Review summaries of the HBO series' first season
Time Magazine: If John Cassavetes had directed Seinfeld, it might have looked like this. (CYE) can make you laugh till you squirm.
N.Y. Daily News: (4 Stars) Curb my enthusiasm? No way. (Curb) has given HBO its best sitcom since The Larry Sanders Show and given all of television the best sitcom since Seinfeld. Not too shabby for a show that isn't even scripted. (It's) so real and so absurdly comic precisely because the rhythms are so natural.
L.A. Times's Howard Rosenberg: Funny and wickedly weird, CYE has David playing himself improvisationally in front of fluid hand-held cameras. The cinema-vérite style and chatty tone are perfectly suited for the material, for you have no sense here of anyone acting. This show is a gas.
Hollywood Reporter: CYE has a unique sensibility. Working without a script and on location must complicate the job of director Robert B. Weide. To his credit though, scenes shift smoothly from one to another, and the interaction among characters feels natural -- not forced or hastily improvised. (Hand -held cameras) give the show something of a documentary texture, a spontaneity and realism that make it stand out from the typical sitcom. The level of humor ranges from mere chuckle-producing to out-and-out hilarity. Curb your enthusiasm? Not for this series. It's a laugh-filled winner.
Newsday's Marvin Kitman: The new half-hour series fulfills my happiest expectations. It's a quietly funny show and great fun. Continuing the cinema vérite style of the special, it is directed again by Robert B. Weide. His cameras follow David through the minutiae of his life. Nothing can dampen my enthusiasm. I haven't enjoyed a new cable comedy so much since the first episode of Larry Sanders.
New York Times: The show is styled as cinema vérite with waggish musical interludes playing counterpoint to the deadpan humor. You find yourself laughing at the uncomfortable situations (David) creates for himself, and even sympathizing with him. Go figure. A very funny comedy of comeuppance.
Daily Variety: No one has created a funnier TV character this fall. It's a show viewers will remember the following day and likely laugh at even harder than they did the first time. Series is shot in a neo-docu style that's often as unsettling as David's behavior. HBO deserves kudos for greenlighting such a terse character study.
San Francisco Chronicle: (Highest rating) It's howlingly funny, groaningly close to home and usually both.
Detroit Free Press: A wonderfully acerbic half-hour series. This is Seinfeld as directed by the late John Cassavetes. This unique show offers a fresh comic perspective. It's unlike any conventional sitcom wandering around the airwaves. This one's really a deliriously inventive comedy. The most original new comedy series of the fall season.
New York Post: CYE is funny in the way Bette wishes it was, and quirky in the way Ed can never be. Don't expect situations and don't expect an even flow -- of anything but the laughs.
Boston Herald: This new series is fabulous. I can't possibly curb my enthusiasm. (CYE ) is well written, very funny and really another reason to tune into this pay cable channel, which seems to have a knack for giving us the most watchable TV on TV.
Newark Star-Ledger: CYE is the most stylistically innovative comedy to hit American television since HBO's great The Larry Sanders Show. It's also the most squirm-inducing look at everyday deceit that I've seen outside of an Albert Brooks or Woody Allen movie. Fans of innovative TV will want to check it out just because of format: CYE may be the first entirely improvised narrative comedy series in American TV history.
San Antonio Express-News: Still mourning the end of Seinfeld? Here's some relief. CYE is one of the funniest, most addictive original shows offered in a while.
Indianapolis Star: Seinfeld fanatics will love the show, which is shot on video but made to look like film, giving the show the feeling of cinema vérite Seinfeld. What makes both shows great is the way they weave insignificant seemingly unrelated events into one cohesive story. The situations were funny then. They're funny again.
Philadelphia Inquirer: It's all filmed documentary style with hand-held cameras. What emerges is unsettling periods of calm (unheard of in a sitcom), punctuated by intense hilarity. You can't stop watching.
New Yorker: Almost unbelievably funny.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The funniest sitcom on television in years.
People: If you've been feeling comedy-deprived since Seinfeld went out of production .... Go ahead, enthuse.
DGA Magazine (Directors Guild of America) May, 2004, on the season one DVD: A riotous nightmare. The cast is fantastic … marvelous standouts in what is probably the funniest ensemble on television. Holding this motley crew together is Robert B. Weide, who directed the pilot special and six episodes of the first season, and who I think is a genius in his simple ability to make this chaos seem the most natural thing in the world.