‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Meets #MeToo

And Yes, Jeff Garlin Looks Like Harvey Weinstein

There’s plenty of politics in the first episode of the tenth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David discovers that wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat is a way to get out of things he doesn’t want to do, like have lunch with Phil Rosenthal or sit next to anyone at a sushi bar. “It’s a great people repellent,” he says.

The episode also contains plenty of standard Curb Your Enthusiasm action. It begins with Larry walking down the street, grabbing some random man’s selfie stick, and breaking it over his knee. This isn’t even a plot point. It’s just a random act of urban revenge against general idiocy. A couple of scenes later, Larry does it again, casually toppling over a row of scooters taking up space on a West L.A. sidewalk.

Larry bickers with Richard Lewis, he makes fun of Suzie, he has a run-in with a coffee guy named Mocha Joe, and he complains about random things like wobbly tables and people who say “Happy New Year” well into January. But that’s just standard furniture for the show at this point, like Leon bragging about how much ass he taps or Jeff Garlin’s phlegmatic sighing. This season has its sights on a juicer target: #MeToo.

What could a rich, privileged white Hollywood executive type have to say about #MeToo? After all, his type of guy is the exact target of the movement. I think if you had to ask the real Larry David his real sentiments about #MeToo, he’d be sympathetic to victims of sexual harassment. But this season of Curb is going to have a lot of fun with the idea that a relatively innocent guy can get caught up in historical circumstances he can’t control. The episode has a lot of fun with the fact that Garlin looks a lot like Harvey Weinstein. In today’s Hollywood, associating with someone who even resembles the industry’s greatest predator is a crime, or at least a thoughtcrime. Only Curb Your Enthusiasm has the temerity to make fun of this situation.

Curb Your Enthusiasm has painted Larry David as an accidental perv before. But as opposed to, say, the legendary ending of the Season 2 episode “The Doll,” (“Mommy mommy that bald man’s in the bathroom and there’s something hard in his pants!”), the first episode of  Season 10 doesn’t dole out a quick #MeToo shame Larry’s way. He ends the episode by knocking over a pregnant woman in the hospital, but the way things look, that’s going to be the least of his problems.

Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm Season One
Season 10 of Curb Your Enthusiasm isn’t going well for Larry (Photo: Courtesy of HBO).

 

First, Larry asks his annoying new receptionist what her tattoo represents. When she tells him it’s personal and private, he says then she should have gotten it tattooed on her ass instead of on her arm. Then he proceeds to wipe his glasses on a sash on her blouse, which she clearly considers a violation of consent rules. But really, he’s just a doofus whose glasses were dirty.

Later, at a cocktail party at Jeff and Susie’s, Larry becomes obsessed with a tray of pigs in blankets that keeps getting passed around, but that he keeps missing. The server is an attractive young woman, and when Larry turns a longing glance toward her tray, she looks disgusted, even though all he wants is a cocktail wiener. In an act of complete cluelessness, he follows her into the kitchen, reaches for a pig in a blanket, and accidentally ends up fondling her breast. He looks ashamed of himself and slinks away, hoping that this never comes up again.

But it does. The server calls his office. She and the receptionist commiserate in what is almost certainly going to become a cascading series of harassment allegations against Larry David, serial pervert.

The irony of all this is that Larry is kind of a sex pig. And while Jeff Greene certainly isn’t Harvey Weinstein, he is a serial philanderer. In this same episode, Larry sleeps with his ex-wife Cheryl, who technically is in a relationship with Ted Danson, a person preferable to Larry David in nearly every way. And he loads up his dick with talcum powder. But there’s a big difference between being a clumsy weirdo and where I think this season is headed.

In post-Weinstein Hollywood, the hunters have become the hunted, sometimes for good reasons. But even though Larry David never hunted anything, and, in fact, just wants to be left alone, the knives are out for him. It’s going to make his ritual humiliation at the end of Season 2 seem like very mild punishment.

Larry David shamed in Curb Your Enthusiasm
Larry David steals forks from restaurants (Photo: Courtesy of HBO).

Neal Pollack

Book and Film Globe Editor in Chief Neal Pollack is the author of 11 semi-bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction, including the memoirs Alternadad and Stretch, the novels Repeat and Downward-Facing Death, and the cult classic The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature. He's written articles and humor for every English-language publication except The New Yorker. Neal lives in Austin, Texas, and is a three-time Jeopardy! champion.

2 thoughts on “‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Meets #MeToo

  • January 24, 2020 at 10:25 am
    Permalink

    A really GOOD episode of Curb….lacking in only one thing….Marty Funkhouser (Bob Einstein). Bob’s absence is sorely missed. IT would have been nice to at least mention him, if not his passing. (For a nice tribute to Bob/Marty, see this: [ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1713309033 ] ).
    Even the ‘extra’ screen time with Richard Lewis and JB/Leon screen time cant replace the Einstein/Funkhouser moments with LD.

    Reply
    • January 24, 2020 at 10:35 am
      Permalink

      We definitely miss Marty! Maybe I’ll do another piece about that later in the season…

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *