why cye
June 8, 2006 1:43 PM   Subscribe

what's the meaning of the title of the show curb your enthusiasm

is there a specific origin/meaning/joke to the title?
posted by alkupe to Media & Arts (25 answers total)
It's Larry David's attitude to life.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 1:43 PM on June 8, 2006

Don't be so excited?
posted by k8t at 1:47 PM on June 8, 2006

his attitude is that other people should curb their enthusiasm or that he has no enthusiasm? it is after all a command: curb your enthusiasm
posted by alkupe at 1:48 PM on June 8, 2006

Larry David is a pessimist, so I think it's just a reflection of that -- no one's getting commanded here. Some things can't be interpreted so literally.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 1:52 PM on June 8, 2006

What k8t said, but in a sarcastic sense. If someone tells you big news and you just sdully aid "oh . . . great" they could respond "curb your enthusiasm" or "don't get excited"
posted by necessitas at 1:54 PM on June 8, 2006

I always felt that it was advice for the viewer, as in "don't get too excited about this show." And it's good advice--I love it, but the few times I've tried to spread my enthusiasm to others it has failed miserably.
posted by mullacc at 1:56 PM on June 8, 2006

watch the show

it's ironic cynical sarcasm
posted by foraneagle2 at 2:03 PM on June 8, 2006

A euphamism akin to 'cool your jets' which is probably too New York for a national audience? I say this only because I dated someone from Chappaqua who was the only person I ever knew who used the expression.
posted by Gungho at 2:04 PM on June 8, 2006

just to be clear: i watch the show and i know what the expression means. I'm just wondering if there's any specific meaning to this expression within the show or about more specific explanations than "it's ironic cynical sarcasm"
posted by alkupe at 2:24 PM on June 8, 2006

I always thought it meant "don't get too excited about things" (curb your enthusiasm) because things will always go wrong (what happens in each episode).
posted by milarepa at 2:24 PM on June 8, 2006

Some signs in NY in residential landscape areas will say "Curb Your Dog", meaning, don't let your dog shit on my plants. While everyone's correct in that the general meaning of Curb Your Enthusiasm" is roughly "chill out", I think the etymology might come from these signs, which seem fairly common.
posted by LionIndex at 2:26 PM on June 8, 2006

Don't Let Your Enthusiasm Shit On My Plants was in fact the working title.
posted by TonyRobots at 2:33 PM on June 8, 2006

I always took it as a sarcastic comment about the attitude of the show's creators, or perhaps the anticipated attitude of the audience.

It's an ironic saying akin to when someone asks for volunteers, nobody budges, and then the asker says, "Don't all jump up at once."
posted by ROTFL at 3:07 PM on June 8, 2006

Ok... Since the poster has marked your answer 'best', TonyRobots, I think you should fess up that you were being facetious.
posted by agropyron at 3:15 PM on June 8, 2006

Over at the Seinfeld studios, wasn't there some sign on the wall that said, "NO HUGS, NO LEARNING", as a reminder to what the show was really about?

It would seem the name "Curb your Enthusiasm" is apropos for a Larry David production.
posted by 1fish2fish at 3:23 PM on June 8, 2006

I have never seen the show, but curbing in that particular sense is a term related to horseriding, meaning "to reign in".
posted by tracicle at 3:48 PM on June 8, 2006

I read an interview and either he or one of the writers gave an explanation of the meaning. I can't exactly remember what it was, but it was something to do with 'this show really isn't going to blow you away so don't get too excited'.
posted by wackybrit at 3:52 PM on June 8, 2006

I've always taken it to be a direct reaction to the Seinfeld hype. With Seinfeld gone, people were looking to this show to take its place. OMG! A new show from the creator of Seinfeld! This is going to be the greatest thing ever! Larry's response? Curb your enthusiasm. You're going to be disappointed. This show ain't Seinfeld.
posted by team lowkey at 4:07 PM on June 8, 2006

I'm surprised no one has the real answer yet. Before the series Curb Your Enthusiasm existed, Larry David did a comedy special for HBO called Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm. (There's some confusion on the latter IMDB page, but they are distinct.) The series evolved from the special, and the special is included as a special feature on the first season Curb Your Enthusiasm DVD set.

In the special, Larry David is going to make his triumphant return to standup, which he last did before Seinfeld. He (well, Jeff really) pitches HBO on a documentary about preparing for the show, and then for a standup special. The HBO execs love it and they begin preparing. Everyone is excited, and Larry begins to have second thoughts. (I'll not give away the rest of it.)
posted by raf at 4:15 PM on June 8, 2006

Why not give away the rest, raf, if it answers the question? Does he actually say "Curb your enthusiasm" in the special? The only reference I've found to the show's title is in this New Yorker piece, which says:

“Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm” aired in October, 1999. The title was an ironic, almost superstitious reference to David’s low profile. But it was also a billboard for the vastly less famous “Seinfeld” co-creator.

...which would seem to me to mean it's a jab at how Larry was big enough to have his own special, but still not have anyone know his name. Like,

Hey everyone, it's Larry David!!!
Please! Hold your applause!

Is there something more specific than that in the plot of the special itself?
posted by team lowkey at 4:54 PM on June 8, 2006

No, there is no specific reference to the phrase in the special.
posted by raf at 4:57 PM on June 8, 2006

I'm assuming the poster knew I was making funny, but had the good sense to recognize a best answer when he saw one. "Best" doesn't always mean "correct", ya know.

But I do think LionIndex should share the honor. Everyone needs a straight man.
posted by TonyRobots at 5:17 PM on June 8, 2006

Bad assumption.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 7:27 AM on June 9, 2006

I could swear I remember an interview with Larry David where he explained the title, but I couldn't tell you where I saw it. As I recall, he said that it is meant like a "command," as in "If you're really happy about something, keep it to yourself." Sort of like saying "Don't ruin my bad mood with your cheerfulness."
posted by ludwig_van at 8:56 AM on June 9, 2006

Really, Tycoon? You think alkupe could've thought that the working title of CYE might really have been "Don't Let Your Enthusiasm Shit On My Plants," just after LionIndex posted:

Some signs in NY in residential landscape areas will say "Curb Your Dog", meaning, don't let your dog shit on my plants.


That's awesome.
posted by TonyRobots at 2:31 PM on June 9, 2006

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