Why Do I Hate 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' So Much? – Kveller
Skip to Content Skip to Footer


Why Do I Hate ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ So Much?

As the HBO show ends its 24-year reign of terror, let's examine why the Larry David sitcom makes me break out in hives.


via John Johnson/HBO

After almost a quarter century of airing on HBO, the iconic Larry David comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is ending this weekend, and I feel pretty, pretty, pretty relieved.

I hate “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Abhor it. Detest it. Cannot stand it. I think I might be allergic to it in my soul.

What is it about “Curb” that I despise so much, that I literally can’t hear Larry David’s voice without a slight tremor running through me? Why can’t I hold a single conversation with my husband about it, who loves it and has tried, so many times, in our 13 years together to get me on board? It’s less about any specific joke (though I find each and every one of them cringey) and more about a generalized worldview. As Phil Rosenthal, who guest starred in the episode where Larry donned a MAGA hat (yes, I watched that one scene) aptly described himself, “I am a kveller, not a kvetcher. I leave the kvetching to Larry David.”

I am, like Rosenthal, a “Don’t Curb Your Enthusiasm” kind of gal. Kvetching makes me nervous. Secondhand embarrassment for people caught being awful leaves me broken out in hives. I prefer to see the best of humanity, or maybe I just prefer shows that are generous about humanity’s flaws. I love shows that are fundamentally about love. I understand that in some ways, “Curb” is a show made by people who do like each other, maybe even deeply love each other. But it is not interested in redeeming humanity in any way. There’s nothing that sounds less appealing to me than watching TV about people being the most fundamentally awful and selfish versions of themselves.

I know I’m not the only one who has this visceral reaction to “Curb.” I’ve asked co-workers and friends. While plenty people love it, an equal number of people tell me they can’t stand to be in a room when it’s on. They curse Larry David out when he appears on TV for just a moment (I mean, the man recently brawled with Elmo!).

I don’t have the same feelings about David’s other popular TV bastion, “Seinfeld.” I think ultimately, as kvetchy as Jerry can be, he is a little more mellow, less irritable, more go with the flow of life. In a recent interview, Seinfeld described himself “a very happy person hating everything throughout my entire life… my wife, it’s tough on her, she gets upset when I have a bad time. I don’t… and then I get to complain about it, which is something I do enjoy.”

The kvetching of “Seinfeld” feels a little more like kvelling. And the show is about a core group of friends who really do care for each other, and often have each other’s backs. That’s not really the feeling I get from “Curb,” where Larry is an island, trying to get the most out of life while being as uncaring as he can without getting caught.

There is one thing about Larry that I do relate to: He is a loner. He struggles in social situations, or doesn’t really enjoy them. It’s possible the thing I hate most about this show is how it puts a mirror to all my own worst instincts. Perhaps that is something to examine. Or it could be, if I could stand to spend any amount of time with this show, which again, I can’t. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it, not even for the writing of this piece. I kept putting on clips and turning them off because my skin was crawling an alarming amount and I feared my soul was exiting my body.

But, in attempt to keep my soul intact, I will stay true to my kvelling form and provide here a list of things that I love about “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Susie Essman’s fashion. Susie Essman’s voice. Susie Essman herself. She’s the lone voice of reason in this show, someone who can actually take Larry to task.

When I ask my husband why he loves the show, he is thrilled for the chance to finally share. “Everyone in it is in service of being funny. Everyone in it is trying to make you laugh about little things, annoyances and grievances you have throughout the day, thoughts that you had yourself that might be inappropriate, that you can’t really say out loud.” (He said a lot more than this but I had to cut him off somewhere.)

The show, to him, is a vehicle to laugh at these little improper thoughts and ideas, to enjoy them together. And he gets the sense that everyone involved really do love each other — not the characters, but the actors, who have to have a certain amount of comfort and respect and care for each other to be in these insanely inappropriate situations together in service of comedy.

That explanation, and the twinkle in his eyes as he relays it to me, makes me fall in love with him a little more. It reminds me that even though we love different things, and we will never see eye to eye about this show, fundamentally, our values are the same. They’re the reason we make good partners and good co-parents and why I love talking to him about almost anything.

Then he ruins it all by relaying the appalling plot of his favorite “Curb” episode about a failed kamikaze which ends in me yelling at him to “stop, stop, PLEASE STOP.”

Anyway, to my fellow “Curb” haters: This weekend, our collective nightmare is ending. My husband believes that it will end with all the characters dying in some kind of post-apocalyptic scenario, or maybe just Larry will die. Whatever happens, I will not be watching. Just celebrating this Shehechiyanu moment.

And I will be eyeing every new comedy show that comes out hereon, suspiciously thinking, “This better not be the new ‘Curb!'”

Skip to Banner / Top Skip to Content