A “victim of circumstance” (as his manager Jeff Greene puts it when defending him in Season 2) is probably the best way of describing Larry David’s fictional character in Curb Your Enthusiasm. After all, with the narrative of every episode being driven by one thing, misunderstandings, there are many times when all we can do is feel sorry for the guy.
But Larry is very peculiar. He seems to have some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder, a total lack of empathy, and most of all, absolutely no filter whatsoever. The latter is probably the most crucial. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re the president of the United States, his maid, or a receptionist; he will treat you exactly the same. Still, he doesn’t sound like the worst person in the world, right?
Well, there are times when all these traits bring misfortune upon him and others around him and we can only watch in disgust…
10. Uses His Mother's Death For Personal Gain
Larry isn’t sociable. He hates family gatherings, events on a large scale of any sort and, to be frank, any sort of commitment whatsoever. The difficulty for him is, of course, that he is a coward and is afraid of standing up to people when it comes to saying ‘no’.
In Season 3, upon his return from a trip to New York City shooting a Martin Scorsese picture, he is ‘blessed’ with a ‘get-out-of-all-commitments-free’ card. But it’s not what you think: he returns to Los Angeles to the news that his mother has died.
Many people react to bad news with fear, disgust or sadness. Not Larry: he sees an opportunity. Right from his instant reaction, we are astonished - not the slightest bit of nostalgia graces his face.
For the rest of the episode, we see how he uses his ‘bad news’ in the most pragmatic of ways. From manipulating his wife, Cheryl, into ‘sympathy sex’ to avoiding encounters with acquaintances and skipping social engagements.
Niccolò Machiavelli would be proud…