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Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 Episode 5 (Vow of Silence) Review

August 9, 2011 | Posted by Sat
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Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 Episode 5 (Vow of Silence) Review  

I mentioned last week that, after four episodes, the show seemed to be following a pattern of good and bad episodes, alternating between odd and even episodes. I’m not sure entirely if this week’s episode validates that theory. It wasn’t a bad episode, but I didn’t love it either. It was an improvement over last week, though. If anything, this week’s episode felt like ‘average Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ That’s better than most shows out there, obviously. I’m not complaining about getting an ‘average’ episode. It’s a satisfying experience, it just never hit the heights this show is capable of. Read on and I’ll explain things in more detail…

Episode 5 — “Vow of Silence”

If anything held back this episode, for me, it was a lack of forward momentum. Stories progressed and collided, yes; they didn’t feel like there was anything driving them, though. The events here just seemed to unfold because we happened to be following Larry around with a camera. That works with the ‘documentary’ style of the show, it doesn’t make for a coherent, strongly structured episode. Now, I know that’s something of a nitpicky reason to not love this episode. It’s not a case of me not laughing (which did happen as I’ll talk about in a moment), it’s a case of looking at the show as a whole and noticing that it needed something to pull things together a bit more, to give the episode a strong feeling of coherence and purpose. Random scenes with some shared plot elements is fine, it just isn’t as good as it could be.

Part of the problem is that this was so based in typical Curb material and how it calls back to things that some jokes didn’t land as well as they should have. The final shot of Lewis waiting for Larry in the restaurant? It was obvious from the moment that Larry confirmed he would meet Lewis after their little blow up. Even the parking outside of the lines thing seemed obvious when it came up again. The only part that seemed to work, for me, was Larry getting called on a chat ‘n’ cut even though he wasn’t cutting. That was a little more surprising and inventive than the other two.

Another problem was that the episode was obviously leading to Larry heading to New York that, despite a lack of forward momentum, everything seemed secondary to that goal. The awkwardness of the scenes with Larry and Tessler was lessened by the eventuality of Larry heading to New York. If anything, the continued run-ins came off as forced as a means to get Larry to New York. As well, the possible issue with the vet and his wife never went anywhere. It was a deadend subplot, which is rare for the show. Was something cut? I kept waiting for it to come back in some way and it never did.

Within the episode, though, were a lot of funny moments. Vance and his vow of silence was ridiculous and played perfectly, and paid off well with him breaking it at the end. Jeff and Larry fighting over the ice cream meant to be Oscar’s last meal was a case of both men being childish and selfish, while also being quite funny. I’m usually not a fan of when Larry is a flat out jerk, preferring it to be a miscommunication/misunderstanding of motivation and perspective, but this was a fantastic way for him to be a jerk and still be funny. His taking the poor parker to task was definitely a case of that. Larry being so insistent and getting into a fight like that was the behavior of a jerk. But, he was a righteous jerk with a point. I don’t understand how someone could argue with him, honestly. Who looks at that parking job and thinks it’s a fine job?

I actually don’t have much to say about the good parts of the show. They were classic bits of Curb humor. Most of the scenes worked on their own and provided laughs, it was the overall structure of the episode that I found lacking. That may not bother others as much as me, I know. Maybe when I rewatch this on the season eight DVD set, I’ll wonder what I was thinking when I wrote this review. For now, it was a good episode that fell slightly short.

The 411: Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.
Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend

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