Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Monday, January 12, 2004

An article about Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David in the New Yorker. Interesting article, about his failed stand-up comic beginnings, and a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff about how an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm is conceived and filmed. (Thanks to Howard Bashman for the link.)

In all honesty: I'm not a huge "Curb Your Enthusiasm" fan. I can appreciate that it's funny, I can recognize that Larry David is very talented, and very gifted at what he does, and when I watch an episode, I will usually laugh. But I find the show unsatisfying. I don't seek it out, I don't "like" to watch it. I think it's a idiosyncratic preference I find I have for television shows and movies where I like the characters. I like them to be funny, I like them to be entertaining -- but I also like to like them as people, I like to be able to identify with them, to understand them, to root for them. And the problem I have with Curb Your Enthusiasm -- and that I had with Seinfeld, and Cheers, and that I have with Frasier, for example, is that I don't like any of the characters, I don't identify with them, I don't want to know them, want to watch their lives unfold, want to see them escape from sitcom situations. When I was a kid, I liked "Doogie Howser," I liked "The Wonder Years," I liked the dorky math show on public television, "Square One" with the "MathNet" detective bits (which might not be a good illustration of the point I'm making, but good lists always come in threes). Characters that were, on their own, without the weekly plots and stories, enjoyable to watch, characters I could identify with, and could root for. I feel like that happens to me when I watch movies too. I thought "Finding Forrester" was great. No one else did. I liked "Bubble Boy." Really no one else did. At all. But in "Bubble Boy," the title character had an innocence, a naivete, a vulnerability -- I felt for him, I wanted good things to happen. I watch a movie like "American Beauty," which everyone besides me thought was amazing, and I don't like any of the characters, I don't like the world they live in, and I just don't enjoy the movie. I can't sit through the Lord of the Rings movies, the Matrix movies, anything science-fiction really, because I just can't get caught up in what's going on, I don't care about the world they're in.

All this is just to say the Larry David article is interesting, even if you're not a huge fan of his show. And also I wrote all this because I felt like sharing. :)