Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It Curbs My Enthusiasm

Okay, I'm not the biggest fan of television, and as I've mentioned, I'm missing that Pop Culture gene. I do, however, know just a little about what is going on out there, compliments of my beloved family. Somehow, I always know how the Red Sox are doing and in my daughter's honor I sometimes watch, but still hate, House-- which I have now confessed to several House-loving patients despite my professed beliefs about the importance of boundaries and keeping ones personal beliefs quiet.

This is all a lead in to my dislike of my husband's favorite TV show: Curb Your Enthusiasm. In case the show isn't bad enough, he TiVo's all the episodes (this allows him to re-run segments over and over) and sometimes rents old seasons.

For anyone who hasn't seen it, this HBO show is about Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld, and features him as a misanthopic nebish, who dissects life in a way that makes me cringe. In case your Yiddish is rusty, from YiddishDictionaryOnline.com: Nebish: nebish (American Jewish), a person who is inept, ineffective, shy, dull, a nerd.; a loser .

Okay, so Larry David plays his own character and the character bears his real name, but one has to assume this is a fictionalized version, kind of a Seinfeld-ized view of life. He isn't shy or even dull, but he is inept, a definate social loser. The storyline is about how he continually manages, through an amazing talent for social ineptitude to get himself into one bind after another. His world view is characterized by a cynical spirit tinged with paranoia. His talent for inappropriateness reminds me of someone who floats around the autistic spectrum, and in the middle of conversations, he suddenly focuses on the most inane of details. I don't just dislike the show, I get uncomfortable and even annoyed watching it.

So let's take one episode, or just a fragment of that episode. Larry is trying to get a friend to find him tickets for synagogue for the High Holy days. Normally, he's not religious, but this year he wants to go because he nearly drowned and he decides he was meant to go. Mid-conversation, he starts up a discussion about how the handle on his teacup is too small. Then he decides to leave the party, even though he's brought another couple and they don't want to leave yet. That night in the throes of marital relations, he insists on answering the phone. And finally, upon being honored at Leo's Deli by having a sandwich named after him, he lets Leo know he's displeased because he doesn't like his sandwich: can't Leo give him someone else's sandwich? And when an insulted Leo won't trade his sandwich, Larry says he'll find someone to trade, all while his father is sitting at the table, please with his Larry David sandwich, but in the midst of either choking or having a stroke.

Never mind, you decide: Click here to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm

So what's this doing on our Shrink Rap blog? I watch the show and feel like I'm watching a patient, not a comedian. I'm still trying to figure out why it makes me so uneasy. What do you think?