on 29 January 2004
Forget The Office !
If that superb series can win two Golden Globes, then this wonderful American comedy series featuring the unique talents of writer and star Larry David who helped create Seinfeld is worthy of even greater awards.
The DVD features the first series of ten episodes plus an hour long feature that introduced the idea and paves the way for the brilliant comedy that followed. Together with an interview with Larry David it is a marvellous buy and I recommend it highly.
Larry David stumbles from one disastrous and embarrassing encounter to another, and what is unique about the series, is that most of the dialogue is improvised and therefore it really is like peeping in at somebody`s life with mouth wide open at what is taking place. Language and content are often quite near the mark, and if we in the UK ever consider that British television is brave, then sample what HBO has the courage to show.
These ten episodes are all of the highest calibre, but I particularly recommend `Beloved Aunt` which contains an obituary with the most unfortunate typing error you will ever encounter !
This show is now being shown on BBC, and it is fairly new to me. Don`t wait to bump into it that way...buy this first series and I guarantee you will be hooked. The added bonus as if any were required, is the lack of a cackling audience. This adds to the authenticity of the situations and the brilliance of all the actors together with the superb David make the whole production unforgettable.
This two-disc set contains the first ten episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm along with the pilot episode and an interview with Larry David.This series concerns the life of Larry David,an obscenely rich writer who was the co-creator of Seinfeld,in which he somehow manages to get himself in ever more farcical situations of his own making which normally involve him getting in trouble for innocuous comments or simple misunderstandings.The highlights of the first season include the worst typo imaginable (in a newspaper obituary for his wife's aunt),the stupendously distasteful episode where Larry ends up going to an incest survivors meeting (where he has to make up his own story) and his numerous scrapes with his manager Jeff's parents.This series at it's best rivals all the greatest comedy of all time-the format of this programme makes it seem like a superior I'm Alan Partridge/The Office-style sitcom.File Larry David next to Peter Cook,Chris Morris,Spike Milligan...
on 16 March 2004
If you caught CYE on BBC2 or 3 you'll already be a huge fan, if you didn't then without doubt you need to buy this DVD.
The 'character' Larry David, played by the co-creator and writer of Seinfield, Larry David, is a great comic creation. He is irritable, bad tempered, painfully honest and impatient to the nth degree and in every episode is the grand architect of his own downfall...but played with such skill by the real Larry David that you can't help but root for him.
He insults and offends people where ever he goes - random people in the street...shop workers...waiters...basically anyone he bumps into - not because he sets out to do so but because he can't seem to stop himself. He always starts out with the best of intentions but the situations that follow descend into anarchy...always hilarious. His desperate chase to get to the front of the queue at the doctor's, wrestling some poor woman to the ground in the process is the funniest thing I've seen in years.
CYE is total, improvised brilliance, with an excellent cast, fab cameos, totally bizarre and politically incorrect scenarios (Incest Survivors group anyone?) and the best few hours you could possibly spend in front of the TV screen.
I dare anyone not to love this show...the US are already on series four so there is plenty to look forward to. It's simply the best thing on TV right now.
on 7 March 2005
Missed this series when it came out on TV, but managed to catch up thanks to a friends' recommendation. Larry David (LD) brings a level of (cynical) realism to life in LA. Obviously affluent (mainly due to the successes of Seinfeld), he maintains a down to earth attitude. The story lines are fairly simple, but some of the situations (mainly self manufactured) he finds himself in test's both his and his (very understanding) wifes resolve.
Parts where he gets mistaken for a tramp in an upmarket jewellery store, and ends up fighting in the foyer with his best friend, and getting caught watching his managers porn collection by his managers parents in his managers house are classics!
on 16 February 2006
Like a lot of people, I'd heard a lot about CYE but as I don't have a digital box I never got a chance to see any of the clips from the series. As the series are currently on a great discount and like most people I saw the "Ricky Gervais Meets Larry David" show on C4, I decided to invest in the first series.
I was a bit disappointed initially - the first episode is just not very funny. But stick with it. The Ted and Mary and Porno Gill episodes are hilarious. The premise of most episodes is that LD upsets his many friends and acquaintances in Los Angeles. Seems wafer thin in plot but it isn't really til Series 2 that there is much of a continuity.
Also the tendency when buying TV series box sets is to watch all the episodes in one go. Watching maybe two or three then another one when you get time a few days later is much more rewarding. It's hard to describe the humour but there are lots of watching between your fingers moments. As for the characters, Larry's wife is likeable and deceptively breezy (not much evades her attention). Larry's agent isn't very funny at all and his constant presence is annoying. But watch for the episode where Larry buys his wife a ring to apologise for ignoring her. He has a big bust up with his pal, the recovering alcoholic, a sadly underused character with rapier like wit.
A lot of people might not like the style of the show (very subtle, glides along at times) and isn't big on slapstick, but this is a great show and well worth buying the series DVD's. Stick past the mediocre first episode - when you become accustomed to Larry and the cast you'll be shelling out for the other series.
Larry David has taken comedy to a new level with Curb Your Enthusiasm. If you like the cringe-making humour in Extras, you'll love this, and in fact you'll spot many elements that have clearly inspired Extras. There are very few one-liners here (much of the dialogue is improvised) but the genius is in the excrutiatingly ridiculous situations that LD ends up in - for example he is asked by his wife to place an obituary in the local newspaper, but when it is published the 'A' of 'Aunt' gets replaced with the third letter of the alphabet so that 'Beloved Aunt' does not appear quite as it should. But for me the emphasis on plot rather than one-liners really works, and when I now see a sitcom where every line and nuance of the script has been has been carefully orchestrated, it just seems so artifical and old-fashioned - even Seinfeld, which LD co-wrote. This set is a bargain price and you also get the pilot episode. You can't go wrong!
I'm a recent convert to "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (or "Curb", as one of my colleagues calls it) and perhaps this review will entice others to join its devoted band of admirers. Having watched a later series, I decided to start at the very beginning (a very good place to start, I am led to believe) and watch the ten episodes which make up the Complete First Series, plus the one-hour Special. In truth, I wasn't especially taken with the latter, but the actual series is quite wonderful and its "best bits" are as funny as anything I've seen for a long time.
At this juncture, I should add that on the whole I find American TV comedy series over-hyped and nowhere near as funny as the best British sit-coms (before I'm accused of excessive chauvinism, I should add that I find American comedy films generally superior to their British counterparts); my praise for "Curb" is, therefore, praise indeed.
Just how much you like the series depends, I guess, on how you react to the central character, Larry David; with whose sentiments you will both sympathise and be infuriated by. As the blurb on the DVD sleeve succinctly puts it, he is "prone to speaking the unspeakable and honest to the point of insensitivity...a walking victim of misunderstandings and missed opportunities".
To quote the blurb once again, he is "surrounded by an eclectic mix of real and fictional recreations of his friends, acquaintances and outright enemies" and the actors in these roles are without exception brilliant; it is astonishing to think that the whole thing is largely improvised.
This is not your sanitised, wholesome American sit-com; far from it, (alleged) erections, tampons, racial prejudice, the unfortunate misspelling of the word "aunt" all feature in this series and the moment which made me laugh out loud the most involved incest survivors...I kid you not!
I realize that I am preaching to the converted here, but if you don't already know this series, I'm sure that you'll soon be hooked!
on 6 June 2012
Larry David is the lesser-known co-creator of legendary sitcom, Seinfeld, opting to remain behind the screen while the other co-creator, Jerry Seinfeld, played the lead role against Jason Alexander (who played George Constanza, the Larry David-esque role). After a successful one-hour special for HBO where Larry David plays himself in a exaggerated reality of his pseudo-celebrity lifestyle, offending friends and avoiding awkward scenarios, David begin to develop 'Curb your Enthusiasm', a half hour sitcom which would embrace the relaxed rules on content and vulgarity that HBO provided.
Larry David plays himself, with echoes of the George Constanza character from Seinfeld. The ten episodes that comprise of Season One mostly feature David, with his best friend/agent, Jeff, as he gets into socially awkward scrapes which normally culminate in an embarrassing climax. The show is set in LA and focuses on the celebrity lifestyle that Larry has with appearances from famous faces (playing themselves) such as: Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen and Richard Lewis.
The ten episodes and my scores for each are below:
1. The Pants Tent - (8/10)
2. Ted and Mary - (8/10)
3. Porno Gil - (9/10)
4. The Bracelet - (5/10)
5. Interior Decorator - (9/10)
6. The Wire - (9/10)
7. AAMCO - (5/10)
8. Beloved Aunt - (8/10)
9. Affirmative Action - (7/10)
10. The Group - (7/10)
Out of these initial ten episodes, I would recommend, 'Interior Decorator' where Larry falls foul of a waiting room policy and parking fees. I also enjoy, 'The Wire', purely for the infuriating performance displayed by Larry's creepy neighbour who blackmails him into arranging a 'meet and greet' with Seinfeld star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The actor is so good at making you want to sock him one!
The most iconic of these episodes is 'Beloved Aunt' where Larry is tasked with writing the obituary for his wife's deceased aunt, only to find that the newspaper have replaced a key letter in the word 'aunt' transforming it into a four-letter curse word that is guaranteed to offend.
There are a few dud episodes, such as 'AAMCO' and 'The Bracelet', but these are only bad in comparison to the well-crafted comedy narratives of the others. With Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David managed to make the same genre-shaping changes that people attributed to his work on Seinfeld. The use of improvisation on certain scenes makes the show seem more realistic and gives it a documentary style feel, without the actual documentary framing device used in BBC comedies, The Office or The Thick of It.
Larry David has always been a mysterious character - from his days on Seinfeld, he was usually a background guy, like the man in the cape, or the guy at the news stand. People didn't really know him, he was an obscure comic trying to make his way in life, until he met Jerry, and started writing Seinfeld.
So what is this all about? Curb Your Enthusiasm is all about Larry's life as a writer after Seinfeld, married to the beautiful Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) and hangs around with Jeff Green (Jeff Garlin) and his buddy Richard Lewis. He usually has a very strange sense of humour, and this mainly shows you what problems he sees every day. Everything from misunderstandings with Ted Danson to arguments with Jeff's wife Suzie who's rather coarse at times.
The best episodes has to be the one where he's trying to race Richard to a jewellery store - and they end up helping a blind man; a misunderstanding at the printers means an obituary is horribly rude and of course the final episode where Larry tells lies at a group help meeting.
I really enjoyed this season, it's funny and has some smashing moments. Yes, Larry does get carried away, he takes very sensitive moments and really tries to be very clever with them, but sometimes he's just like a bulldozer - ignoring the signs to stop where he is. I can see why this doesn't appeal to everyone, some of it is rather close to the edit, but if you see the lighter side you can see Larry's not intentional and you can see the faux pas from miles away.
Both Jeff and Richard are excellent in this, especially Richard with his depressive view on life, and of course Cheryl who's rather good as this woman who's trying to just get by and hopes Larry won't totally make a mockery of her. There's some funny cameos in this which makes it more fun.
These DVDs are pretty good, 3 disks with all ten episodes, plus the piolot "HBO Special: Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm" which is an hour long, to showcase Larry's new show. There's also a great interview on here which made me laugh, though you do get spoilers of other seasons, so beware to watch that after the other 3 seasons. The quality is high from HBO, with a decent bitrate and sound - though the audio is low on the interviews.
Well worth a look, if you're not convinced the latest series is on TV now - so check it out before you buy.
on 6 March 2009
Larry David, co-creator of the hugely successful TV show `Seinfeld', writes and stars as himself in this curiously quirky faux-reality show, based around his supposed day-to-day life and experiences he has had. David is joined in most episodes by celebrities such as actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, comedian Richard Lewis and Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, amongst others. David's `wife' Cheryl (played by Cheryl Hines) and his `agent' Jeff (Jeff Garlin) are the other recurring characters as well as Jeff's foul-mouthed and abusive wife, Susie.
David portrays himself as a grouchy clumsy and tactless buffoon; his celebrity friends and pretty much everyone else he encounters, either annoy, misunderstand or misjudge him, often with bizarre outcomes, including numerous scuffles, slanging matches and fallings-out. Embarrassing misunderstandings abound, whether with an obsessive shoe salesman, a fellow patient at the doctors' or a retired porn star he meets at the golf club. David generally makes things worse; either through sarcasm, belligerence or just a seemingly perverse desire not to conform. Basically this is a subversive and ruder version of Seinfeld, filmed using hand-held cameras and made as mockumentary rather than sitcom. There were some great moments in the series and I liked the surreal edge, however I found the bad language to be occasionally gratuitous and somewhat intrusive, and after a while I also had the desire to punch David's `character' very hard. I think though that this is the point - the series is now in its seventh year and shows no sign of slipping in popularity; so he must be doing something right!