Sunday, September 09, 2007

Curb: There's a party over here, a party over here...

Spoilers for the return of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" coming up just as soon as I order some black log cake...
I'll admit, I was ambivalent about the return of this show. I thought most of last season was terrible (exceptions: "The Larry David Sandwich," "Kamikaze Bingo" and the finale) and that Larry dying and going to Heaven was the perfect ending for the show -- even though he got kicked out in the end. And for a good chunk of "Meet the Blacks," I was convinced that Larry hadn't taken Jerry Seinfeld's advice about leaving on a high note, and that "Curb" was just going to linger as a shadow of its former self, making me think less of the great stuff that had come before.

But somewhere midway through -- I want to say it was the visit to Ted Danson's house, though it's hard to say now that I've seen the episode a few times and am now more favorably disposed to the whole thing -- I started laughing, and by the time Larry tried and failed to prevent the two Black children from looking at the Funkhouser cake, I knew the show hadn't lost it yet.

Obviously, it helps to have Danson around, as his contempt for Larry is funnier than the six seasons of "Becker" combined. (Bob Einstein's even funnier as Funkhouser, but either something was off in his first scene or I just wasn't back into the spirit of the show yet.) And I like the addition of Vivica Fox as Loretta Black, who sees Larry for the fool he so often is but doesn't let herself get worked up about it (the way, say, Suzy always does), instead doing literal slow burns on her cigarette, weighing her options on what to say to this moron who happens to be helping out her family in their time of need.

Though I grew to like it as it moved on (and even moreso on repeat viewing), this was actually my least favorite of the three shows I've seen. So I'm glad to have "Curb" back in my life, and not just because I love playing manic conductor when the theme song begins.

What did everybody else think?

13 comments:

dez said...

(Bob Einstein's even funnier as Funkhouser, but either something was off in his first scene or I just wasn't back into the spirit of the show yet.)

I still see him as SuperDave Osborne :-) But you're right, something was a little off in his first scene. I agree that the episode picked up midway through and by the end, I was laughing hysterically. I'm really looking forward to the next ep. And answering, "Eating some penis" the next time someone asked me what I've been doing.

dez said...

Er, that would be "asks."

Toadmonster said...

I love playing manic conductor when the theme song begins.

I'm glad I'm not alone in this.

PS Can we get an Alive Day Memories thread now that it's aired?

Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings about this episode. It wasn't terrible, but highly predictable. For example, I knew how the episode was going to end from the very first scene, the only thing that wasn't clear was who the real victims would be. After the party excuse failed to work the first time on the Funkhousers, it was also clear that it would be necessary for Larry to try it on the Dansons/Steenburgens. Then with the arrival of the displaced family, the rest of the episode was on autopilot.

That said, the one glimpse of hope and genius was the bit about the "black log cake", which was nicely set up and paid off.

If it weren't for Alan's remark that this was the weakest of three episodes he had seen, I'd feel lukewarm about continuing to watch. I'll give it another try next week.

Alan Sepinwall said...

PS Can we get an Alive Day Memories thread now that it's aired?

Feel free to use the post with the link to the review, as I kind of said my piece there.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who has wandered around the house in the middle of the night looking for a beeping smoke detector and then fumbled to get the freaking thing to shut up? Maybe that wasn't the most clever scene the show has come up with but that scene had me hysterical.

Undercover Black Man said...

"Then why did you take the balls home?"

Oh, I have missed this show. And if some of the bits seemed retreaded -- the parlor game embarrassment, especially -- I did laugh at each ratchet-turn of the party-was-last-night? gag.

dez said...

Maybe that wasn't the most clever scene the show has come up with but that scene had me hysterical.

I haven't done it in the middle of the night, but once a year when the "low batteries" beeping goes off, I usually wind up ripping the detector off the ceiling to get it to shut up because I can't recall how to make it stop without practically dismembering it. Have yet to take my softball bat to it, though :-) It does scare me that I'm in any way like Larry, heh.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that things improve from here. It wasn't a bad episode, but not close to a CURB classic.

Incidentally, I can't believe you gave props to last season's finale. It was so horrible and gimmicky. Hopefully this season they'll drop the schtick and get back to the brilliant simplicity that made this show so great in the first place.

SJ said...

"Larry Jew"

Hahahahaha. I love this man.

Alex said...

My favorite little moment was during the newlywed game when Susie's answer to who Jeff would sleep with was not simply written "Never Happen!" but was written in exactly the way Susie talks: "NEVER HAPPEN!!!"

M.Chavez said...

I skipped last season, so I'm curious... in terms of production did they switch this season to videocamera from film? The look of the show is much more 'indie' now - if I read more into it, I'd say they don't have the same budget they had in previous seasons.

Not having seen the previous season, I can't compare of course, but I found it pretty funny. It is a little creepy to see Richard Lewis slowly transforming into a skeleton wearing sunglasses and a black jacket though.

Ben said...

I don't always take points off for predictability, and certainly not with Curb. Sometimes, as with a great suspense film, it's not so much the wondering what's going to happen as it is the waiting for what you know is going to happen.

I also think that's what makes a show like Everybody Loves Raymond so great. No one would mistake it for groundbreaking, but the time and care put into character development and performance, and then the writing specifically for those characters makes it a classic. How many times did we see the audience respond in anticipation of how they KNEW Marie or Debra would react to a given stimulus? They were howling before the actor could even deliver their line, and the payoff became that much more satisfying because you could literally feel it coming...