If you have never watched Curb Your Enthusiasm, you have missed some of the funniest and most uncomfortable TV.
I am not a huge fan, mostly because I lean toward the "it's uncomfortable" part of the spectrum, but I get why people find it hilarious.
Larry David is the central character. David, one of the creators of Seinfeld and the model for George, more or less, is the butt of his own jokes.
David, you see, is a clueless asshole on TV, as he often is in real life. He is so clueless and such an asshole that watching the show is like watching a social train wreck. You can't look away, can't help but chuckle, and also can't help really disliking David.
In many ways the show reminds me of the British version of The Office, in which Ricky Gervais plays a cringeworthy character who steps on everybody, including himself. Unlike Michael Scott in the American version, I hated him with a passion. He isn't a goofball, but a jerk.
Until five minutes ago, I had no idea that Larry David attacked @Elmo. The fact that he did it, leading prominent people like @TheView hosts to get mad at him over it, might be the most Curb thing ever. https://t.co/SpZByWwRXt— Ajit Pai (@AjitPai) February 8, 2024
Larry appeared on the Today Show to discuss the final season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which has been on HBO for nearly a quarter of a century. The final season--season 12--is upcoming (yes, this is HBO math, not OTA math), and that is a pretty big deal for people who have watched the show for a good chunk of their lives.
Elmo was on the show too. And it was a train wreck, which is totally on-brand for Larry David. It is his shtick.
Twitter exploded. More specifically, Wil Wheaton, everybody's least favorite Star Trek: TNG character, exploded. The kid you loved to hate, just as people love to hate Larry David. (Wheaton, by the way, is an outstanding narrator on Audible. He is extremely funny.)
The rest is comedy gold--exactly like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Simultaneously uncomfortable, weird, otherworldly, and hilarious.
The Star Trek actor and intrepid liberal activist Wil Wheaton posted a screed on Facebook full of rage toward Larry David for viciously assaulting the puppet named Elmo.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 8, 2024
I debated if it were satire for the first 4 paragraphs. When I realized it wasn't, I didn't want it to end. pic.twitter.com/bIuSCZ5WvS
Where to begin?
First, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about Wil Wheaton's childhood. I mean, damn, did I need to know about what a jerk his dad was?
Then I learned Elmo was a child, which is perhaps the dumbest thing I ever heard in my life. Elmo isn't a child, a human being, or anything resembling either. He is a puppet with a hand up his backside, which suggests something unsavory.
Speaking of which, Wheaton kinda implied that it was David who sorta raped Elmo, by touching him without permission. Now I don't know about you, but I have never, ever seen anybody giving permission to somebody to wring their neck, so that it is kinda redundant. David is pretending to assault a pretend being, and everybody suddenly goes to "consent?"
I don't want to know what these folks do in their bedrooms. Consent and assault don't go together in my mind ever.
Here is some of Wheaton's post, in which he discusses his own trauma (it is in the Glenn Greenwald image above), and how David is causing trauma for everybody watching
Larry David, this was not okay, and your obviously insincere "apology" clearly communicates
that you don't get that. First of all, you aren't even in the segment, but you just decided to barge in and draw focus because ... why? You couldn't stand that a puppet brought people together in a meaningful way that you can't? You couldn't stand that your appearance on national television to promote your wildly successful series was delayed for a few seconds while the adults talked about mental health? You wanted to manufacture a viral moment where everyone gets to see what an asshole you are, so they'll tune in and watch you portray an asshole in the last season of your show that celebrates how great it is to be an asshole without ever experiencing the
consequences of being an asshole? I really want to know what raced through his tiny little mind, and why there was no voice or person who spoke up to stop him from expressing violence towards a children's puppet WHO WAS THERE TO TALK ABOUT HOW HIS LOVE AND EMPATHY FOR PEOPLE HAVING A TOUGH TIME MATTERED AND MADE A DIFFERENCE.
Elmo and his dad were there to talk about empathy, love, kindness, and caring for each other. Larry David was there to promote the final (thank god, maybe he'll go away now) season of a television series.
Controversy over the incident has exploded, and all I can think of is that people are insane.
I looked the incident up on Google, and since this exploded only hours before I write this, 4100 results exist on the incident. By now many thousands more will be found by the all-seeing algorithm.
I am deeply sorry that Wil Wheaton had a bad childhood but am unconvinced that 1) many young children are glued to the Today Show to watch Elmo OR Larry David, and 2) every single thing should be vetted for whether trauma might be triggered.
What if somebody burned their hand while cooking spaghetti? They may have spaghetti PTSD for all I know.
I personally have flashbacks about going in for my heart surgery--literally, I do--but I don't expect cardiac surgeries to ever be featured on TV.
To add another level of absurdity, the man who was Elmo's puppeteer was sued because he had relationships with minors. He won the lawsuits because of statute of limitations issues but admitted to having inappropriate relations with the men.
What's wild to me about the Elmo trauma dump is everyone seems to have forgotten that the longest-running principal Elmo performer, probably the one you grew up with, had to resign because he was having sex with teenage boys.— Cirsova: A Bad Case of Dead Kickstarter Live! (@cirsova) February 8, 2024
What a tangled web the real world is. Childhood traumas, muppets with hands up their butts, the butt/hand man having butt relations with teenage boys, and an asshole who plays an asshole on TV being an asshole while on TV.
It is all too much. Too weird. And too 21st century for my taste.