A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this cable sitcom is for mature teens and adults only. It includes jokes and themes based on race, disability, religion, etc. that mature folks will understand as ironic, but which the younger set may misinterpret. One character has a porn addiction and talks about it regularly, including discussing masturbation. One season's story arc is based on the idea that the main character can have sex with someone other than his wife as an anniversary present. Though discussed plenty, sex is never shown, other than the occasional comedic grope. Since this is a pay cable series, profanity isn't censored and occurs with enthusiastic regularity. Characters occasionally use drugs, though this isn't a common element. Note: In the version of the show that runs in syndication, profanity and nudity have been edited to meet broadcast standards.
What's the story?
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM is a largely improvised cable sitcom based on the life of Larry David, the co-creator and executive producer of Seinfeld. David plays a version of himself -- a rich semi-retired comedy writer who likes to golf with his loyal friend and agent, Jeff Greene (Jeff Garlin), and go out to dinner with his patient wife, Cheryl (Cheryl Hines). Extending the Seinfeld concept of a "show about nothing," Curb follows Larry during his normal outings -- visits with friends, evenings out with Cheryl, errands around town.
Is it any good?
What makes the show so entertaining and hilarious is Larry's tendency to be socially inappropriate (much like Seinfeld's George Costanza) and get obsessed with tiny details, like Jerry Seinfeld's TV character. Larry's social stumbles aren't your usual gaffes, but rather painful, cringe-inducing idiocy -- like when he jokes with an African-American dermatologist about getting into medical school thanks to affirmative action. When Larry is later forced to ask the dermatologist for a favor, he finds himself in a room full of African Americans who compel him to repeat his tasteless joke and be branded a racist.
While Seinfeld occasionally ventured into adults-only territory, Curb Your Enthusiasm never visits anyplace else. Jeff's wife Susie (Susie Essman) regularly curses up a storm -- not just an expletive here and there, but a steady stream of crude (but funny) vitriol. And in addition to Jeff's penchant for golf, he's a porn addict with a history of infidelity. Nothing is off limits in David's comedic world: He takes on religion, disability, even the death of his own mother.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Larry David's inappropriate comments. Do you think the character is prejudiced against certain types of people? What about the real-life Larry? How accurate a reflection of his life do you think the show is?
What makes Larry's comments funny? What is the purpose of this kind of humor? Why does his wife put up with him?
For Seinfeld fans: Can you spot similarities between Larry and his Seinfeld characters? Do you remember Seinfeld episodes that dealt with similar issues to those you see here?