Watching the latest episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm (Episode 11:7, “Irma Kostroski”) my jaw dropped when one of the story lines was the statutory rape accusation against Anthony Bourdain’s last girlfriend, which we learned about in August 2018, after his death in June.
If you’re not into Curb, here’s how it goes: It’s a sitcom starring Larry David playing himself as a curmudgeonly semi-retired TV writer/producer living in California. The show isn’t fully scripted. The actors know what’s supposed to happen, but ad lib much of the dialogue.
This season, Larry has been developing a sitcom based on his early life as a Jew in New York, casting an actor named Asa to play “Young Larry.” Asa is a pretentious jerk with many ridiculous demands for his character’s “authenticity.”
The thinly fictionalized Asia-Jimmy angle first comes up between the prop master Stan and Larry (I’ve cut lines that don’t add context)…
Stan: Larry, I can’t work with that kid [Asa]. He’s driving me nuts.
Larry: You know, like I told you, he’s a fucked up kid. He got sexually abused, I hear.
Stan: Oh, well, about that. I did my research. And it turns out, little Asa there, when he was a 17-year old kid, was “taken advantage of” by the beautiful 37-year-old Adriana Amante, the Italian actress. Fucking smokeshow, stunning.
Larry: That’s the trauma? I read about that.
Stan: Not only that, but he got 400 grand as a payoff. Formerly known as Andy. Were you as lucky at 17 to be taken advantage of by a supermodel?
Larry: Yeah, right. I was traumatized because I couldn’t have any sex at all.
Stan: Same here. I couldn’t fucking pay a woman to touch me.
Next scene, Larry confronts Asa…
Larry: You’re really giving Stan a hard time. You’re acting like kind of an asshole. There could be a justification for it, because I know how traumatized you were from that horrible incident you had when you were 17 and sexually abused by a beautiful, luscious, voluptuous Italian movie star.
Asa: You heard about that, huh?
Larry: Oh, my God, I can’t even imagine how horrible that must have —
Asa: It was so hard.
Larry: How did that work, exactly? Did she get you in a headlock?
Asa: It was a mental headlock.
Larry: All right, cut the shit, OK? You were 17 years old. If a cactus touched your penis, you would have been thrilled at that age, OK?
Asa: Ow, wow, wow. What if you were in high school and you slept with an older, famous actress? How would people treat you?
Larry: They would have named the high school after me.
Later, Larry lunching with the guys at his country club, and here the truth gets altered a bit…
Larry: So, it turns out he [Asa] did this movie when he was 17 and had sex in her trailer. He claimed that he was abused and got a $400,000 settlement. Now he’s playing the victim.
Larry’s friend Richard Lewis: It was the luckiest day of his life.
Larry’s roommate Leon: He’s ungrateful. This little motherfucker got a piece of ass, which is priceless. Then he got $400,000 on top of that shit? And the movie paid him. He got paid three fucking times and he’s still complaining.
Now it’s local Election Day and Larry encounters Asa outside the polls, where Asa makes a demand…
Larry: Get rid of Stan?
Asa: Yeah. He’s very difficult.
Larry: You know what? You’re driving him crazy.
Asa: I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to make art.
Larry: Yeah, well, he’s going to have a nervous breakdown, and it’s going to be real trauma, not like the fake trauma that you went through.
Asa: Oh, that’s where you’re going to go. It was real trauma. I suffered very… Hey, what are you doing, Larry?
Larry approaches a boy in line while Asa looks on…
Larry: Can I ask you a question? How old are you?
Larry: If a woman who looks like this (pulls up picture, presumably of the actress, on his phone, but not you-know-who) was interested in you, what would you say?
Boy: Yeah, I’d like that.
Larry: And what if she touched you down there?
Boy: Down there? Fuck, yeah.
Larry: And what if she invited you back to her apartment to have sex with her, and then she gave you $400,000?
Boy: Who wouldn’t take that?
Larry: Yeah, who wouldn’t take that? Thank you.
Boy: Is she here? When’s this happening?
Larry: Don’t be an idiot, no. Of course not.
By making the kid a schmuck and smearing compliments all over the actress with a thick knife, Larry David presumably is trying to avoid any backlash in the real world. But what I’m wondering is, what in hell made Larry think to exploit that still-unresolved situation as comedy fodder? And to go on and on about it? In the process, he essentially applauds the woman for committing statutory rape.
This Cats Working post from August 2018 provides details of what really happened, according to The New York Times, as well as subsequent posts as more information came to light.
And here’s a full recap of that Curb episode.
PS: Cats Working avoids using the woman in question’s full name because we don’t want to come up in her Google searches on herself or contribute to statistics on mentions of her.