Sunday, November 22, 2009

Curb Your Enthusiasm, "Seinfeld": The two Costanzas

A review of the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" finale (and the quasi-"Seinfeld" finale contained within) coming up just as soon as I discriminate amongst wood...
"That ending was so much better than the one that I wrote." -Larry David
In that moment, Larry's talking about the ending to the reunion special, not the "Seinfeld" finale. And he's always been adamant (including in a line in this episode) that he has no regrets about the finale. But whether he'll ever cop to it or not, over the course of this season of "Curb," and particularly over these last two episodes, Larry has given "Seinfeld" fans the ending they deserved but didn't get a decade ago.

Since it's been a while since I've opined on this subject, and since this will likely be the last time I'll have an opportunity to do so, my two cents on the "Seinfeld" finale: It's not that it didn't work because the characters were revealed to be selfish and shallow and awful human beings. We all already knew that they were. That was part of the joke, particularly in the later seasons. It didn't work because Larry clearly worried that his audience hadn't figured this out on their own, and that he needed to tell them, and to judge the characters - and, by proxy, the viewers who liked them - in the finale. And his need to make that point got in the way of the comedy. It wasn't an episode; it was a list of all the bad things Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer had ever done, all with a scolding subtext trying to question why we had found all that stuff funny over the years.

In fairness, placing this "Seinfeld" reunion in the confines of a "Curb" episode makes it easy for it to stand out. It's all the good bits, none of the plot mechanics: just joke, joke, joke, joke, joke. But what we did see of it, here and in "The Table Read," felt much more along the lines of what the finale should have been: just one last collection of stories involving these four socially maladjusted people.

Now, as an episode of "Curb," I'd put this one a little behind "The Table Read," which had the benefit of introducing most the reunion show jokes already - though this episode featured Jerry's wonderful rant about BlackBerry etiquette - and also the presence of Leon, which automatically makes any episode at least 20% funnier. But it still had plenty of inspired moments, whether it was Larry smiling through his pure hatred for Mocha Joe as he filled his tip cup with $20 bills, or the use of "Having said that" as a classic "Seinfeld"-style catchphrase(*)

(*) I don't think I use the phrase that often in my writing, but I do know I'm gonna try to stop it in the future. Having said that, it's really useful.

The highlight, easily, was Larry's brief attempt to play George Costanza, and the bizarre meta moment of Larry David broadly playing the mannerisms of an actor who became famous for playing a shorter, stockier, slightly more lovable version of himself. For all the grief Jerry takes (and the grief he gives himself) about his limitations as an actor, I have to give him major credit for being able to get through at least one take of that scene without cackling hysterically at the spectacle. (The outtakes for that scene are a must for the next "Curb" DVD set.)

In the end, the episode provides the exact kind of happy endings that "Seinfeld" itself eschewed: the reunion comes together and is terrific, and Larry and Cheryl get back together, albeit with Cheryl getting an instant reminder of why she left the guy in the first place.

So with "Seinfeld" having gotten proper closure, has Larry also put a bow on "Curb"? The last few seasons have all ended on notes that could very easily be the end of the series: Larry dies (briefly). Larry finds happiness as a member of the Black family. Larry makes a successful "Seinfeld" reunion and gets his wife back. What's left to do?

The previous two times, Larry came up with an idea (the divorce, then the "Seinfeld" stuff) that made him want to come back. And it's entirely possible he'll find that kind of inspiration again. As always, HBO's going to give Larry all the time in the world to decide. Either the show will come back one day, or it won't.

And if it comes back, I really hope Larry can talk Jerry into joining the ranks of recurring players on the show. Jerry certainly doesn't need the money, but his real-life relationship with Larry made him into one of TV Larry's best foils to date. It's just sheer pleasure to watch Jerry goad Larry into doing things he doesn't want to do himself, or to take someone else's side in an argument because he knows it'll push Larry's buttons.

As a "Seinfeld" fan, I feel like I finally got all I needed to see of Jerry and friends. As a "Curb" fan, I'm still hungry for a lot more of Jerry with Larry, if that's what either of these men want to do with their lives.

What did everybody else think?

86 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wanted Funkhauser in the finale. Whenever he is in the show it is pure comedy gold.

Nick said...

I agree with everything your saying here. I really hope Curb comes back for an 8th season, i need a lot more! Im also hopeful that Leon will still be a character since Larry and Cheryl will be living together again. Can't wait to see what happens next!

Zach said...

Great review as always. I agree, thought it was great, but not as good as the table read episode. I thought they repeated some scenes too much, and I would have liked to see more of the Seinfeld reunion. All we really found out about Kramer was he did the hooker in the carpool lane joke, but that was it.

As for the future, I personally thought the show should have ended after the great Season 4 with The Producers, but if Larry wants to keep making seasons, I am pretty, pretty sure I will be watching

Scott said...

You've used "having said that" about 161 times.

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q="having+said+that"+site:sepinwall.blogspot.com

Alan Sepinwall said...

I did that search myself, Scott. But if you click on those links, an awful lot of them (all of them that I clicked on so far, in fact) are from the commenters.

It's all your fault, people!

LA said...
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LA said...

Agree on every point except one. Leon adds at least 40 percent. Leon is brilliant.

Having said that, if this is a wrap for Curb, it's a totally satisfying one for me. The outtakes for this season are going to be epic.

dave said...

I would've liked to see the full reunion aired within tonight's finale, mostly just to include Newman/Banya/George's Mom. Seeing them, even briefly, within The Table Read was really the most magical part of this whole production for a longtime Seinfeld fan.

Scott said...

I'm busted!

Having said that, it's a good phrase to avoid. :)

DTor said...

I liked this episode a lot. I liked all of the episodes this season that dealt with the Seinfeld reunion-- and tonight really did make up for that lousy last episode of Seinfeld.

Having said that... this should be the last episode of Curb. The non-Seinfeld episodes fell flat for me; with Larry making the same socially oblivious mistakes over and over, it's just gotten tired. (Again, to me.) Larry is just too smart to either (A) keep making these same mistakes, or (B) not realize he needs to get into therapy to somehow cure himself of his social retardation.

...Alright, so if he went into therapy, that kight make a good premise for one more season. But really, that's it.

drbluman said...

don't forget about having-said-that's more passive and pretentious cousins, "that said" and "that having been said."

Andrew said...

Was I the only one who laughed every single time anyone said the name "Mocha Joe?" Just a funny cluster of syllables.

Mike F said...

This episode was gold, Alan...gold, I tell ya

Anonymous said...

Alan, I thought your review of 'The Table Read' was spot-on, but I was disappointed by this finale -- which I thought was actually worse than the overly-criticized Seinfeld finale. Here, the repetition of the jokes from last seek was a major negative factor, and the story line of the Seinfeld foursome failed to resonate. After all, who really cares about 'George' getting back with a wife who never previously existed. In short, the Seinfeld storyline was merely a transparent foil for the Larry-Cheryl reunion, and even that really failed to 'pack any wood.'

Andrew said...
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Kensington said...

This really was a better way to say goodbye to these characters than watching them sitting in a jail cell or seeing Jerry doing standup in a prison jump suit (O what a pile of crap that original finale was).

Andrew said...

Really? People thought the fake Seinfeld sitcom scenes were good? Egad, they were so painfully unfunny it made me question if the original show was actually as good as I thought it was at the time. Clearly, Larry and Jerry haven't written sitcom scripts in a while, and were nowhere near their previous standards.

HST, I agree the Jerry/Larry chemistry is brilliant and would love to see more and it was fun to see Jason playing a pretentious ass (and the acting "pamphlet" bit was also great). But somebody please tell Julia Louis-Dreyfus never to wear her hair like that again!

Flosh said...

I hope the show comes back, but this was a great finale. Loved seeing the filmed Seinfeld scenes. Hearing them in the table read was one thing, but seeing them brought to life reminded me (since I haven't watched Seinfeld re-runs in a while) just how brilliant the four of them were together. And they clearly worked their butts off to make sure those scenes *played.* So much fun.

srpad said...

I thought this episode was weaker than "The Table Read" but dang it, I so much want Seinfeld to come back now!

What these episodes have reminded me is the show (Seinfeld) had a voice and so much about the world has changed on the last 11+ years that I am very interested in what that voice has to say about today's society.

Having said that (natch), Curb is a lot of fun too and I agree it was a treat seeing Jerry and Larry play off each other and to see Larry do a Jason Alexander impression and see Jason play a version of himself that is a complete douche. I would love more of this too.

It is nice Larry got Cheryl back. Everyone feels bad for Cheryl in that she "puts up" with Larry but I have always maintained she is as sick as he is. She enjoyed her sense of moral superiority that she held over Larry and now she has that back.

Would I be satisfied with this as an ending to the series? I suppose. But Danggit! I want more Seinfeld *and* Curb!

Anonymous said...

I thought Jason Alexander was great this season and you really saw his talent- transitioning from George Costanza to fake Jason Alexander. And then to see Larry David doing his imitation of Jason Alexander's imitation of Larry David was great.

AL said...

If they can continue to come up with great ideas the keep the show from getting too stale, then I'll continue to watch season after season.

Having said that, I would be just as happy--if not more happy--to watch a Leon spin-off (he'd be the George Jefferson to Larry's Archie Bunker?).

the Stanfield Org. said...

Agree w/ everyone that Leon is pure gold, gold Jerry.
Having said that, and having been a jackass and having typed 'having said that', and then typed this, AL, I don't think a Leon-centric spin-off could possibly work, but at least some Leon in 80% of the episodes in the next season would work alright for me.
While I think the Seinfeld reunion was a bit of a tease for this season, in that they were only used in 4 or 5 episodes, I thought the non-Seinfeld episodes were on the whole pretty damn funny, and I welcome a return if/when it happens, (with Leon AND Jerry, who has not done shit since Seinfeld (Comedian was decent, but forgettable)).

ScottyG said...

Mocha Joe! To tell you the truth I wasn't a fan of Cheryl this season, having said that she led to the Seinfeld reunion (which killed me).
I had hoped to see more of Funkhauser in the finale, but the BS Report earlier this week confirmed he wouldn't be.

Also hoped for at least one appearance by Leon, and I thought they could have put him in the scene with Larry watching the show, but whatever, great episode and a great season. Thanks LD

John Coulter said...
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John Coulter said...

The major plot point about the jumper cables had a hole in it: You can't jumpstart a Prius, and I don't think you can use a Prius to jumpstart another car.

Having said that, I have major respect for wood.

Anonymous said...

Great, great episode and season.

But I think my earlier thoughts were confirmed tonight when "George" told "Amanda" that the news of his getting back with her would kill his mother:

Poor Frank Costanza probably died years earlier.

Ethan said...

Am I the only one who thought that Larry's obsession with the table ring, even in the face of getting what he supposedly wanted, was meant to serve as a reminder to Cheryl in that she actually did NOT want to be with Larry? Everyone seems to think that they are definitely back together but I thought the scene was ambiguous at best and it seemed to indicate that Cheryl was about to change her mind and leave.

dez said...

"Having said that" and "respect for wood" are my new catchphrases.

Agree with the majority that "The Table Read" was better, but this had some good moments; I also think "Mocha Joe" is a funny bunch of syllables. Of course, I kept thinking about his role as the annoying Bob on "Becker" every time he came onscreen.

Now do me a solid and show me your respect for wood.

Ben said...

Loved it, loved it, loved it. The season, the last two episodes, the Seinfeld tie up, Cheryl looking hot, Danny Duberstein, all of it.

Having...nah, everyone has already used that joke...

I for one am not assuming Larry and Cheryl are together. That was the brilliance of the his "respect for wood" getting in the way of reconciliation. Now, he can start the next year with OR without Cheryl and either way direction the is believable.

Alan Forkosh said...

As a Prius owner, let me say that you can jump start a Prius, but you can't use a Prius to jump start a conventional car. You only need enough juice to boot a computer, not turn an engine over.

Anonymous said...

Larry David is great man. He has created a tv serial that is Curb your Enthusiasm…

Do you have a point, or are you just spamming the blog?

Anonymous said...

Well, it's either spam or Rick Sargulesh...

Kensington said...

That "Curb Your Enthusiasm TV show" guy makes a great point!

Anonymous said...

Larry David is great man. He has created a tv serial that is Curb your Enthusiasm. It is very good serial. In this serial he has worked outstandingly. I am huge fan of him. I want to meet him at least one time. In curb your enthusiasm episodes he has worked excellent....

Yes. This.

Anonymous said...

If he is Rick Sargulesh, I am Roman Nevikov. I having said this, he makes great point, I agree. Larry David is great man. Like Aleksey Vayner. I too want to meet him at least one time. Jason is lucky man to be playing Larry.

belinda said...

I think because the Seinfeld cast was the main plot of the season, it took away from the actual supporting - would have liked to see more of Leon and Jeff. Having said that, I really enjoyed this season as a whole - better than the last season or two (which did give us Leon, who's awesome, but really, that's the only thing I remember from those years), in fact.

I do think Jerry would be great as an addition should there be another season - he was a huge part of why the whole reunion story worked in the first place - considering the rest of the Seinfeld cast only tolerates him as much as they could (and thus aren't really too different than any other guest roles through the course of the CYE), whereas Jerry, genuinely likes the guy and understands him - more of the Jeff/Leon type friend to Larry.(I mean he characters, not the actors, at least, not that we know of).

Random thought - Julia was the only one out of the cast who didn't really get her own 'story this season (even Richards got a little something with the Grott's disease, and while the ring/wood was a big part of this episode, clearly it wasn't Julia's 'story', even if she was the instigator of it) But then again, we have seen Julia in past episodes, so maybe that's why.

Anonymous said...

Laughin' and lyin'!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Gee, and now I feel bad that I deleted that guy's comment spam as soon as I saw it this morning. I've killed the joke a little.

Having said that, it was the right thing to do.

Alan Sepinwall said...

don't forget about having-said-that's more passive and pretentious cousins, "that said"

God help me, I know I've used "that said" a million times, even if, again, most of the early Google hits are for commenters using it.

Tom said...

Seeing Larry David playing Jason Alexander playing Larry David, all to demonstrate the thesis of Jason Alexander's pretentitious pamphlet, that was sublime. Mix sublimity with gags like "There's no John, Paul, George, and Larry!" and you've got genius.

I especially liked how LD ended the show with a warm hug and a lesson learned. And what did we learn, America, along with Cheryl? That life may have its ups and downs, and things might not always work out exactly as we planned...but, at the end of the day, Larry David is still an impossible human being.

It sure felt like a series finale to me. *sob!*

LDP said...

I think my favorite moment was the sight of Jason Alexander sprinting through the parking lot, to get away from Larry.

Matt Wilstein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Wilstein said...

Here's the video of the finished-product Seinfeld reunion portion of last night's finale:
http://www.gotchamediablog.com/2009/11/curb-your-enthusiasm-seinfeld-reunion.html

Chris said...

No one has mentioned the Jerry staredown of Larry. I was crying at that part! Also loved 'F for Favor'...'E for Effort'...'C for....Coffee!'

Chris said...

Oh, and that being said, I also LOVED "icon...icon...NO CON!"

Jonathan Goldman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
srpad said...

I agree that it could be that Cheryl could easily have got up and left but I don't *want* it to be that way. Especially if this was the Finale.

TL said...

Since nobody else has mentioned it, I'll note that the Larry/Mocha Joe subplot was one of the great instances when Larry was absolutely right about a point of social etiquette. There's no way that Mocha Joe deserved a tip for carrying jumper cables where he was already going. Does jackassery just rub off on anybody who spends time in the vicinity of a Hollywood studio lot?

Anonymous said...

icon, icon, icon, no con!

Anonymous said...

What... no the love for the whole "busy with your beans" riff between Cheryl and Larry? I was positive that line would be Alan's segue into the review!

dez said...

better than the last season or two (which did give us Leon, who's awesome, but really, that's the only thing I remember from those years)

How could you forget Larry's holiday card from him and The Blacks? :-)

Does jackassery just rub off on anybody who spends time in the vicinity of a Hollywood studio lot?


I kept wondering who (or what) he knew that he could act like that without fear of firing. It's not like you can't find a dozen Mocha Joes in Hollywood.

@Chris, Jerry's stinkeye to Larry was fabulous. I think he does it better than LD does!

corporatejay said...

Did anyone notice Larry use the term "Laughin' and Lyin'" when Jason was sprinting through the parking lot? I thought that was a nice throwback to Seinfeld's "two world's theory".

Alan Sepinwall said...

I meant to cite the stink-eye - as well as George saying "pret-tay, pret-tay good!" - as examples of the "Curb" universe crossing over into the "Seinfeld" one. But I forgot. So thanks for mentioning it, folks.

vic said...

For me the funniest point in the episode was Larry David quitting. After hearing how he supposedly quit after every season of Seinfeld, it made the whole thing seem that little bit more real.

Never in a season finale before this one have I gotten such a strong feeling that this is it. The final scene seemed like a great way to end the show, and seems like just the way Larry would do it - ending on a stupid and petty argument.

While I might not have been dying from laughter during the course of this episode, right now, I'm feeling very satisfied. Not just with Curb, but with Seinfeld. The few minutes of the Seinfeld transported me years back, and I can't be happier for it.

Adam said...

I still don't get why so many people hate on the Seinfeld finale, personally. I thought (and still think) that it was the perfect ending to the show.

Anonymous said...

Dang, no more celebrating Spam Sargulesh.

Having said that, Larry is best comedian.

Steve said...

There are several points I'd like to make.

1. Other Curb finale's have had more gut-busting and brilliant final scenes (The Producers, the cursing at Bobo's, Larry's death with Dustin Hoffman and Sacha Baron Cohen, the montage with the Blacks). Yet, this finale was just as satisfying. We got to see the Seinfeld quartet in action, in final product mode. What could be better than that for a Seinfeld fan?

2. Sure, a lot of the jokes were re-tells of last week, and so the punchlines were not as funny, but it was great to see the process behind the making of the show.

3. "Mocha Joe." As others have stated, it was hilarious because of the grouping of syllables. This was an integral part of the humor on Seinfeld... that Larry/Jerry were able to pick up on idiosyncracies and nuances of common speech that sounded funny. In fact, I loved that in "The Table Read," this was referenced when Cheryl was concerned about adopting the Seinfeld cadence in a role about herself.

4. Jerry staring down Larry, and Larry being on the other end of it was fantastic.

5. Larry imitating Jason Alexander's characterization of Larry David while also selling "Acting Without Acting" was a perfect idea.

6. It was good to see them change "How could you be so stupid?" with "how could you be so fiscally irresponsible" if only to show the process at work.

7. The Curb part of the show still managed to have JS/LD idiosyncracies with the discriminating against wood and "having said that."

8. Again, Larry was in the right regarding the encounter with Mocha Joe. A tip would only be appropriate if Mocha Joe worked for Larry and that was in some way his job description, or near it. It seemed that Mocha Joe was just a coffee guy on the set. I loved that Jerry took Mocha Joe's side just to instigate.

9. I loved the Seinfeld finale. What better way to end a show that gave us the best collection of memorable side characters than to bring them all back. Just as this finale gave us the chance to see the Seinfeld Four one last time, the original finale gave us the chance to see all the side characters one last time. I LOVED it.

10. Finally, I just want to thank Larry, Jerry, Jason, Julia and Michael for agreeing to do this. It must have taken a lot of planning and work to find something that excited all of them to come back one last time. As a huge fan of both shows, it was as satisfying as imaginable.

Nate said...

I get the feeling that Jerry had a few extra funny lines in this episode...(especially icon, icon, icon, no con)... maybe to compensate for not having Leon in this episode? Its too bad they couldn't somehow incorporate that Duberstein/Groat's disease into this episode instead of the prior one.. it would have made the final episode that much better.

And Alan, I remember your Ledger column from the late 90s about the Seinfeld finale. As I recall before the finale, you and Matt asked people to send in ideas how the show should end, and I think I sent a long forgotten theory that it would be similar to The Dick Van Dyke Show finale. (The theory was outta left field but I ended up marrying one of Sheldon Leonard's relatives)

JanieJones said...

Thanks for another great review, Alan.
I thought it was an excellent episode. If last night's Curb was the series finale, I'm satisfied.
I also thought that maybe Cheryl was thinking of leaving when Larry interrupted their reunion for the "respect the wood" bit.
I would love to see another season, especially, if David could convince Jerry to come back for some episodes. They have excellent chemistry! And Leon has to be there too.
Also, I remember when "Seinfeld" was appointment tv or at least taped. I was not that upset with the finale but I was with a group that were rabid at the time, out for blood. Now, many are happy with this season of CYE and the Seinfeld parts for resolution.

Chris said...

One problem I had with this season was the ridiculous amount of recycling they did around the issue of 'paying and tipping'. There was Mocha Joe's tip, Larry debating with Jason on how much to tip, Rosie or Larry taking the bill, and Larry complaining about included gratuity.

Anonymous said...

Loved the show, agree with everyone, especially regarding the chemistry between Jerry and Larry. I wonder if I am the only one who was a little disappointed to find out that Cheryl quit. I didn't quite understand why she had to, and it seemed incredibly unrealistic that an actress who had just gotten her big break had done that.

Anonymous said...

Larry David. Defender of Wood.

hee.

Adam said...

I thought Cheryl was inside her car with the tinted windows when Larry was on the phone talking about how much he needed her. She overheard it from inside the car and quit because she knew that Larry would just be more upset when he saw her with Jason on screen.

dez said...

4. Jerry staring down Larry, and Larry being on the other end of it was fantastic.

Larry not flinching one bit, even with Jerry's "gotcha!" bug-eyed stare, was perfect, as was Kramer popping out with "fiscally irresponsible."

I also think Cheryl overheard Larry's phone call, and that was one reason she quit. The other was Jason turning out to be faking his neurosis by acting without acting as George when he was around Cheryl, as Larry pointed out. She knew he was right, which may have led to her argument with Jason (which I kinda wish we'd seen a little of).

It's also possible that the others used Larry's quitting as an excuse to oust Cheryl in favor of Virginia, who did do a better audition, IMHO. Yeah, I've way overthought that.

My captcha is bacon. Who doesn't love bacon?

David said...

Only weakness with the reunion was the lack of Jerry Stiller.

Chalmers said...

I always felt the Seinfeld finale and the Letterman Oscars suffered from the same thing: longtime hip critical darlings delivering a safe, uninspired (though not terrible) performance under tremendous scrutiny.

Non-fans had waited so long to get their shots in. Fans had to admit that the shows were run-of-the mill, and that the attempts at edginess (the prison ending, "Uma, Oprah") almost seemed designed to alienate viewers.

Both situations became feeding frenzies and the supposed awfulness of each show hit the mainstream, even becoming conversation among people who didn't watch.

I remember Bill Cosby going on "Letterman" and making a point of telling Dave that he enjoyed his Oscarcast.

Luckily, I think everyone survived very well and got a decent amount of material poking fun at the reactions.

Wally said...

Since it's been a while since I've opined on this subject, and since this will likely be the last time I'll have an opportunity to do so, my two cents on the "Seinfeld" finale: It's not that it didn't work because the characters were revealed to be selfish and shallow and awful human beings. We all already knew that they were. That was part of the joke, particularly in the later seasons. It didn't work because Larry clearly worried that his audience hadn't figured this out on their own, and that he needed to tell them, and to judge the characters - and, by proxy, the viewers who liked them - in the finale. And his need to make that point got in the way of the comedy. It wasn't an episode; it was a list of all the bad things Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer had ever done, all with a scolding subtext trying to question why we had found all that stuff funny over the years.

Shorter Sepinwall et al.: 'I'm a critic, not an object of criticism. I don't like being reminded how cynical I can be. I like my TV discomfort carefully fucking constrained and (ideally) announced in advance.'

Even shorter Sepinwall et al.: 'If someone other than me says "Hell is other people," that means Hell is...hey, wait a minute you take that back wait now! Waaaait!!!!'

Alan Sepinwall said...

Still even shorter Sepinwall: "I don't need to be told water is wet, let alone for an entire hour of the water series finale."

Jerry said...

Sorry, TL, but in that scenario Larry was totally in the wrong.

While *on* a studio set (really, 'when in production', but even more emphatically when on an active production on a studio set,) one simply *never* asks an individual at one job (especially a studio's general vendor, like MJ, and as opposed to a production's caterer,) to do someone else's job. Its *not* done. If it were to be done, a tip would be seen as mandaotory at the very least.

Its based in union and studio rules, insurance mandates, and tradition. You have obviously never been on a set.

Anonymous said...

I think those bills Larry was giving Mocha Joe were hundreds. Don't you think he'd have to pay more than $80 to get a guy to drop charges?

Hatfield said...

Oh snap, Sepinwall with the zing! Between that and the spam comment jokes, a very lively post

Anonymous said...

I don't know how many people read the other entries but if more did, there wouldn't be so many "having said that" attempts at humor driven into the ground.

Anonymous said...

Having said that...

Jeff B. said...

Did anyone else notice recurring Seinfeld extra Norman Brenner at the Mocha Joe stand? That was a very nice touch.

So many cast and crew members from Seinfeld came back to play themselves and he comes back to play...an extra, just like he did on Seinfeld. Unless maybe he was playing himself as an extra taking a coffee break. Hmmmmm.

M.A.Peel said...

I was in the "HATED IT" camp for the Seinfeld finale. As a friend said the next day, "Nine years of loyalty betrayed in one night." That's how it felt to me in the moment, for all the reasons Alan has mentioned, and then some. Particularly that David was judging us all for loving his creation. His anger at the show came through as vengence--he was going to make us pay for choosing to spend a lot of time with his characters.

I show the finale last year in syndication for the first time since 1998. It didn't seem as hateful to me. Time had softened my impression. But the reunion truly set it all right.

Matt said...

But whether he'll ever cop to it or not, over the course of this season of "Curb," and particularly over these last two episodes, Larry has given "Seinfeld" fans the ending they deserved but didn't get a decade ago.

I'm one of those people that feel nobody 'deserves' anything from a TV show, and that creators are allowed to end things on their own terms.

It was nice to see the gang back one last time in the apartment and at Monk's, but I think that if the series proper had ended with even a hint of those ideas - Larry and Elaine having a child, George falling in love - people would've raked him over the coals even worse for copping out.

Maybe it's that they're older and softer - Larry and Jerry are both married now, both have kids - but I think the Larry and Jerry of 1997 would never have ended the show the way they did. But yeah, it was satisfying to see.

Also, does anyone else find it weird that Larry ends the show with his fictional twin actually winning his wife back, whereas Real Larry's wife left and never looked back? There's something sad about that, to me at least.

As for the episode, it was good, and sweet, and felt like a finale, but I'll be sad if we didn't get curtain calls from Funkhauser, Jeff, Susie, or Leon. I don't know that the show has enough juice in it for another season, but maybe a reunion show down the line would be nice. ;)

Adam said...

I've never seen any reason to feel betrayed by the Seinfeld finale. I feel like that's really too personal a way to respond to a sitcom that had shirked sentimentality throughout its whole run. Their rule was "no learning and no hugging," wasn't it? The finale is the perfect consummation of that... four people who have avoided improving themselves and connecting with other people for 9 years are finally called out on all of it.

And it's not like going to jail was the end of their lives or anything. Really it was just another bump in the road for them, and another piece of misfortune for us to laugh at. The funniest thing about it is that going to jail obviously wasn't going to ACTUALLY change anything about them anyway. I love it.

Anonymous said...

I think the next season should involve Larry getting a bit role in a Sopranos movie. Then, we can find out what happened to Tony after the screen went blank.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The original ending didn't need hugs or sentimentality. It just needed to be funny, which it wasn't, because Larry was too busy building the prosecution's case.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen anything go from au courant to insipid quicker than "having said that." It only took a couple of hours.

Adam said...

Fair enough, Alan. I haven't seen the finale in a while, so maybe it's not as funny as I recall. But at the same time, I think the main source of my amusement with the finale has always been more of an overarching, analytical view of the episode rather than specific jokes running throughout. The finale's not necessarily a laugher for me, but it's definitely a smiler. I enjoy watching Larry build the prosecution's case, because I know exactly what he's doing to these four characters and why he's doing it. Having watched the whole series, I know what these four have done. I'm in on the joke. Maybe it's not knock-dead hilarious, but I appreciate its summative quality... and seeing all the characters come back is just fun, I think. *Shrugs*

JP said...

One of things made Seinfeld my favorite all time SitCom was that they never had a "Very special episode" where the comedy when out the window for some cheesy melodrama or a heart warming moment. The laughs were always priority, which is the way I think it should be for a sitcom since they generally do a poor job at drama anyway and it feels forced when it is an obvious departure from the normal comedic story lines.

It occurred to me that Curb is has been the same way when Larry delivered the one short moment with Cheryl at the end that was an obvious departure. It was short and felt real.

Who would have guess that one of the guys who notoriously avoids these moments would be better than most at delivering one.


Some notes:

* I'm with everyone on Leon. More Leon (to a point).

* Is Jeff the first cheating character on TV that isnt "judged" by the writers?


><((((º>`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸.·´¯`·...¸><((((º>¸.

Brian Flaherty said...

I wasn't thrilled with the finale but it was awesome to see the Seinfeld parts. I thought the week before was better, with Michael Richards flipping on on Leon. Hysterical

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nxaw91 said...

This episode was fantastic and would serve as a great Curb finale...although I really hope it isn't...Curb has filled the void that was created when Seinfeld left the air and bringing the Seinfeld cast back was a complete pleasure to watch. I do enjoy the parts with Leon, as long as he doesn't get in the way with the 'seasonal storyline' like characters can in other shows (namely Rita and the kids in 'Dexter')...I just really hope Curb doesn't end, leaving me wanting more much like Seinfeld did in 1998. In my eyes, whatever Larry David touches is gold and his/the Seinfeld humor will always make for a rich TV experience...

If I could really get my way...and I mean REALLY GET MY WAY...in season 8, Seinfeld would come back due to some kind of popularity and then Curb could turn into a medium for bits of Seinfeld (although I would hope that this wouldn't take over the show, being that Curb has earned a lot of respect on it's own)...but whatever happens, I will definitely be looking forward to next season (There better be one!)

rakeback said...

This was one of the funniest seasons of Curb yet, but I wish they would have worked Leon into more of the episodes. The Two Costanza's idea is priceless.