Larry David’s comedy vehicle Curb Your Enthusiasm (CYE) exploded onto the TV scene when it debuted in 1999. It was edgy and innovative, a whole new ball game in television. CYE spawned a genre of imitators.
These days, CYE plods along, with David reprising his cranky-guy schtick in fairly predictable variations. Die-hard fans keep tuning in, but most people don’t know the show still exists.
That is, until David’s character put on a MAGA hat in the first episode of season 10 to–as he puts it–serve as a “people repellent.”
Just like that, CYE was BACK. The president of the United States tweeted out a clip of the show:
TOUGH GUYS FOR TRUMP! pic.twitter.com/DbjZjGzLWU
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020
Conservative news and commentary lit up with discussion of the “MAGA hat episode.” Pundits fumed and laughed at CYE’s suggestion that visible support for Trump makes one an Untouchable in the West-Coast cosmopolitan bubble of Los Angeles–unless one happens to cross paths with a violent outlaw biker, that is.
Many liberals delighted in what they perceived as CYE’s side-picking and trolling of Trump voters. They delighted still more in Larry David’s defiance about ridiculing the MAGA hat.
When asked whether he was concerned the episode might alienate viewers, David said, “Alienate yourselves! Go, go and alienate! You have my blessing. No, I could give a f–k.”
I love Larry David with all my heart and soul. pic.twitter.com/OEDANgVLho
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) February 11, 2020
But the shape of Larry David’s inner thoughts should not be presumed too quickly. David is a comic genius of the highest caliber. The comedy layers here are deeper than Hollywood liberals have credited. No doubt David is fully aware of these depths.
For example, Larry David and his eponymous character are both Jewish. So … a Jewish man puts on a *distinctive hat* and identifies himself as part of a *deplorable group*, only for *decent people* to avoid him like he stinks. Hmmmm …. Sounds like subtle commentary about repeating history, don’t it?
Moreover, the hat David puts on is *red*. Some readers may not be aware, but Jews in Europe during the Middle Ages and periods thereafter were at times required to wear distinctive red or yellow hats to identify themselves in public, as Al Pacino’s Shylock does in Merchant of Venice:
Larry David may be a liberal; and most likely he genuinely enjoys trolling Trump supporters; but he’s smart and talented enough to understand that the humor in this case cuts both ways–as brilliant humor always does.
As much as he ridicules wearing partisan ball caps, David also ends up ridiculing the reactionary intolerance that typifies so many liberals in the face of visible Trump support. The bigotry is so powerful that a misanthrope can exploit it to avoid friends who annoy him.
— Matt Margolis 🇺🇸 (@mattmargolis) February 11, 2020
But subtle messages aside, the meta-takeaway here is that acknowledging Trump supporters *in any way* catapulted a flagging and now-obscure show back into the center of public attention and all-publicity-is-good-publicity controversy.
Attention is EVERYTHING in entertainment. Without an audience, show business is just talking to yourself.
The Oscars this year registered a catastrophic plunge in viewership. Ditto for the Golden Globes. Attention is flagging. Average Americans are saying with their words and their wallets that they grow impatient and bored with the woke and unoriginal nonsense Hollywood dreams up today.
In fact, Hollywood’s seething antipathy toward President Trump probably grows from unconscious resentment at his runaway success in attracting and directing public attention. If Hollywood could do half as well as Trump at grabbing the attention of average Americans, they’d all be billionaires, and they know it.
Hollywood also hates Trump because he stole their campaign. Hollywood wants to “Make America Great Again.” But instead of harkening back to the Reagan years, they want to make America great again like it was circa 1968, when an explosion of liberal ideas and movements translated into spectacular, culture-defining films, from Midnight Cowboy to Shampoo.
Boy, Hollywood sure had America’s attention then.
For all their progressive posturing and pretensions at new hotness, Hollywood liberals are peddling the same fare they were 50 years ago: enlightened liberal individualists standing up to bigotry–as typified by white people, unenlightened heterosexual men, traditionalists, Christians, business people, and middle Americans.
The rather tired conversation between Hollywood and average Americans today unfolds in this vein:
HOLLYWOOD: “Did you know (1) that racisms used to happen? And (2) that racisms are STILL as bad as ever?”
AMERICA: “Ummmm … (1) Yes, that’s pretty common knowledge now; and (2) you’re nuts, but how would you even know? You never leave Santa Monica.”
Dramatizations of standard-issue racism might have been edgy and attention-grabbing when Sidney Poitier did it in 1967, with Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Now, Hollywood sounds like a sad, old actress who retells stories of her Broadway triumphs back in the day to distract from her work–or lack thereof–now. How much you want to bet that some studio will remake Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? soon under another name, but with a trans boyfriend/girlfriend replacing Sidney Poitier’s role? Just wait.
Hollywood has become a recycling plant, and they loath themselves for it.
The denizens of Hollywood have transformed into the reactionaries they attacked for so long. They desperately want to return to the good ol’ days, when they were underdogs fighting and winning the pure liberal fight against social problems they understood, filling theater seats on the way to fame and universal adoration.
Hollywood misses the good ol’ days so much that they now champion imaginary causes like “systemic” thought-racism; climate apocalypse fortune telling; “women’s rights” (in a time when women vote and attend college at a higher rate than men); and the “oppression”of people who believe wholeheartedly in their own cross-dressing and gender-jumping, but who are monstrously forced to live in a world with people who think it’s sad nonsense.
Whether he meant to or not, Larry David stumbled into the REAL social problem of our times: the liberal half the country can’t stand the conservative half and wants to forcibly pave them over to establish the new socialist Utopia for all time.
Does Hollywood want to remake Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and REALLY break the box office?
They should tell the story of a daughter who brings home a polite, open-minded, generous, employed young man to meet her two uptight lesbian Berkeley professor parents. The problem? He is wearing a red ball cap with *gasp* … UNMENTIONABLE writing on it.
That would get some attention.