Monday, September 17, 2007

"That's how he likes to do it. Makes him feel better about himself.": Curb Your Enthusiasm

One of the great things about Curb Your Enthusiasm -- hell, one of the great things about Larry David's shows in general -- is the way that the episodes have numerous plotlines that dovetail together at the end, often in hilarious fashion. Sure there are episodes where the dovetailing is strained, and there are episodes where it seems halfhearted, but the episodes where the plots fit perfectly together like this one. The episode itself was pretty good -- top-notch Curb, in fact -- but that last joke (where Cheryl said, "I know who anonymous is!") really put it over the top and sent it into the show's pantheon of great episodes.

The plot that was the least for me was Larry's concern about his dry cleaning, and even that was full of great moments. Still, I'll start there, as it's as good a place to start as any. It seems incredible that it's taken this long for Curb to get to the wrong dry cleaning subplot, and I thought it was a little weak, all things considered. It was funny to see Larry send Leon after the various people wearing the Yankees jersey he thought might be his, but the eventual twist that he did find his jersey strained credulity a little bit (though I liked the law of the dry cleaners bit). I realize that Curb portrays Los Angeles as the loopiest small town ever, but I would rather the show keep this within reason. Or maybe I'm just overstating the unbelivability of this subplot because the others were so good.

In particular, I liked seeing Ted Danson on the show. Well, I always like seeing him, but his angry chemistry with Larry was a particular highlight of this episode (when he and Larry were jostling back and forth before Senator Boxer -- who proved herself an able comedienne -- I laughed pretty much the whole time). Danson and Larry's battles over who could be more anonymous were hilarious, as was Danson's friendship with Cheryl that so disgusted Larry. And it set up the final anonymous donor joke beautifully throughout (both the one with the bear and the one with Larry at the museum). What's great about the show is that Larry takes chances to portray himself as a do-gooding saint (which would have been easy here) and turns them into perfect little courses on human venality.

Larry's adventures with Leon (and his attempts to find out who the masturbator was) were also great. Pairing Larry up with black people is usually a good source of humor for the show, and it was again in this episode. And finding out that Jeff was the anonymous donor of another sort was also funny (especially when his wife likened his act to adultery).

So what did you think? Did you think it was one for the elite, or were you underwhelmed?


Jim said...

I say it was a classic. Better than anything from last season, for sure. Ted Danson is probably my favorite of Curb's roster of recurring guest stars. I'm convinced he's just as big a dick in real life as he is on the show.

My friend and I were arguing about whether Larry was really the one who left the, um, "donation" in the Greene bathroom. I thought it was obviously him, that was the whole reason he brought the sunglasses over and asked to use the bathroom. But my friend figured it was just Jeff again because Larry couldn't bring himself to do that in a strange environment.

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and I was happy to see curb back to its usual form. But did anyone else think this episode was especially racist? Curb is great at poking fun at all sorts of people (othodox jews, catholics, etc) but I just felt that the racial stereotypes in this episode were over the top. The first scene where the visiting family is around the breakfast table just seemed to be in poor taste. I don't know, maybe its always this bad and I just noticed it now.

Bianca Reagan said...

Pairing Larry up with black people is usually a good source of humor for the show, and it was again in this episode.

I liked the episode where Larry picked up the prostitute so he could drive in the carpool lane to get to the baseball game. Of course, that's the only episode I have seen. I'll have to watch more to comment informedly about the racial aspects of Curb Your Enthusiasm

Libby said...

Crap, this was a great episode.

Todd said...

Bianca, the key word there is "usually." Most of the time, the show plays the tension between Larry's inability to keep his mouth shut and his well-meaning liberalism quite well (and not just in regards to race), but there are times when the show pushes too far over-the-top. Even in this episode there was a ham-fisted Ku Klux Klan gag, though that was quickly followed by an even better gag, mostly mitigating the bad joke.

Bianca Reagan said...

"ham-fisted Ku Klux Klan gag"?

Hmm. Unless said gag involved Dave Chappelle or a baby, I'll skip this one. The black white supremacist sketch on the first episode of Chappelle's Show is my absolute favorite. And babies are just cute, even if they are in little white hoods; it's a tiny cry for help.