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  • Writer's pictureHannah Pearson

Pick Up Your Booty, K (kk)?!: Meditations on Post-Modern Western Philosophy As Seen on TV


Spoilers For: Curb Your Enthusiasm S11 E4

Larry David’s ongoing mega opera (sans the singing) Curb Your Enthusiasm is back for its 11th season on HBO and the follies and musings of our main character, Larry, are just as painfully relatable as ever. Last night’s meaty philosophical morsels to chew on asks the question: What is the real indicator of someone being a bad person?

Is it the clothes, er robe, they wear? Is it the place of worship they attend, albeit begrudgingly? Is it how they go the extra mile for their friends when they are skirmish to come out as a fan of watermelon? (I mean seriously, who among us?)

No, it’s none of those things.

The true challenge for anyone’s rectitude is whether or not they pick up their shit.

Heidi (Kaley Cuoco) the new girlfriend of Freddy (Vince Vaughn) fails this test when she drops a piece of pirate’s booty in front of Larry and then… walks away! As Larry explains later during Temple, it’s not a good sign. It shows a sense of entitlement. Never mind the nice Klansman (Marc Menchaca) who probably hates his existence but graciously accepts his offer to fix the coffee-stained robe before the big dance. Larry slams his gavel only for the interactions he bears witness and not the credo of a person. He likes the Klansman but is annoyed by the Rabbi.

It’s a fool’s errand to try to find any truth with a capital “T” or connecting theme to the fables David writes for himself. Sure, maybe what he is trying to say is that it’s not fair to judge a person’s integrity for things you didn’t see but rather label them based on the tangible actions you experience.

Or maybe it’s less about the rigid dichotomy our modern society has pressured us into and more about accepting the nuances of being human. Woody Harrelson shows up as himself and Larry tries to woo him into his new show Young Larry (btw David needs to be careful with this joke or else Netflix will try to make it happen). Our introduction to Harrelson is a faux Oscar speech he uses as a pulpit for his diatribe on animal cruelty and then wags a finger at speciests, ultimately making him the übermensch of morality. But that all goes out the window when he drops a grape at David’s farm-for-a-day and doesn’t pick it up. Seriously, what a monster!

The other important quest for enlightenment Larry pursues is getting Leon to come out as a proud watermelon fan, despite his fears of negative repercussions from the white community. Is it another commentary on the self-inflictive cages we’ve unintentionally built for each other in the name of being “progressive”… or is it more about man’s internal struggle with mauvaise foi and how we must escape our own inauthenticity first if we ever want to be happy?

Larry David is an absurdist in his comedic philosophy, not in the way that Eric Andre or Julio Torres is, but with a unique voice that says “everything matters” so loudly that you start to question whether or not any of it actually matters.

As expected, the show ends with our near-billionaire Everyman and moral arbiter black-eyed and still in search of an Uncle Mo, the wayward dogmatic Klansman pummeled by his countrymen, and sanctimonious booty/grape droppers red-faced and ashamed. Meanwhile, the true winner, the hedonist, Leon enjoys his watermelon.


Notes on the author: Hannah Pearson received a degree in Religious Studies in 2013 and has found zero use for it since, except to ruin her television watching. She is also a white woman who is not ashamed to admit she loves Princess Diana, music by Taylor Swift, and punctuating her lexicon with French phrases, despite failing it twice.


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