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.
But the satirical truth is kicked up to the next level when Marty walks into Larry’s house to hear the Jew-hating cries of passion upstairs. He sits to wait, forced to listen while Larry continues having sex with a woman who wants to exterminate them both. Afterwards Larry is indifferent at what his good friend has just heard, and Shara sees Marty as she leaves. There’s truth behind the satire. Adam Shapiro is the co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and has a “Palestinian” wife who would likely grab Larry’s attention. Here’s the lovely couple:
Larry describes the sex as the best he’s ever had. Juxtapose his enthusiasm with the overbearing, emasculating, annoying Jewish wives featured in the episode and also that in a previous season Larry broke up with a woman once he found out she was a Republican.
The episode ends with Larry walking down between two competing protest lines at the opening of a new franchise of the “Palestinian” Chicken restaurant setting up shop next door to a Jewish deli. The unattractive Jewish wife of Jeff angrily swears and yells at Larry for him to come and join them on the pro-Israel side. Meanwhile, Larry’s new “Palestinian” lover is on the other side and says she has a sister named Yasmine she wants to bring to bed with them next time. The episode ends with Larry wondering which side to join and the audience knowing the answer.
Now, under normal circumstances this would all be horribly offensive. Except for this: if leftists want to be honest about airing their psycho-sexual neuroses and the emotional brokenness which drive their destructive political vision then I see no reason to discourage them. If they want to stand up and say, “Yes, my insane politics are simply my coping mechanism for the fact that I’m a psychologically disturbed person who can’t handle the challenges of participating in a free society and being responsible for living my own life” then should we not encourage such public sentiments?
Yes, politically the show was about as evil as one could get. (What next Larry? Going to have a kapo during World War II getting abused by Warden Ilsa?) But I couldn’t contain my laughter — if I was writing my own satire of the Left then this would basically be it. That it was written by a progressive and broadcast on HBO is even better.