This section is where I give serious essays on comedy.
This past weekend’s mixed reviews of Bee Movie confirm what seemed obvious to anyone who’s watched Seinfeld reruns in the post-Curb Your Enthusiasm-era: Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David were like Paul McCartney and John Lennon—they worked best as a team, but as solo artists, David and Lennon would prove the better artists while McCartney and Seinfeld were panned as the Tin Pan Alley pop hacks.
Seinfeld was obviously their Sgt. Pepper’s: most of it was attributable to Seinfeld, just like Pepper’s was ultimately McCartney’s triumph. Still, McCartney’s peppy “Getting Better” chorus was grounded by Lennon’s weary “can’t get much worse” back-up vocals. Respectively, Seinfeld’s safe, quotidian observations of everyday life were stale without David’s bile and vinegar.
As Lennon’s solo work became more introspective and stripped-down in his solo years, David offered a darker, personal vision. If Seinfeld prided itself on observations that all of us can relate to (understanding low talkers, scratching your nose in front of a lover), Curb Your Enthusiasm was an unapologetic look through David’s wire-rimmed glasses (another similarity between Lennon and David).
Though I have not seen Bee Movie, the words used to malign it have been identical to the ones used to denigrate McCartney’s output in the ‘70s: “ho-hum;” “bland;” “middle of the road.” The short of it is, no one has been outraged enough to give it a scathing review, which paradoxically makes the film seem worse.
This does not mean I agree with the McCartney/Seinfeld haters. I will still watch Bee Movie and I will still post this Wings classic: