness as he had always imagined it (unsurprising but still hilarious).

Also his immediate reversion upon hearing the news that his parents were his biological parents was predictable (but still funny).

Evidently Larry as a character is a firm believer in Nature being predominant over Nuture, but as a writer he shows us that it's almost all nuture in that as soon as he was exposed to a different culture and deluded himself into believing that he was a part of that culture, he jumped in with both feet and altered everything about himself.

It would have made for a rather boring next season had he not converted back to his old self so quickly (assuming there will be another season).

And one other thing, I'd be worried if I was Laurie David. If the character of his wife is a reflection of how he views his real wife, then I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't will a big chunk of his fortune to something like The Federalist Society as some big cosmic joke on her.