Complex TVMain MenuIntroductionVideos for IntroductionComplexity in ContextBeginningsVideos for Chapter 2AuthorshipCharactersComprehensionEvaluationSerial MelodramaOrienting ParatextsTransmedia StorytellingEndsVideo GalleryTable of ContentsJason Mittell06e96b1b57c0e09d70492af49d984ee2f68945deNew York University Press
p. 202-203: CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
12015-03-15T11:32:50-07:00Jason Mittell06e96b1b57c0e09d70492af49d984ee2f68945de13502plain2015-03-15T11:33:16-07:00Jason Mittell06e96b1b57c0e09d70492af49d984ee2f68945deLarry drives Loretta to Dr. Trundle’s lecture, and they see Mr. Trundle in the car ahead of them, mentioning him by name, relationship, and previous encounter, all of which seem to be setting him up for playing a major role in the anticipated narrative collision course that Curb episodes frequently feature; and thus his presence triggers an operational anticipatory question: why do we keep seeing him? We soon get our answer, with the first crossover between plotlines: as both cars are driving, we see Dr. Trundle’s head rise up from her husband’s lap, wiping her mouth after some implied vehicular fellatio. Loretta is so offended that she discredits the doctor, insisting that Larry turn the car around, thus foiling his plan to inspire Loretta to leave him. At the operational level, it feels like the title has now fully been paid off, crossing between plots and serving as a major narrative stimulus to undercut Larry’s grand scheme. Yet it returns in the next scene, as Larry goes to Dr. Trundle’s office to leave payment for Dean’s glasses, but Dr. Trundle expresses her disappointment that Larry and Loretta missed the lecture and accuses Larry of interfering because she was going to urge Loretta to leave him. Larry “rejects the hypothesis,” and when she presses him to tell the truth, he describes what they witnessed in the car. The doctor denies it, becoming so incensed with Larry’s implications that she beats him with her book. We are left uncertain whether she was lying about her explanation that she was searching for her cell phone, but clearly we can support her accusation that Larry has a “tiny little, insecure, infantile mind of about a twelve-year-old” (to which he replies, “I think you blew him”)— and yet we are fully aligned and allied with Larry throughout his pettiness and misanthropy. Like the antiheroes discussed in chapter 4, we see Larry as an undesirable person but enjoy him as a character, saying things that are socially unacceptable and living without shame or fear of consequences from his petty griping.