Curb Your Enthusiasm

HBO, Sundays, various times

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If John Cassavetes had directed Seinfeld, it might have looked like this. Acerbic Seinfeld co-creator Larry David plays himself in a largely improvised series that follows a familiar pattern: David does something insensitive, lands in hot water and so on until we reach a crescendo of comic discomfort. The humor is minutely observed, but the improv reminds you how much nonactor Jerry Seinfeld benefited from comic backup and tight scripts. At his best, though, David can still make you laugh till you squirm.

--By James Poniewozik