Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Second Season (DVD)
It's more of the same for Larry David's sitcom from HBO, and for fans, that's a good thing. The show--largely extemporized--follows suit of David's former series, Seinfeld
: it's a show about nothing, just the everyday life of the star going about his pseudo-real world. But David's show has far more edge (thanks, in part, to airing on cable TV) with all the bad luck, embarrassing situations, and dreadful behavior as its premiere season. The closest thing to an arc is David's season-long pitch to the networks for a new show starring former Seinfeld
stars Jason Alexander and Julia-Louis Dreyfus. Each network is lampooned, especially HBO, which David has a bad history with in this alternate world. Sure to repel those with soft funny bones, Curb's
acerbic comedy allows jokes where David is accidentally framed--if ever so briefly--as a child molester, wife abuser, or murderer. But for those who do love his shtick, there are big laughs, especially when we bump into characters as unbridled as David, like a fellow writer who is quite protective of his dad's invention, the Cobb salad.
Many comic actors pop up, some as "themselves" (Richard Lewis, Rob Reiner) and others as characters (Rita Wilson, Ed Asner) along with the delights of co-stars Cheryl Hines as David's wife and his affable manger, Jeff Garlin. There are several touchstone bits: what a thong brief can do to a relationship, a run-in with pro wrestler, Larry's first baptism, and one very collectible doll. To pick one episode to capture this second season--and its grandstanding nature--it would be "Shaq," in which the NBA star is accidentally tripped, changing David's usual bad luck with gut-busting results. --Doug Thomas