The New Yorker’s Jacob Ward spoke with UNC psychology student David Roberts in the current issue, as the latter has tried to treat the schizophrenic with ” television™s purest expression of social dysfunction”, Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.
Roberts considers Larry David to be the perfect proxy for a schizophrenic person. œOn his way into his dentist™s office, he holds the door open for a woman, and, as a result, she™s seen first, he said. œHe stews, he fumes, he explodes. He™s breaking the social rules that folks with schizophrenia often break. He went on, œOr the one where Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen invite Larry and his wife to a concert: the night arrives, they don™t call, Larry assumes they don™t like him, then it turns out he got the date wrong. It™s a classic example of a major social cognitive error”jumping to conclusions”that schizophrenic patients are prone to. As the patients watched David flub situation after situation, they laughed, and they willingly discussed with Roberts how they might behave in the same circumstances. œThat bald man made a mountain out of a molehill! one woman called out during a session.
Larry David has been replaced, however. When no one at œCurb Your Enthusiasm responded to a request for permission to use clips from the show, Roberts and UNC advisor David Penn hired actors to film their own cringe-worthy situations.
Larry David, reached on the telephone in California, said that he hadn™t realized how deeply the awkwardness on his show would affect people. œIt just deals with how you™re supposed to behave, he said. œA lot of the time, it™s just me expressing myself freely. I knew that my own mental health was problematic, but should I be worried? I mean, I blow up, too! Is this something undiagnosed? Do I need to see a clinical psychologist?