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Discussion in 'TV Board' started by Jack Parkman, Nov 12, 2019.
That looks amazing.
favorite comedy of all time. cant wait
Oh my lawd at John Hamm being Larry Jr
The Incredibly Happy Life of Larry David, TV's Favorite Grouch
We venture into the peculiar alternate reality of Larry David and begin to wonder: Is the world's most infamously neurotic man actually its most self-actualized?
The kid is wearing a T-shirt reading “EAT MORE AVOCADO,” one of the designs for sale at this Venice Beach café at which he's a server, along with “WE SELL DESIGNER KALE” and “BEET IT.” He's waiting on me and Larry David, who is of course dressed precisely like Larry David—gray knit hoodie, dark long-sleeve T-shirt with a white shirt beneath that, beige jeans, and sneakers. David chooses or approves all the wardrobe for Curb Your Enthusiasm, and then he keeps all the clothes, from blazers to socks, creating a seamless visual loop between Larry and the character he calls TV Larry.
So Larry David is sitting there, using his very Larry David voice to discuss very Larry David things: breakfast preferences (today, scrambled egg whites, grilled onions, and sliced avocado), the relative pleasures of killing flies and ants (flies are more satisfying), and yes, clothes, about which, unsurprisingly, David has Thoughts. The son of a garment-district salesman, David has always approached clothing with something of a tailor's eye. The very first Seinfeld gag was about shirt-button placement; the first Curb Your Enthusiasm centered on a crotch cut too big, thus simulating an erection. He has a code: One should wear only one “nice” piece of clothing at a time. “Otherwise it's too much,” he says. “Too dressed. You have to be half-dressed. That's my fashion theory, since you asked: Half Is More.”
In nearly two decades of interviewing people for this fashion magazine, I have rarely spent even this much time discussing fashion. But then I've seldom profiled a Fashion Icon. Is there a more recognizable, self-assured, incredibly specific wardrobe to be found anywhere in pop culture? The tear-shaped Oliver Peoples glasses alone have now approached a Groucho Marx or John Lennon level of personal identification. David has worn them since the early 1990s. He used to own only two pairs, until a suitably paranoid producer recently went on a worldwide hunt and came up with a few backups. They were the first thing he grabbed last October, when the Getty Fire forced him to evacuate his Pacific Palisades home.
“Jerry said I dressed like an Upper West Side communist,” David says, referring to the Jerry with whom he created Seinfeld,back in 1989. I think of the look as Alpha TV Writer: In a profession where status is measured by how casually and comfortably one can arrive at work, David's wardrobe qualifies as a kind of normcore bling.
In the course of all this pleasant kibitzing, David's decaf Americano has gone tragically tepid. He beckons to the Avocado Kid, who has hovered nearby.
“Let me ask you,” David says. “To make this a little hotter, you have to make a whole new thing, right?”
“Or dilute it,” says the server. “But we'll probably just make a whole new thing.”
“I'm going to tell you in advance, I'm only going to drink about this much of it,” says David, fingers measuring a tiny pinch.
“It is what it is,” the kid says agreeably.
“You know what? Put it in the microwave.”
“We don't have a microwave.”
“Okay,” says David. “Let's forget it.” The kid shrugs, apologizes, and withdraws as David and I return to our discussion, which has now moved on to his disdain for the supposed innovation of UNTUCKit shirts: “Like nobody ever wore their shirt out and noticed that it was too long? We all noticed.…”
But lo! Just as he gets rolling, the server returns, having seized the initiative and bearing a fresh hot carafe of Americano. “I just had him make another one,” he says proudly as he tops off our cups. “Great, thank you,” says David. And then he pauses a long moment.
“But…just for the sake of discussion…” He purses his lips, raises his eyebrows. “Shouldn't you have brought a new cup?”
“What?” says the server.
“So you don't put it in the old, cold coffee. Here, let me see.” He takes a delicate sip.
“Is it hotter?” asks the server uncertainly.
“It's a little hotter,” concedes David. “But don't you see how you defeated the purpose?”
The kid has a small grin frozen on his face. On the one hand, there is a real customer-service situation to be reckoned with. On the other, he must feel, as I do, deeply disoriented, as though he has passed through the looking glass and into an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. It's like getting a living room concert from the Rolling Stones.
A few more seconds and the server snaps out of it, finding his line. “Well…live and learn,” he says, smiling. “Every day I'm working on my craft.”
David grins too, gratified by the repartee. “I know, I know,” he calls after the server as he moves away. “I know you're going to be a great waiter someday!”
I have, in the line of duty, met actors who seem like they are continuing to play their most famous roles in real life—Pierce Brosnan, say, who ordered a martini in the opulent hotel where we met without so much as a knowing Bondian wink. Never before David, though, have I been around a celebrity whose actual persona so immaculately and surreally matched their onscreen one.
The simplest explanation is that they are the same person. Or close enough that it would be hard to fit the page of a script between them. David bestows his own travails and kvetches on TV Larry, of course. But also his existence is so circumscribed—“My whole life is spent in three places: home, the office, and the golf club,” he says—that some things that happen to TV Larry because they happened to Real Larry wind up happening to Real Larry again. When we leave the restaurant to retrieve David's Tesla Model S from a lot, he initially attempts to give the valet ticket to a dark-skinned guy in a reflective vest who just happens to be standing near the entrance—a mistake exactly like one made by TV Larry way back in season four.
For all these circles within circles, the Case of the Diluted Americano is cut-and-dried: “Am I supposed to not say something?” he says.
“Yes, you're supposed to not say something,” I say, feeling like a Pollyanna.
“So most people would not say something.”
“Of course not.”
“Even if he didn't know me, I would have said something,” he insists. “After all, what did I do? I pointed something out. I didn't insult him or anything.”
It is almost reflexive—for reasons of temperament and ethnicity—to describe David as “neurotic.” Sitting there with him in what I had already begun to think of as Larry World, I start to believe maybe this is exactly wrong. It occurs to me that Larry David may be the most self-actualized person I have ever met.
In truth, my time in Larry World begins several weeks before we meet in Venice. For one thing, we've talked on the phone, during which call David has assured me that this whole thing—story, photo shoot, magazine cover—is going to be a disaster. “I'm trying to figure out who to pay to get out of it!” he said. This is something he's done before, with other writers about to attempt profiles, but there's no reason to believe it's not heartfelt. He's talked to my editor, too, warning that if the plan is to get under his surface, I might as well give up now: “Believe me, there's nothing there!”
Also, for several weeks, I've been immersed in watching or rewatching the 90 episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm that precede the 10th season, about to begin on HBO. It is not uncommon, in the midst of such binges, for the fictional universe of the binged show to bleed into the tenor of real life, but this is an especially hard case. My world suddenly seems filled with egregious slights and social transgressions, a vast parking lot of carelessly parked cars. An editor emails to offer me an assignment. I write back with the sign-off “Nice to meet you,” though I realize, as I click Send, we met years before. “No worries,” he writes back, after pointing this out, but it's the last I hear of that assignment. I can't help but notice a friend's habit of letting me pay for the Uber when we go out to dinner but then arranging for another friend to drive us home for free. I decide, after a year of thinking about it, to ask the woman who cuts my hair about the protocol of tipping her, since she also owns the salon. It goes really terribly. Larry World, I start to see, consists less of a series of imaginative events than a perpetual state of combat, righteous or otherwise, with the universe. It is exhausting.
To some extent we all live in Larry World; it's why Curb's theme song, “Frolic,” works laid over nearly any video on YouTube. I should admit, though, that I may be especially susceptible. David and I grew up in adjacent Brooklyn neighborhoods and attended rival high schools, albeit 25 years apart. He is such a kaleidoscopic amalgam of men I grew up surrounded by—grandfathers, uncles, great-uncles, teachers, Jackie Mason, Alan King, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, men in black socks trudging across the sands of Coney Island selling knishes: all the alter kockers of my Brooklyn Jewish youth—that I can't always be sure I haven't known him my entire life. So deep is the ancestral chord he strikes in me that whenever I hear the opening tuba of “Frolic,” I practically taste whitefish.
It's something of a mystery to me that the sensibility seems to resonate as vividly everywhere else in America. Twenty-two years after it went off the air, Seinfeld remains omnipresent, a staple of local TV in places across the country where people don't know their Boca from a babka. Netflix recently secured the streaming rights to the series for a reported excess of $500 million.
“I want someone to explain it to me,” David says, when I ask about the enduring appeal. “I really don't get it, other than—and it's not very profound—it's funny. And when something's funny, people like it.”
Meanwhile, Curb has been with us since shortly after the last presidential impeachment. It was the comedy component of HBO's invention of prestige TV, arriving hot on the heels of The Sopranos, whose creator, David Chase, once told me, in what I took as at least 75 percent seriousness, that he thought he and David could have switched places, with Chase writing the comedy and David the drama. Now Tony Soprano is long gone, along with Don Draper, Walter White, Vic Mackey, and the rest of his cohort. Only Larry persists: The Last Difficult Man.
Unrepentant white-male bad behavior may be slightly less fashionable these days, but Larry's crimes and misdemeanors are so well established that they feel grandfathered in. (This may be tested by a #MeToo plotline in season 10, about which I am permitted to say no more, given the modern fetish for TV secrecy. “Larry wants every show to be like a pimple,” says executive producer Jeff Schaffer. “You have no idea it's coming; just wake up in the morning and it's there.”) For the most part, Curb has sailed into the third decade of the 21st century unmolested by events and changes outside—or, really, even inside—its bubble. Wars may rage, despots may rise, divorces may be endured, both onscreen and off, TV Larry will still find time to obsess over the intricacies of party invites and thank-you calls.
We head back up the hill to his house. For two days, I've continued to mull the “neurotic” question: Is he or isn't he? To be sure, he is a creature of routine, verging on the compulsive; he must make the trip into his office every day, even if only for a brief visit. He dislikes travel, with all its disruptions. He is an assiduously healthy eater and claims to be something of a hypochondriac, but then admits he doesn't “rush off to the doctor” at every provocation, which I'm pretty sure gets you kicked out of the hypochondriac club. And some of his social hang-ups clearly are not shtick. “I've lost all ability to talk to people at a social gathering,” he says at one point, shaking his head. “I don't know what it is. I just can't even face them. It gets worse all the time. I can't go to parties anymore.”
Still, I'm forced to conclude that Larry David, for all his demands on the world, suffers very little from its perpetual failures.
“People are under the wrong impression when it comes to me being happy or not,” he says. “I think most people think that I'm miserable. Or that I'm a very disgruntled person. But I'm not. I have a very good disposition.”
When it's time for me to leave, David walks me toward the door but then stops. I see the pursed lips and raised eyebrows and brace myself. “Let me ask you a question: At the club, which urinal did you use?”
“When you went to the bathroom at Riviera. Which urinal?” He pantomimes the layout of the club's men's room. “You walk in, and then there are three urinals—closest, middle, and farthest from the door. Which do you think is the right one to use?”
“Which one do you think?” I ask warily.
The first or second, he explains, on the reverse-psychological theory that most people will choose the third, thinking it the least used, thus leaving the others cleaner.
“Aha!” I pounce. “But you can't use the middle one, because that then forces anybody who comes in to stand next to you, whichever one they choose.”
I am sure now that I could stay here forever, discussing these pressing matters while the California sun rose and set a thousand and one times on Larry World. But we've already reached the door.
“Okay, okay.” David nods as he opens it. “I hadn't really considered the Neighboring Factor. Okay.” And then he sets me free.
Brett Martin is a GQ correspondent.
A version of this story originally appeared in the February 2020 issue with the title “The Incredibly Happy Life of TV's Favorite Grouch.”
Did not get me excited for tonight
Happy New Year
Love the big goodbye
That was excellent. He crammed a lot of things into that episode.
That was a great episode
Fuck Ted Imo
Latte Larry’s imo
“My Man Larry David. tappin dat ass....”
Jeff being mistaken for Harvey Weinstein was great
Forgot how good Larry and Cheryl play off each other.
started with a little getting the band back together vibe, very curb brand schtick, then just hit the gas in the second half and reminded me why the show is so great
also phils show is fun
might start a full rewatch of curb
Great episode. Larry wearing a MAGA hat to avoid people is classic.
It always tickles me that Leon is still living with Larry 13 years later
Fantastic. He’s still throwing 98 mph.
Leon's "tappin hour" shit killed me
The knocking over the scooters...
I have to admit I wish they didn't tell a story that trivializes the whole #metoo thing. That feels unsympathetic and slimy.
meh... I think he’s merely playing fun with how over the top a lot of the “me too” stuff has gotten.
Yea sorry, I'm one of those guys that doesn't consider the vast majority of it to be "over the top". And yea, it was funny to watch Larry accidentally grope this girl but at the end of the day the accident doesn't happen if he doesn't behave completely inappropriately by reaching for her in the first place. She has every right to feel violated but the scene makes it seem like Larry is caught in one of those innocent fuck up moments. That shit is toxic.
I'm really excited to knock out my 1st rewatch tonight. There were so many great lines I've already forgotten half of them
what are you, a goose?
also Leon's chain. I hope they never formally acknowledge it and he just wears it all season.
She's a server holding a tray and he reached for food on the tray after telling her he was going to do it. It wasn't remotely "completely inappropriate." I think you're taking it a little far here
She's got her back to him at the point he reaches around. It's a totally ridiculous way to behave.
She was definitely out of line, we agree on that
Her pupils were really dilated as she exited the pantry
I thought the part they were parodying more was his assistant/admin who had her own "metoo" conversation with the caterer. That is what I took away from him making fun of was someone who didnt have a remotely close situation but who tried to include their experience as the same.
We are same. The parody is on the snowball effect of the overall me-too movement not trying to let Harvey off the hook.
For anyone to say that Larry following a cocktail waitress around because he’s trying to get pigs in blankets = sexual harassment is embodying the problem Larry is making fun of.
How has nobody mentioned Larry snapping the selfie stick in half within the first 2 minutes of the episode?
Sometimes I wonder if they throw red herrings like that in episodes to keep us on our toes with how things will tie together at the end.
I get the idea of not liking the joke and making light of the movement. All very valid. But in this situation he was literally just trying grab a pig in a blanket and she was being a cunt. Its on her in this very fictional situation.
i love your use of the word “cunt” while showing sympathy for the metoo movement
If guys can be dicks girls can be cunts IMO
Cheryl did L-Vid dirty. Let the man side sit.
If you end up with your hands on a women's breasts because you weren't allowed an hors d'oeuvre, *you* have made the error, not the woman denying you your snack. Jfc.
I did find it pretty funny watching LD struggle to move through the "consent" phase in the 2nd ep, mere hours after dbl made it obvious he was unclear on the concept in the Kobe thread.
Larry is hammering this whole "woe is me I'm a Male and now I don't know how to date women because of metoo" and it's mostly nauseating to me.
Jeff's expressions with the painting fiasco were amazing. Love every time Lary has to explain the spite store. Suzy going from the elation of the painting to chewing out Milos was also hysterical.
I mean, yeah his bad for GRABBING the boob, but it wasnt because he "wasnt allowed" the pig in a blanket, it was just a poorly placed grabbed for said pig in the blanket.