And so, the end is here, in a final, feature-length, classic Curb in which Larry David (the real one, ex-Seinfeld writer) has his semi-fictional counterpart bump up against the big questions... Where do I come from? Why am I here? Who made me? Is there some kind of ‘soul’ that might live on after I die? Will I be punished in Heaven for stealing Hugh Hefner’s smoking jacket?
Judging by the excellent couplet of behind-the-scenes docs, Curb Your Enthusiasm is a form of public primal-scream therapy for Larry David. Fictional Larry is the extreme, dark side of Real Larry; the version with a faulty tact filter. He’s all of our parallel, unedited selves made flesh.
While anyone might amuse themselves with the notion of the bingo game in their parent’s nursing home being “fixed”, only Larry would quietly advise the house doctor to “keep an eye on” the elderly lady he suspects to be the chief scammer. Most (rich) people would discuss with their partner how the housekeeper’s breasts look disturbingly over-large and that she really ought to wear a bra; only Larry would raise the issue with the housekeeper – and offer to buy her the bra himself.
While season four frequently stumbled a little close to the edge of unfocused silliness – and, once or twice, clumsy farce – this is back to the essence of why Curb is so equally horrifying and compulsive: it’s Larry’s familiar, petty-paranoid foibles that cause his troubles to escalate. And when he finally gets an answer to the biggest of those big questions, salvation is dependent on negotiating the correct social etiquette. God help him...
BEST BIT When Larry meets an ex-lover of Jeff’s, she tells him he had a tiny penis. For Jeff, though, it’s simply a question of perspective. “Those big vagina ladies get away with murder