Curb Your Enthusiasm
We're still be waiting to see whether the American version of The Office (The Office: An American Workplace) will really take off in the States. However, in the meantime HBO has a sort of glamourous version of The Office with Curb Your Enthusiasm - currently showing on BBC Four. Larry David, who wrote the hit comedy Seinfeld, plays himself and like The Office there is much toe curling and cringing as we follow the day to day minutae of Larry's world.
The Office introduced some real life minor celebs (Howard Brown from The Halifax adverts) to add to the "documentary" "fly on the wall" feel, and Curb Your Enthusiasm is similar but with major celebs such as Ted Danson and Diane Keaton playing themselves.
Unlike David Brent, Larry David is a big success, and lives the Talking Heads American dream in Florida, with a beautiful wife, and a beautiful house, with a beautiful car. But he's still a jerk, prone to giving hideous advice and making tasteless jokes - "Fancy committing suicide without leaving a note - that's just rude".
In the same episode when tasked to write his wife's aunt's obituary, Larry dictates it quickly over a cup of coffee, and later walks into a stunned family meeting where "Beloved aunt" has been printed as.....well...... let's just say that the letter 'a' has been replaced with a 'c'. Larry is thrown out of the house and skulks with agent's family and is then accused of trying to "cop a feel" of the agent's elderly mother.
Apparently, the series is shot without a script and the cast are given scene outlines and often improvise lines as they go. I'm sure it's incredibly hard to get the "fly on the wall" feel that Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Royle Family and The Office have. Nothing much happens in any of the shows really. But why are they so much more interesting and funnier than watching real "reality" TV shows? Even the reality shows with "professional" TV stars in them. You really wish that all of the people in Celebrity Big Brother, I'm Famous and Frightened, The Farm and the like had been given scripts.
The first series of Curb Your Enthusiasm is on Thursday nights on BBC Four at 11pm.