Thanks to the concurrent Yankee/Giants games Sunday night, I only got finished with "Curb Your Enthusiasm" this morning. Some quick thoughts coming up just as soon as I take a break in the flaunt...
What a bizarre, but ultimately satisfying, episode.
"The Bare Midriff" went to some very weird places, even by "Curb" standards: the 1960s flashback, which ended with blood being sprayed onto the windshield as the woman's husband was beaten to death; Lewis being uninjured by being hit by a car aimed straight at him; Larry being arrested for stealing napkins; and the running gag about how all bald people, regardless of race, look alike to non-baldies. "Curb" usually takes place in a slightly exaggerated version of the real world, but it has to be mostly real for Larry's behavior to be as funny as it is, and there were large swaths of "The Bare Midriff" where it felt like we had traveled to that parallel earth from "Fringe."
At the same time, though, it was such a pleasure to watch Larry and Jerry Seinfeld bounce off of each other, to see how alike they are and how much they enjoy each other's misanthropic company, to see how well they know how to push each other's buttons and can understand each other's hidden motivations(*), etc.
(*) In that respect, I think they should have had Jerry figure out the reason behind the Cheryl thing as quickly as Jeff did a few episodes ago. They could mine a lot of humor out of Jerry being irritated that he got sucked into helping Larry fix his marriage, but realizing it's too late to back out now.
And the bare midriff itself was a wonderful sight gag that kept paying dividends throughout the episode, leading to the great moment at the end where Larry's life was saved by Maureen's love handles(**).
(**) Speaking of which, what kind of casting call must that have been like?
What did everybody else think?