Longtime fans of Seinfeld know that the buzzkill squad at the “standards and practices” office — the comedy Comstockers, the prom chaperones — gave a wide berth to the show’s writers. An episode spoofing the JFK assassination? Shrug. Thirty minutes about masturbation? Fine. About the only thing the censors ever nixed was an episode that began with George reflecting, “I have never seen a black person order a salad.” NBC couldn’t handle the risk of being tagged as salad racists.
George’s alter ego and Seinfeld co-creator Larry David went on to create and star in Curb Your Enthusiasm, though, and it’s pretty much all “I have never seen a black person order a salad.” Revived for a ninth season this fall after a six-year break, Curb kicks things off in its first episode with Larry in trouble for failing to hold a door for a masculine-looking lesbian, a choice he made because he surmised that such a person would be offended by being treated like a lady. Naturally he receives nothing but hostility in exchange for being well-meaning. By the end of the show Larry, having made some jokes about the Ayatollah on TV in the course of preparing a Broadway musical called “Fatwa,” was himself the target of an actual fatwa. Once that news got out, all of the producers who had signed up to back him ran for cover and Larry found himself shunned by his secular supposed allies against the jihadists.