Tag Archives: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Week 10 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER The season finale of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”‘s Season 8 was very funny for an individual episode, but seemed to fall short as an end to what was supposed to be a transformative season. The battle between Larry David and Michael J. Fox was comical and irreverent in the way that we love to see Larry interact with people. The (fabulous) gay son of Anna Gasteyer and his fascination with swastikas was hilarious and strange in the ways that we have come to expect from “Curb.” But Michael Bloomberg making his decree to banish Larry from New York City seemed a little anti-climactic to me, especially when perpetuated by Larry’s sudden relocation to Paris.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Oh, I think this ending is utterly perfect. Try as he might, Larry David faces the same pressures and irritations anywhere in the world- Los Angeles, New York, Paris. And for me, anyway, they don’t get old. Continue reading

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Curb Your Enthusiasm: Week 9 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: I think Larry David is losing it. And that’s not exactly a bad thing. I came away from this week’s episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” feeling baffled, a little uncomfortable, and with sides aching from splitting. Season 8′s Episode 9 was titled “Mr. Softee,” after a traumatizing incident of strip poker played in a Mr. Softee ice cream truck when Larry was an adolescent. The tune of the ice cream truck follows Larry around New York haunting him with the memory of his humiliation and sending him into an almost trance-like state. There are plenty of things psychologically amiss with Larry David, but this trauma gave him a vulnerability in this episode, a nakedness (literally) that was unable to protect him from the shame of both his past and his present.

This episode had two main jokes, both years (in one case, decades) in the making. Like any joke properly set this way- Jack Benny’s holdup comes to mind- the payoff was exquisite, both with Bill Buckner and Susie Ecstasy. Continue reading

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Curb Your Enthusiasm: Week 7 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER Maybe Larry David should have stayed in LA. Week 7 of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”‘s Season 8 fell dangerously short in comparison to previous episodes of the season. Between the hackneyed plot of Rosie O’Donnell and Larry trying to win the heart of a bi-sexual woman, Jane, and the thoroughly L.A.-looking people and interior shots trying to pass as authentically New York, I found myself wanting more. The return of Leon certainly warranted a groan from the living room I was watching this episode in, and I get the feeling that it echoed across living rooms everywhere. Stories stopped and started all over this episode, and none of them seemed up to par with the typical Larry David antics that we have come to enjoy and cringe at.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Ultimately, I came down on the complete opposite side from Sonia on this one. As I expressed to her via email, she’s probably right. But I absolutely loved this episode. Continue reading

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Curb Your Enthusiasm, Week 6 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER Our heroes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” are right where we left them last episode: on an airplane, eating Pinkberry, ready to take off into the skies and land in old New York. With the impending skyline in the distance, things seem to be looking up for Larry. Yet, what was interesting about Episode 6 of Season 8 was that Larry, “The Hero,” (as this episode is titled) hasn’t really changed or developed much outside of location and circumstance. Larry seems to be playing his surroundings, and the happenings within them, to his benefit without actually changing his outlook, his cynicism, or his chutzpah. Yet what we ultimately see is a faulty lionheart trying to negotiate new life and New York.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Ultimately, this episode felt a bit dissonant. Things like the waiter, the argument with the coachy woman, even the courtship/breakup with the hero worshipper, none of it felt coherent in the usual Curb Your Enthusiasm way. Continue reading

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Curb Your Enthusiasm: Week 5 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: And Larry David is New York bound! The rumors are true, Wikipedia didn’t lie (for once), and the cast of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is heading East for Season 8! I couldn’t be happier to see Larry with his notorious Pinkberry tagging along with Jeff and Susie as they put their daughter, Sammy, in a high school for the arts. The unbridled optimism of not only Jeff and Susie for Sammy’s theatrical career, but also of Larry riding shotgun to their trip looking for a change in scenery is a beautiful image of the blind leading the blind. Getting back to “Seinfeld” terrain might be good for Larry to get his bearings again after Cheryl. He certainly seems like he belongs in New York more than he ever did in LA. Will this feel natural? Will it be a huge mistake?

HOWARD MEGDAL: I, for one, welcome the merger of Mad Men and Curb Your Enthusiasm. I predict future episodes where Larry chides Bert Cooper for not wearing shoes, Betty Draper for driving on his lawn and Rachel Menken for charging too much at her department store. (Yes, I’ve been watching Season One again.) Continue reading

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Curb Your Enthusiasm: Week 4 Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: In an episode that can seriously be called “laugh-out-loud” funny, Larry David plays with people’s states and sensibilities during Episode 4 of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”‘s Season 8. By that, I mean that he maintains the title of Social Assassin from the previous week’s episode, and runs with it from person to person, re-claiming cabinets and starting conversations mid-make out. From this episode, one gets the sense that Larry David just loves to piss people off, and takes pleasure from little else in life. The consequences from this are hilarious and farcical in the way that Larry David, when he knows he’s good, tends to be.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Look, it wasn’t Palestinian Chicken. But that’s an unfair comparison- you’re talking about one of the best episodes in series history. But The Smiley Face was terrific, clearly the second-best episode of a season that offers unlimited possibilities. Continue reading

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Curb Your Enthusiasm, Week 3 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER Larry David: Social Assassin. A title given with pride, by Jeff, and received with pride, by Larry who has earned this distinction for his weekly schtick associated with being unapologetically audacious and disturbingly direct. I love it. I love him. “Curb Your Enthusiasm”‘s Episode 3 of Season 8 made use of what Larry is infamous for, and got to the core of what he tries to accomplish with every new episode of “Curb.” He is asked by multiple people to be a social hit man, and to kill the personal quirks of his friends with little mercy, and little tact. In an episode called “Palestinian Chicken,” the filters drop and the gloves come off as Larry tackles his identity, his loyalties, and a ravenous anti-Semite bombshell.

HOWARD MEGDAL: This episode will stay in the pantheon, among the first that people will recall when they talk of what they loved most about Curb Your Enthusiasm. Continue reading

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Curb Your Enthusiasm: Week 2 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: Finally, I feel as if I have returned to the quirky, whimsical story lines and the foot-in-mouth dialogue of the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that I know in love. Episode 2 of Season 8 felt, at last, like we are back on track with Larry, Jeff, Leon, and one of my favorite “Curb” personalities, Richard Lewis. The first episode of the season set the stage for us to fall back into the quick improv and the zany antics that have, until now, been sitting on storyboards waiting to be brought to life.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Agree with Sonia: this episode fits far more snugly into the Curb canon than last week’s, which seemed more like a plot reset than a Curb episode. Continue reading

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Curb Your Enthusiasm: Week One in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: The final image that we see at the end of Season 7 of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is Larry and Cheryl, finally reunited after considering separating. They play, they flirt, they revert back to their banter, the “Seinfeld” reunion that “Curb” staged finishes in freeze frame, and all is right with the world. The much anticipated Season 8 of “Curb” picks up where Larry and Cheryl leave off, but throws us for a loop, and then another loop, and then we get stuck in the loop and don’t quite know where to jump off, and then the episode ends, abruptly and chaotically. Eh. Okay. But where was the heart from the previous seasons? Why did Larry look like he was trying too hard for a gag? Did Cheryl have work done? I didn’t feel that warm, excited, exclusive feeling of being able to bear witness to the outrageous happenings in the life of Larry David. I felt, instead, like I was intruding.

HOWARD MEGDAL: There’s little question that Season 8 began without the uplifting message that ended Season 7. One can imagine Larry David laughing at all of us for thinking he’d simply given into the idea professed by Woody Allen at the end of Annie Hall that we try to make things work out in art that haven’t in life, knowing he’d be slamming us with this divorce episode in a year.

But we don’t watch Curb, I don’t think, for uplifting. We watch it to see the social criminals get their comeuppance. And this season promises to do more of just that, with the season opener filled with promise for future plot points as well. Continue reading

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Bored to Death: Season Premiere

HOWARD MEGDAL: There’s a marvelous shift between the pleasures of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Bored to Death, though both owe a lot to Jewish angst and tremendous performances. This year’s season premiere leaves me optimistic that the second season will only build on last year’s noble effort.

AKIE BERMISS: I couldn’t agree more with Howard. Bored to Death is a real treat. As preparation for the season 2 premiere, I watched the last few episodes from season 1 and was reminded of why I liked the show. Its absurd, kind of heart-warming, and bite-sized. The second season returns with all the things that made the show great — and less of what gave he first few episodes a bad after taste. Continue reading

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