Seinfeld producer/creator Larry David has often claimed that the character of George Costanza, the abrasive, neurotic, spectacularly luckless Seinfeld supporting player so brilliantly played by Jason Alexander, was based on David himself. Small wonder, then, that most of the plotlines of the self-deprecating, reality-based sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm have a distinctly Costanzan flavor -- with Larry David, in the role of former standup comic-turned-TV executive Larry David, a dictionary definition of the phrase "his own worst enemy." A spinoff of the 1999 HBO "mockumentary" special of the same name, the weekly 30-minute Curb Your Enthusiasm is filmed in cinéma vérité fashion, with much of dialogue ad-libbed (though the premise of each episode has been carefully worked out in advance).
Larry David portrays himself as the archetypal Hollywood wheeler-dealer, forever promoting "can't miss" TV and film projects, and using (and sometimes abusing) his myriad of showbiz celebrity connections -- among them Richard Lewis, Rob Reiner, Shaquille O'Neal, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Wanda Sykes, and Mel Brooks, not to mention a generous supply of former Seinfeld stars -- to further advance his already super-successful career. And yet, no matter how high he climbs, David is a slave to his own foibles, phobias, and neuroses, perpetually opening mouth and inserting foot, making as many enemies as friends in high places and never relaxing long enough to enjoy or appreciate what he has accomplished. In typical Seinfeld fashion, our hero manages to make a sizable and often insurmountable mountain out of the tiniest and least significant of molehills. While the plotlines of the first two ten-episode HBO seasons were relatively self-contained, season three was held together with the through-line of Larry opening a Planet Hollywood-style restaurant, while the focus of season four was the rather improbable premise that Larry had been offered the starring role in Mel Brooks' smash Broadway musical The Producers. Also appearing on Curb Your Enthusiasm are Cheryl Hines as Larry's spouse, Cheryl; David's longtime production associate Jeff Garlin as Jeff Greene; and Susie Essman as Jeff's wife, Susie. The series is very much an HBO production with an unending stream of hilarious profanities and sexual situations (though the series' funniest running gag is probably the cleanest: Larry David's constitutional inability to figure out the basic protocol of tipping the help).