The Larry David we see on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" lives in his own little world, constantly trying to avoid invaders who insist on sidewalk stop-and-chats and "upstreamers" who steal cabs.
Despite his attempts to seal himself in a small post-Seinfeldian universe where petty conflicts are inevitably writ large, there are signs David is having an unintended impact far outside his TV bubble.
In 2004, footage from a "Curb" crowd scene shot at Dodger Stadium helped clear a man of murder charges by giving him an alibi. In 2007, The New Yorker reported "Curb" segments featuring the kinds of trivial clashes that fuel David’s comedy of ill manners were being used to help teach social skills to schizophrenic people.
His reach now might extend to the Middle East: Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz reportedly sent Benjamin Netanyahu a copy of David's instant-classic "Palestinian Chicken" episode – along with a suggestion that the Israeli prime minister view the DVD with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "Maybe if they both get a good laugh, they can begin a negotiating process," Dershowitz told The Current, an undergraduate journal published out of Columbia University (hat tip to The Hollywood Reporter).
So there's at least a tiny chance that David, whose TV alter ego reaps turmoil from everyday social interactions, could bring Netanyahu and Abbas together. As David might say, that's pretty, pretty, pretty good.
For the uninitiated, the July episode centers on Larry's love of a Palestinian chicken joint hated by his largely Jewish circle of friends. His affair with a beautiful Palestinian woman who screams anti-Semitic slurs in the throws of passion makes it even harder for him to choose between his people – and the combination of great sex and better chicken. In the end, Larry stands literally in the middle of two groups of demonstrators – one in front of a Jewish deli, the other outside the neighboring new Palestinian restaurant – unable to pick a side.
The episode, the best from the generally strong most-recent season of “Curb,” was vintage David: escalating the ordinary into a laugh-infused all-out battle, while offering not-so-subtle comic commentary on a larger issue.
David has proven a miracle worker before – his second shot at a "Seinfeld" finale in Season 7 of “Curb” might be the only non-disappointing reunion show in television history. Even if forging a Mideast peace is probably too much to ask, David finds himself in a “Curb”-worthy set of circumstances: one of TV’s biggest cynics is in the unlikely position of inspiring a glimmer of hope.
“So it may be that Larry David will not only win Emmys, but he may even qualify for the Nobel Peace Prize,” Dershowitz told The Current.
If nothing else, hopefully the latest and potentially greatest evidence that Larry David really is do-gooder disguised as a misanthrope will convince him to come back for a ninth season on HBO. He’d undoubtedly continue to wreak the opposite of peace. But a return would be pretty, pretty, pretty good for fans – and perhaps the world.
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.