You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

HBO’s ‘Curb’ Takes on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seldom associated with unbridled hilarity. Yet HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” tackles the long-simmering hostility in its own inimitable way, in an episode that has to qualify as an instant classic.

Curb_bltv That half-hour, in which a Palestinian restaurant opens in Westwood, is actually the third episode in the season that begins on July 10. Characteristic of producer-star Larry David’s eccentricity, the preview package included episodes 3, 5 and 9, excluding what are apparently pretty significant events in the first couple of installments.

But never mind. David’s quirks — including those surrounding how often the show airs, and how it’s previewed — are emblematic of a series so specific in its eccentricities and detail that it’s easy to accept having to jump through a certain number of hoops. And it’s hard to think of a show that packs in more comedic plot threads per episode, then finds absurd ways to pay them off.

It’s only fair to say the Israeli-Palestinian episode, directed by Robert B. Weide, will surely offend some people on both sides. It’s taken as a given, for example, Palestinians living in the U.S. hate Jews, and that no self-respecting Jew — except David and his idiot manager Jeff (Jeff Garlin), of course — would be caught dead in a Palestinian restaurant. (That said, having never eaten Palestinian chicken, I’m now curious if it’s really that good.)

Along the way, Orthodox Jews come in for special ridicule — one of David’s friends in the show becomes suddenly devout, which threatens their Saturday golf game — in that “Only Jews can make fun of other Jews” way.

Still, funny is funny, fearless is fearless, and cleverness on this scale is unbelievably rare. Besides, “Curb” has a longstanding history of assaulting sacred cows, so anyone expressing surprise clearly hasn’t been paying attention.

A subplot in that third episode, by the way, leads to David’s character being referred to as a “social assassin,” a description he wears as a badge of honor.

At the very least he’s a comedy assassin, inasmuch as I nearly died laughing.

Curb Your Enthusiasm returns July 10. The exec producers are David, Jeff Garlin, Gavin Polone, Alec Berg, David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer, Tim Gibbons, Erin OʼMalley, Larry Charles.

More Voices

  • profiles theatre Sexual Harassment

    Sexual Harassment in the Theater: How Chicago Fought Back

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seldom associated with unbridled hilarity. Yet HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” tackles the long-simmering hostility in its own inimitable way, in an episode that has to qualify as an instant classic. That half-hour, in which a Palestinian restaurant opens in Westwood, is actually the third episode in the season that begins on […]

  • TV Television problems Expenses Placeholder

    Netflix Has Secret Weapon in Hollywood's Multibillion-Dollar Arms Race

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seldom associated with unbridled hilarity. Yet HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” tackles the long-simmering hostility in its own inimitable way, in an episode that has to qualify as an instant classic. That half-hour, in which a Palestinian restaurant opens in Westwood, is actually the third episode in the season that begins on […]

  • sweeney Todd Barrow Street Theatre

    Commercial Off Broadway Isn't Dead -- It's Turning Into Broadway

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seldom associated with unbridled hilarity. Yet HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” tackles the long-simmering hostility in its own inimitable way, in an episode that has to qualify as an instant classic. That half-hour, in which a Palestinian restaurant opens in Westwood, is actually the third episode in the season that begins on […]

  • Edie Windsor Appreciation

    GLAAD President Reflects on Edie Windsor's Impact on LGBTQ Community

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seldom associated with unbridled hilarity. Yet HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” tackles the long-simmering hostility in its own inimitable way, in an episode that has to qualify as an instant classic. That half-hour, in which a Palestinian restaurant opens in Westwood, is actually the third episode in the season that begins on […]

  • Game of Thrones

    Networks' Streaming Apps Make Minimal Revenue Impact (For Now)

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seldom associated with unbridled hilarity. Yet HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” tackles the long-simmering hostility in its own inimitable way, in an episode that has to qualify as an instant classic. That half-hour, in which a Palestinian restaurant opens in Westwood, is actually the third episode in the season that begins on […]

  • Avatar

    3D Shows Enduring Value, Delivering Entertainment Not Found at Home (Guest Column)

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seldom associated with unbridled hilarity. Yet HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” tackles the long-simmering hostility in its own inimitable way, in an episode that has to qualify as an instant classic. That half-hour, in which a Palestinian restaurant opens in Westwood, is actually the third episode in the season that begins on […]

  • Spotify hand changing free to fee

    Why Spotify Should Ditch Its Free Tier, Add Streaming Fees

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seldom associated with unbridled hilarity. Yet HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” tackles the long-simmering hostility in its own inimitable way, in an episode that has to qualify as an instant classic. That half-hour, in which a Palestinian restaurant opens in Westwood, is actually the third episode in the season that begins on […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content