Published October 28, 2009
Comedian Larry David is under attack from critics who say he pushed the mocking of religion and Christian belief in miracles over the edge in the latest episode of his HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which the cable network defended as "playful."
On the show's most recent installment, which aired Sunday, David urinates on a painting of Jesus Christ, causing a woman to believe the painting depicts Jesus crying.
Deal Hudson, author and publisher of InsideCatholic.com, said he doesn't find any humor in the episode.
"I don't think it's funny," Hudson told Foxnews.com. "Why is it that people are allowed to publicly show that level of disrespect for Christian symbols? If the same thing was done to a symbol of any other religions -- Jewish or Muslim -- there'd be a huge outcry. It's simply not a level playing field."
Hudson said an apology from the show's producers and writing team should be issued.
"Somebody should [apologize]," Hudson said. "When is it going to stop? When is common sense going to dictate that people realize this willingness of artists to do to Christianity what they would never do to Judaism or Islam?"
In a statement to Foxnews.com, HBO downplayed the controversy.
"Anyone who follows Curb Your Enthusiasm knows that the show is full of parody and satire," the statement read. "Larry David makes fun of everyone, most especially himself. The humor is always playful and certainly never malicious."
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, also criticized the episode, saying David should "quit while he's ahead," and that the show is proof that the comedian's best years are behind him.
"Was Larry David always this crude? Would he think it's comedic if someone urinated on a picture of his mother?" Donohue said in a statement. "This might be fun to watch, but since HBO only likes to dump on Catholics (it was just a couple of weeks ago that Sarah Silverman insulted Catholics on 'Real Time with Bill Maher') and David is Jewish, we'll never know."
During Sunday's episode, David, who created, wrote and produced "Seinfeld," visits a bathroom in his assistant's home and splatters urine on a picture of Jesus. Instead of wiping it off, David leaves the restroom. Minutes later, David's assistant enters the bathroom and concludes that Jesus is crying. She then summons her mother to the bathroom, where both women kneel in prayer.
"When David and Jerry Seinfeld (playing himself) are asked if they ever experienced a miracle, David answers, 'every erection is a miracle,' Donohue's statement continued. "That's what passes for creativity these days."
The episode, "The Bare Midriff," primarily revolves around David's assistant and her belly-revealing attire. According to the show's Web site, a "new pill" increased David's urine flow, leading to the "misunderstanding about a miraculously weeping Jesus."
HBO promoted the controversial scene on the show's site, complete with a "squirm-o-meter" that ranked the urine incident ahead of David's confronting his assistant about her exposed midriff.