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Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 Episode 10 (Larry vs. Michael J. Fox) Review

September 13, 2011 | Posted by Sat
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Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 Episode 10 (Larry vs. Michael J. Fox) Review  

And another season is done. I honestly can’t say where this season ranks among the previous seven and will leave that for my eventual rewatching of the entire series on DVD. It was a season that had a couple of moments of absolute brilliance (“The Palestinian Chicken” and “Mister Softee”) and a few series low points (“The Safe House” and “Car Periscope”) with the rest mostly falling somewhere between. There wasn’t a strong overarching story to this season, instead a partway through move to New York that didn’t change all that much about the show or provide opportunities for humor drastically different from Los Angeles. It was an unfocused season, something that I can definitely see the appeal in. After so many seasons of fairly heavy overarching plots, it was probably fun for Larry David and company to just do a season of mostly unconnected episodes without any constraints. For some, it paid off wonderfully, and, for others, not as much. As I’ve said before, mediocre, average Curb is still better than most shows on TV, so I was never too upset. I am sad to see the show gone, because ten episodes never seem like enough. Well, let’s get to the finale and part ways…

Episode 10 — “Larry vs. Michael J. Fox”

There was a lot about this episode that felt familiar and, yet, that didn’t bother me. We’ve seen Larry get into feuds and arguments with people with some sort of disability, medical condition, or other reason that causes people to treat them better than everyone else and, then, turn on Larry when he gets into a fight with them. His feud with Michael J. Fox, though, felt like the ultimate version of that story. Is there anyone else Larry could have feuded with that would command as much sympathy and loyalty than Fox? Who doesn’t love Michael J. Fox? His battle with Parkinson’s has become almost legendary and his work on TV periodically is always excellent. If you did a survey listing famous people and asked people to name who they like the most, if Fox’s name was on the list, I have no doubt he would rank pretty high. So, of course, he makes for a fantastic foil for Larry.

What I loved most about their feud is that we never really knew if Fox was using his Parkinson’s to screw with Larry or not. We’re so used to people on this show being jerks and generally sympathetic to Larry’s case that it’s hard not to see it that way, but there’s nothing that really points to any malicious intent on Fox’s part. That ambiguity adds a lot to the episode. While Leon siding with Larry over the clumping noise may be an indication of guilt, it’s still vague enough and Fox’s explanation makes sense. Was this a real feud or was it all on Larry’s end? We may never know.

My favorite scenes were, like usual, the ones where Larry was interacting with Leon or Jeff. Larry discussing Fox with Leon was comedy gold with Leon comparing the shaken up pop to a shaken penis that would ejaculate all over Larry or talking about the dangers of confronting Fox over the noise (“Michael J. Fox is about to be Michael J. Fucked-Up in a minute.”) before telling Larry that a Larry/Fox fight would be a fair one because Larry is so weak and the Parkinson’s shakes could work to Fox’s advantage somehow. With Jeff, their chess game was just funny with discussing how various toys could be seen as gay before Larry telling Jeff what’s said when he and Susie leave a room (“Poor bastard…”). Scenes like those always work the best for me, because they feel the most natural and not as forced or plot-driven as others. There are more moments of genuine hilarity that catch those involved off guard. Those scenes seem like the tone and feeling that the show is striving for at its best.

The rest of the show was good with some predictable moments. The little boy was funny as he just went for the over-the-top flamboyant gay routine; but, you also knew the minute that sewing machine came out of the box that someone was getting something with a Swastika on it. There was also an odd amount of underlying homophobia in people getting offended that Larry gave Greg a sewing machine (one that he loves). I’m actually surprised that Larry never raised that point since it was a little much and mostly went unchallenged.

I’m torn over the ending for the episode. I like the callback to his reason for moving to New York, Leon following him to Paris, and his getting in an argument with the French guy over the parking space. That was a cute ending for the episode and the season. I didn’t like how little impact Larry getting run out of the charity function by Fox, the mayor, and all of the attendees had. Larry being chased out of New York seemed like a better ending somehow and it was mostly ignored with him living in the building like nothing happened when he runs into Fox again. That scene was undercut immediately, which I don’t like as much.

Overall, it was an episode that made me laugh a lot and failed to stick the landing as much as I’d like. Unlike other seasons, there also wasn’t a feeling like this was a big ending. The past few seasons have had such big, fantastic finales that this one felt a little slight by comparison. I guess that suits the season and how I’ve viewed it.

The 411: Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  8.5   [ Very Good ]  legend

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