Curb Your Enthusiasm is an HBO series which centers on Larry David as the main character. Larry is best known for being the writer of the hit series, Seinfeld, and in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry plays a partially fictionalized version of himself. The show is filmed in a cinéma vérité style and although Larry outlines the script prior to filming, much of the dialogue is improvised by the actors. Reminiscent of Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes revolve around Larry's many social faux pas and his issues with social conventions and other people's behavior. Larry, a fairly wealthy, balding, Jewish, Caucasian man in his sixties, is occasionally referred to on the show as a social assassin because of his candidness, tactlessness, and unwillingness to let his annoyances or opinions go unexpressed. Most, if not all, episodes involve a group of people enraged and yelling at Larry.
It is social convention within human culture that we each act out our roles according to unwritten rules of our society but Larry constantly challenges these social conventions. According to Mark Ralkowski, author of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Philosophy: Awaken the Social Assassin Within, I think we all live vicariously through Larry, because if somebody asks you to dinner, you'd like to just say, No, I don't really like you that much.' But people don't in real life, you know.
[...] The term “paralanguage” refers to all non-verbal elements of communication, such as pitch, volume, speed, and tone. (Hymes) These may be expressed either consciously or unconsciously and are often just as important to understanding one's meaning as the actual words being said. While this is a great example of Larry being candid and tactless; as calling someone's dog half rat is frankly insulting whether is was meant as a joke or not; Larry does bring to attention the importance of paralinguistic cues in language, especially when it comes to humor and sarcasm. [...]
[...] Saussure makes the claim that language is a structured system of arbitrary signs. Saussure explains that if words were not arbitrary but in fact stood for pre-existing concepts, they would be the same in every language. (Saussure) In sign language, these arbitrary signs are not written or spoken words but gestures made with the hands. To a person who does not speak sign language, it would appear that Larry is just scratching his finger. Someone like Hal however, who focuses heavily on hand gestures for communication, could pick up on these subtle gestures and read into it a message that was not intended to be communicated. [...]
[...] Kaleigh Rhoads SID# 20877150 Anthropology 166 August 9, 2012 Curb Your Enthusiasm: A Linguistic Analysis of a Social Assassin Curb Your Enthusiasm is an HBO series which centers on Larry David as the main character. Larry is best known for being the writer of the hit series, Seinfeld, and in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry plays a partially fictionalized version of himself. The show is filmed in a cinéma vérité style and although Larry outlines the script prior to filming, much of the dialogue is improvised by the actors. [...]
[...] "The Rat Dog." Curb Your Enthusiasm. HBO: 2007. Television. Goffman, Erving. Interaction Ritual - Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior . New York City: Rinehart and Winston, 1972. Hill, Jane. The Everyday Language of White Racism. West Sussex: Wiley- Blackwell, 2008. Hymes, Dell. Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Communication. 1. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 1991. Ralkowski, Mark. Curb Your Enthusiasm and Philosophy: Awaken the Social Assassin Within. Chicago: Open Court Publishing, 2012. Saussure, F. D. Course in general linguistics. New York: The Philosophical Library, 1959. [...]
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