BY DEAN ROBBINS
All of us Curb Your Enthusiasm fans were suspicious when writer-star Larry David suspended the series to work on an HBO movie. But we needn’t have worried. Clear History is like an extended episode of Curb, with even bigger and better humiliations for the Larry David stand-in (Saturday, 8 p.m.).
Here he plays Nathan Flomm, a bearded, longhaired marketing executive who stupidly walks away from a billion-dollar electric-car idea after a petty fight with his partner, Will (Jon Hamm). Nathan becomes a national laughingstock, so he moves to Martha’s Vineyard, changes his identity, shaves his hair, and blends into working-class life with a group of new pals (Amy Ryan, Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes, Danny McBride and Bill Hader). All is well until Will happens to move to the island with his perfect wife (Kate Hudson).
Nathan plots his revenge, ignoring the advice of a friend to “let it go.” Of course, a Larry David character can never let anything go. He’s convinced he’s in the right, thereby sealing his doom. David is our bard of minor irritations, dating back to his brilliant scripts for Seinfeld. Clear History is a showcase for his comic genius, including the usual insights into minutiae you’ve never thought about before. (And really, why aren’t electrical outlets at eye level?) Then there’s his ruthless determination to expose self-interested behavior in all its forms.
David is incapable of allowing his autobiographical heroes satisfaction. I just hope he can allow himself a moment’s satisfaction for his long-form achievement in Clear History.