Curb Your Enthusiasm
|Curb Your Enthusiasm|
|Created by||Larry David|
|Written by||Larry David|
|Theme music composer||Luciano Michelini|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||80 (plus 60-minute special) (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Larry David
Robert B. Weide
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Picture format||4:3 480i (Seasons 1–6)
16:9 1080i (Season 7–)
|Original run||October 15, 2000– present|
Curb Your Enthusiasm is an American improvised comedy television series produced and broadcast by HBO, which premiered on October 15, 2000. It has aired 80 episodes over eight seasons, the last of which aired in 2011. The series was created by Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, who stars as a fictionalized version of himself. The series follows Larry in his life as a semiretired television writer and producer in Los Angeles and later New York City. Also starring are Cheryl Hines as his wife Cheryl, Jeff Garlin as his manager Jeff, and Susie Essman as Jeff's wife Susie. Curb Your Enthusiasm often features guest stars, and many of these appearances are by celebrities playing versions of themselves fictionalized to varying degrees.
The plots and subplots of the episodes are established in an outline written by David and the dialogue is largely improvised by the actors (a technique known as retroscripting). As with Seinfeld, the subject matter in Curb Your Enthusiasm often involves the minutiae of daily life, and plots often revolve around Larry David's many faux pas and his problems with certain social conventions and expectations, as well as his annoyance with other people's behavior. The character has a hard time letting such annoyances go unexpressed, which often leads him into awkward situations.
The series was developed from a 1999 one-hour special, Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm, which David and HBO originally envisioned as a one-time project. The special was shot as a mockumentary, where the characters were aware of the presence of cameras and a crew. The series itself is not a mock documentary but is shot in a somewhat similar cinéma vérité-like style. Curb Your Enthusiasm has received high critical acclaim, and has grown in popularity since its debut. It has been nominated for 38 Primetime Emmy Awards, and Robert B. Weide received an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for the episode "Krazee Eyez Killa". The show won the 2002 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy.
- 1 Concept
- 2 Characters
- 3 Plots and episodes
- 4 Recurrent gags
- 5 Critical reception
- 6 Awards and nominations
- 7 Juan Catalan incident
- 8 Syndication
- 9 Media
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The series stars Larry David as an extreme fictionalized version of himself. Like the real-life David, the character is well known in the entertainment industry as the co-creator and main co-writer of the highly successful sitcom Seinfeld. For most of the series, the Larry David character is living a married-without-children life in Los Angeles with his wife Cheryl (played by Cheryl Hines). David's main confidant on the show is his manager, Jeff Greene (played by Curb executive producer Jeff Garlin), who has a temperamental wife, Susie (Susie Essman). A large portion of the show's many guest stars are celebrities and public figures, such as actors, comedians, sportspeople, and politicians, who play themselves. These include David's longtime friend Richard Lewis, as well as Ted Danson and his wife Mary Steenburgen, who all have recurring roles as fictionalized versions of themselves.
The show is set and filmed in various affluent Westside communities of (and occasionally in downtown) Los Angeles, as well as in the adjacent cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City and Santa Monica. David's hometown of New York City is also featured in some episodes, most prominently in the eighth season.
Although David maintains an office, he leads a semiretired life in the series, and is rarely shown working regularly, other than in season four, which centered on his being cast as the lead in the Mel Brooks musical The Producers, and in season seven, writing a Seinfeld reunion show. Most of the series revolves around David's interactions with his friends and acquaintances, with David often at odds with the other characters, usually to his detriment. Despite this, the characters do not seem to harbor ill feelings toward each other for any extended period and the cast has stayed stable throughout the show.
David has explained the show's title in TV interviews as reflecting his perception that many people seem to live their lives projecting false enthusiasm, which he believes is used to imply that "they are better than you." This conflicts with his droll and dry style. The title also urges the audience not to expect too much from the show; at the time of the premiere, David wanted to lower expectations after Seinfeld's phenomenal success.
- Larry David (Larry David) – Candid, neurotic, but generally disposed to pursue what he perceives to be the right course, Larry often finds himself in awkward situations that arise as a result of his obstinate belief in his own ethical principles and codes of conduct, which he is nevertheless prepared to bend when it suits him. He usually has good intentions but often finds himself a victim of circumstance and social convention, as many of the people around him are also self-centered and stubborn. He often centers on petty details, and stubbornly holds to his opinion to the extent of aggravating everyone around him just to prove an insignificant point. The real life Larry David has commented that although he secretly wishes to be more like his fictionalized version on the series, he could never be that way because he is a lot more cautious when it comes to social tension. Larry's trademark behaviors are his probing stare when he doesn't think somebody is telling the truth, fondly saying something is "prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay, pretty good" and, when caught up short in a moment of poor or contrary behavior, quizzically and mock-innocently inquiring, often of his wife, Cheryl, or of a close friend, "No good?" Among Larry's characteristics are his love of playing golf and his annoyance at having to engage in small talk ("stop and chat"), especially with people he deals with in commercial situations, such as waiters and tradesmen.
- Jeff Greene (Jeff Garlin) – One of Larry's closest friends, Jeff is his sympathetic manager whose marital problems and adulterous misadventures entangle Larry in embarrassing situations. Jeff often helps Larry with his problems, but that usually leads to Jeff getting entangled in the mess. Jeff and his wife, Susie (Susie Essman), have a daughter named Sammi (Ashly Holloway). While they ultimately love each other, his wife constantly criticizes him on his decisions and weight, while his daughter at times is neutral about her love for her father. Jeff Garlin stated that he truly does not empathize with his character at all and described him as a "pretty evil guy" who has "no morals, no scruples".
- Cheryl David (Cheryl Hines) – Cheryl is Larry's long-suffering wife and later ex-wife, who often expresses annoyance with his behavior, even in situations beyond his control. She often serves as a voice of reason for him, and helps define the social guidelines that he may have overlooked. While her adventures never led her far off from Larry, she has various activities outside day-to-day married life, including an acting stint, and, more sustainably, as an advocate of environmental issues, including being a member of and fundraiser for the NRDC. Her affection for Larry has been tested, even resulting in her leaving him for a time; upon learning that he had put together the Seinfeld reunion just to have a chance to get back with her, she sees it as a sign of their "belong[ing] together", but soon decides to file for divorce when Larry concentrates on a coffee stain incident rather than the fact that they are back together, refusing yet again to listen to her. They divorce in the season eight premiere episode (which is Cheryl Hines' final appearance on the series to date).
- Susie Greene (Susie Essman) – Jeff's shrill, unpleasant wife, who has a very explosive temper and a filthy mouth. Consequently her reactions to Larry range from near violence via benign grievances to occasionally fonder repartee. She routinely berates Larry and Jeff with profanity-laced tirades after uncovering one of their schemes. Susie and Jeff have an "on-again, off-again" relationship. She often uses Larry as a scapegoat for her marital problems. She is known to refer to Larry as "Larry Fucking David" and "Four-Eyed Fuck" and when he crosses her, she is known to respond "Fuck you, Larry David!", while her common expletive to her husband is "You fat piece of shit!" She often serves to enforce traditional moral standards such as the sanctity of marital vows and fealty to hearth and home, at times versus her husband, at others versus Larry and usually versus both. Susie Essman is upgraded from guest star billing to main cast billing beginning with season eight.
Among the show's many recurring roles, Richard Lewis and Ted Danson play versions of themselves as old friends of Larry's with whom he frequently butts heads. Shelley Berman plays Larry's father, Nat David. Bob Einstein frequently appears as Marty Funkhouser, another of Larry's oldest friends. Kaitlin Olson recurred as Becky, Cheryl's sister. Beginning with season six, J. B. Smoove appears as Leon Black, and in seasons six and seven, Vivica A. Fox appears as Loretta Black, members of a family of hurricane evacuees who stay in Larry's house.
Notable guest appearances
Celebrities, including actors, comedians, authors, musicians and athletes, often make guest appearances on the show, with a large portion of them playing themselves, or fictional versions thereof. Some of the guest stars who have appeared as themselves include Mel Brooks, Michael York, Martin Scorsese, Ben Stiller, Martin Short, Lucy Lawless, David Schwimmer, Shaquille O'Neal, Rosie O'Donnell, Ricky Gervais, Michael J. Fox, and the main cast of Seinfeld. Notable people who filled in fictional roles include Bob Odenkirk, Bea Arthur, Dustin Hoffman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Stephen Colbert, Steve Coogan, Jorge Garcia and Scott Adsit.
Plots and episodes
Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes are typically named after an event, object, or person which figures prominently in the plot, similarly to how Seinfeld episodes were named. Many episodes concern breaches of intricate aspects of social conventions, such as the various details of tipping at restaurants,[a][b][c] the obligation to "stop and chat" upon meeting an acquaintance,[d] the allowed amount of caviar one may put on a cracker at a house party,[e] whether a house guest needs the permission of the homeowner before taking a soft drink from the refrigerator.[f] Others involve more significant issues, such as if and when a white person may say the racially sensitive word "nigger".[g] And some involve the etiquette of extremely complex and unique circumstances, such as the occasion when Larry discovered at a wake that the deceased was to be buried with his favorite golf club—borrowed from Larry.[h] Another involved Larry picking up a prostitute for the sole purpose of using the carpool lane on the freeway.[i] In many episodes, Curb—like its predecessor Seinfeld—tied together apparently unrelated events woven throughout a given episode into an unforced climax that resolves the story lines simultaneously, either to Larry's advantage or detriment.
The style and the characters of the show are introduced across a series of mostly isolated episodes, in the only season without a major story arc.
Cheryl is tired of Larry not working, so he begins to develop a new television show, initially with guest stars Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (George and Elaine on Seinfeld, respectively) as themselves. But Larry's constant social faux pas ruin the chances of the show being financed by a major television network.
Larry invests in a restaurant enterprise which finally opens despite many mishaps, most of which are Larry's fault.
Larry's friend Richard Lewis gets very ill and requires a kidney transplant. Larry is a match, but spends the season looking for other sources of a kidney for Lewis. Also in season five, Larry suspects he may be adopted and embarks on a search for his biological parents.
The season is built around Cheryl persuading Larry to take in a family that is left homeless after a major Gulf Coast hurricane. Later in the season, Cheryl leaves Larry, mimicking Laurie David's real-life divorce from Larry. He spends the rest of the season either fighting for her to come back or looking for another woman.
Season seven is centered on creating a Seinfeld reunion show with the original cast. Larry attempts to use the project as a means to reunite with Cheryl.
Larry remains single after his divorce. At the midpoint of the season, all the main characters travel to New York City, where the rest of the season is set, although at the end of the season Larry is in Paris.
HBO has said that it is "cautiously optimistic" that David will do a ninth season. The network's president of programming, Michael Lombardo, commented, "For the first time ever after this season Larry didn't say 'I never want to do this again.'" Lombardo, along with co-president of programming Richard Plepler, stated that David will finalize his decision following realization of his film project, likely meaning Clear History.
On an episode of Jeff Garlin's podcast, "By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin," while talking with filmmaker and political activist Michael Moore, Garlin expressed doubt about a ninth season, saying he was optimistic that it would happen but had softened his expectations after not having heard anything about it for some time. Garlin added that if a ninth season happened it wouldn't be "anytime soon" and "not in the next year." On July 17, 2013, Garlin, in regard to a ninth season, said, "I hope so. It looks good. But I won't even say very good, just good, but I hope so... I'm hoping sometime in 2014." On July 25, 2013, at the Television Critics Association press tour, David said in regards to a ninth season, replied "I have not [decided]. I don't know. I really don't know. I couldn't say. Ask me in six months."
Besides the usual comic themes, the show contains characteristic themes and gags:
"Prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay, pretty good"
Larry says this at pivotal moments, sincerely or ironically, and often when he is at a loss for the right phrase. Examples include the "Mister Softee" episode.
Groat's Disease is a fictional disease that appears in several episodes. The "symptoms" range widely, from "acting like you've had five cups of coffee" (in "The Thong") to a "long painful death" (in "The Table Read"). In the fictional world of the series, the disease is named after its discoverer, Dr. Groat, but Larry mistakenly believes it is named after the real baseball player Dick Groat. The real Larry David actually did name the disease after Dick Groat. He said "I thought Groat sounded like something that could be a disease, and I remember Dick Groat being very thin and bald.":65
Larry agonizes about tipping in several episodes, including "The Bracelet".
Reminiscent of the raisin theft in the Seinfeld episode "The Pilot," characters steal small things from each other. Examples include eight shrimp stolen from Larry by the head of HBO in "The Shrimp Incident", Larry's shoes in "Ted and Mary," his sunblock in "The Blind Date," and his newspaper in "The Seder."
Characters often behave badly when driving, for example in the "AAMCO" episode.
Eyeball to eyeball
If Larry suspects someone of lying, he tilts his head and performs a prolonged and deep stare into their eyes, accompanied by a slow excerpt from Franco Micalizzi's "The Puzzle" arranged for clarinet and bassoon. Larry then nods seriously and says "OK", convinced either of the person's honesty or that he will be unable to elicit the truth.
Access to medical professionals
Larry is often frustrated by having to wait for medical professionals to attend to him, and by not being able to contact them outside of office hours. He is also annoyed at having to sign in at the doctor's office and having to tell the receptionist why he is there.
Curb Your Enthusiasm is one of the most critically acclaimed television shows of the 2000s, particularly for its writing and the cast's improvisational skills. The show has enjoyed largely positive critical reception since its debut and a steadily growing, dedicated audience that helped it emerge from its early "cult" status. On Metacritic, the first season of the show scored 80 out of 100 (based on 20 reviews).
Other Metacritic ratings include a 93 for season 3 (based on 12 reviews), 88 for season 4 (18 reviews), 91 for season 5 (five reviews), 89 for season 6 (nine reviews), 81 for season 7 (18 reviews) and 85 for season 8 (six reviews).
Slate Magazine named the characters of Cheryl David and Susie Greene as two of the best on television and as reasons to look forward to the return of the show in the fall of 2007. Curb Your Enthusiasm has also received praise from Galus Australis magazine for being even more unabashedly Jewish than the Seinfeld series.
Of the show's depiction of Jewish characters, academic Vincent Brook stated, "Curb's commitment to Jewish identification greatly enhances its storytelling capacity, as it lends greater realism and dimension to the characters and opens the show up to episodes with meaningful Jewish themes."
The character of Larry on the show is in many ways reminiscent of the schlemiel character often present in traditional Yiddish folklore. The schlemiel is usually a comic character whose actions lead to his inevitable downfall, but also stands as a form of resistance to social and cultural values and norms. David Gillota wrote: "As a true schlemiel, Larry's failure serves as a direct challenge to the status quo and encourages viewers to question the myriad unwritten rules that we follow in our everyday lives." Gillota also observed: "Whereas the schlemiel of Eastern Europe encountered problems that mostly affected Eastern European Jews (such as anti-Semitism and economic survival), Larry encounters problems that affect contemporary middle- to upper-class American Jews, namely, Jewish assimilation, secularism, intermarriage, and, as all of these suggest, the Jews' precarious ethnic identity in an increasingly multicultural environment."
Awards and nominations
The series has received a total of 39 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning twice for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series for Robert B. Weide for "Krazee-Eyez Killa" in 2003 and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series for Steven Rasch for "Palestinian Chicken" in 2012. The series has received seven nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series. Larry David has received five nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Cheryl Hines has received two nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Shelley Berman and Michael J. Fox have each received a nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. The series has also received ten nominations for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.
The series has also received five Golden Globe Award nominations and won for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy in 2003, while being nominated in 2006. Larry David has been nominated for three Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy in 2003, 2005, and 2006. It has been nominated for four Screen Actors Guild Awards, two for Larry David and two for the ensemble cast. It has been nominated six times for the Producers Guild of America Award, winning twice in 2003 and 2005. It has been nominated for eleven Directors Guild of America Awards, winning twice for Bryan Gordon for "The Special Section" in 2003 and Robert B. Weide for "Palestinian Chicken" in 2012. It has been nominated fives times for the Writers Guild of America Award, winning once in 2006.
Juan Catalan incident
In 2003, Juan Catalan, a resident of Los Angeles, was cleared of murder charges against a material witness (a crime eligible for capital punishment) after outtake footage shot for the "Carpool Lane" episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm showed him and his daughter attending the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves baseball game some 20 miles from the crime scene at the time of the murder, resulting in a $320,000 settlement against the City of Los Angeles. Larry David joked afterwards, "I like to tell people that I've now done one good thing in my life, albeit inadvertently".
When aired in syndication, the series is edited from its original HBO broadcast (for running time and without the TV-MA scenes). On June 2, 2010, the series premiered on the TV Guide Network, making its basic cable debut. The network also recorded a series of related discussions with high-profile guest stars, media pundits, and prominent social figures called "Curb: The Discussion" debating the moral implications depicted in each episode. The show was also syndicated on local stations and WGN America, but has been removed from syndication from both outlets due to low ratings. It debuted on TV Land in February 2013.
Curb Your Enthusiasm seasons come in a two-disc DVD set with ten episodes, with the exception of the release of season one encoded for region two, that contains three discs.
|Season||Release dates||Bonus features|
|Region 1||Region 2|
|1||January 13, 2004||May 17, 2004||Commentary by Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines and Robert B. Weide on the pilot episode; interview with Larry David; HBO TV Special – "Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm"|
|2||June 15, 2004||October 18, 2004||None|
|3||January 18, 2005||February 7, 2005||60 minutes of extras with the cast and directors at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen|
|4||August 30, 2005||September 26, 2005||None|
|5||August 1, 2006||September 11, 2006||"The History of Curb... so far" and "The History of Curb... even further" featurettes|
|6||January 28, 2008||June 9, 2008||A Conversation with Larry David and Susie Essman; On the Set: Curb Your Enthusiasm; Gag reel|
|7||June 8, 2010||June 7, 2010||Rebuilding the Seinfeld Sets; Larry David as George Costanza; Interview with Larry David and the Seinfeld cast, and more|
|8||June 5, 2012||June 11, 2012||"Leon's Guide to NYC"; Roundtable discussion with Larry & the cast|
A Curb Your Enthusiasm book was released October 19, 2006, published by Gotham Books. The book contains stories from Larry David's past, original interviews and commentary, episode outlines, episode guide, and over 100 full-color photographs. The contents of the book span the first five seasons of the show.
The show is punctuated between scenes with music orchestrated by Wendell Yuponce (first season), and from a music library company called Killer Tracks (seasons two to five). Frequently heard are instrumental arrangements of the whimsical "Three Little Maids From School Are We" from The Mikado, and the rhythmic Gypsy dance "Les tringles des sistres tintaient" from Carmen. The opening and closing theme song (not mentioned in the credits) is "Frolic" by Italian composer Luciano Michelini. Larry David heard the music used in a bank commercial years before the show was created and thought it had a lighthearted, joyful quality. An unofficial soundtrack was released by Mellowdrama Records in 2006.
- Episode 4, "The Bracelet" (season one)
- Episode 67, "The Black Swan" (season seven)
- Episode 63, "The Reunion" (season seven)
- Episode 20, "The Massage" (season two)
- Episode 64, "The Hot Towel" (season seven)
- Episode 61, "Funkhouser's Crazy Sister" (season seven)
- Episode 58, "The N Word" (season six)
- Episode 35, "The 5 Wood" (season four)
- Episode 36, "The Car Pool Lane" (season four)
- Richmond, Ray (July 2003). "Unscripted: Directing HBO's Improv Comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm". DGA Magazine. Archived from the original on May 30, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
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- Marin, Rick (July 16, 2007). "The Great And Wonderful Wizard of Odds". The New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
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- "Mister Softe". Curb Your Enthusiasm. Season 8. Episode 9. September 4, 2011. OCLC 786322440. HBO.
- "The Thong". Curb Your Enthusiasm. Season 2. Episode 5. October 21, 2001. OCLC 55034010. HBO.
- "The Table Read". Curb Your Enthusiasm. Season 7. Episode 9. November 15, 2009. OCLC 599861025. HBO.
- Deirdre Dolan (September 21, 2006). Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Book. Gotham Books. ISBN 978-1-59240-230-4. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm – The Complete First Season (2000) OCLC 123310714
- Curb Your Enthusiasm – The Complete Second Season (2001) OCLC 55034010
- Curb Your Enthusiasm – The Complete Seventh Season (2009) OCLC 599861025
- "Curb your enthusiasm : music from the TV series. Track 15 "The Puzzle" by Franco Micalizzi".
- "Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 5". Metacritic. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
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- Lapidos, Juliet (September 21, 2007). "Oh, How We've Missed You!". Slate. Retrieved September 23, 2007.
- Frosh, Anthony (June 28, 2009). "Jews in Pop-culture: a Critical Examination Part". Galus Australis.
- Brook, Vincent (2006). You should see yourself: Jewish identity in postmodern American culture ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. pp. 279–284. ISBN 0-8135-3845-9.
- Gillota, David (2010). "Negotiating Jewishness: and the Schlemiel Tradition". Journal of Popular Film and Television 38 (4): 152–161. doi:10.1080/01956051003725244.
- "Curb Your Enthusiasm". Emmys.com. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
- "Award Search". The Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
- "The 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". Screen Actors Guild. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
- "The 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". Screen Actors Guild. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
- "PGA Award Winners 1990–2010". Producers Guild of America. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
- "Award / Winner and Nominee Search". Directors Guild of America. Search for Curb Your Enthusiasm. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
- Mitchell, Gregg (January 19, 2010). "Larry David to Receive 2010 TV Laurel Award". Writers Guild of America. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
- Laura Coverson (March 8, 2007). "Man Cleared by TV Footage Gets $320,000". ABC News. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- "TV Guide Network Teams-up with Legendary Show Creator Larry David to Launch "Curb Your Enthusiasm" Exclusive Extras Hosted by Series Regular Susie Essman" (Press release). TV Guide Network. March 22, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
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- "WGN America Fall 2011 Schedule; MeTV Network Celebrates Lucille Ball's 100th Birthday With 100 Episodes of Lucy Series". SitcomsOnline.com. July 26, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
- Hinckley, Dave (February 14, 2013). "TV Land switches gears, acquires 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
- ASIN B000RWEL7Y
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- "Curb Your Enthusiasm – Larry David on Theme Song (Paley Center)". Paley Center for Media. July 29, 2009. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
- ASIN B000FDJ31Y
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