In Larry David’s return to the television screen, for the first time since Seinfeld went off the air in 1998, he portrays a similar character to that of George Costanza, the social pariah that made people cringe for nine seasons of Seinfeld. However, David leaves little between his real personality and his “Curb” personality, since he portrays himself and his lifestyle pretty frankly. While it is not biographical, it does reveal the sometimes narcissistic and selfish lifestyle of the Hollywood elite. David gives himself a great cast, including Jeff Garlin, Suze Sessman, and Cheryl Hines, who all play logical foils for his ridiculous behavior. This season of Curb Your Enthusiasm is more to set up the fault lines for future seasons, which include Larry’s poor relationship with Suze Green, Jeff Green’s parents, and with his own in-laws. Like other seasons, the noticeable lack of DVD features is frustrating but the episodes give fans enough to talk about.
Comedy Special: Larry David: Curb your Enthusiasm: In the one hour long comedy special that spawned the series Curb your Enthusiasm, Larry David portrays himself as an unsavory character whose self interest often time runs up against what is socially acceptable. Larry and Jeff Green (Jeff Garlin) decide to let cameras follow them as Larry makes a comeback to standup comedy, including an HBO showcase that Larry begs out of because his fake stepfather has fallen ill. The stand up scenes with David are not particularly great, but the non sequiturs and dialogue between Larry and those who cross his path make up for the strained comedy routines.
The Pants Tent: Larry accidentally calls his wife “Hitler,” as a joke, to Jeff’s parents via speaker phone. As bad as the reference is, Larry finds out Jeff’s family had a gay Jewish relative die in the Holocaust, making the reference totally inappropriate. Larry attends a movie with his wife’s friend, who thinks her consolation for an incident causes him to get aroused. In a typical scene of Curb (awkward but funny), Larry and Cheryl confront Cheryl’s friend, only to make the problem worse.
Ted and Mary: When Larry and Cheryl go bowling with Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, Larry loses his shoes and ends up going with Mary and Mary’s mother to a mall to shop. Ted and Cheryl are put off by Larry’s abnormal behavior, especially since Larry was raving about Mary the evening before. Larry ends up finding his shoes but has a misunderstanding with Mary’s mother and worries about it jeopardizing the David’s attendance at a Paul Simon concert.
Porno Gil: Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show) makes a great appearance in this episode as a former porn star whose wife goes postal on Larry at a dinner party. Larry offends a fellow golfer at a driving range by not picking up his golf ball, upsets a stranger on the way to Gil’s dinner party, and wreaks havoc at a dinner party by breaking a rare lamp and not taking his shoes off in the house.
The Bracelet: Larry tries to make up with Cheryl for not greeting her properly, so he tries to get a beautiful bracelet from a local jeweler. However, his slovenly appearance forces him to call Richard Lewis. When the store closes, they go to lunch, Larry loses his credit card, and they are propositioned by a blind person to help him move into his new apartment. The scene where Richard and Larry are moving stuff around in the blind man’s apartment are hilarious.
Interior Decorator: Larry has a run in with Cheryl’s interior decorator and upsets Diane Keaton, who repeatedly tries to meet with Larry and Jeff over a movie script. Larry also upsets his doctor and lawyer, when he makes a stir in the doctor’s office over the appointment system and refuses to pay a legal bill. Larry’s incessant protestation in the doctor’s office and his attempts to cause an uprising among those in the waiting room are pretty amusing.
The Wire: When Cheryl and Larry try to get an electrical wire removed from their backyard, a neighbor uses the situation as leverage to meet Julia Louis-Dreyfus. When Julia and Larry come to meet with the neighbors, the husband is not there because he is meeting with Jeff, causing Julia much distress. Larry goes through a series of awkward situations, including being accused of stealing a bracelet from Julia, showing up late at Julia’s house to find his notebook, and having to deal with the neighbor later on (who happened to have the notebook that Larry had lost).
Aamco: Larry and Jeff take out Jeff’s new car only to get into an accident, after Larry hears a commercial for Aamco and thinks the person behind them is honking to make them move. Larry meets an owner of an Aamco station and tries to get an inside deal for Jeff’s car, but offends the man when he thinks that he wants to stay at their summer home in the Hamptons. Larry’s inability to deal with small talk comes through during Cheryl’s dinner party, when he gets into awkward conversations with “young Republicans” as he calls them.
Beloved Aunt: When Cheryl’s aunt dies, Larry is put in charge of writing the obituary but wires get crossed with Jeff’s connection at the newspaper and the obituary ruins the moment for Cheryl’s family. Larry gets kicked out of the house and stays with Jeff’s family, but makes his already rocky relationship with Jeff’s parents worse when Jeff’s mother thinks Larry made a pass at her.
Affirmative Action: Larry and Richard have a serious conversation about their friendship when they come across Richard’s friend, who is a black dermatologist. Larry makes an off-color remark about affirmative action and upsets Richard and the friend (Richard makes the joke “You were like James Earl Ray’s gym partner there.”). When Cheryl has a skin condition, he must go to a dinner party held by Richard’s friend and has to reveal the joke to the all-black crowd and confronts a former colleague who accuses him of being a racist.
The Group: Larry runs into a former girlfriend, who shared a secret with him while they were dating. When Larry decides to support her by going to a support group, he makes up a story about being molested by his uncle. Cheryl gets offered a role in the Vagina Monologues but when Larry’s uncle comes to visit and Cheryl’s director (who was in the group) meet, the show is ruined by Larry’s fib.