5 Things You Didn't Know About 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' Like How It Freed A Man From Prison
It's hard to believe that it's been 15 years since Larry David's hilarious, cynical, and irreverent gem Curb Your Enthusiasm premiered on HBO. It helped fill the gaping hole left in many of our lives when Seinfeld went off the air, and brought us a wealth of insanely funny plotlines — all courtesy of Larry's curmudgeonly attitude and penchant for stirring up trouble at every available opportunity. A few key examples: he moved across the country solely to avoid attending a charity event, hung up on his wife's phone call when her plane was about to crash (the TiVo guy was at the house, and we all know how hard it is to get those appointments), and seriously disrupted a Catholic baptism because he mistakenly believed the priest was attempting to drown his brother-in-law. The most diehard fans of Curb Your Enthusiasm know the episodes backwards and forwards — after all, we've had plenty of time to re-watch them on HBO Go during this excruciatingly long hiatus. But, there are some surprising facts about Curb Your Enthusiasm that range from slightly unbelievable to downright hilarious.
For example, an innocent man could be on death row right now if it weren't for the show — so we can't say Larry David has never done anything good for mankind. And, although the actors were given free reign to improvise their lines, fans are consistently disappointed that Susie Essman doesn't enjoy cursing at people quite as much as the show led us to believe.
Here are five fun facts you probably didn't know about Curb Your Enthusiasm:
1. The Show Freed A Man From Prison (Yes, Really)
Remember the time Larry hired a sex worker just so he could drive in the car pool lane on the way to a Dodgers game? Not only is the episode "The Car Pool Lane" a gift to fans, but it's also responsible for freeing a man from prison, as reported by CNN. In 2003, Juan Catalan was arrested for alleged murder and spent nearly six months behind bars. Catalan, who could have faced the death penalty if convicted, maintained his innocence and repeatedly told investigators that he'd been at a Dodgers game with his daughter at the time of the murder.
Catalan's lawyer combed through footage of the game in an attempt to find a shot of his client's face, but his efforts proved unsuccessful. Then Catalan recalled that HBO had been filming at the stadium that day — so David turned over all the outtakes, which were time-coded. An identifiable shot of Catalan proved that he was at the game and not the scene of the crime, and he was freed from prison.
2. The Title Is An Indirect Reference To Seinfeld's Success
Seinfeld has been regarded as the best sitcom of all time (by critics, comedy lovers, and yours truly), so Larry David fans rejoiced when we learned he had another project in the works. Since David is an eternal pessimist (there's a fun fact you already knew), he wanted to lower expectations and excitement before his new show debuted — and so he named it Curb Your Enthusiasm, according to Time. David also told the magazine that the title simultaneously refers to his general life philosophy that we should never get too excited about anything.
3. It's Entirely Unscripted
It's clear from watching any episode that there's a good amount of improvisation, but I was surprised to learn that every episode of Curb is unscripted, according to the Directors Guild of America. As Cheryl Hines told TV Guide, the showrunners come up with a very detailed plot outline, but then it's up to all the actors to improvise. They don't discuss the scenes with one another before shooting, and guest stars are often not allowed to see the outline at all.
4. Fans Are Often Disappointed That Susie Is So Different IRL
Let's be honest — watching Susie curse out Larry will never get old. Every time she's on screen, we can expect at least 15 expletives per minute. When fans approach Susie Essman in real life, they don't ask for autographs — they ask her to berate them in the same the way she yells at Larry and Jeff on the show. She told Esquire that she's not always in the mood to do so, and it puts her in a unique predicament:
I'm in an interesting position because people come up to me, and I'm not always in the mood. I'm going about my life, and I don't feel like screaming and yelling at them, but some people are so relentless that I end up gladly screaming and yelling at them, and then they're happy. I don't think I've ever gone too far. It seems like I don't go far enough. People are visibly disappointed that when they meet me I'm not this screaming, yelling crazy person.
5. There Probably Won't Be A Series Finale
Although the show has been off the air since 2011, it hasn't been cancelled. During an August Q&A session at TCA, Jeff Garlin said there's a 51 percent chance that Curb Your Enthusiasm will return for another season. Last year David expressed that another season is a possibility, but one thing he won't do is a series finale that "wraps things up" — and it's because the Seinfeld finale got so much negative feedback from both critics and audiences. Although he maintains the finale was clever and fitting (which is totally accurate, IMHO), David told Grantland that:
I got so much grief from the Seinfeld finale, which a lot of people intensely disliked, that I no longer feel a need to wrap things up... I wouldn’t say I’m mad about it, but it taught me a lesson that if I ever did another show, I wasn’t going to wrap it up.
If another season occurs, it probably won't be anytime soon — but if there's anything we've learned from Curb Your Enthusiasm's eight amazing seasons (which luckily can still be re-watched on HBO Go), it's that Larry, Jeff, Cheryl, and Susie are worth the wait.
Images: HBO; Giphy (5)