As Curb Your Enthusiasm gets ready to take over our TV screens with its tenth season this Tuesday night, Getintothis’ Nathan O’Hagan reflects on all the times Larry David was, in fact, in the right.
Larry David, the curmudgeon’s curmudgeon. Or, as Susie Green would have it, a “bald asshole” and a “four-eyed fuck”.
A man who alienates and enrages wherever he goes, and whatever he does. But, for all his infuriating behaviour, he isn’t always in the wrong.
While it’s difficult to defend him calling someone he’s just met a cunt at an informal card game, or stealing flowers from Funkhouser’s mum’s memorial site, he’s often unfairly maligned and mistreated.
With season ten soon upon us, here are eleven times when Larry did the right thing.
1. The Tourette’s Chef
Having inadvertently hired a chef with Tourette’s to work in the open kitchen of the restaurant he is investing in along with Ted Danson, Jeff and Michael Yorke, Larry is unable to sack him because he mistakenly believes him to be a survivor.
On the restaurant’s opening nights, diners are stunned by an outburst of “fuckhead, shitface, cocksucker, asshole” and“son of a bitch” from the kitchen.
Recalling an act of solidarity from earlier in the episode when a group of high schoolers shaved their heads in support of a classmate with leukaemia, Larry responds with “scumsucking, motherfucking whore”. His fellow owners join in, soon followed by the diners, and a man’s blushes are sparred in a mass act of foul-mouthed empathy.
2. The Halloween Candy
Visited by two older teens on Halloween night, Larry refuses to give them any candy, pointing out that they are both too old, and not wearing costume.
Where many a weaker person would capitulate, fearful of the consequential trick, our hero stands his ground, and sends them away empty handed.
Despite the inevitable vandalism, including “bald asshole” being spray painted on his home “that’s a hate crime”, and despite Cheryl’s protestations that he should have just given them the candy, Larry undoubtedly did the right thing. “I will not be intimidated, even on Halloween,” Larry tells the police.
The world needs more people like him.
3. Pre-dinner Drinks
Having booked a table for dinner, Cheryl wants to stop off on the way to the restaurant for a drink in a new hotel. Larry quite rightly resists, wanting to head straight to the restaurant, rather than have to bother finding somewhere to park, then journey on to the restaurant.
Unwilling to see sense, Cheryl decides to cancel their plans all together. Later in the same episode, Cheryl wants to leave another restaurant before dessert. Fair enough you might think, until you realise she wants to visit another restaurant.
For dessert. Madness. Again, Larry rightly protests, once again incurring the wrath of his wife. Larry may have cost himself a meal out and possibly the chance of sex with his wife, but he was right to stand against this madness.
4. The Sample Abuser
Free sample abusers. There are lower forms of life, but not many.
When Larry visits an ice cream parlour and finds himself stuck behind a woman taking a free sample of every single flavour of ice cream, Larry calls her out. And when he does, he’s not just doing it because he’s being inconvenienced, he’s doing it for the staff who have to smile and politely endure, he’s doing it for all of us who have ever been stuck behind these sample abusers.
5. The Therapist Thong
On the advice of his therapist, Larry decides to go against every instinct in his body and accompany Cheryl to the beach. Unfortunately, the beach in question is also frequented by said therapist.
Bad enough that Larry may have to do a beach-based equivalent of the stop and chat (see below), but he experiences far worse when he spots his therapist upon arrival. And he’s wearing a thong. A garish, multicoloured thong.
This is an act inexcusable for any man, but especially when the man in question is a pudgy, middle aged man. “Kiss that therapist goodbye” Larry says, and rightly so.
How could anyone reasonably be expected to take counsel from a man willing to let his flabby arse hang out on a public beach? Larry sacrifices his own mental well-being to do the right thing.
6. The Stop And Chat
Walking around L.A with Jeff, a man approaches and greets Larry, who gives a perfectly acceptable and friendly enough response, and keeps walking, despite the other man slowing down.
Jeff, often Larry’s only defender and ally, admonishes him for walking on. “He wanted to do a stop and chat” Larry explains, quite reasonably pointing out that, as an employee of a restaurant he occasionally visits rather than an actual friend, he didn’t warrant a stop and chat.
Just one example among many of Larry righteously rejecting the pointless conventions of polite society.
7. The Meeting Venue
Excited to pitch a new show idea to old collaborator Jason Alexander, Larry agrees to drive across L.A. to hold the meeting at Jason’s office.
Nothing ever runs smoothly for Larry, however, and car related tumult results in him turning up late. Agreeing to reschedule, Larry suggests holding the next meeting at his office, but Jason insists, as the full meeting didn’t take place, he should again host Larry, who rightly points out that he has driven across town in good faith, and that Jason should now reciprocate.
Jason refuses to see sense, and the project breaks down, with Larry taking the show idea to the far more reasonable and accommodating Julia Louis-Dreyfuss.
8. Stiller’s Snot
Asked to play Max Bialystock in a production of The Producers, Larry goes to see the show, and meets Ben Stiller, already cast as Leo Bloom, in the lobby.
After a brief stop and chat (Stiller warranting one) Stiller sneezes into his hand, before offering it for Larry to shake. Understandably not wanting to get another man’s mucus all over his hand, he rejects the handshake, instead giving his co-star-to-be a friendly pat on the back.
Stiller takes exception to this, bringing it up in a later episode and claiming that it was a dry sneeze. “I gotta assume wet” Larry counters.
Of course he does.
9. Stiller’s ‘Birthday’ Present
Stiller again. As rehearsals for The Producers progress (slowly, given Larry’s inability to learn even the simplest of dance routines), Stiller invites the cast and crew to a birthday party, despite it being three weeks since his actual birthday.
“No presents” he insists. Having rightly pointed out that, after three weeks, the cut-off for a party has long since passed, he takes Stiller at his word and turns up to the parry giftless, only to discover everyone else has brought gifts.
Again, Stiller later takes exception, though this may have been exacerbated by Larry accidentally stabbing him in the eye with a kebab skewer, and refusing to sit up front for the last couple of blocks of their drive after dropping Stiller’s wife off. Which is, by the way, another time when Larry was right.
10. Schwimmer’s Watch
Unable to cope with Larry, Stiller quits The Producers, to be replaced by David Schwimmer. Just before opening night, Schwimmer loses his watch at the hotel. Finding it on the chamber maid’s cart, Larry senses an opportunity to redeem himself with a man he has already offended multiple times.
Somehow, he manages to re-lose the watch between the hotel and rehearsal venue. Schwimmer outrageously claims that Larry should now reimburse him for a watch that he already believed to be lost.
Despite several cast and crew members supporting Schwimmer’s ludicrous stance, Larry refuses to capitulate, and later redeems himself by physically wrestling the watch from the wrist of hotel employee, with even Schwimmer accepting he was in the wrong.
11. The House Tour
When Jeff and Susie move into a new house, Susie offers Larry the house tour. Quite why Susie would think Larry, of all people, would have any interest whatsoever in looking at bedrooms and bathrooms is anyone’s guess.
This is a man with barely any interest in his own home, never mind anybody else’s. Larry politely refuses, and is met with the usual vitriol from Susie, who throws him out of the house.
With these rejections of futile niceties, Larry speaks for many of us. He’s our man in the field, saying what many of us think but are too bound by societal constraints to say.