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Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 Episode 8 (Car Periscope) Review

August 30, 2011 | Posted by Sat
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Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 Episode 8 (Car Periscope) Review  

I mentioned in an e-mail to mom that I was about to watch the new episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm and she responded with “So far, I have only really, really liked one episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm this season. Some don’t suck as much as others, but over all I’m disappointed this season.” I don’t really disagree with her. Aside from the superb “Palestinian Chicken,” this has been a weaker season of the show. A weak season of Curb Your Enthusiasm is still better than strong seasons of many shows, but that’s not the point. So far, this has felt like a season that’s struggled for direction with the move to New York providing none. There have been amusing ideas that haven’t come together or strongly structured shows that haven’t been funny. And, unfortunately, the latest episode continues that trend…

Episode 8 — “Car Periscope”

After about seven minutes, I stopped the episode to go grab something to drink and thought about how I hadn’t really laughed at anything except for Jeff chiding Larry that he got what he meant when he implied that Susie is bossy after Jeff said he doesn’t like being told what to do. I wasn’t disheartened or frustrated, hoping that this would simply be an episode that had ten or so minutes of building and groundwork before it kicked things into high gear and started hammering us with funny, memorable bits. That didn’t happen.

In the past, some in the comments section have chided me for not liking something about an episode with the phrase “It was classic Larry!” and when they do that for this episode, I won’t disagree. Everything about this episode felt like ‘classic Larry’ in that everything was some variation on something we’ve seen before, except with less bite and less point. The trainer cancelling his time with Larry is a perfect example: in the past, it would have been some slight that Larry had to make right or some weird tic of the trainer. Here, it was simply money. Perfectly realistic and understandable and utterly lacking in humor.

Or, the stuff about trusting the inventor because his wife is less physically attractive and not trusting the business manager because his wife is hot seems like a weak retread of the season opening Jewish lawyer bit, except more arbitrary and somewhat coming out of nowhere since the attractiveness of a spouse has never seemed to play a role in Larry’s decision making abilities. It was just shallow and hollow.

The riff on The Fugitive especially felt out of place, like a third rate Seinfeld bit that got cut years ago. With the show in New York, some wondered how long it would take before Curb began to seem like a Seinfeld retread and here it is. And that’s not a crack against Seinfeld, a show that ranks among my favorites, it’s a comment on how Curb is ultimately a different show and it using the same techniques as Seinfeld doesn’t fit. Besides, we got enough Curb as Seinfeld last season.

I did enjoy the car periscope stuff for the enthusiasm that Larry and Jeff brought to it. They were like two excited little kids playing with that thing and the initial demonstration with the garbage truck was handled well. But, that was about it. This was a flat, bad sitcom sort of episode that has me wondering if the show can recover at all in its final two episodes or if this season is going to go down as the weakest in the show’s long, exceptional run. If you recall, I wasn’t a fan of the season’s second episode, but even that had some very funny bits and simply went too far into ‘awkward’ territory for my taste. This episode didn’t even do that. It just limped along until it finally ended.

The 411: Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty bad.
Final Score:  4.0   [ Poor ]  legend

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