Larry David, or at least the “Larry David” he plays on HBO’s Curb, is so monstrously self-absorbed and oblivious to the fallout of his actions that he makes his Seinfeld alter ego George Costanza seem like a model of restraint and empathy. Of course, as the idle-rich Hollywood writer he appears be in real life, “Larry” is insulated by wealth, race, privilege, and geography from the impact of his selfishness. But he is not protected from karma. As on Seinfeld, no bad deed goes unpunished (and no good deed goes unpunished either).
Still, the curmudgeonly “Larry” is allowed (by the freedoms of premium cable) to behave in much more extreme and offensive ways than George, or to take even greater offense at perceived slights. As a result, Curb has been able to explore, say, whether it’s ever okay for a white person to use the N-word, or whether it’s permissible to hire a prostitute just to be able to use the carpool lane. As on Larry Sanders, real celebrities seem to enjoy guest-starring as themselves, though maybe that’s because, on this show, they come off looking better than the star. That the dialogue is improvised only adds to the show’s documentary-like realism. Which – let’s hope, for the sake of David and those close to him – is entirely fake.
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