Photo: HBO

Last week, Danette wrote that “for Curb to work, Larry has always had to be a dick, but not the biggest dick.” Never has this truth been more clear than in tonight’s episode, which found some of its best moments in Larry’s tussles with unreasonably mean people and its worst in ones where his rudeness seems rooted in a queasy sense of classism. I’m not fully on board with this argument regarding the curdling of Larry’s crankiness, but I can absolutely see its point when the joke seems to be that Larry is above riding with “bus people.” He stomps around the city bus like he owns the thing, demanding the driver blow through the yellows when he’s not mimicking a woman’s foreign language after she rightfully bristles at his unprovoked jabs. Larry’s never been one to throw his wealth and status around so the sense of entitlement he’s been showing to city officials and service employees all season has been both strange and unpleasant. Larry telling the Romanian Uber driver that his country is filled with ugly women, for example, was very un-Larrylike.

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Also unsavory was the episode’s half-baked “Asperger” storyline, which found Larry justifying his own bad behavior by claiming to suffer from the syndrome after seeing how his current girlfriend’s “prick son” got away with so much by having it. Sure, Larry wondering whether the kid might “just be an asshole” is as funny as “pissed or Parkinson’s,” but it gets into some rough territory once Larry begins exploiting a condition.

Photo: HBO

The good news is that all of the above stuff was more or less relegated to the episode’s final act, which was thankfully preceded by tons of great bits. There was Larry’s refusal to say “namaste” at yoga class because he doesn’t “participate in group activities”; Leon’s three-part sex protocol; Will Sasso’s heating repairman needling Larry for not taking his shirt off during sex (“I take my shirt off when I’m kissing!”); and, in one of the funniest scenes of the night, Larry telling Susie he wants “Haskell access” to the Greene household. “Eddie Haskell was a kiss-ass, obsequious little shit,” Susie retorts, and one can only marvel at the level of hatred she has for a fictional character from the 1950s.

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This episode also featured one of my favorite Curb tropes: People being mean to Larry for no conceivable reason. “You live in a fantasy world,” snaps the Uber driver with genuine anger when Larry says he’s a four on the “Uber star rating for looks.” And then there’s the guy whose car Larry bumped into, who gives LD no credit for leaving a note. “You seem like a complete garbage person,” he tells Larry, completely unprovoked. “Look, fuckface,” Larry retorts, eager as always to take the fight to the next level. Even funnier, though, is his “I’ve had enough of you” before hanging up.

Photo: HBO

Lauren Graham’s Bridget was also a delight, and, while I wasn’t a huge fan of the way her son dominated that storyline, the chemistry between her and LD was infectious and I hope she sticks around. Because, honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of Larry’s dating storylines, and the dynamic that his relationship with Cheryl brought to the show is sorely missed. Graham could fill that role nicely. Just send that kid off to boarding school or something.

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A relationship like that might even bring a little stability back to the show. One thing I’ve noticed this season is that it’s, like, legitimately insane. With the additional six or seven minutes tacked onto each episode we’re getting like two or three more subplots than your typical Curb episode, meaning that most of them aren’t really resolving themselves in satisfying ways. Yoga, Uber, heat, car accidents, dating, Aspergers, bus rides—sure, it’s all connected, but sloppily so, like a tapestry held together with duct tape and Elmer’s Glue. The show would do well to reign itself in a bit.

Stray observations

  • Firstly, thanks to Danette for letting me fill in again!
  • Secondly, WHERE IS SWAT? You can’t introduce a character like Swat and not have him show up for multiple episodes at a time. It would be like a show introducing a fatwa storyline and then more or less ignoring it for episodes at a time.
  • Having said that, kudos to the show for maintaining the “fatwa makes Larry desirable to women” bit. I see your continuity, Curb, and I applaud you for it.
  • But can we slow down on the “Larry is horny” storylines? Look, good for him for sustaining such a voracious sexual appetite into his 70s, but Larry’s libido isn’t something I want to be confronted with week after week.
  • Nothing made me laugh more tonight than Susie’s pronunciation of “boudoir.” God, Susie Essman is a gem.
  • The only thing funnier than Larry saying he doesn’t “like the scent of fuck” is him telling Leon he doesn’t want “some post-sex guy walking around the house.”

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