Curb Your Enthusiasm
Genre
Created byLarry David
Story byLarry David
Starring
Theme music composerLuciano Michelini
Opening theme"Frolic"
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons10
No. of episodes100 (plus 60-minute special) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Production locations
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time26–58 minutes[1]
Production companyHBO Entertainment
Distributor
Release
Original networkHBO
Picture format
Original releaseOctober 15, 2000 (2000-10-15) –
present
Chronology
Related showsSeinfeld
External links
Website

Curb Your Enthusiasm is an American comedy television series produced and broadcast by HBO that premiered on October 15, 2000. The series was created by Larry David, who stars as a fictionalized version of himself. The series follows Larry in his life as a semi-retired television writer and producer in Los Angeles, and for one season, New York City. Also starring are Cheryl Hines as his wife Cheryl, Jeff Garlin as his manager and best friend Jeff Greene, and Susie Essman as Jeff's wife Susie. Curb Your Enthusiasm often features guest stars, many of them playing fictionalized versions of themselves.

As with Seinfeld, which David co-created, the humor of Curb Your Enthusiasm often revolves around the minutiae of American daily social life. Episodes frequently center on Larry's ignorance of or disregard for well-established social conventions and expectations, as well as his insistence that others adhere to rules of which only he seems to be aware. This social ineptitude, combined with his inability to let even the most minor grievance or annoyance go unexpressed, often leads David into awkward social situations and draws the ire of his friends, family, and total strangers. Larry is also routinely the victim of elaborate misunderstandings. Each episode's plot and subplot is established in an outline written by David, and the dialogue is largely improvised by the actors[2] (a technique known as retroscripting).

The series was developed from a 1999 one-hour special, Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm, which David and HBO originally envisioned as a one-time project. The special was shot as a mockumentary, where the characters were aware of the presence of cameras and a crew. The series itself is not a mockumentary but is shot in a somewhat similar, cinéma vérité-like style.[2] Curb Your Enthusiasm has received high critical acclaim, and has grown in popularity since its debut. It has been nominated for 38 Primetime Emmy Awards, and Robert B. Weide received an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for the episode "Krazee Eyez Killa". The show won the 2002 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy.[3] Curb Your Enthusiasm's tenth season premiered on January 19, 2020.[4] In June 2020, the series was renewed for an eleventh season.[5]

Premise

David has explained the show's name in TV interviews as reflecting his perception that many people seem to live their lives projecting false enthusiasm, which he believes is used to imply that "they are better than you". This conflicts with his dry style. The title also urges the audience not to expect too much from the show; at the time of the premiere, David wanted to lower expectations after his earlier success in the entertainment industry.[6]

The series stars Larry David as a fictionalized version of himself. Like the real-life David, the character is well known as the co-creator and main co-writer of the highly successful sitcom Seinfeld. Although Larry maintains an office, he is rarely shown working. The show's plots often center around everyday interactions between Larry and his friends, acquaintances, and occasionally strangers. Conflicts in the show are frequently sparked by Larry's social ineptitude, particularly his often tactless manner of speaking and his stubbornness.

For most of the series, the Larry David character is living a married, child-free life in Los Angeles with his wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines). David's main confidant on the show is his manager and friend Jeff Greene (Jeff Garlin). Susie Essman plays Susie Greene, Jeff's short-tempered wife, who is frequently at odds with Larry. Many of the show's frequent guest stars are celebrities and public figures, who will usually play fictionalized versions of themselves. Among the more frequently recurring guest stars are Larry's longtime friend Richard Lewis as well as Ted Danson and his wife Mary Steenburgen.

The show is set and filmed in various affluent Westside communities of (and occasionally in downtown) Los Angeles, as well as in the adjacent cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, and Santa Monica. David's hometown of New York City is featured throughout most of the episodes in season 8.

Episodes

See also: List of Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes

Curb Your Enthusiasm premiered with an hour-long special on October 17, 1999, upon which the series was based. The first eight seasons of the series aired from 2000 to 2011, leading to a prolonged six-year hiatus. The series returned for a ninth season in 2017, followed by the tenth season in 2020.[4]

The episodes are typically named after an event, object, or person that figures prominently in the plot, similarly to how Seinfeld episodes were titled. Unrelated events woven throughout a given episode are tied into an unforced climax that resolves the storylines simultaneously, either to Larry's advantage or detriment. While each episode has a distinct individual plot, most seasons feature a story arc that extends across several episodes and culminates in a finale that often features the return of many of the characters that appeared throughout the season.[7][8]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
SpecialOctober 17, 1999 (1999-10-17)
110October 15, 2000 (2000-10-15)December 17, 2000 (2000-12-17)
210September 23, 2001 (2001-09-23)November 25, 2001 (2001-11-25)
310September 15, 2002 (2002-09-15)November 17, 2002 (2002-11-17)
410January 4, 2004 (2004-01-04)March 14, 2004 (2004-03-14)
510September 25, 2005 (2005-09-25)December 4, 2005 (2005-12-04)
610September 9, 2007 (2007-09-09)November 11, 2007 (2007-11-11)
710September 20, 2009 (2009-09-20)November 22, 2009 (2009-11-22)
810July 10, 2011 (2011-07-10)September 11, 2011 (2011-09-11)
910October 1, 2017 (2017-10-01)December 3, 2017 (2017-12-03)
1010January 19, 2020 (2020-01-19)March 22, 2020 (2020-03-22)

Characters

Main cast

Creator Larry David (left) stars as a fictional version of himself; he also writes the story outline for each episode. Cheryl Hines (right) portrays Larry's fictional wife.
Jeff Garlin (left) stars in the series and is also an executive producer and has directed an episode. Susie Essman (right) plays the wife of Garlin's character.
J. B. Smoove joined the series in season 6 as Leon Black. His character quickly became a fan favorite.
J. B. Smoove joined the series in season 6 as Leon Black. His character quickly became a fan favorite.

Recurring roles

Main article: List of Curb Your Enthusiasm recurring roles

Among the show's many recurring roles, Richard Lewis, Ted Danson, and Wanda Sykes play fictionalized versions of themselves as old friends of Larry with whom he frequently butts heads. Shelley Berman played Larry's father, Nat David. Bob Einstein frequently appeared as Marty Funkhouser, another of Larry's oldest friends. Kaitlin Olson recurred as Becky, Cheryl's sister. In seasons 6 and 7, Vivica A. Fox appears as Loretta Black, a member of the Black family, a family of hurricane evacuees who take refuge in Larry's house upon Cheryl's invitation. Loretta eventually becomes Larry's primary love interest for a time once he and Cheryl split up. Saverio Guerra plays Mocha Joe who first appeared in season 7 and returned as Larry's nemesis in season 10.

Notable guest appearances

Main article: List of Curb Your Enthusiasm guest stars

Celebrities, including actors, comedians, authors, musicians and athletes, often make guest appearances on the show, with a large portion of them playing themselves, or fictional versions thereof. Some of these guest stars who appear as fictionalized versions of themselves include Mary Steenburgen, Lin-Manuel Miranda, F. Murray Abraham, Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft, Michael York, Martin Scorsese, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Christian Slater, Martin Short, Jimmy Kimmel, Lucy Lawless, David Schwimmer, Shaquille O'Neal, Laverne Cox, Rosie O'Donnell, Philip Rosenthal, Josh Mankiewicz, Judge Judy, Ricky Gervais, Michael J. Fox, Salman Rushdie, Elizabeth Banks, Christine Lahti, Hugh Hefner, Alanis Morissette, Chris Martin, Bill Buckner, Mookie Wilson, Jon Hamm, Clive Owen, Sean Penn, Jonah Hill, Mila Kunis, Colby Donaldson and the main cast of SeinfeldJerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards, and Wayne Knight. Notable people who filled in fictional roles include Nick Kroll, Bea Arthur, Ed Asner, Sacha Baron Cohen, Isla Fisher, Stephen Colbert, Steve Coogan, Wayne Federman, Gina Gershon, Dustin Hoffman, Bobby Lee, Samantha Mathis, Tim Meadows, Bryan Cranston, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine O'Hara, Elisabeth Shue, Melissa McCarthy, Jane Krakowski, Chaz Bono, Vince Vaughn and Frank Whaley.

Reception

Critical response

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 89% 80
2 100%
3 100% 93
4 93% 88
5 100% 91
6 87% 89
7 97% 81
8 92% 86
9 74% 74
10 95% 78
Average 92%[11] 84[12]

Curb Your Enthusiasm has received critical acclaim, praised particularly for its writing and the actors' improvisational comedy. The show has enjoyed largely positive critical reception since its debut and has outgrown its early "cult" status.

On Metacritic, the first season of the show scored 80 out of 100 (based on 20 reviews),[13] 93 for season 3 (based on 12 reviews),[14] 88 for season 4 (18 reviews),[15] 91 for season 5 (five reviews),[16] 89 for season 6 (nine reviews),[17] 81 for season 7 (18 reviews),[18] 86 for season 8 (six reviews),[19] 74 for season 9 (10 reviews)[20] and 78 for season 10 (5 reviews).[21]

Slate named the characters of Cheryl David and Susie Greene as two of the best on television and as reasons to look forward to the return of the show in the fall of 2007.[22] Curb Your Enthusiasm has also received praise from Galus Australis magazine for being even more unabashedly Jewish than the Seinfeld series.[23]

Of the show's depiction of Jewish characters, academic Vincent Brook stated, "Curb's commitment to Jewish identification greatly enhances its storytelling capacity, as it lends greater realism and dimension to the characters and opens the show up to episodes with meaningful Jewish themes."[24]

The character of Larry on the show is in many ways reminiscent of the Schlemiel character often present in traditional Yiddish folklore. The schlemiel is usually a comic character whose actions lead to his inevitable downfall, but also stands as a form of resistance to social and cultural values and norms. David Gillota wrote:

As a true schlemiel, Larry's failure serves as a direct challenge to the status quo and encourages viewers to question the myriad unwritten rules that we follow in our everyday lives. Whereas the schlemiel of Eastern Europe encountered problems that mostly affected Eastern European Jews (such as anti-Semitism and economic survival), Larry encounters problems that affect contemporary middle- to upper-class American Jews, namely, Jewish assimilation, secularism, intermarriage, and, as all of these suggest, the Jews' precarious ethnic identity in an increasingly multicultural environment.[25]

In 2016, Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone ranked Curb Your Enthusiasm as the 19th greatest television series ever made.[26]

Journalist James Andrew Miller made the first chapter of his new podcast "Origins" about Curb Your Enthusiasm. The chapter goes across five episodes and was released on September 6, 2017. It documents the genesis of the series, and uses conversations with people involved in the show. The conversations themselves are also released.[27][28]

Awards and nominations

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Curb Your Enthusiasm

The series has received a total of 47 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning twice: Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series for Robert B. Weide for "Krazee-Eyez Killa" in 2003, and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series for Steven Rasch for "Palestinian Chicken" in 2012. The series has received nine nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series and holds the record for most nominations in the category without a win. Larry David has received six nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Cheryl Hines has received two nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Shelley Berman and Michael J. Fox have each received a nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. The series has also received ten nominations for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.[29] The ninth season received four nominations at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, for Outstanding Comedy Series, Larry David for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, and Bryan Cranston and Lin-Manuel Miranda each for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.[30] The tenth season was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, and the series received three further nominations in technical categories.[31]

The series has also received five Golden Globe Award nominations (in 2003 and 2006) and won for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy in 2003. Larry David has been nominated for three Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy in 2003, 2005, and 2006.[32] It has been nominated for four Screen Actors Guild Awards, two for Larry David and two for the ensemble cast.[33][34] It has been nominated six times for the Producers Guild of America Award, winning twice in 2003 and 2005.[35] It has been nominated for eleven Directors Guild of America Awards, winning twice for Bryan Gordon for "The Special Section" in 2003 and Robert B. Weide for "Palestinian Chicken" in 2012.[36] It has been nominated five times for the Writers Guild of America Award, winning once in 2006.[37]

Syndication

When aired in syndication, the series is edited from its original HBO broadcast (for running time and without the TV-MA scenes). On June 2, 2010, the series premiered on the TV Guide Network, making its basic cable debut. The network also recorded a series of related discussions with high-profile guest stars, media pundits, and prominent social figures called "Curb: The Discussion" debating the moral implications depicted in each episode.[38] The show debuted in syndication on local stations and WGN America in September 2010,[39] but was removed the following year due to low ratings.[40] It debuted on TV Land in February 2013.[41]

Home media

VHS release

The first season of Curb Your Enthusiasm was released on VHS in a three-volume box set.[42]

DVD releases

Curb Your Enthusiasm seasons come in a two-disc DVD set with ten episodes.

Season Release dates Bonus features
Region 1[43] Region 2
1 January 13, 2004 May 17, 2004 Commentary by Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines and Robert B. Weide on the pilot episode; interview with Larry David; HBO TV special Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm
2 June 15, 2004 October 18, 2004 None
3 January 18, 2005 February 7, 2005 60 minutes of extras with the cast and directors at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen
4 August 30, 2005 September 26, 2005 None
5 August 1, 2006 September 11, 2006 "The History of Curb... so far" and "The History of Curb... even further" featurettes
6 January 29, 2008 June 9, 2008 "A Conversation with Larry David and Susie Essman"; "On the Set: Curb Your Enthusiasm"; gag reel
7 June 8, 2010 June 7, 2010 Rebuilding the Seinfeld sets; Larry David as George Costanza; interview with Larry David and the Seinfeld cast, and more
8 June 5, 2012 June 11, 2012 "Leon's Guide to NYC"; roundtable discussion with Larry and the cast
9 March 6, 2018 March 5, 2018 Cast memorable moments and deleted scenes
10 July 21, 2020[44] July 20, 2020[45] "What Finally Broke Them"

Other media

Book

A Curb Your Enthusiasm book was released October 19, 2006, published by Gotham Books. The book contains stories from Larry David's past, original interviews and commentary, episode outlines, episode guide, and over 100 full-color photographs. The contents of the book span the first five seasons of the show.[46]

Music

The show is punctuated between scenes with music orchestrated by Wendell Yuponce and from a music library company called Killer Tracks.[47] Frequently heard are instrumental arrangements of the whimsical "Three Little Maids From School Are We" from The Mikado, and the rhythmic Gypsy dance "Les tringles des sistres tintaient" from Carmen. The opening and closing theme song (not mentioned in the credits) is "Frolic" by Italian composer Luciano Michelini. Larry David heard the music used in a bank commercial years before the show was created and thought it had a lighthearted, joyful quality.[48] An unofficial soundtrack was released by Mellowdrama Records in 2006.[49]

References

  1. ^ "Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seasons 1–8". iTunes. Archived from the original on November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Richmond, Ray (July 2003). "Unscripted: Directing HBO's Improv Comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm". DGA Magazine. Archived from the original on May 30, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  3. ^ "Curb Your Enthusiasm: About the Show". HBO. Archived from the original on September 26, 2010. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Petski, Denise (December 11, 2019). "'Curb Your Enthusiasm' Gets Season 10 Premiere Date On HBO". Deadline. Archived from the original on December 11, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  5. ^ Otterson, Joe (June 30, 2020). "'Curb Your Enthusiasm' Renewed for Season 11 at HBO". Variety. Archived from the original on June 30, 2020. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  6. ^ Marin, Rick (July 16, 2007). "The Great And Wonderful Wizard of Odds". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 15, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
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  24. ^ Brook, Vincent (2006). You should see yourself: Jewish identity in postmodern American culture ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. pp. 279–284. ISBN 0-8135-3845-9.
  25. ^ Gillota, David (2010). "Negotiating Jewishness: and the Schlemiel Tradition". Journal of Popular Film and Television. 38 (4): 152–161. doi:10.1080/01956051003725244.
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  46. ^ ASIN B000RWEL7Y
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  49. ^ ASIN B000FDJ31Y