Community//

The Curb Your Enthusiasm COVID-19 Survival Guide

Let's take a few lessons from America's lovable curmudgeon, Larry David

Larry David’s public service announcement #StayHomeSaveLives from the Office of the Governor of California offers wise advice for “the idiots out there” who refuse to shelter at home.

Yet as cooped-up binge watchers and long-time fans can attest, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” offers key coronavirus survival strategies. Even early episodes – produced years before we knew what PPE and N95 meant – hit all the essential themes.

Social distancing: Check.

Hyper-hygienic: Check.

Existential foreboding: Check. Check. And Check.

Here’s a look at COVID-19 teaching moments, from the first five seasons of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Season 1, Episode 2 – Ted and Mary

Larry’s shoes are stolen at a bowling alley, and his germaphobia kicks into gear. Larry gets his shoes back, and promptly takes them in for a good fumigation.

OK, COVID-19 isn’t transmitted through shoes. Or is it? We’re learning that this virus can live on surfaces for hours or days. And as a practical matter, it feels like social distancing — not to mention the pre-pandemic ick factor — includes not wearing someone else’s shoes. Larry’s teaching moment: Be persistent, reclaim what’s yours … and make sure what’s encountered is properly sanitized. 

Season 2, Episode 4 – The Shrimp Incident

Larry is convinced and aghast that HBO executive Allan Wasserman stole some of his kung pao shrimp after a take-out mix-up. Stealing and savoring someone else’s food has always been a no-no. But during times of pandemic, it’s especially taboo. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Avoid sharing personal items like food and drinks.” 

Season 3, Episode 2 – The Benadryl Brownie

Another food-related snafu at Larry’s house leaves Richard Lewis’s girlfriend with a bad case of hives. She’s a Christian Scientist, so chooses prayer over, natch, science and over-the-counter remedies. Larry’s invited to a prayer circle, and is a fish out of proverbial water — he’s never been a big toucher, let alone a prayer-circle participant. While a pandemic prevents the faithful from mass gatherings, Larry, in his own way, teaches us that faith is highly personal and can (and for the time being should) be observed solo.

Season 4, Episode 7 – The Surrogate

Larry fakes a heart attack to escape a road-rage assault. But wife Cheryl cries foul at Larry’s phony myocardial infarction. He’s taking up a hospital bed actual sick people need! Larry’s elective hospital stay is a commentary on today’s scarcity of basic medical supplies. It’s this scarcity that’s driving ad hoc shelter-in-place policies. And there’s also this: absent a nationwide strategy, health systems across the country are creating their own stay-at-home public service announcements, i.e., Providence’s This isn’t going anywhere if you go everywhere.

Season 5, Episode 10 – The End

So much going on in this season finale: Bad medical-record information leads Larry to believe he’s adopted and not Jewish. The (brief) religious conversion compels him to donate one of his kidneys to friend Richard Lewis. The resulting surgical complication leads Larry to die and ascend to heaven, only to get kicked out and returned to his body. On his temporary deathbed, Larry offers parting critiques of, and demands for, surviving loved ones. “You use too much mayo,” Larry admonishes best friend, Jeff. Yes, the preference would be to say the four things that matter most: “Thank you.” “I love you.” “Please forgive me.” “I forgive you.” But the lesson here is clear: Tell your loved ones today, now, how you feel about them and the things that matter most to you.

Michael Drummond is the communications director for Providence’s Institute for Human Caring.

#StayHomeSaveLives

    The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Why Relational Connection Is So Important During the Coronavirus Pandemic

    by Michael and Katie Stallard
    Shutterstock
    Thriving in the New Normal//

    How to Communicate With Your Partner While Social Distancing at Home

    by Lindsey Benoit O'Connell
    Community//

    COVID-19: A Call to Compassion, Community & Courage

    by Marissa Badgley

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.