Curb Your Enthusiasm, "The Divorce": the schtick marches on

Editors' note: This review was written by Tara Bennett

Quick Take: Curb Your Enthusiasm, "The Divorce"
Larry David remains the curmudgeonly narcissistic jerk we know... and sometimes love. 

curb

Review: Curb Your Enthusiasm, "The Divorce"
(S0801) As life throws us curve balls every day, it’s a little comforting to know that a few things like death, taxes, and Larry David remaining a curmudgeonly narcissistic jerk will remain constants.

The eighth season of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm premiered right where we left off, with the Seinfeld reunion airing in the background of the David’s boudoir as the estranged couple Larry and Cheryl look like they’re about to engage in a reconciliatory lip lock. Of course, Larry screws it up by noodging Cheryl about putting her glass on their wood table without a coaster, which then sends Larry on a mission to call Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and make Cheryl confess she left the same ring at the actress’s home last season. Fed up with the same old Larry, Cheryl walks and one year later, the pair is just about ready to finish up their divorce documentation. 

While it’s sad to see the TV David’s divorce finally happening (just as David’s own marriage ended in real life), it certainly makes sense in the show that Cheryl would have had enough by now of her kvetching partner. Plus it allows Larry to start mining his own single-life adventures and freshening up the show when it’s sorely needed.

Eight years into it, David’s schtick is hit or miss. There are some fun (if predictable) twists with Larry assuming that his divorce lawyer, Andrew Berg (Paul F. Tompkins), is Jewish just because of his last name. Larry’s ensuing outrage when he discovers that Berg is indeed a Christian sets off a chain reaction of David advised lawyer swapping that ultimately earns Larry a satisfying punch to the nose by his former possible friend, Dodgers' owner Joe Dahl (Gary Cole). 

Larry’s usual group of enablers are all present in the premiere including Larry’s manager Jeff (Jeff Garlin), who learns from his always-angry wife Susie (Susie Essman) that if they were ever to get divorced she would not allow for an equitable split. Rather she would take him for everything he’s worth. Good to know, Jeff. At least he’s been warned. Meanwhile, Marty Funkhauser (Bob Einstein) is inspired by Larry’s new freedom and he decides to split with his wife, Nina.

In the worst conceived and executed story thread of the episode, Larry welcomes Joe’s Girl Scout daughter into his foyer to buy a box of cookies. Out of the blue, she just announces the arrival of her first period to Larry. Let me ask you, what tweenage girl would share that incredibly personal and embarrassing fact to a stranger and then proceed to allow herself to be instructed by the stranger (through the bathroom door) on how to insert her first tampon? Let me answer that clearly – there is none. She is a manufactured unicorn from the bowels of an incredibly out-of-touch writers' room. It’s an absurd setup that’s meant to push boundaries when instead it just comes off as incredibly sophomoric and unfunny. Curb and David are better than that and in the end it taints what should have been a much more celebrated season premiere. 

By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

About the author

Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at]-tvgeekarmy.com 

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2 Comments
On: Monday, July 11, 2011
Mike Stop Continues said:

I agree that the "first period" piece was a bit unbelievable, though I think that the metaphor was an interesting one. Larry is going through a lot of changes -- his divorce, his move to New York -- and though he may be the same person, he's going beyond what came before. "It's like elementary school," he says. Larry is growing up; Larry is becoming a woman.

Not a perfect metaphor, but it's something...

On: Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

I was pretty disappointed. A few chuckles here and there, but as Tara describes many of the bits fell flat. That certainly includes the whole Girl Scout thing... anyone hear of a device called a cell phone where one might call a little girls' parents? And what are girls doing going into adults' houses by themselves? But I digress. 

Leon was by far the best part of the episode -- he brings a raunchy but generally benevolent energy. And he was actually funny. 

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