Misanthropy is not hereditary, but it isn’t surprising that Cazzie David – the daughter of “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” creator Larry David – was influenced by her father’s many neuroses and frustrations.
While David is putting the finishing touches to the highly anticipated ninth season of “Curb” after a five-year hiatus, Cazzie has just premiered a new web series in which she follows in the antisocial footsteps of her father.
The first four episodes of the comedy “Eighty-Sixed” (the name comes from a slang expression meaning to withhold service – usually used in reference to a barman refusing to sell liquor to a customer who has drunk too much) have just been posted on YouTube and the series’ official website.
Like most traditional web series, the format consists of very short episodes that are between five and seven minutes in length. Cazzie David, who is the series’ cowriter/director, also stars as a selfish, neurotic young woman whose anxieties and obsessions are reinforced by social media.
Cazzie David is certainly aware of the fact that she invites comparisons to her father with a storyline that expresses her discomfort with friends who sit on her bed after their clothes were in contact with public surfaces, or with a discussion about the hypocrisy of people who prefer ice cream served in a cup to a cone.
Still, the heart of the series deals with the young generation whose tribulations are very different from those of David Snr. Their problems exist in the recesses of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and are part of “Zen and the art of maintaining the desired persona on social media.”
In addition to friends who tag her against her will, and attempts to force friends to upload a photo of her at a party (“If I upload it, it looks desperate and like I want him to know I’m going out”), the protagonist is also dealing with a break up. She studies photographs on her laptop of celebrity couples who have separated. “How is Demi Moore doing post Ashton Kutcher?” she asks Google. “How is Stacy Keibler [George Clooney’s ex] doing?”
In a witty comment on this generation’s inability to distinguish between imitation and original, Cazzie David expresses frustration with one of Facebook’s features and hisses “Fuck Jesse Eisenberg!” (who played Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg in the 2010 film “The Social Network”). And in episode three, she tries to work out whether her vagina is tight enough compared to that of her ex’s present partner, and finds herself obsessing and being pathetic all at the same time.
Although the series includes a few brilliant ideas and is graced with the misanthropic charm that reverberates through “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” it is also very immature. As opposed to “Broad City” and “Unsure/Positive,” which managed to create stories that portrayed convincing conflicts and a lot of sensitive, whip-smart, and funny humor, the plot of “Eighty-Sixed” is too threadbare and amateurish. The general impression is of a witty tweet or status on Instagram being stretched into a short episode.
It’s only natural that Cazzie David’s voice as a creator is limited to ideas that can be summed up in short status updates. After all, in the past two years, the 23-year-old has become the archetypal “rich Instagram child” – young people seen living the good life and not apologizing for it.
Her Instagram account is full of photos of flamboyant vacations with boyfriend Pete Davidson (“Saturday Night Live”), lolling around in a bikini poolside or at a luxurious spa, snacks of cheeses, fruit and Champagne and, when necessary, photos of cute pets.
Last October, she wrote an article for Vanity Fair magazine to help readers improve their Instagram accounts. “You want to have the perfect balance of hot and funny on your Instagram, but you never want too much of either,” she warned.
In contrast to the waves of hatred directed at the glittering, wasteful and detached lifestyles of rich young people on Instagram, the web showers love on Cazzie, who has nearly 85,000 followers on Instagram. Maybe it’s because there’s something accessible about her, and maybe it’s thanks to her statuses, which give off an aura of authenticity.
Regarding the title of an interview in Oyster Magazine (“Chatting To Cool Human/Hollywood Royalty Cazzie David”), she wrote she had never seen herself described as “cool” before. The carefully nurtured image she maintains, both on Instagram and in “Eighty-Sixed,” convinces us there is no contradiction between the image of a young woman who is on the one hand rich, beautiful and enjoys the good life, and on the other feels rejected and lonely, and has difficulty forming social connections.
It probably doesn’t hurt that she frequently uploads pictures of herself with her father, treating him nicely or looking angry and rolling her eyes when he forces her to tour a historical battlefield. The fact that she’s the daughter of someone identified with existential emptiness, petty arguments and silly misunderstandings also helps to increase the series’ exposure and understand why she has been welcomed by the web with open arms.
She’s indifferent to the link between her success and the fact she is Larry David’s daughter. When asked by Refinery 29 if she ever worries about accusations of nepotism, she replied, “I do think about it, but other than murdering my dad there’s not a lot I can do about it.”
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