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How do you put together a reunion show without doing a reunion show?
Before this episode no one knew.
Larry David pulls it off by continuing his misadventures on the filming of the reunion show, which he has done to try and get together with Sheryl.
In this episode the funniest parts come from honest self-observation, like when Larry states he is George and that he could play George, but Larry knew what people were expecting and he gave us a few scenes of the old Seinfeld, completely on it's own. It doesn't last long, it is disjointed, but for that little while it feels like Seinfeld is back on and you're laughing along with your favorite show again. And when it ends its not bitter, because all it did was remind you that you can always go back and watch the show again and it will always be great.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The seventh season for "Curb Your Enthusiasm" ends with a bang. Larry's
theme for this year has been the preparation for a reunion special show
of the "Seinfeld" show, something that proves to be a bigger challenge
to Larry. The ten episodes in this year's installment were brilliant.
Mr. David, one of the wittiest men working in television, gave us many
The basic idea running in the last episode deals with things that Larry finds obnoxious, to say the least. Take the case of Mocha Joe. He is the man with a coffee stand inside the studio. He is well tipped and liked by all the big stars, yet, when asked by Larry to take a set of booster cables, since he is going to the office, something Joe thinks it merits a tip. After all, Larry asked the guy for a favor. Mocha Joe reacts indignantly and childishly. He doesn't think anything by telling how hurt he is to Seinfeld.
The other peeve for Larry is the usage of "having said that". Seinfeld agrees with him. Why not say what we mean. Instead, people proceed to complete the phrase with a contradictory statement, something that doesn't make sense to Larry either. Another thing that is annoying to Larry is about not owning up to something one has done, as is the case of being accused by Julia Louis-Dreyfus of ruining her antique wood table by putting a glass of water over it without giving it a thought. He knows he didn't do it, why not find the person that really did it? Even Cheryl doesn't think anything when she places two containers of coffee on a new wood table at Larry's. After all, he respects wood, and he expects others to do too.
The good thing about this last show is that Larry and Cheryl get back together again, a welcome development. The season before saw them splitting and Larry taking an interest in Loretta Black, something that didn't work out, or didn't feel real.
Jeff Schaffer and Andy Ackerman are credited with the direction. Both men did a splendid job in the blocking, pacing and acting they get from the regulars and the guests stars. Larry David's screenplay is playful and enjoyable. Behind all the great jokes are situations that reflect real life that we can identify with.
This is one of the best things in television. Let's hope there will be an eighth season soon!
This season was the reason I finally decided to start watching this
show. I'd dipped into it here and there (mostly season 1 episodes as I
now realise) and it never really impressed me that much (again, due to
being season 1 episodes) so I never bothered to give it a chance.
Hearing of the reunion thread in this season made me want to see it
and, being a pedant, I of course had to start at the start and watch
though - which is no hardship considering how funny the majority of it
was. So in a way I suppose season 7 may have been something built up in
my head, but to be honest as each very good season passed, this became
less and less of my "goal" as it was a show I was enjoying a lot.
I put this out there so that anyone reading can contextualise my opinion here because I thought that the seventh season was actually a little disappointing. It is not that it was suddenly not funny, because it was, but more that the show had lost that sparkle that had made it hilarious. The most obvious problem was with the majority of the scenarios. The winning formula for me has always been Larry's amazement at people not following social rules while also being unable to understand why he should have to follow society's rules; hence sometimes he is wrong, sometimes he is right but he is always funny and the ways in which this view is exposed were mostly imaginative and hilariously clever, somehow managing to be contrived and exaggerated without being silly. With this season though too many of the scenarios are exaggerated to the point of silliness and lack the heart of Larry's personality in them. Thinking back over the episodes there are plenty of examples of things like the exposed midriff and the black swan being silly rather than clever and they do miss what made previous scenarios very funny.
Of course it is not a disaster and even the weaker episodes had me consistently amused by the antics. The stuff with the Seinfeld show is by far the strongest though and most of it is pretty funny in the meta way that Curb can be. I didn't think it was as funny or as sharp as the show has been in the past, but it was still funny and it was well worth doing as the Seinfeld cast really do add to the show even if their actual time is limited. Larry remains the key to the show though and ironically it is the smaller, more petty things in which he is funny rather than the overblown, elaborate and rather silly ones. So the entire golf club episode for me is less effective than the moments where Larry cannot enjoy the smell of success due to his own pedantry - whether it be just not mentioning the bad seats to the NBC executive or letting go over an accusation over a glass ring on a table. This is great stuff and it is the stuff that this season does less of.
It is also when David himself is best, although his overacting style does suit the cartoony silliness as well. He remains the heart of the show and it is better for it. Loretta and family are mostly cleared out of the way in a rather clumsy first two episodes (in there regards), which is for the best as Fox had had a good run. I liked that Smoove stayed in it, as little sense as it makes in terms of the characters, he a funny guy and his character does bring laughs (not least setting up the clever reference with Richards). Garlin and Essman are still very good at what they do but their material has been stretched to silly with this season, making their performances a bit less clever than before. Hines also is more of a narrative device and her character's position within the narrative means that she doesn't get to do the material that has worked for her for the previous seasons. Lewis, Danson, Einstein, Sykes and others all do solid smaller turns. Seinfeld is funny and given the most time of the group. Louis-Dreyfuss doesn't really have a lot to bring while Richards mostly seems subdued and not used particularly well. Alexander is great though, with his "real" personae nicely removed from George but still close enough to make the tensions with David flair up so easily.
Season 7 has material in it that stands up with the best this series has produced, it is just disappointing that the majority of it is lacking in that magic that makes it all so funny. Too much falls the wrong side of the "clever/silly" line and lacks the really inventive and witty writing that stays true to the characters - this is replaced by elaborate and unlikely situations that feel forced because they are not anchored in that clever wit. It all still works more or less and it is all consistently amusing even when not hilarious, but it must be said that season 7 sees the show sliding away from the high standard maintained since season 2 and I did find it a little disappointing. An eighth is being made and I hope it can balance the silliness by having stronger foundation in Larry's pettiness.
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