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July 26, 2014

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Hot Towel

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Oct 12th 2009 3:20AM
Larry David and Christian Slater
(S07E04) "Was there a stipulation on the gift certificate? Three hundred dollars and "take me"?" - Susie

I was afraid this might happen. As exciting as it is, even the long awaited Seinfeld reunion doesn't have the power to sustain an entire season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. After last week's reunion, I expected a lull and with that in mind, there's really no reason to be disappointed because this episode had some very funny moments. Unfortunately, not even Christian Slater's caviar addiction could save the day with such fond memories of last week's landmark half-hour still on my mind.

The beauty of Curb has always been the set up and the subsequent enjoyment of the pay off, and that's really what lacked here. The hot towel was a lousy set up at best, and Larry's burned and bandaged hand giving away his identity at the end just plain 'ol fell flat. There was just nothing to be invested in here.

What Didn't Work

The entire plot with the doctor is what really killed it for me. Maybe it's the fact that I didn't relate to Larry's desire to have his doctor's phone number or maybe it was the fact that it didn't feel organic. It felt forced. As if Larry got the number and his doctor's home address specifically so he could bother him at home. Something about it just didn't flow right. Most annoying to me? The big set up with Larry going against the doctor's suggestion to let the burn dry out and Larry opting to wrap it instead. Obviously the burn won't heal as fast now, but there was no pay off indicating that.

I also didn't really care for Larry trying to strike up a night of romance with Mary Jane (Sherry Stringfield), an old flame of his. It just felt ... I dunno, un-Larry-ish. The only saving grace was Larry finding Mary Jane's homemade pie disgusting. That was the moment on their date when he finally started acting like himself. Larry David is not a winer and diner. His desire to get laid does not outweigh his dislike for casual dinner conversation. But, without Cheryl around, he does have to evolve.

Final gripe? Everyone ragging on Larry for cutting Sammie off while she sang at Ted and Mary's party. Maybe I come from a group of real jerks, but anyone I know would have said the same thing I did the second LD stepped in. He did that girl a favor and saved her from any more embarrassment.

What Did Work

Loved, loved, loved the scenes with Christian Slater. Watching him try and pile as much caviar on to that tiny little cracker might have been the funniest part of the whole episode. Something about the idea of Christian Slater with a mouth so full of caviar that he can't talk is very humorous. I'm glad Mary agreed with Larry about the unspoken rule. Anytime Larry gets positive reinforcement for his horrible behavior is fine by me.

So glad that The Freak Book got mentioned. I don't care what anyone says -- that was a great gift.

The one set up that did pay off well? Larry's disgust at his fellow passenger's shorts. Why that's disgusting, I'm really not sure, but having Larry end up in shorts later on, only to have Ted, his doctor, and Susie all be disgusted at him was great.

Final Thought

There was one brief mention of the reunion -- Jeff asked Larry what he's going to do about Meg Ryan. This could potentially turn into the big plot for the season. How do you get rid of Meg Ryan so you can hire your ex-wife? Here's to hoping that HUGE set-up pays off.

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LS

"There was one brief mention of the reunion -- Jeff asked Larry what he's going to do about Meg Ryan. This could potentially turn into the big plot for the season. How do you get rid of Meg Ryan so you can hire your ex-wife? Here's to hoping that HUGE set-up pays off."

Didn't LD say that Meg Ryan would be a part of the reunion, but having a storyline connected with George, thus still leaving room to have both Meg and Cheryl? I don't see a conflict at all.

October 14 2009 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to LS's comment
Jonathan Toomey

LS -

The conflict *is* the role. Larry wants Cheryl to play George's ex-wife in the reunion and Jerry asked Meg Ryan to play the same role.

October 14 2009 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jay

Larry tought it is a good dicision to keep the bandage.but it wasnt.Just because of the bandage the boyfriend knew it was larry david.Thats the funny part

October 12 2009 at 9:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tool

If there ever was a shitty CYE episode, this was it.

I love - love - Curb, but this episode just didn't work for me, even after repeated viewings.

What happened L.D.?

October 12 2009 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Andrew

I don't think it was out of character for Larry to want to reconnect w/ his ex, especially b/c he said she broke it off. Also, he wasn't exactly acting any differently than normal w/ her at the restaurant (he yelled at the Dansons and Greenes, he stopped the waiter, etc.).

Also, it was definitely an a-hole thing to do to stop Sammie from singing before she was done, c'mon.

October 12 2009 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mccumbers

What a horrible episode. Boring. NOT funny. Unfortunately they should not have done a season 7. BORING and painfully bad to watch. WHY on earth would larry run to his doctors? Stupid.

October 12 2009 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MJL

The whole thing with Larry switching sides with Sherry Stringfield while they were making out was a blatantly recycled Seinfeld bit. Very disappointing season so far.

October 12 2009 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lmike14

Maybe the doctor section was a tad contrived, but any chance to see Phillip Baker Hall do comedy again is worth watching.

October 12 2009 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

One word: Filler.

October 12 2009 at 11:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cyn

In earlier seasons, LD had a different family doctor. Remember, his wife was an entertainment lawyer and LD had a beef with her? I thought all the short segments were funny but didn't fit together as a whole
show. Loved the shorts on the airplane.

October 12 2009 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Will

Why would Larry go back to that doctor, when he was the doctor that drooled on him?

October 12 2009 at 7:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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