King Edward. King Edward, Jerry.
Yeah, well, King Edward didn’t live in Queens with Frank and Estelle Constanza.
Recently completing a whirlwind watching of the complete series of Curb Your Enthusiasm—a show I hung my head as a Seinfeld aficionado in not being overly familiar with sans 5 episodes or so pre-watching—I was struck by many things most wouldn’t think to contemplate. This isn’t a brag in the slightest, more that I think I was predetermined to see different aspects than others as I had waited to see everything this long (so the shows influences had sunk in), had so immersed myself in Seinfeld (I think I’ve seen every episode at least five times and some as much as 15 or 20 times) over the years, and lastly, the condensed time frame (the entire Series in about 6 weeks or so) allowed for some of the more subtle nuances to expose themselves in what could almost be called ‘glaringly’. The show, as implied with the tongue thoroughly in cheek title, was in many ways a direct commentary on Seinfeld; on the show Larry David created, or more exactly, the show he tried and thought he (co-) created.
That last point, the show Larry David tried, and thought he co-created was one of the more interesting thoughts for me to consider. Largely because it synced with many of my thoughts on Seinfeld as well. Every time we see a cast member from Seinfeld acting as some version of their ‘real’ self (I use quotes because there is quite a bit of sarcasm going on there) a sly point is made; Elaine is a wonderful examination of feminine individuality because David appears to, on some level, see Julia Louise-Dreyfus as overly headstrong and stubborn (can be a negative and/or a positive). Kramer was sublimely aloof and irreverent because Michael Richards is some sort of pie-in-the-sky dreamer, one easily distracted by adult life. Jerry Seinfeld, seemed to get the fairest shake on Curb, always mingling with Larry step-for-step, every bit the equal that their much covered life-long friendship would indicate. Then there is the caricaturization of Larry David himself, in the George Costanza character, as realized by Jason Alexander in the role of a lifetime performance on Seinfeld. Curb handles this relationship in the most interesting manner, breaking from the others by seemingly not saying anything about Jason Alexander as he pertained to the ‘real life’ George Constanza. In fact, the most important thing to take away from their relationship, is how much Larry David thinks he fundamentally didn’t understand what George Constanza really meant and what he symbolized. Jason Alexander is used by Larry David as a mouthpiece to fully confront the prevailing idea in our culture of George Costanza as a liar, a schlub, a bum, or an endless screw up/off. David appears to think—and here is where I agree with him—that where Costanza came from, and why he reacted to every situation the way he did went over virtually everyone’s heads, including, rather ironically, the very actor that played him on screen. It seems to me that Larry David thought people misread him (as he is the original basis of the George character), but also, in the very actions where the character strays from the real life Larry David (and what these actions imply about him and the satire being employed).