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Curb Your Enthusiasm 7.10 -- Seinfeld (season finale)

I wonder what it would have been like to watch this finale with someone unfamiliar with “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Even if this person had seen an episode or two of “Seinfeld,” they surely wouldn’t have gotten though this block of television without walking out of the room. There’s too much going on for the casual viewer -- too many ideas, too many risks, too many inside jokes. Last night’s episode was a love note specifically to the fans of the two shows. Of course, there are millions out there.

I’ve been having trouble gathering my thoughts on the finale. Given the lush layers of meta-comedy, it's been tough developing a succinct piece. Rather than break down last night’s plot or provide a critique, I want to answer the simple question that other reviewers have posed -- a question you might be pondering as well: Will there be another season of “Curb?”

Yes, there has to be, and all the evidence was provided last night. In 2007, Larry David and his wife filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences.” (When I get my divorce, that is what the documents will say.) David took two years off between Seasons 6 and 7 to get his ducks in order. In that time, he began piecing together what would become the story arc for Season 7: Larry tries to win Cheryl back by casting her in a “Seinfeld” reunion. It’s the perfect plan for Larry David’s character and the perfect incentive for fans of “Seinfeld” to give “Curb” a chance.

To be honest, I think the past two seasons of “Curb” are the best in its run. I watched an episode the other day from Season 2 and, while funny, it doesn’t hold a candle to those from 6 or 7. Larry David has mastered playing this slanted version of himself. Go take a look at his performances in the earlier seasons – he hasn’t figured “himself” out yet. When you examine all the levels on which Season 7 operates, it’s really impressive. Larry David the actor as Larry David the character playing George Costanza the character will go down as one of the most convoluted, yet brilliant moments in television. Reading about this stuff isn’t fair to the episode -- just watch it, laugh, and recognize the years and years it took for this comedy to materialize. It’s astonishingly unique.

But why will there be a Season 8?

I know it’s been said before, but “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is Larry’s life. The show is ultimately constructed from the content in the notepad Larry carries around everywhere he goes. After Larry went through his divorce, it’s no surprise that the next season of his TV show dealt with that issue. Do I think Larry intended to win his actual ex-wife back by having “Curb’s” Larry and Cheryl re-unite in a near tear-jerking scene? No, I don’t. But since Larry David’s life, quite literally, belongs in television, it's not all that weird that he would simultaneously mock the medium. In the show, Jerry Seinfeld points out that reunions are lame -- fans want everything to work out wonderfully, with plenty of schmaltz and all the loose ends perfectly tied. Thankfully, this season's finale will simply please fans of "Curb" -- not fans of traditional television.

What else is a wealthy observational comedian supposed to do with his time? Not work? As Larry shamelessly admits in this season’s episodes, his life implodes when he has nothing to do.

We’ll get another season when Larry gets sick of being Larry. From what I understand, that shouldn’t be too long.

Curb Your Enthusiasm 7.9 -- The Table Read

Curb Your Enthusiasm 7.8 -- Officer Krupke

They are really turning Jeff into a jerk. In the season premiere, Jeff slept with a mental patient named Bam Bam, played by Catherine O'Hara. Jeff has also alluded to other instances of cheating, indicating that he has probably been unhappy in his marriage with Susie for quite some time. "Officer Krupke" begins with Susie finding another woman's panties in Jeff's glove compartment. Understandably, she freaks out. "Curb" has toyed with this divorce angle for all of Season 7. I'm not sure whether Larry David is just using Jeff's infidelity to create one-off story lines or if he plans to take his marital problems to a different level. I could see Jeff, Larry, and Leon all living together in Season 8 (if we even get another season). Also, this scene with Susie is one of the rare occasions when Larry isn't on camera. As I've stated before, he is typically in scene from an episode.

Larry is pants shopping at Banana Republic. Sounds boring, but these are the types of situations that Larry David weaves into comedy gold. While he's trying on a new pair of slacks, the fire alarm goes off and everybody has to exit the building. Outside, he strikes up a conversation with a police officer with the last name of Krupke. Larry asks him if he's ever seen "West Side Story," as there's a character with the same name. Larry sings a snippet from one of the songs: "Oh, Officer Krupke/What are we to do?/Gee, Officer Krupke/Krup you." This Officer Krupke isn't familiar.

Larry doesn't want to wait two hours until the building is safe, so he makes his way to Jeff's place. He's still wearing the new slacks -- which he never bought -- and the tags dangling from the sides. Jeff runs out to stop Larry and inform him about the panties situation. Jeff has a completely ridiculous plan. He's told Susie that those were Larry panties, saying that Larry finds them very comfortable. Larry is obviously stunned, but he's willing to help out his idiotic manager and friend.

Inside the house, Larry greets Virginia and Dennis, some mutual friends. As they chat, Susie eyes Larry's backside, trying to spot any peculiar movements. Larry doesn't want to listen to the story of how Virginia and Dennis met, so he takes a walk down the block. He stops at a children's lemonade stand a buys a glass. After reprimanding the children for the awful-tasting beverage, the kids yell at him to leave. He returns to the Greenes' house where Susie blatantly inspects his crotch region. The mother of one of the children shows up and scolds Larry.

We cut to Cheryl waiting to audition for the role of George's ex-wife in the "Seinfeld" reunion. Virginia enters the room and Cheryl is surprised to see one of her friends. Virginia is auditioning for the part as well. Despite the awkwardness, they agree to meet for lunch after they both have read for the part.

Turns out, Cheryl David is a pretty good actress. Jerry Seinfeld, Mark the casting director, and Larry (obviously) are all impressed. Unfortunately, Virginia is even better. After some dissent from Larry, they agree to give Virginia the part.

Larry returns to Banana Republic to both retrieve his pants that he left in store during the fire and pay for ones that he's currently wearing. The salesman that helped Larry earlier informs Larry that the pants are missing. Larry thinks that, since the store lost his pants, he should be able to keep the pair for free that he was going to buy. I think that's a fair exchange. The salesman doesn't. Larry has had enough. He trudges through the exit as his pants beep loudly.

Cheryl is conveniently sitting outside of Banana Republic. Larry lets her know that the show is going with Virginia. Cheryl is disheartened, but happy for her friend. She tells Larry about her lunch with Virginia and Dennis. After a few glasses of wine, Dennis asked Cheryl if she would like to participate in a threesome with him and Virginia. We never find out her answer, but Larry still takes offense at the mere proposal. He marches down to Dennis' office and accomplishes nothing.

Back at the Greenes' place, Jeff and Larry discuss the panties situation. Jeff wants Larry to stop making so many effeminate movements because it's just making Susie even more suspicious. He also tells Larry that Virginia hurt her neck and can't do the part. Therefore, Cheryl has it. Larry is excited, but wants to find out how Virginia was injured. Was she in a car accident or did she go down on Cheryl in a threesome? Larry and Jeff go to check Virginia's car. It's undamaged.

Larry meets Cheryl for lunch to deliver the news. Obviously, she wants to know why Virginia backed out. Larry poses the idea to Cheryl that Virginia hurt her neck while going down on her. Repulsed, she leaves. Larry then gets a frantic call from Jeff. Susie is going to divorce him and he needs Larry's help.

On his way over to rescue his friend, Larry drives by the the lemonade stand. He's signing that song from "West Side Story." Right when he passes by the kids and their mother he belts, "Gee, Officer Krupke, Krup you!"

At the Greenes' house, Susie confirms that Virginia hurt neck in a car accident -- she was driving Dennis' car. Officer Krupke shows up, responding to a call from the mother by the lemonade stand. She said Larry cursed at them. While Larry is defending himself, Officer Krupke notices the security tag on Larry's pants. (Apparently, he's been wearing the same pants the entire episode.) Krupke doesn't buy into Larry's idea of a fair exchange, so he wants the pants. Larry, sensing an opportunity to get Jeff out of deep water, removes his pants in front of everyone. Guess what he has on underneath?

Susie: Larry:

Ha! Perfect!

But why, oh why, did they include that final scene? Jeff is at Larry's door and he's in a neck brace. He needs Larry to tell Susie he was in a car accident. Too much?

I hope this evolves into a bigger story arc for Jeff and Susie. If not, all this time focusing on Jeff's infidelity was kind of a waste.

Curb Your Enthusiasm 7.7 -- The Black Swan

Curb Your Enthusiasm 7.6 -- The Bare Midriff

I've seen every second of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and I can easily say that this was the most ridiculous episode yet. I don't mean "ridiculous" as in "stupid," but as in "incredibly zany." During the filming of "The Bare Midriff," I'm sure the cast and crew thought to themselves,

"Curb" has always wrapped up its seasons after 10 episodes, so we expected this one to tap back into the "Seinfeld" reunion. Larry only has five more episodes to destroy everything in sight.

Larry's still trying to win Cheryl back, and part of the plan involves casting her as George's ex-wife. As luck would have it, Meg Ryan has dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Larry suggests using Cheryl, but Jerry isn't too keen on the idea. He wants her to read for the part.

In walks their young secretary, who's tiny shirt exposes her bare, flabby midriff. While fixing a tricky air vent, her paunch seems even more inappropriate. It's decided that Larry needs to tell her to cover up. He does, but manages to completely offend her in the process, so she quits.

The two friends leave to meet Richard Lewis for lunch. After Jerry is cut off while driving, he gives the other driver a gentle honk. Bad idea. The guy get out of his car and rips into Seinfeld.

Over at the restaurant, Lewis shows up after Jerry and Larry have already finished eating. Lewis still wants to order, but his friends are in the midst of an inane discussion about who should have to move over to make room. Lewis gets fed up and leaves. Nobody wants to be around these jokesters.

After an awkward encounter with Cheryl outside the studio, Larry has to face an upset Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. The girl who quit, Maureen, is the daughter of one of Julia's past nannies. The woman has suffered some kind of breakdown and doesn't need the added stress. Ever the peacemaker, Larry goes to set things right. Maureen agrees to come back to work, even though they don't resolve the issue of the flab. Maureen's mother soon returns from the market and nearly faints when she notices Larry. She thinks he looks exactly like her first husband who, in fact, was murdered on their honeymoon after honking at the wrong driver. (Wasn't Jerry lucky?) Larry inspects an old photo of the guy and isn't convinced: He excuses himself to the bathroom. Due to a new pill, his urine stream is uncontrollable and liquid is splashing everywhere. One sneaky drop even manages to land on a portrait of Jesus, just under an eyelash. Larry senses disaster.

Richard Lewis calls Larry to sound off about the restaurant catastrophe. He had wanted to give Larry a signed bat from Joe DiMaggio. While exchanging some final pleasantries, Larry loses his cell phone connection. Lewis expects a call back, but Larry doesn't think it's necessary. I wouldn't call back. Guys don't need to hear the "goodbye." I'd be fine if everyone finished their conversations by saying, "end."

Sure enough, Maureen and her mother interpret the wet portrait of Jesus as a miracle. Maureen informs Jerry and Larry that she is quitting in order to devote her life to Jesus. Larry knows what's up:

At a local Italian restaurant, Larry orders a sandwich and jams a bunch of napkins into the to-go bag. The owner limits all his customers to two napkins and instructs Larry to return the extras. When the owner's back is turned, Larry takes them anyway. Unfortunately, he's pulled over by a cop who had heard of the "theft." Larry is taken to the police station and is forced to stand in a line-up. Apparently, all bald men look alike as the owner can't distinguish Larry from another bald man, who is African American.

Larry is late in meeting up with Maureen and her mother. He was supposed to co-sign on the RV papers so they could travel across the country on their religious mission. Maureen's mother has let him drive her deceased husband's car. On the road, Larry notices Richard, and honks at him to pull over. Naturally, she starts to panic. When Richard takes out the DiMaggio bat -- his gift to Larry -- she rams him with the car. Don't worry, Richard is fine.

It is the final scene which is bit too wacky for my taste. Larry can't get back into the studio to use the bathroom, so he is forced to pee outside. When Maureen and her mom show up to grab some things from the office, they instantly hear the strange noise. They follow the sound and discover Larry hosing down a bush. A wayward drop smacks Maureen in the face and it's a thing of beauty. The family quickly realizes what happened with the Jesus portrait. Of course, Larry pissed on Jesus.

The unstable mother can't take it. She somehow gets on the roof and walks to the ledge. Larry and Maureen also scale the building, despite their physical misgivings. Larry saves the mother, but loses his balance in the process. He fumbles over the side of the building, but latches onto something. It's Maureen's stomach.

Curb Your Enthusiasm 7.5 -- Denise Handicapped

Curb Your Enthusiasm 7.4 -- The Hot Towel

Before I begin, I want to say something about Larry David's acting. I think it's wonderfully bad. The beauty about working on a show like "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is that Larry gets to play a tweaked version of himself. As a sort of wink and nod to viewers, it seems as if he to overact at times. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" may come off as realistic, but it's still a show on television with professional actors.

In the opening scene, Larry is on flight. We have no idea where he's off to, which is unusual as the viewer is usually privy to everything in Larry's life. Still, the scene isn't squandered. The guy he's sitting next to is wearing shorts and Larry voices his disgust over having to look the man's legs. While complaining, a stewardess offers Larry the titular hot towel, which burns him.

He's later treated at his doctor's office. The doctor, at first cordial, gives Larry a restaurant recommendation. Larry should be on his way, but he asks the doctor for his home phone number, which would strictly be used in case of emergency. The doctor balks at the request but soon gives in, telling Larry to get all the information from his receptionist. While leaving, Larry bumps into an old girlfriend, Mary Jane Porter, who surprisingly asks Larry out on a date.

At Ted Danson and wife Mary's anniversary party, Larry gives them an expensive gift certificate to the restaurant. The couple is impressed since (and regular viewers will remember) Larry's present last year was "the freak book."

Over at the h'orderves table, Larry notices Mary Jane's friend Christian Slater, who is devouring all the caviar. Larry later blows the whistle on him to Ted Danson's wife. The party comes to an abrupt halt when Suzie Green announces that, instead of a tangible gift, her daughter Sammy will sing to the Dansons. It's quickly obvious that Sammy is a terrible singer and Larry shuts her down, infuriating Suzie.

On their date, Mary Jane points out the Dansons and the Greens eating at a table. Larry confronts them, irritated that the Dansons would take the Greens over himself, considering he got them the gift. Of course, nobody agrees with Larry and they get into the subject of Larry's issues with people singing in public. When the resident restaurant singer begins his routine, Suzie gives Larry the eye. She wants him to treat this man the same way he treated her daughter. Larry senses the dilemma and, in the most cringe-inducing scene of the episode, he tells the singer to "lock it up."

Back at Mary Jane's place, Larry is making some headway. He attempts to undo her bra while fooling around, but his burnt hand impedes his progress. He promptly dumps his bandage into the trash can. Mary Jane's boyfriend calls, catching Larry off guard. Larry tries to keep quiet but he gags on the horrible pie she's made, loud enough for the neighbors to hear. The boyfriend is on his way, so Larry bolts.

Larry needs to get his hand treated once again. Whenthe doctor instructs Larry to leave the hand unwrapped, Larry stops him. He can't trust a doctor that would recommend a restaurant with such horrible food. Larry wants it bandaged. The doctor abrasively complies. To make matters worse, Larry compliments the doctor about this house as they apparently live down the street from one another. The office receptionist has given Larry too much information.

Later that night, Larry is exercising on a stationary bike at home. He gets a call from Mary Jane, who tells him that her boyfriend is coming over in a rage. Larry flees, seeking solace at both his doctor's and the Dansons' houses. Because of his prior actions, he's denied sanctuary. Luckily, the Greens show some pity. Still, Larry can screw up any situation. In the morning, Sammy is practicing singing, which prematurely wakes Larry from his slumber. Larry instinctively tells her to "shut the F up." Without missing a beat, Suzie kicks him out of the house.

Larry's so far managed to offend more people in the episode than usual. Attempting to make amends, he apologizes to the opera singer back at the restaurant. Mary Jane just happens to be there and she warns Larry that her boyfriend is in the bathroom as they are on a date with Christian Slater and his girlfriend. As Larry turns to leave, he bumps into a big gentleman. Larry's wrapped hand is a dead giveaway since the boyfriend had previously found a similar bandage at Mary Jane's place. Larry scurries out the door and hides behind a dumpster. Of course, this is right as Chrisian Slater shows up, and he tells the boyfriend where Larry is hiding. As the looming figure approaches the dumpster, Larry looks up with remorse.

A couple thoughts:

* I guess we won't be seeing the cast of "Seinfeld" in every episode. I suppose the whole arc of this season simply involves Larry trying to get his wife back and all the problems in between.

* Ted Danson was also in last night's episode of "Bored to Death," which airs before "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Danson is on a roll.

* In order to be recognized by Mary Jane's boyfriend, I know Larry needed to be wearing that bandage on his hand. Still, nobody ever tells their doctor to go against their professional opinion. Everything would have still connected if the doctor had just told Larry to continue wearing a bandage.

Curb Your Enthusiasm 7.3 -- The Reunion

Curb Your Enthusiasm 7.2 -- Vehicular Fellatio

To the adroit fan, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" often presents itself as a complex puzzle one can attempt to solve before an episode's conclusion. Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld perfected the art of interweaving multiple story lines during "Seinfeld's" nine-season run. There are rarely any cracks in the output, but once in a blue moon you could cite something as a "stretch." With "Curb," the two that come to mind are 1) the surgeon shaving Jeff's head in Season 6 and 2) the doctor taking a soda out of Larry's fridge without asking in the premiere of Season 7. Considering how beautifully consistent "Curb" has been over time, I always let it slide.

Larry and company took a year off before tackling this new season. It looks like that was a wise decision as it's been hilarious thus far. In the premiere, Larry was still living with the Blacks, hoping his girlfriend Loretta Black (Vivica A. Fox) wouldn't be diagnosed with cancer. At the end of the episode, everyone involved receives the bad news. Larry is devastated, but not because of his compassion for Loretta. After running into his ex-wife Cheryl at a restaurant, it's clear they miss one another. The scene hints at the potential "Seinfeld" reunion audiences are expecting. In "Vehicular Fellatio," Larry quickly realizes he doesn't have the patience or love to deal with Loretta's cancer. While blending a shake for Loretta, Larry notices a cancer specialist on "Dr. Phil." The specialist, a pioneer in the field, is promoting her book that instructs cancer patients to leave their partners/spouses if they are unsympathetic, self-obsessed, and petty -- all qualities Larry with which identifies. The show's themes and possible story arcs are already evident. Richard Lewis, his new girlfriend, Jeff, Suzie, and Larry all go out dinner. Upon arriving, Jeff informs Larry that the girlfriend gave Richard a blowjob on the way to restaurant. Larry promises not to say anything, opting to avoid any physical contact with her during dinner. Larry's actions inevitably end Richard's relationship. At the same time, the themes of "hugging" and "fellatio" have been firmly planted.

Larry and Loretta soon meet with the cancer specialist and Larry tries as hard as possible to be the most annoying man in the world. The schtick appears to work as he's sent outside. Larry can sense freedom! When the couple is driving to the doctor's lecture, Larry's plans are temporarily derailed. Larry notices the doctor's husband in the car in front of him (easily spotted because of his full head of hair). However, the doctor's head emerges from his lap. While Larry is amused, Loretta is horrified and orders Larry to take her home. Later on, Larry must return to the doctor's office to pay for another patient's glasses after Larry innocently broke them. There, he bumps into the specialist. She's disappointed that he and Loretta didn't attend the lecture. After much poking and prodding, Larry admits that they didn't attend because he saw her giving her husband fellatio in the car. The doctor proceeds to attack Larry, hitting him over the head with her bestselling book. Oh, the visual themes are tying the episode together so nicely.

It's the show's final scenes, however, that confirm its genius. Loretta's cousin, and one of Larry's numerous housemates, Leon, has been having an affair with his friend Alton's wife. When Larry returns home, Leon has her over. Unfortunately, the suspicious Alton has showed up. As he storms through the house, the girl hides under the passenger seat in Larry's car. Alton is soon convinced that his wife and Leon aren't sleeping with each other and leaves. But this is quite the yarn we're spinning and the best is yet to come. As Loretta pulls into the driveway, Alton's wife appears from an awkward position next to Larry. Of course, Loretta assumes fellatio and like that, the Blacks are gone and Larry is free to pursue Cheryl.

Thankfully, Leon, an L.A. native, is going to stay on as Larry's rommate. I won't spoil the final scene for any of you reading since it purely exemplifies the comedic bliss David has provided over the years. On a night where "Entourage" and "Bored to Death" provided some strong comedy, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" once again came out on top.

Nevertheless, were there any inconsistencies to this tightly woven story? I spotted one and you guys can tell me if you feel the same way. In the beginning of the episode, Loretta pressures Larry into driving her everywhere. She claims her doctor advised her not to operate a vehicle. So why was she driving when she found Larry in the car with Alton's wife?

Anyway, I thought this episode was great. Stay tuned, because the "Seinfeld" reunion takes place next week!

Old Show, New Season: "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

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