Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is Larry David an equal opportunity offender?

(I wrote about the "Denise Handicapped" episode Oct. 20).

From Inside TV on

Does 'Seinfeld' creator and 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' Larry David like to poke fun at Christians, or is he just an equal opportunity offender?

The Catholic League says it's the former, taking issue with the Oct. 25 'Curb' episode in which the TV version of Larry was taking a medication that led him to have an extremely, um, forceful urination experience. As a result, while using the bathroom of a woman who had a painting of Jesus hanging beside her toilet, Larry's splashings hit the wall -- and the painting -- leading the woman to think her Jesus painting was crying and that she was experiencing a miracle.

HBO described the episode as "playful," while Fox News reports that Catholic League president Bill Donohue was less than amused by the plot.

"Was Larry David always this crude? Would he think it's comedic if someone urinated on a picture of his mother?" Donohue said in a statement. "This might be fun to watch, but since HBO only likes to dump on Catholics (it was just a couple of weeks ago that Sarah Silverman insulted Catholics on 'Real Time with Bill Maher') and David is Jewish, we'll never know."

Clearly Donahue isn't a regular 'Curb' viewer, because, in response to his question, yes, TV Larry is frequently that crude, and beyond. In the previous Sunday's episode, in fact:

- The narcissistic Larry dated a wheelchair-bound woman (pictured), and refused to go to a different restaurant when the one they arrived at had no handicap ramp and a big set of stairs to enter.
- Larry also used the woman's wheelchair status to mend a rift with friends.
- He made a date with another wheelchair-bound woman and rolled her into a closet when the first woman was about to catch him with the second one.
- He offended friends who'd just adopted an Asian baby by asking them if the baby had proclivities towards using chopsticks.
- He got into a physical tussle with Rosie O'Donnell when the two were arguing about who should pick up a lunch check.
- He almost allowed his best friend/manager's teen daughter to drown in the ocean because he didn't want his Blackberry to get wet.

And 'Curb's' seventh season kicked off in September with an episode in which Larry tried to break up with his African-American girlfriend Loretta (Vivica A. Fox) before she got the results of a cancer test, obligating him, he felt, to stay with her. Loretta did have cancer, but an undeterred Larry made her think he was cheating on her so she would dump him.

In a statement in response to the controversy, HBO says, "Anyone who follows 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' knows that the show is full of parody and satire. Larry David makes fun of everyone, most especially himself. The humor is always playful and certainly never malicious."

Despite Donahue's claim that David should "quit while he's ahead," 'Curb's' seventh season has largely been praised by critics for boasting some of the show's best episodes. The season has included TV Larry's split with wife Cheryl (mirroring David's real-life split with wife Laurie David) and a planned 'Seinfeld' reunion show that has led to guest appearances by Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards.