Before there was Calm your enthusiasmthere was the HBO comedy special Larry David: curb your enthusiasm. Well, if we’re pedantic, before there was either one, there was Seinfeld, without which no version of Sidewalk would have a reason to exist. But back in that special from 1999, SeinfeldThe co-creator of played a lightly fictionalized version of himself, preparing to star in a stand-up comedy for the first time since the NBC sitcom had made him incredibly rich and vaguely famous.
Larry David: curb your enthusiasm is fascinating for the way it looks and doesn’t look like its follow-up series, which HBO has aired throughout the 21st century. (An eleventh season begins October 24.) Larry is here. Much like Jeff Garlin as Larry’s long-suffering manager, Jeff and Cheryl Hines as Larry’s even more ailing wife, Cheryl. The fake-Larry OG also has a very familiar knack for offending people, even when he’s trying to do a good deed. But there is a mock documentary format – including interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander and others – that David, director Robert Weide and their collaborators would immediately abandon once. Sidewalk has become a permanent spectacle. Larry and Cheryl are parents in this version (their daughter is mentioned, but not shown). And, as on Seinfeld, the action is periodically paused for stand-up pieces – though Larry’s sense of humor is a bit more skewed than Jerry’s, with routines centered around things like Hitler’s disregard for them. wizards, or how boring it would be to live next to Jonas Salk mother.
The TV series would build a group of friends (Richard Lewis as himself, JB Smoove as the pathologically confident Leon) and enemies (Ted Danson, or Susie Essman as the rude wife of Jeff Susie), although some of the characters the most memorable ones didn’t show up for a while. The great and late Bob Einstein
didn’t even come across as Larry’s hilarious disapproving foe Marty Funkhouser until season five, for example, and Leon only got to season six. Still, the show borrowed what it could from the special, particularly the idea of Larry complaining and / or exploiting social niceties, like the practice of swearing in your kids.
Einstein’s brother Albert Brooks is set to appear in this new season. Will he play himself or another member of the Funkhouser clan? The latter sounds more fun, and if Vince Vaughn isn’t too famous to play a Funkhouser, then neither should Brooks be. The storyline of the special culminates when Larry decides he doesn’t, in fact, want to return to full-time stand-up. So he invokes a transparent false excuse that his stepfather is in a coma for two apoplectic HBO executives who were planning to televise his big concert. This bow is quite the way
Sidewalk works like a series: The fictional Larry keeps a desk and frequently talks about big projects. More often than not, however, he sabotages his own efforts, and after a while you get the impression that the guy doesn’t really like to work. Or, at least, he doesn’t like to continue working in his chosen field; The arc last season where he opened a cafe as a “spite store” to punish an irritating rival mocha-slinger was the most professionally engaged Larry we’ve ever seen on the show. Given that the character has so much in common with the man who plays him, it would be easy to assume that the real Larry David shares a similar aversion to work. After all, David is so rich that he could have set a thousand dollars ablaze every day since the Seinfeld the finale aired for the first time and didn’t make a significant dent in his net worth. Instead, over the past 20+ years he wrote
produced and performed in 100 Sidewalkepisodes and counting. But he did it by leveraging his wealth and power in the sweetest deal in the TV business, allowing him to do the show when he wants to and not do it when he wants to. does not. If David has an idea for a new season, HBO will give him the green light. If the mood doesn’t strike him, he can go years between episodes without any executive pressure. Six years passed between the eighth and ninth seasons, and three more between the ninth and tenth. Considering the pandemic of it all, it seems almost miraculous that we have the 11th season just a year and a half after the previous one ended – with the grudge store on fire.
As always, every episode is well drawn , but the dialogue is largely improvised.HBO hasn’t given critics any filters for this new batch, however.Sidewalk in its advanced years has become an ever inconsistent spectacle. Lots of episodes (including most of season nine, which saw Larry courting trouble with religious extremists by putting on a musical called Fatwa ! ) feel too quiet for the series’ crisscross prank structure, or fail to strike the right karmic balance in relation to Larry’s various sins. But every now and then we’ll get one like “The Palestinian Chicken” from season eight, which spawned a thousand memes about indecision, or “Elizabeth, Margaret and Larry” from last year, with Jon Hamm slowly transforming into Larry while watching him for a role, it can be as funny as anything
Sidewalk has ever done, and sometimes funnier than anything Seinfeld never done. The NBC show had a higher batting average, but its successor HBO gets more power when it goes online.This Sidewalkafter all this time can still compare favorably to David’s previous series. It sounds like both a spin-off and a remake of Seinfeld . Plots frequently overlap (Larry and Jerry befriended the 1986 World Series first baseman), and one of the best Sidewalk seasons was built around Larry going back on Seinfeldcast for a special reunion that would appease people disappointed with the series finale he wrote. It was a smart way of apologizing; David never had to make a new one
Seinfeld episode, but he offered us enough clips here to feel like he did. (In addition, for a few gloriously crazy minutes , he even played George Costanza, who was based on him.)
It is a discrete recurring theme on Sidewalk that Larry has passed his prime and will never surpass his most famous work. But the show appears to have been created to disprove that very idea and to celebrate David’s singular genius not only as a writer, but also as a performer. It’s not exactly a show of spite, since David and Seinfeld seem to get along as well as they can with any other human, but maybe it’s a show I’m right – a show that he can take in an even more misanthropic direction than NBC would ever have allowed.
At the end of the 1999 special, Larry realizes the laughter fades towards the end of one of his stand-up sets. “This is what happens when you lack nothing,” he quipped, alluding to the famous “show about nothing” Seinfeld slogan. More than two decades later, he still can’t find anything to do and the laughs are still going strong.