The world has moved forward, David hasn’t
The Show: Curb Your enthusiasm, Season 9, episode 1 (hbo) The Moment: “Bitch”
“I’m lampin’,” Leon (J.B. Smoove) tells his housemate Larry (Larry David).
“What’s wrong with chillin’?” Larry asks.
“You can walk around and chill,” Leon explains. “You’re upright.”
“You guys have some great slang,” Larry says.
Larry tells Leon that his assistant (Carrie Brownstein) didn’t come to work for two days because she was constipated.
“You got to fire that bitch,” Leon says. “That bitch got to go.”
“Easier said than done,” Larry says. “She has a limp and a cane,” and, years ago, her uncle sexually abused her. She’s a terrible assistant, but Jimmy Kimmel recommended her.
“Kimmel foisted you,” Leon says. “You have to foist this limpy bitch onto someone else.”
Larry fist-bumps him. “Do we still do that?” he asks. “If you see me doing anything else that the black community might frown on, let me know.”
I’m hearing things that make me frown, Lah. We know that your show is committed to offending everyone. This episode alone offends all women (“bitch” is not a synonym for “female”), disabled and abused people, Muslims, and lesbians (Larry insists that the shorthaired fiancée is “the groom”). We used to cringe/laugh. It was cheeky.
But there’s a difference between irreverence and ignorance. In the six years your show’s been on hiatus, the world has turned. Blasting away at “political correctness” isn’t so funny anymore, because people are educating themselves about the harm ingrained biases do.
Resisting that doesn’t make you a rebel now. Sad to say, it makes you look doddery. Just letting you know.
Johanna Schneller is a media connoisseur who zeroes in on pop-culture moments. She appears Monday through Thursday.
Larry David is back with a new season of Curb Your enthusiasm after a six-year hiatus.