People have been buzzing about it and the indignant Catholic League statement has been duly issued, so I suppose this is worth a thread. For a variety of reasons, starting with my Internet nom de plume, I have no problem with blasphemy; what’s amazing, though, is that a tired goof on Christian iconography could still retain a comic charge for someone like Larry David. The South Park guys do religious humor well because their gags are inventive and they’re willing to take on all comers, not just Bible-believers. This clip, by contrast, makes you feel like you’re watching the umpteen-thousandth local news segment about some family that sees Jesus in the mold on their ceiling. In fact, David probably came up with the idea after he stumbled across a reference somewhere to “Piss Christ.” Which is now, um, more than 20 years old.
The other odd thing about goofs like this is that they’re not, shall we say, topical. Any comic who takes a poke at JC these days will be asked this question, and very few of them will have a good answer to it.
Update (Ed): I almost never watch this show, not because I don’t appreciate good satire (I love South Park and Penn & Teller and their Showtime show Bullshit, even though they occasionally criticize Catholics and Christianity), but because the constant screeching gets on my nerves. I happened to watch this particular episode, however, and I don’t get the outrage — or at least don’t get a rational reason for it. I’ve gotten quite a few e-mails today saying that Larry David mocked Jesus, but pretty obviously, David mocked the people who see Jesus in their grilled cheese sandwiches and the like. There is a very large difference between the two, thankfully, and the latter are certainly eligible for a satirical poke or two from time to time. In fact, South Park has already ripped those in terms more specific to my own Catholic faith in one episode, and while I disagreed with it, I didn’t think it fell outside the boundaries of social satire. Also, we should note that David did do an episode poking fun at the burqas of Muslim women, which isn’t quite analogous to this episode, but went further than most other television shows would dare.
Conservatives who will get easily offended should probably ignore Larry David and Curb Your Enthusiasm.