December 7, 2021

‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Takes on Pandemic Hoarders (and Netflix) in Larry David’s Wonderful Return to TV

5 min read

The world has radically modified since Curb Your Enthusiasm final went off the air in March 2020. But because the HBO sequence resumes its cringe-worthy run tonight (Oct. 24), Larry David stays the identical impossibly combative and delinquent curmudgeon that he’s at all times been. Season 11’s premiere, “The 5-Foot Fence,” finds the comic as awkwardly hilarious as ever. In a twist, although, it largely doesn’t have him grapple with the pandemic, which in mild of Larry’s prior people-hating conduct, appeared like it will have struck him as a lockdown dream come true.

COVID-19 is merely a minor ingredient of Curb Your Enthusiasm’s return, by way of the difficulty of Purell, and the hoarding of primary house items and provides—hand sanitizer, bathroom paper, and so forth.—that was all the craze when the disaster first started. Earlier than that real-world situation can issue into the season’s maiden episode, it concentrates on a unique type of disaster: a useless physique that Larry discovers in his pool late at evening, after being woke up by crashing noises that indicated a break-in was going down. Because it seems, whereas making an attempt to flee with Larry’s items, a burglar tripped, hit his head, and fell into the pool, the place he fatally drowned. Extra alarming for Larry, nevertheless, is the information that he’s in violation of an area metropolis ordinance that stipulates that each one personal swimming swimming pools be surrounded by a fence, which his most definitely just isn’t.

With regard to this infraction, Larry is let off with a warning by the investigating police officer. Nonetheless, as is normally the case with Curb Your Enthusiasm, triumph is fleeting and distress is inevitable, and it’s not lengthy earlier than Larry receives an extortion word concerning the lacking fence. This blackmail scheme is the brainchild of Marcos (Marques Ray), the brother of the deceased thief, who threatens to go public about Larry’s no-fence lawbreaking—and thus saddle Larry with huge authorized and monetary complications—until Larry casts his daughter Maria Sofia (Keyla Monterroso Mejia) in an upcoming mission. The issue is, Maria Sofia is merely a cook dinner and waitress at her dad’s taqueria, with solely minimal appearing expertise—that means, she as soon as starred in a faculty manufacturing of Romeo and Juliet—and, as evidenced by her impromptu efficiency for Larry, even much less expertise.

With no different choices, Larry is compelled to acquiesce to Marcos’ calls for and provides Maria Sofia a shot on the position, with the understanding that she already has it within the bag. Making issues wittier nonetheless, the present for which she’s auditioning is Younger Larry, a Young Sheldon-esque comedy about Larry’s early years dwelling in New York Metropolis along with his rich uncle, working as a chauffeur and making an attempt to be a stand-up, which Larry efficiently pitches to Netflix. That HBO has allowed Curb Your Enthusiasm to create a storyline that revolves round its chief small-screen rival is a hilarious shock. And as one would possibly anticipate, it in the end results in a completely uncomfortable sequence wherein Larry has to show up his nostril at worthy appearing candidates earlier than making an attempt to promote the amazingly abysmal Maria Sofia to his streaming-service colleagues.

Curb Your Enthusiasm doesn’t cease there in burdening its perpetually harried protagonist with irritating problems. Larry runs into Dennis (John Pirruccello), who owes him $6,000 for a previous {golfing} journey, and doesn’t hesitate to demand his a reimbursement, this even though Dennis is affected by early-onset dementia. Their squabble devolves into predictable yelling, with Larry declaring—for the primary of many occasions throughout the episode—“I’m not the unhealthy man!” Even when he isn’t the villain, although, Larry comes off like one. Furthermore, he more and more seems to be mentally poor himself, thanks to 2 successive incidents at a cocktail party hosted by Leon’s (JB Smoove) new girlfriend Mary Ferguson (Ashli Auguillard), the primary that includes spilled wine on a sofa that he (rightfully) blames on Susie (Susie Essman), and the second involving him strolling face-first right into a sliding glass door.

Collectively, these mishaps trigger Larry’s new girlfriend Lucy Liu to suspect that he’s getting somewhat lengthy within the tooth—and, in consequence, that’s he’s misplaced his virility. As if that weren’t sufficient, Larry additionally has to take care of his good pal Albert Brooks’ determination to stage a dwelling funeral for himself, as a result of Albert thinks that individuals ought to be capable of hear the type phrases that mates and family members typically solely say as soon as somebody has died. Larry mocks this “fake funeral” as greater than a bit absurd, nevertheless it instantly hyperlinks Albert and Larry as kindred selfish souls. A late revelation about Albert’s pandemic habits solely additional strengthens that bond, in order that the episode’s closing second—shared between mates with a typical love of Purell—feels completely excellent.

A late revelation about Albert’s pandemic habits solely additional strengthens that bond, in order that the episode’s closing second—shared between mates with a typical love of Purell—feels completely excellent.

Curb Your Enthusiasm’s eleventh-season premiere will get further mileage out of the return of Jon Hamm, who could have moved on from enjoying Larry in a film (as a result of check audiences discovered the character “repugnant”), however continues to make use of Yiddish phrases as if he had been really Jewish. Leon, then again, hasn’t moved on from something; he’s nonetheless the identical foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed, me-first sidekick he’s at all times been. Leon is the beneficiary of maybe the episode’s most impressed growth, when—after his personal girlfriend does one thing to neuter his curiosity—he begins auditioning for a alternative accomplice named Mary Ferguson in order that an airline ticket in her identify received’t go to waste.

Whereas Curb Your Enthusiasm has lengthy turn out to be set in its methods, it’s retained its caustic chew, thanks completely to its spectacular capability to maintain concocting inventive methods to torment the socially maladjusted Larry. Multiple plot thread launched within the episode stays unresolved by the point the credit roll, thereby confirming that a few of these dilemmas will plague Larry for weeks to come back. No matter what the present winds up throwing at him, nevertheless, it’s reassuring to know that no quantity of paradigm-shifting, reality-altering occasions can cease the fictional Larry David from being a smug, screamy, narcissistic loon, and the actual Larry David from being the funniest comic on tv.

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