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April 16, 2014

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The N Word

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Oct 29th 2007 8:43AM

Curb Your Enthusiasm (S06E08)
(S06E08) "My penis is an animal." - Larry

I'm really glad I don't have the same issue that Larry does. This whole five second rule is a crazy thing. These days, the handshake has slowly become obsolete as most people now seem to favor some sort of handshake/hug hybrid for a greeting. Picture Larry at a family reunion! He said he had no control! While the estrogen pills were obviously a mistake on the pharmacist's part, maybe Larry should keep them around if he knows he'll be heading into a hug imminent situation. This was definitely one of the better episodes this season -- doesn't top last week's though. However, this one would have been better if it hadn't felt like I was watching Desperate Housewives with my eyes closed.

Brenda Strong has such a recognizable voice because of her narration work on the ABC drama and it sort of took away from her character here I thought. I honestly didn't know what Brenda Strong even looked like. I don't watch Desperate Housewives with any regularity, but I've seen it enough to have her voice drilled into my head.

Anyway, Strong played a new love interest for Larry named Dr. Sheila Flomm. I love how she embodied every stereotype that a doctor could have. She was formal when making a date, as if she were scheduling some sort of life altering surgery. Her handwriting was bad. She had what appeared to be some sort of waiting room in her house, complete with a receptionist desk that her sister hung out at. Then there was her bedroom. Not only was muzak blasting in the background, but there was also a doctor's scale. Plus, did you notice the bed? It had a white sheet draped right down the middle so that it looked like an exam table. The whole character and her surroundings were very detail oriented. Well done. Too bad Larry couldn't come through when he needed to because she definitely wanted a piece of "the animal."

Elsewhere, the episode dealt with exactly what the title says: the N word. It became this "he said/she said/I overheard this" fiasco that ended up with Jeff having all his hair shaved because Larry had offended his doctor with the racial slur. The whole set-up was plagued with the same issues as the episode with Tim Meadows and his deaf wife though. It was obvious Larry wasn't insulting the doctor and for him to immediately assume that he was went too far. It wasn't believable and it took away the gag. Same goes for when Loretta overheard it in the hallway. Both instances felt forced.

Other thoughts...

  • Poor Auntie Mae. First Larry "hugged" her and then she saw him "massaging" himself. Hilarious.
  • I love that Jeff ordered an Arnold Palmer. Iced Tea and Lemonade mixed is delicious!
  • Would Ben Stiller have signed with Jeff had his head not been shaved? Maybe it's me, but Jeff doesn't strike me as a good agent.
  • Hearing Leon scream about Jeff's snoring was funny too. Then he had that line about swallowing a kazoo. Every episode, Leon just spits out these gold lines. He's a great character. Definitely one of the best the show has ever had.
  • Susie actually offered to take in the Blacks? What?!? That was the most out of character thing she's ever done. Regardless of the fact that she held the same anger for Larry that Leon, Loretta, and Rae did... that was a very un-Susie gesture.

The episode ended on a sad note though. Larry misses Cheryl and dreamt about some of the good times they had. Well, mostly good. So... he recalls the time he had a pube stuck in his mouth and Cheryl helped get it out as a fond moment? Two episodes left. Will she come back?

Were you offended by the racial content of this episode?
Yes. Curb Your Enthusiasm can be funny without being insulting.22 (4.4%)
No. It was all in good fun in the context of the show.478 (95.6%)

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17 Comments

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Lori

I love this show, but I only catch episodes whenever I accidentally run across them. I just started DVRing them so I don't know the episode order to watch them.
So, my question is, WHERE'S CHERYL?

January 04 2008 at 10:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jon

I hate to come off the wrong way here, but this just wasn't a great review. Someone reviewing curb your enthusiasm should have a genuine knowledge of seinfeld to boot. The references such as larry continuously shaking his head at the end or brenda strong being cast as the doctor were great. Having watched desperate housewives, I really had no problem with her. It didn't detract away from the show at all. This was one of the best episodes of the series, and you have to love how they tied in the pharmacist at the end with "brothers and sisters" and "the blacks".

October 31 2007 at 2:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TM

Obviously Rusty isn't a Seinfeld fan or he would have known who Brenda Strong was. Sue Ellen Mischke was one of the best recurring characters they ever had. Plus she doesn't even remotely sound like her character on Desperate Housewives...that is full of melody and lyicism and her normal speaking voice seemed very different. I thought the pharmacist gag was hysterical.

October 30 2007 at 11:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cody

I love the Seinfeld shout-outs, like the one at the very end when he refused to say anything else and just sat there totally silent shaking his head. This show is definitely a lot more fun if you're a Seinfeld fan, but since the author doesn't know Brenda Strong I think it's clear that he's not.

October 30 2007 at 10:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phish

to the author of this entry: you are reading wayy to much into this show, way too much.

statements like "i dont think jeff would make a very good agent" show that you really dont have a grasp on what this show is about!

why dont u stick to blogging about shows better suited to your lack of ability, say, '2 and a half men'.

October 30 2007 at 12:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Keith

I thought there may have been a Michael Richards subtext in there with the fact that when Larry relayed the story, he always said what he heard verbatim rather than say "n-word", but maybe it's just me.

October 30 2007 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
boomer

This was one of the top 10 of all time. How they think of the story lines is beyond me!! It is an R rated Seinfeld, and I can see why. Larry is a butthead (on the show) but seriously needs a nomination for Emmy for best writing or best actor in comedy series. I can see why he is a billionaire. The man is insufferable but incredible. Applause!!!

October 29 2007 at 11:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MW

Best part of the whole episode:

When Jeff knocks the note out of Larry's hand.

October 29 2007 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Guffin GacGuffin

You don't know what Brenda Strong looks like? Did you never watch Seinfeld, or NewsRadio, or Sports Night?

October 29 2007 at 2:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve

Dr. Flomm was also Sue Ellen Mishke in Seinfeld.

October 29 2007 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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