Tuesday, April 23, 2024

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” Has Lost Its Edge, Sunday’s Episode Rejected by Younger Viewers, Down 47%

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When “Curb Your Enthusiasm” began its run in 2002, we were young — or younger. Larry David’s un-PC take on the world was refreshing, a continuation of “Seinfeld,” and we loved it.

But tastes change. And now, 22 years later, “Curb” is ending its 12 season run ignominiously. The average rating among adults 18 to 49 is down 47% since season 11. Total viewers are off by 20%. Younger viewers no doubt don’t get Larry’s rage, or his take on the minor infelicities of life. They’re still getting over the pandemic and wondering if we’re headed to World War III.

This season’s 9 episodes have seesawed in the ratings. The reason is easy to explain: the show has lost its spark. This season has not only been repetitive, but vulgar. Bathroom humor has taken up at least half of each episode. Instead of being witty, it’s been coarse. Some of the material has sounded like the famous joke “The Aristocrats.” I’ve actually winced.

Sunday’s episode with 336,000 viewers showed a loss of around 80,000 customers since the season began three months ago. The whole arrest in Atlanta over voting issues was a dud to start with and just kept getting worse. This season has also had vexing issues. Asians have been featured in every episode, always mocked. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a protest.

On Sunday, Larry will stand trial down South for giving water to a waiting voter. If he’s convicted, it will be a repeat of the final “Seinfeld” episode, which has been mentioned several times. The finale is getting little fanfare from HBO, with no special build up prior to the broadcast. And then “Curb” will just revolve in endless reruns.

Still, many seasons of “Curb” and many episodes remain the most hilarious and brilliant in TV history. This would have been a good time for HBO to re-show “Palestinian Chicken.” The whole “Spite Store” season was A plus, as were the Seinfeld reunion and the “Producers” shows. I will never forget the “Survivor” cast member fighting with a Holocaust survivor at a Seder. These were moments of genius.

So we’ll see how it goes Sunday at 10pm. I expect no one will be happy with how it turns out. At this point, it doesn’t matter.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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