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Curb Your Enthusiasm starts Sunday

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Faos, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

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    and I can't wait! Best show on television.

    http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2003-12-30-curb-main_x.htm

    Larry David's 'Enthusiasm' proves contagious

    By Gary Levin, USA TODAY

    Get ready for the return of HBO's biggest social misfit.

    Curb Your Enthusiasm, the improvised comedy back for a fourth season Sunday (9:30 p.m. ET/PT), presents the brash, sometimes unlikable world of Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, who plays a slightly exaggerated version of himself — an irritable TV producer who is constantly, often innocently, putting a giant foot in his mouth. Unwitting snubs escalate into intricate social disasters of epic proportions. (Related item: Curb your need to rehearse)

    Imagine Seinfeld's George Costanza — a character David based on himself — only a bit more domesticated. "The big difference is I have a good relationship and George Costanza never really did," David says. "He could never be married."

    Curb, which began as a 1999 HBO special, has moved from a Hollywood-insider cult hit to a mainstream HBO treat: Curb's audience last season doubled to 4.5 million viewers, helped by its Sopranos lead-in. Along with David, Curb features Cheryl Hines as his loving but exasperated wife, Jeff Garlin as his agent, and a parade of celebrity guests, playing themselves, who endure David's ham-fisted attempts at etiquette.

    "He's socially challenged, and he doesn't understand why he needs to follow the rules society has set," Hines says. "He just makes up his own."

    A case in point in the season opener: Mel Brooks invites Larry to star with Ben Stiller in The Producers, only to see Larry refuse to shake his new co-star's hand after Stiller sneezes into it. Larry also engages in an agitated argument with a top doctor about why patients are forbidden to make calls from examining rooms.

    Is Larry David like his TV alter ego? "The Larry David character is much more likable than I am," he says. "I love the character, and I cannot stand myself. He's more honest; he tells you what he thinks. He's just saying things a lot of us would like to say but can't because of normal social boundaries, and he seems to be able to step over those lines — but not with impunity, I might add."

    Says executive producer and frequent director Robert Weide: "The fictional Larry David is basically the real Larry David but slightly amped up for comic effect. He's closer to the Larry David I knew 20 years ago," before Seinfeld. Wealth and fame have "mellowed" the former stand-up comedian, Saturday Night Live writer and, with Jerry Seinfeld, creator of one of TV's classic sitcoms.

    Previous seasons have centered on Larry's efforts to sell a new series to a TV network, and on plans to open a restaurant with Ted Danson and Michael York. Now comes Mel Brooks and The Producers, with Stiller and, later, Friends' David Schwimmer as foils. Seinfeld — in a non-speaking cameo, David says — will appear in this season's hour-long finale.

    "People either love the show or they hate it," says Weide. "It's a very singular comic vision. People are now starting to see through Curb what a force Larry was in Seinfeld."
     
  2. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

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    Directors, actors jump in unprepared for HBO hit 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

    http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2003-12-30-curb-sidebar_x.htm

    By Gary Levin, USA TODAY

    HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm has won a loyal following for its biting humor, unpredictable twists and dialogue that seems, well, natural — at least by TV-sitcom standards.

    That's largely because of the unusual way the show is produced: While a typical sitcom is planned down to the last canned guffaw, with actors rehearsing 50-page scripts, Curb shoots using only a detailed seven-page story outline. Actors improvise the dialogue, and some — including celebrity guest stars from Shaquille O'Neal to Martin Scorsese — are kept in the dark about key plot points to give the show a loose, "anything goes" feel.

    "For me, it's a stale experience to watch most television sitcoms. It sounds like it came from a writer's pen," says Jeff Garlin, a stand-up comedian and actor (Daddy Day Care) who plays Jeff Greene, star Larry David's agent. On Curb, "The actors know what's needed in a scene, and make up their own dialogue. If we have what we need, we move on. If we don't, we keep shooting." (Related item: Larry David's Enthusiasm proves contagious)

    But it's not always easy for the uninitiated, especially celebrity guests accustomed to having every "T" crossed.

    "As soon as they're told they play themselves and their dialogue will be improvised, they're terrified," says executive producer and frequent director Robert Weide.

    Comedians comfortable with being quick on their feet, such as Richard Lewis and this season's Ben Stiller, are more game, while occasional guest couple Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen were "fearful going in," Weide says.

    No wonder: "Actors are only told what their characters would know, and they're told what needs to happen in a scene. And there's no rehearsal. The first time any dialogue comes out of anyone's mouth, the cameras are rolling."

    "The first two seasons, I didn't even get a story outline," says Cheryl Hines, who plays Larry's wife, Cheryl. "It was crazy; I would walk in and ask the hair and makeup people if they knew what the scene was about so I'd have some sort of idea. They didn't, either."

    When confronted with one of David's social faux pas, such as the time he cut the hair off a rare doll collected by the daughter of a network executive, "I truly don't know what's happened, if I believe him or if he's lying. It's a really fun way of working. I find myself asking, 'What's wrong with you?' a lot, or 'Why would you do that?' "

    David says it's just more fun to work that way. "It's 50 times harder to shoot and harder to edit because there are a lot of takes," with each scene often filmed eight or more times, then pieced together in editing.

    As a result, it takes seven or eight days to shoot a single half-hour episode, about the same time allowed for a longer network drama. But he rejected the idea of doing a conventional scripted comedy like, well, Seinfeld, the monster hit he created with Jerry Seinfeld.

    "I just wouldn't want to do it. It's fun to make it up. Plus, I don't believe I could memorize it," David says.

    As Curb ages, its story lines have grown more complex, with each seemingly minor comment cascading into a series of snubs, slights and repercussions. "It's more dense now," Garlin says. "There are so many story lines and so many things going on that every minute of screen time" is one piece of an elaborate jigsaw puzzle.

    "We'll shoot things I know in my gut are never going to make the episode because they're not enough on (the) story."

    But it also makes the half-hour shows a nightmare to edit. "It's like a tightly woven braid," Weide says. "It's difficult to extract one strand because it's all tied together so tightly."

    Luckily for them, this season's finale in early March will last an hour.
     
  3. VooDooPope

    VooDooPope Love > Hate
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    Excellent. I love this show.

    When it first came on my wife wouldn't watch because Larry made her nervous. Now she is hooked.
     
  4. Harrisment

    Harrisment Member

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    Hell yes, this show is awesome. This is going to be a good year for fans of HBO shows. New Curb, Sopranos, and Six Feet Under.
     
  5. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    And this is not on DVD yet why again? BS.
     
  6. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

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    Cheryl Hines was on Leno last night and bombed. She was not very funny...but then again Leno wasn't exactly helping her. He seemed asleep much like the audience.

    I still love her.
     
  7. count_dough-ku

    count_dough-ku Contributing Member

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    Season 1 comes out January 13. It'll include the hour-long special that inspired the series.
     
  8. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    I love you.

    Anyone know if that Ben Stiller show was any good? I never saw it.
     
  9. wrath_of_khan

    wrath_of_khan Contributing Member

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    The best skits from that show are among the funniest things I've ever seen on TV.

    But there's some pretty lame stuff, too -- just like any sketch comedy show.
     
  10. count_dough-ku

    count_dough-ku Contributing Member

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    It's one of my all-time favorite shows. Yeah, a few of the skits were weak and most of them are obviously dated 11 years later, but overall the quality level was high.

    If you had told me a few years ago that I'd be able to get every episode of The Ben Stiller Show(even the unaired one) on DVD, that it would be loaded with extras, and that it would only cost 15 bucks, I would've had you committed.
     
  11. mrpaige

    mrpaige Contributing Member

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    She seemed drunk. I'm sure she wasn't, but she kind of came across that way to me.
     
  12. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    She was on my list in the "Who do you think is Hot that no one else does" thread.
     
  13. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

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    She'd easily make it in the MILF category but she and Larry don't have a baby (although she does have one on the way in real life).
     
  14. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

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    Are you talking about his appearance on Curb? If I'm reading the article correctly it hasn't aired yet.
     
  15. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    No Faos, talking about his show...the count and wrath, thanks for the feedback.
     
  16. coma

    coma Contributing Member

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    Bump.

    This thing starts in an hr. after the season opener of Sex In the City. It's the one where Cary Bradshaw types on her laptop about something on her mind in regards to relationships with men.

    Umm, not that I watch or anything. It's what I gather from the commercials.
     
  17. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

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    Tell me about it...I'm having to sit through that crap show while my wife watches it. Of course she says the same thing about Curb but I think I'm starting to sway her.
     
  18. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

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    Glad to see the show again tonight although I thought Larry was a little too over the top even for him. The whole phone in the doctors office bit went on forever. And the drool?

    I can't wait to see the feud between he and Ben Stiller though.
     
  19. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

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  20. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    I've tried and tried and tried, but I just can't find this show funny.
     

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