Monday, February 19, 2024

Looking back at Curb Your Enthusiasm's Season 7 Seinfeld reunion

I gobbled up the first six seasons of Curb Your Enthusiam, which ran from 2000 to 2007 on HBO. For some reason, I never returned to the show, which is now up to a whopping 12 seasons. So I binged season 7 - highlighted by its storyline of a Seinfeld reunion - over the past couple of weeks. I'm happy to find that Larry David's character Larry is just as obnoxious as ever, bordering on a modern-day Archie Bunker. Here's my recap of the season, which has at least three episodes (1, 3, and 10) that could be part of the Curb greatest-hits collection.

In Episode 1, Larry confronts the possibility of having to take care of his girlfriend who is diagnosed with cancer. The doctor says there won’t even be any time for golf in his schedule, which leads Larry to brainstorm ways to get out of the relationship. When Larry bumps into the doctor and his boyfriend at a party, Larry is taken aback by the doctor being gay and tells the boyfriend, “You seem slightly gay." Then there’s guest star Catherine O’Hara playing Bam Bam, his friend Funkhouser’s sister, who has just been released from an asylum, has sex with Larry's best friend Jeff, and then goes around singing “I love the fat boy” around Jeff’s wife. This episode really sets the scene for the season when Larry bumps into his ex-wife Cheryl, sparks rekindle a bit, and she says she misses him and could maybe handle “three hours of Larry” per day like back when he was working on Seinfeld and wasn’t home with her all day. 5 out of 5 stars

In Episode 2, it takes a running gag about blow jobs in cars to finally end Larry’s relationship with his cancer-stricken girlfriend, played likeably by Vivica A. Fox. The fact that she is so likeable makes Larry’s game to end the relationship over her cancer all the more despicable. 4 out of 5 stars.

In Episode 3, “tippers are solo” is one of the classic lines as Larry proposes a Seinfeld reunion for all the wrong reasons - mainly so he can offer the role of George's ex-wife to Cheryl in order to win her back. It seems very unclear whether the reunion will happen after Larry tells off the head of NBC for giving him cruddy Lakers’ tickets. Along with the Seinfeld gang, Meg Ryan guest stars as - uh oh - George’s potential TV ex-wife. 5 out of 5 stars.

Episode 4 sees Larry going to Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen’s anniversary party. He tells Christian Slater that he's taking too much caviar then interrupts Jeff’s daughter’s gift to Ted and Mary of a serenade of “You’re Just Too Good to Be True." His bad karma builds up - including for criticizing a man on a plane for wearing shorts - and he gets beaten up for dating a woman with a boyfriend. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

In Episode 5, Larry stumbled into dating a woman in a wheelchair named Denise, gets in fights with Rosie O’Donnell, and ends up having Denise and another woman in a wheelchair chasing him around a friend’s sophisticated party. Not as many laughs as usual but the depths Larry goes to are spellbinding. 4 out of 5 stars

Episode 6 sees Larry deciding to fire Jerry Seinfeld’s assistant because the midriff shirts she wears show too much of her flabby belly. But Julia Louis-Dreyfus says he has to hire her back because the woman’s mom is suicidal. That mom is the hilariously wacky highlight of this episode, which almost sees the mom/daughter duo heading out for a cross-country tour to spread the Jesus gospel. Instead, Larry is the one they save, with the help of the woman’s afore-mentioned love handles. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Episode 7 is my least favorite of the season. Larry kills a black swan that is possibly attacking him on the golf course, which leads to his gang being nearly kicked out of the club. As usual, there are a handful of belly laughs, but this one is inessential. 3 out of 5 stars.

Episode 8 brings Larry to Banana Republic, where a fire drill sends him outside without his own pants, instead he's wearing unpurchased ones he was trying on and still have the security tags. This is mixed with a storyline in which Jeff’s wife finds women’s panties in Jeff’s glovebox. So Jeff convinces Larry to tell her that they’re his and he likes to wear women’s panties. It’s a funny episode and even includes Larry yelling at kids selling lemonade that he doesn’t like. 4.5 out of 5 stars

Episode 9 features the classic line “how’s her p—sy?" Cheryl by now has won the part of George’s ex-wife and the Seinfeld reunion table read happens. George’s pen troubles with Larry and Larry’s troubles with a nine-year-old daughter of one of his crew lead the funny storylines, with Kramer’s disease and his play off Michael Richards’ real-life race troubles don’t work as well. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Episode 10 More memorable lines cascade out of this episode, including “busy with your beans” and “do you respect wood?” While Larry gets very close to possibly getting Cheryl back, the Seinfeld reunion ends magically (unlike the end of the original show, which many people didn't like). This one is a must-watch as a landmark in both Curb and Seinfeld’s histories, at the very least. 5 out of 5 stars.

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