Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Curb Your Enthusiasm - Occupy This

The Penis and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

"Palestinian Chicken," the most recent episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" was hysterically funny and provided a mishmash of equal-opportunity bashing of almost anyone who comes to mind.

I liked this review by Meredith Blake:

Shara: I like you.
Larry: What’s not to like?
Shara: Eh, you’re a Jew.

Some day in the not-too-distant future, lazy undergrad students will be writing lengthy essays about Jewish-American male identity based on little more than this episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Who needs Portnoy’s Complaint when you’ve got “Palestinian Chicken”?

A few years back, New York magazine ran a cover story about the evolution of Jewish humor. The gist of the piece, which was pegged to the release of Woody Allen's Whatever Works, was that Jewish comedy is slowly dying out after a century of gradual assimilation. In the article, Larry David claimed that he doesn’t think of himself as a distinctly Jewish comedian. At the time, I thought he was being a tad disingenuous; watching “Palestinian Chicken,” I’m no longer so sure. It's clear that he's got a pretty complicated relationship with his Jewish background.

All along, Larry has been a secular Jew with little respect for his more devout brethren (e.g. “The Ski Lift,” “The Survivor”). So when Funkhouser shows up at a dinner party wearing a blue yarmulke and declares that he has just “rededicated” himself to Judaism, Larry’s skepticism is palpable. “Are you for real?” he asks, not exactly convinced by Funkhouser’s new-found religious fervor.

Given Larry’s disdain for conspicuous displays of faith, it’s hardly a surprise to learn that he’s not much of a Zionist, either. Larry’s no ideologue; he’s a sensualist motivated by carnal desire, rather than political or religious dogma. It just so happens his latest passion is the mouth-watering chicken at Al Abbas, a Palestinian restaurant. Over lunch with Jeff, Larry is unfazed by the anti-Israel posters on the wall. Where others might see the enemy, Larry sees a twisted kind of beauty. He declares—prophetically, it turns out—that Al Abbas is “a fantastic place for Jews cheating on their spouses. You would never get caught.” He also salivates over Shara, the petite Palestinian bombshell who runs the restaurant. She’s obviously gorgeous, but she’s also “the enemy,” which makes her doubly attractive—at least to Larry. “You’re always attracted to someone who doesn’t want you. Well, here you have someone who not only doesn’t want you, but doesn’t even acknowledge your right to exist, who wants your destruction. That’s a turn-on,” he says. (read the rest),59382/