Larry David, the leftist creator-star of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm has pulled a Homer. In the third season of The Simpsons, the episode “Homer Defined” introduced the expression “to pull a Homer” and defined it as “to succeed despite idiocy.” That’s last night’s episode of Curb perfectly summarized. With a premise that I feared last week would be unwatchable, David has crafted one of his show’s greatest, most important episodes — and all apparently by accident.
The premise of the episode: Larry and his friend/manager Jeff discover a new “Palestinian” Chicken restaurant and decide to go in spite of knowing that their fellow Jews would disapprove. Once there they chow down on the best chicken they’ve ever eaten, indifferent to the anti-Semitic posters on the walls. Larry also discovers a new object of lust: the sexy “Palestinian” woman who manages the restaurant. He confesses:
You’re always attracted to someone who doesn’t want you. Well, here you have someone who not only doesn’t want you, but doesn’t even acknowledge your right to exist, who wants your destruction. That’s a turn-on.
But how does Larry win the affections of the dark-haired Muslim beauty?
Later in the episode Larry and Jeff return to the restaurant with their friend Marty Funkhouser who has recently converted from Reform Judaism to Orthodox. He wears a yarmulke that’s more attention-grabbing and ostentatious than any Orthodox Jew I’ve ever known. Before they enter Larry tries to force Marty to take it off. A fight ensues, attracting the attention of the Muslims eating inside. When the fight is over Larry has ripped off Marty’s yarmulke and frightened him back to his car. When he and Jeff enter they are applauded and embraced as fellow anti-Semites. (One imagines that this is a comparable reaction to what Noam Chomsky got when he visited Hezbollah.) The “Palestinian” manager, Shara, then approaches Larry, sexually aroused by this act of a secular Jew tormenting an Orthodox Jew.
The inevitable sex scene between the two of them follows. Shara is the sexual aggressor, dominating over Larry as he lies on the bed. She shouts anti-Semitic slogans all the while. It apparently isn’t just Larry’s fantasy to have sex with a Muslim woman; rather, he wants to be degraded in the process.