Book Review: Curb Your Enthusiasm and Philosophy (Edited by Mark Ralkowski)

Book Review: Curb Your Enthusiasm and Philosophy (Edited by Mark Ralkowski)

Curb Your Enthusiasm and Philosophy – Edited by Mark Ralkowski

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Season 11 of Curb Your Enthusiasm is wrapping up this evening (10:30PM EST on HBO and HBO MAX). One of my all time favorite shows its sad to see another season coming to an end, especially since this could potentially be the last season of the show. It is a wonderful show in the vein of Seinfeld (obviously since both shows are created / partially written by Larry David), which looks at the social foibles, issues, and problems and addresses them in comedic ways.

The show revels in its way of picking apart little things about society, like holding the door for someone, chivalry, favors, and gift giving, promises, praying, etc. And it even breaks down the biggest or bigger subjects – things like politics, race, religion, creeds, mantras, belief systems, social systems, caste systems, etc.

So its perfect for a philosophy book dissecting it and breaking it down!

…and Philosophy

I have read quite a few volumes of the “…and Philosophy” series. Its a series of (now over 120 different volumes) pop culture and philosophy books, where they break down a subject matter (in this case – Curb Your Enthusiasm) and dissect it philosophically in different ways. Some past volumes I’ve read were Seinfeld, Star Wars, Star Wars Expanded, Lost, Ultimate Lost, Lord of the Rings, South Park, Family Guy, Baseball, etc. I even just ordered a whole bunch through AbeBooks – including a Futurama one, a Hannibal Lectar one, Rick and Morty, Batman, Peanuts, and a few others.

There’s nothing too extraneous in the series. Some articles and chapters are written down to the laymen, some are written up. Sometimes they thinly use the source material, other times they over use it and the philosophy is a bit light. The volumes overall are good, but aren’t the true depth of real philosophy. Their basic level skim philosophy and aimed at the popular masses – thus the pop culture aspect of them. They are a good introduction ground for philosopher wannabe’s and people beginning on their road to understanding philosophy. Most of these volumes would make for great introductions to philosophy for middle school and high school readers.

Book Review

Curb Your Enthusiasm makes for a great show to break down for the purposes of philosophy and dissecting it for the nuances therein. This edition came out sometime around the release of Season 8, as most articles / chapters only reference Season 7 or earlier (and a fair amount hinge on Season 7, most likely due to it being the most recent released at the time of this publication).

The subtitle for this volume is “Awaken the Social Assassin Within” – so this should give some idea what they primarily lean on – the philosophical side of sociology. Most things hinge on Larry David, his personality, the way he interacts with people, his neuroses, if they truly are neuroses versus just being character traits, ways that people interact with each other, race, religion, sociology aspects, creed, philosophy, etc. Chapters are broken down into various categories based on morality and ethics, social contract and ideas, religion and creeds, and other philosophical groupings. Articles therein are then written by individual people stating a small thesis and are about anywhere from six to sixteen pages per article detailing the philosophy behind their article and their little thesis.

The articles in this volume are overall good and on point. Some previous volumes about different franchises have been off point, or missed (in my opinion) the point of a character or plot, etc; but this volume on Curb seems to nail it and nail Larry David (the character) pretty well. Some little irks and quirks about the volume, but overall, I’d say its on point and gets the gist of what Larry David (the writer and creator) is primarily trying to get across.

The book’s blurb on GoodReads reads:

In a promotional video for the eighth season of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David appears as Godzilla, walking through the streets of New York City, terrorizing everyone who sees him. People scream and run for their lives. Larry, meanwhile, has a quizzical look on his face and asks, “What, are you people nuts?”

What makes Larry a monster, and why doesn’t he know that he’s a monster? Curb Your Enthusiasm and Philosophy discusses several answers to these questions.

This book revolves around Curb-Larry, the character that the real Larry David plays on HBO’s popular television series: his outlook on life, his unusual ways of interacting with people, his inability or unwillingness to conform to the world. Many of the chapters discuss ethical and existential issues, such as whether Larry is a “bad apple.”
Larry doesn’t ask questions about free will, or wonder whether the world outside our minds really exists because he’s more like Socrates than Descartes. He tells bitter truths about how we live our lives. There’s something heroic about Larry’s independence from social conventions, and something tragic about his tendency to hurt people with his frankness. It’s hard not to ask, should we curb our enthusiasm?

Curb Your Enthusiasm and Philosophy – GoodReads

My GoodReads Rating: ***
Global Average GoodReads Rating: 3.74 (as of 12.26.21)
My LibraryThing Rating: ***.5

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Thanks For Reading

As always, thanks for reading. Be sure to tune in tonight to catch the season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm! I know I will be, beer in hand!


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Last Updated: December 26, 2021By Tags: , ,

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