Curb Your Enthusiasm's odd eighth season continues with another disappointing episode. You have people saying last week's "Palestinian Chicken" was a classic, but I did not think it was that great. Solid, but not that great. This episode though was awful. The "Dog" characters was terribly miscast, and all of the interactions were forced and funny. There was not that typical "everything comes together" moment at any point during the broadcast. I am a huge Curb fan but this was really bad. The "don't poop where you eat storyline?" Really?
So far, this season has fallen below expectations. It's going to be tough to follow up the previous season (which could very well be the show's best), but it's still possible, I believe, to produce a good season. However that is not happening here. The episodes up to now have been very predictable. It could not have been more obvious that Antoinette's father would die the day she returned to work. Harry Hamlin's guest performance was lame and unnecessary. I find it odd that he rents office space in the building and then thinks he could commandeer the whole kitchen. Why did none of the other tenants object? When Larry handed his girlfriend the $60 it was crystal clear she would not repay a penny of the loan. "The Smiley Face" is way too predictable and did not deliver enough laughs.
Okay, I made a big hoopla about last week's episode. Yes, I stand by it and yes, I still think it was one of the best episodes that Curb has produced to date. But in saying that, it makes any episode that follows immediately seem like a let-down, and that's not the case here. Larry David gives us yet another great episode filled with him at his most cringe-inducing best. And, unlike "The Divorce" and "The Safe House," which were great episodes in their own right but somewhat predictable, "The Smiley Face" reveled in its predictability and ended up becoming an episode where things would happen that we wouldn't expect and it all came together in another bizarre episode for poor Larry. (And come on, the fanof. I read your reviews and appreciate your opinion and know you're a Curb fan, but a 4? No way this episode was that bad. Maybe the episode isn't as good as I'm rating it either… who knows?)
The smiley face reference comes from a text Larry receives from his new girlfriend Heidi (I believe she plays the "pimp" on Hung). Larry finds the smiley face to be an awful new invention that shouldn't be used but will likely end up being used in newspapers. His girlfriend is a hostess at a restaurant and both Jeff and Richard Lewis are surprised that he's "s***ing where he's eating," yet Larry seems dedicated to proving that a break-up should ruin his ability to eat at a restaurant.
Meanwhile, Larry's assistant is out on sick leave while her father is in the hospital. This means that his office is a mess, he's out of sorts and his kitchen is being raided by a guy named "Big Dog" who steals the cabinets from him and shoves all of Larry's food into one small cabinet. Larry doesn't know what to do about this and begins trying to get his assistant to return for a day to help clean. She eventually does, and wacky hijinx ensue, as one might expect.
To give away anything else here would be a shame because I thought it was fun to watch everything begin merging together. Larry was particularly curmudgeon-y, shying away from "cheek to cheek" hugs with a friend, complaining to Heidi about the smiley face texts and lending something to her and not getting it back. He also seemed insanely hostile towards Big Dog, and I must say, I love hostile Larry. Seeing him yank food out of Big Dog's drawers and freaking out reminded me of when Larry was freaking out in "Palestinian Chicken" when Funkhouser's hat fell off. There was also a scene involving a sunburn and the smiley face that is as awkward as anything that has been on the show.
Let's compare this episode, a nice, solid episode of Curb, to an episode of Weeds, which is fairly terrible each and every week and only warrants watching because it's been on so long and is worth following to see what happens (and for those rare moments when the show actually pulls off something fun). I still fail to see where this episode falls flat, but whatever. I liked it and I'll watch it again and again. I think Season 8 is on a roll without even following a theme of sorts, sort of like Season 1. Hopefully it'll keep up the quality.
larry must have just discovered computer terminoloy such as lol last week, and smiley face this one..larry did tie all the shenanigans into an excellent ending with susie fighting larry's secretary's mom, played by joanne worley, because of a couple of lies by larry and jeff green which culminsted with susie thinking jeff was having an affair..jeff was consoling anntonettes mum over the loss of her husband and of coarse susie walked in on them during a sympathetic hug..classic..mum was excellently played by joanne worley of laugh in fame (not another chicken joke) and she was hilarius as ever...also funny was the dr played by michael gross of family ties fame..the only negative was the weak performance of "dog" who is good in drama like la law, not so much in comedy..cant wait till larry and the gang venture into Ny
Tonights, or should I just say the latest installment? Seeing as I watched tonights episode on HBOGo.Com, a companion service for portable devices(ie. Ipad, iphone, laptop). In a revolutionary move by HBO, the episodes are available online at EST 10:00pm, coinciding with the broadcast on HBO. A move that to my knowledge, is unprecedented in broadcast to streaming timeline windows. Usually hit shows are put on the web, officially and un-pirated, the next day. This broadcast technique may seem foreign to us now, but HBO has always been revolutionary, and this free service is available to all HBO subscribers. So I guess they can do what they like. Back to Curb. We have seen Larry fight girl scouts over a cookie order, or a doctor mistaking Leon for an abusive life partner of Larry, and a random black guy getting arrested at Larry's house, while amusing, the last 3 episodes could all be taken back. Palestinian Chicken, eh! Who cares. The characters and chemistry were off, and it barely produced a smile, let alone a laugh, from me. But Smiley was tour de force. Susie Greene(Susie Essman) and Jeff (Garlin) were both on point, and held it together without Cheryl. I do miss Cheryl, but even her being the culprit of the ring on the table, was wack. The cabinet situation, was brilliant, and maybe I'm biassed because I've worked in shared offices. Larry was brilliant, and the smiley face at a funeral. This episode was classic Larry at his best. Heidi, the hostest of Larry's favorite restaurant was a great guest star. She is definitely not for Larry David if she can't take a few of his social faux pas. Cheryl put up with them for 11 years. Best episode of the season, and all the characters and story lines worked. Eric Valentino
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