Gonzo TV


One Response to “Gonzo TV”

  1. lauraoconnell Says:

    Curb, Narrative Complexity and the Rise of the Television Auteur

    Curb Your Enthusiasm’s opening shot in its pilot episode is a close-up frame on its star Larry David’s crotch. And so sets the tone for this unconventional HBO comedy as unapologetic, confrontational, discomforting and yet according to Jason Mittell – “narratively complex” (36). In charting and exploring the rise of what Mittell describes as a redefinition of television norms, he credits “the changing perception of the medium’s legitimacy and its appeal to creators” (30). This increasing appreciation is critical for Curb because it legitimizes Larry’s presence on television, despite his lack of good looks, charm, or other usual traits for screen time.

    Larry’s claim to fame is instead his role as co-creator of Seinfeld, a show famously touted as being “about nothing.” While this fact fails to impress the Los Angeles restaurant hostess who cannot seem to find a table for Larry and his wife, it impresses a new audience of television consumers who “embrace complex programs in much more passionate and committed terms than most conventional television” (32). Similar to the likes of Aaron Sorkin and Jeff Schwartz, Larry’s name precedes and almost supercedes his project. The new focus on narrative complexity treats the creator as king.

    Mittell claims that “what is arguably most compelling and distinctive is not the stories they tell but the narrative strategies used in the telling” (36). As Sean explained in his comment, the most enjoyable and satisfying part of Curb the way in which the writers expertly tie together otherwise unrelated and divergent storylines. It is the mastering of narrative complexity that entices us to watch shows like Seinfeld or Curb, shows that deal with daily minutiae. They make something of that nothing.

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